HOUSEMATES in this year’s series of Big Brother Australia have been brought to tears by an emotional election pitch by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, while they were left perplexed by a bizarre message from Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in which he touted the physical appearance of his daughters.
This year’s tenth season of Big Brother Australia is the first time that the long-running programme has coincided with a federal election campaign. As voting in Australia is compulsory, several political leaders were invited to record messages to sell their policies to housemates prior to this weekend’s poll.
Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer and Greens leader Christine Milne joined Mr Rudd and Mr Abbott in recording messages for the Big Brother housemates which were shown last night. Mr Rudd’s video – in which he outlined his support for same-sex marriage — provoked the strongest reaction by Big Brother housemates, with several brought to tears by his statement.
Mr Rudd said: “No matter who we love, we should all be able to make the same promise I was able to make to Therese (Rein, his wife). If you support gay marriage, I will need your support in this election. It’s time for marriage equality.”
Mr Rudd also told housemate’s that he believed that he believed the church would be able to retain their own marriage arrangements, however the secular state should provide an option for homosexual couples. He pledged to bring the issue to a conscience vote within the first hundred days of his term if he is re-elected as Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister’s support for same-sex marriage brought several housemates to tears, particularly openly-gay housemates Benjamin Zabel and Tully Smyth. Both housemates had previously spoken about the legalisation of gay marriage in Australia and their hopes to be married in the future.
The emotional response to Mr Rudd’s political pitch was substantially different to the housemate’s reaction to Mr Abbott’s video, which reinforced community concerns regarding his propensity for verbal gaffes. Mr Abbott used his video to outline several of his policies, however rejected the emotional approach in favour of a tongue-in-cheek reference to his daughters.
Mr Abbott said: “If you want to know who to vote for, I’m the one with the not-bad-looking daughters.”
Housemates can be heard to call the video “weird” after it aired, with Mr Abbott’s light-hearted attempt at humour failing to resonate within the Big Brother house. The Opposition Leader’s statement comes several weeks after he was criticised for referring to a candidate’s “sex appeal” as one of her most admirable qualities.
Big Brother Australia returned to Australian screens last year, three years after being cancelled in 2008 due to low ratings. It currently screens on the Nine Network and is hosted by Sonia Kruger.