People Are Going Nuts About Therese Rein's Smackdown Of John Laws When He Asked About Her Surname

Therese ReinTherese Rein / Getty

Kevin Rudd’s hugely successful wife Therese Rein went on the John Laws radio show today, and the interview started with a blind-side question: why didn’t she take her husband’s name when they got married?

After all, it’s “sort of a traditional thing” in “English speaking countries” for a woman to take her husband’s name, Laws said.

Rein showed her customary grace in handling the situation and subsequently highlighted the irony of this becoming the talking point in an interview that was largely about trivial issues distracting from core campaign issues.

First, here’s the transcript:

HOST: Hoping to keep her dream alive, I imagine, is the wife of the Prime Minister, Therese Rein, who happily for me is in the studio. Good morning, Therese, and welcome.

THERESE REIN: Good morning, John.

HOST: A lot of people say – why isn’t she Therese Rudd?

REIN: Really?

HOST: Yeah.

REIN: Well, why isn’t Kevin, Kevin Rein?

HOST: (Laughs). No, I can’t accept that. We’re talking about tradition. Why do you choose not to be Therese Rudd.

REIN: Kevin and I got married at the end – on the week that I finished doing my thesis, so I just completed my honours degree – my qualifications are in my name and I’m an independent person.

HOST: But it’s kind of a traditional thing. I don’t want to make a meal of it, but it’s sort of a traditional thing, isn’t it? In English speaking countries that you take your husband’s name.

REIN: Well, Kevin and I had a conversation about it – and it was about a minute long. It went- so will I change my name to yours? Therese Rudd – it doesn’t feel like me and will you change your name to mine? No. Will we hyphenate? No. So we will keep our own names.

HOST: Well, well done.

The rest of the interview was very civilised, and Rein tweeted her thanks to Lawsie afterwards — along with a link to the audio file of the interview.

People are going nuts about it this afternoon, mainly over the class she showed in handling the question. In a series of tweets, Rein has raised a blunt question of her own:

Why is the focus from my chat with the highly courteous John Laws this morning on the warm up question about shared surnames? That is ironic given the substance of the chat was about trivialization and furphies detracting from real discussion in our democracy.

And she’s made clear what she thought of the episode:

Ten for style.

Here’s a snapshot of what people are saying on Twitter about it:

Fairfax’s Peter Martin has posted a link to the full transcript here.

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