WHILE Prime Minister Julia Gillard is on her education ''crusade'' in the west, Kevin Rudd has been making himself highly visible at schools - and giving students some pastoral advice for when ''you run into brick walls in life''.
The former PM has visited four schools in the past two days - he will be at four more this week - keeping followers up on what he's been doing through Twitter and YouTube videos.
In his tweeting Mr Rudd has highlighted his government's ''building the education revolution'' program, rather than the Gonski reforms on which Ms Gillard is concentrating. ''Fantastic morning at St Ita's at Dutton Park. St Ita's has used Oz Govt school funding to build a fantastic new library,'' he said.
Mr Rudd has noticeably lifted his profile in the past fortnight, although his prospects of getting the leadership have receded as Labor has marginally improved in the polls, and Ms Gillard has got onto a more positive agenda after the start of the carbon tax. The apparent poll improvement stalled yesterday, however, when the ALP primary vote in Newspoll fell from 35 per cent to 33 per cent.
When he addressed students at Iona College in Brisbane on Monday, Mr Rudd said many young people asked him what they should do to go into politics. ''My answer to them is as follows. 'Tell me, young man, young woman, what do you believe in and why?'
''And the second question I ask them: 'Well, if you know what you believe in and why, then ask yourself this question - what can I do about it?' And then the third question I put to them is: 'OK, what are you now going to do about it? Yourself, in your life, where you are?' ''
In a backhander to certain colleagues, Mr Rudd said that too often he ran into people in political life, including in his own party, who could not answer that question properly.
Musing on his own political career he said, to the amusement of his audience: ''It's been full of a few ups, and a few downs - mainly downs in recent times. Have you ever been - not too much laughter up the back there - a member of your college football team when you've come in first, and it's premiers in one season, and you've dropped to the bottom of the table the next season?
''Life's like that. It's not just one even, smooth trajectory to the top of whatever you're doing. So when you run into brick walls in life … things that go wrong, things that happen which you're not planning on, the really important thing is to go back to those basics of 'What do I believe in and why? And therefore, what should I do about it?' '' His office said he had a standard address for school students about values and what motivated them.
Yesterday he tweeted one of his favourite lines: ''More than a fair shake of the sauce bottle out at the Griffith Uni Young Labor BBQ today.'' On the accompanying video he said: ''I really appreciate their support, and as we head towards the next federal election I'm going to need their support.''