Turning to political news, Kevin Rudd has admitted to running the Australian economy during the holidays out of his backshed with an old diesel engine strung together with a combination of elastic bands, twine, blocks from a dismantled Lego castle, and parts out of the back of his television.
"Although it belched and produced a lot of smoke," laughs Rudd, "We were able to get the Australian economy running in a couple of days with this device, and pretty soon employment was on the rise."
But that's not all. The gadget-mad Prime Minister recently took plans to the Australian South East Asia Forum (ASEAN) for a new inter-regional body running on goose fat, made mostly from recycled car and bicycle parts and the letters 'A', 'N' and the '&' from an old Remington typewriter. "We demonstrated by having Stephen Smith get in and pedal", says Rudd, his eyes twinkling with amusement as he reminisces. "We had difficulty convincing some of the ASEAN ministers at first, but we've agreed to schedule further talks over the matter. I'm confident we can convince them at a later date as to this plan."
So enthusiastic has the ever-inventive PM been about his gimcrack devices that, sources tell us, Therese Rudd has forced him to move several half-built devices into his cupboard at Parliament House. These include a scheme to patch up the global banking system with sellotape, an apparatus consisting of two and a half table legs and the bottom of an old fan used to deliver better health services to elderly Australians, and a little battery-run doohickey that makes a 'blurping' sound whenever a Coalition politician is concocting a political scheme in the next room.
But some challenges are even beyond our whacky widget-making leader, as Rudd admits to us in the interview. "Once I was at the cafe at parliament house and noticed that their coffee machine was out of order," says Rudd. "Straight away I leapt into action and fused together three matchsticks, coiled a heating element of aluminium wire around them, hooked it into a car battery that I happened to have on myself, and rigged up a series of gears, pullies, and levers with a few handkerchiefs, to service the coffee needs of myself and staff." Unfortunately, the device didn't work - and the PM and his friends ended up - using a plunger in his office!
"I'm still laughing about it now!" laughs Rudd.
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