An incomplete revolution

Thursday, 27 June 2013 

Bob Carr: I would expect that our support would bounce back pretty quickly to where it was in 2010.
Tony Jones: What happens when the novelty wears off?
Bob Carr: Well I, er, you know … the novelty? The novelty? The novelty of looking at Tony Abbott?

Lateline 26 June 2013

Yet again the powerbrokers have changed the leader of the government. … in 2007 you voted for Kevin and got Julia. In 2010 you voted for Julia and got Kevin. If you vote for the Labor party in 2013, who knows who you’ll end up with?

Tony Abbott 26 June 2013

Right. Now where were we.

Ultimately Gillard lost the Prime Ministership yesterday because the institutions she represented are redundant. She was installed in June 2010 as a means of the power brokers regaining control of the party. However, having done so, it exposed why they lost it in the first place under Rudd. The lack of social base of the institutions of the Labor party meant that far from recovering its control in 2010, it only hastened their decline and the last three years have been marked by an internal breakdown of the organising institutions of the party which Rudd could exploit. For Gillard, the lack of agenda of her government (as opposed to policy) ultimately accounted for her unpopularity and lack of authority, which by the end, was assuming an unpleasant personal and sexist form around the Prime Minister.

Just as the redundancy of the party’s institutions accounted for Gillard’s unpopularity, so it also accounted for Rudd’s enduring popularity. The more he was ostracised by the party and the Cabinet, the more he appealed to the public’s dislike of the current political system, undoing much of the damage incurred during his last months of compromise and lack of direction in his Prime Ministership. Over the last year, as the popularity of the Gillard government continued to flounder and Rudd’s remained resilient, the party power brokers started increasingly looking at some sort of compromise to bring Rudd in to restore their popularity while maintaining control. This culminated in the aborted coup in March when Crean offered himself as deputy to Rudd, in order to keep him under check. However, by then the breakdown of the party’s factional system was such that room for a compromise solution was no longer possible.

Give this framework, it is possible to sketch a reasonably clear picture of what happened over the last two weeks. The confidence with which Barrie Cassidy and Dennis Atkins could claim that Gillard’s tenure was finished indicated that important power bases in the party were ready to look for a way of bringing Rudd back while retaining control. The erosion of that confidence over last week suggested that they found no room for compromise, possibly a result of the intransigence of the Rudd camp that he be “drafted” to the leadership. By the beginning of this week, press reports were suggesting that the AWU and other unions were actively shoring up support for Gillard and that the Rudd push had “run out of puff”.

In the end, with the opportunities before the election running out and likely to be much harder after a September rout, the Rudd grouping abandoned their demand for a draft and just went for it.

They kicked in a rotting door. Even with what appears to be now a phantom petition for a special caucus, it not only caught out the leadership, but also those who were hedging their bets between the two groups. The obvious example of the latter was Bill Shorten. Some journalists were still sticking to the script of two weeks ago by describing him as a “kingmaker” and his endorsement as critical for Rudd’s success. In reality it was more a last minute jump on the bandwagon that was already moving off. Crean too, had another attempt to keep Rudd in check by running for deputy but, fortunately for Rudd, was roundly rebuffed in favour of Ruddite Albanese.

Nevertheless despite the comfortable victory, Rudd’s position is finely balanced. While the power bases that he is pitched against are in disarray, he is not yet in a position to consolidate his hold on the leadership and clearly distinguish himself from the party’s institutions. His dilemma is that electoral success requires he does so. While journalists are fretting about divisions in the party, Rudd’s real problem is that he is not yet in a position to clearly bring those divisions out.

The danger for Rudd is that without such a clarification, he is exposed to a similar problem that Gillard faced in 2010 when she could find no external justification for her assuming the leadership than lousy polls.

A classic example was Carr’s fairly disastrous Lateline interview last night when, probably like most of the Ministers who have switched from Gillard to Rudd, he was unable to give any really clear reason for the move other than poor polling. Fortunately the interview’s audience would have been largely confined to the beltway given the late hour and the ABC’s fairly chaotic programming last night. But as a message to the rest of the electorate it won’t do.

Rudd’s own speech showed more finesse in distinguishing himself from the party’s power brokers while maintaining a façade of unity for now. He noted that he had been elected in 2007 by the people to imply that his return is really a continuation of that victory and the wrong of 2010’s internal manoeuvres had been righted. He also made much of the young who are turned off by current politics which, like most 50 plus politicians talking of the young, was more an indirect way of having a go at his peers than directly talking to youth.

However, what will help Rudd is not only the weakness of those opposing him in his own party, but also those on the opposite side of the Chamber. One of the grim secrets of the 43rd Parliament is the degree to which Abbott was propped up by Gillard, not only by her unpopularity but also her constant legitimising of Abbott as being in touch with the “real” electorate. Removing that prop may reveal that what we have is not the World’s Most Effective Opposition Leader but an unpopular leader of a party with policies that the electorate doesn’t especially like. Nevertheless, unless Rudd makes it clear that he is distinct from the party brokers, Rudd is almost as vulnerable as Gillard to Abbott’s claim that his return was brought about by the “faceless men” and that they could dump him again.

The litmus test to show that Rudd is starting to move away from the old left and right is the issue that best sums up their insecurities, asylum seekers. Carr’s tactic on Lateline of upping the rhetoric on asylum seekers as only economic refugees was immediately exposed by Tony Jones as contradicting the high proportion that still eventually come through as political refugees. Despite Carr alluding to it, it was a different approach than Rudd adopted a few weeks ago when the emphasis was on working on an arrangement with Indonesia and that without one, Abbott and Labor’s asylum seeker policy was a fraud. When Labor doesn’t feel the need to slap asylum seekers about, it will be a clue that a new political arrangement is falling into place.

Posted by The Piping Shrike on Thursday, 27 June 2013.

Filed under State of the parties, Tactics

Tags: , ,

Comments

42 responses to “An incomplete revolution”

  1. perx on 27th June 2013 8:00 am

    Re Shorten jumping on the band wagon and Rudd winning by a comfortable margin…is that the case? I was under the impression Shorten commanded a few more than his own vote, and a win margin of 6 votes (12/2) puts him in my mind as Kingmaker Mk II (and possibly maker of his own demise as a future leader). On the asylum issue…no one has ever seemed to neuter it, an extremely sad indictment of Oz politics, culture and yes…its media.

  2. Bill on 27th June 2013 10:44 am

    Got to give Julia some credit; she sure is a tough woman /fighter. I think she performed very well (generally) in Question Time, and her concession speech last night was admirable in the way she held herself together, and the touching bit about how she’d made it easier for the next female PM.

    I never really thought this would happen, but now think Labor have a chance. I suspect it’s too late for the Libs to switch to Turnbull, who would probably negate Rudd. I can’t stand Abbott … would love to see a Rudd triumph. Now that would be the ‘sweetest victory’ / one for the ‘true believers’ !

    Question time this afternoon should be a good bit of theatre. I wouldn’t be surprised if Abbott moves another suspension of standing orders/question time to cry ‘crocodile tears’ for Julia, and then go on about the ‘faceless men’ of the labor party once again being the rulers/ ‘we’ deserve better …

  3. Ralph on 27th June 2013 11:37 am

    Very interesting indeed. I’d imagine Tony Abbott’s unpopularity will come back into focus now. He was looking good next to Gillard, but I suspect he will start to look like a leery creep again.

  4. Avalon Dave on 27th June 2013 12:07 pm

    Running ads showing Labor Powerbrokers denigrating Rudd, only plays into Rudd’s anti-politics campaign – that he is running against the “old” political system.

    If he plays it right, he can make Abbott and crew look downright petulant & silly.

    For all his faults, Rudd can communicate messages with the public, in a way that Julia simply couldn’t.

    As Rudd is already pretty much a known entity, the focus can shift pretty quickly to Abbott and the question of “what is he actually going to do” beyond the slogans. He is already looking pretty silly regarding the boats and Indonesia.

    Rudd can manage the media spin cycle. Watch for the pressure to get to Tony and crew…

  5. F on 27th June 2013 3:52 pm

    I wish everyday could be leadership change day.

    He is already tacking towards a vaguely international agenda (marriage equality, international finance/rating agencies, bizarrely climate change again, asylum arrivals)

    Also the “old” vs “New” politics is getting a run. Kinda making the rest of the parliament look a bit scummy (which it is)

    Will it work?

  6. kymbos on 27th June 2013 5:41 pm

    Gotta hand it to you, Shrike – your take on Australian federal politics has been consistent and explanatory.

    I will be surprised if the move to Rudd does anything more than save the furniture, but it’s fair to say I’ve been surprised quite a few times in the past few years.

    It will certainly be interesting to see if Rudd handles being PM a bit better this time, and whether Abbott’s hollowness gets exposed as readily as has been suggested by some.

  7. Austin 3:16 on 27th June 2013 7:20 pm

    Much like Peter Beattie Rudd could do well out of being an outsider within the Labor party.

  8. F on 27th June 2013 7:37 pm

    This sentence needs fixing:

    “Nevertheless, unless Rudd makes it clear that he is distinct from the party brokers, Rudd is almost as vulnerable to the “faceless men” jibe Abbott made last night as was Gillard and appearing in danger of being dumped again.”

  9. The Piping Shrike on 27th June 2013 10:40 pm

    It did rather, ta.

    On the Shorten thing, I’ve seen various accounts of how many people he brought across, but I think for him to be a “kingmaker” it would need to be somewhat more than six. To be so he was supposed to have come out much earlier, not when the call for the spill was already underway.

    He will now just have to wait and hope the power brokers forgive him more than Combet, when they retake control. But I’m sure he’s right, he would have lost a few friends yesterday.

  10. Bill on 28th June 2013 2:03 am

    The more I read/hear what other commentators have to say, the more I’m convinced Rudd should run as late as possible.

    Sure, he has an initial bump in the poles/so did Julia …

    However, there are so many ‘cracks’ to paper over, it will take time, which is scarce to him, on the face of it.

    The longer he has, the more likely ‘dummy-spit’ Abbott, who feels he is being denied of his ‘rightful place’ .. is likely to crack/lose the plot ( I ‘reckon’ ?) …

    Also, gives longer for Rudd to ‘repair’ the damage? Go as late as possible I reckon.. and also more likely some ‘wild card’ (unexpected event) will de-rail the opposition !

  11. Thomas Paine on 29th June 2013 1:54 am

    The public know exactly why Gillard was dumped, no point in denying it since the papers have been filled with it for ages.

    But they wont care. Only natural to dump the leader if you about to get thrashed for somebody who can save you, plus bringing in Rudd will seem to have some natural sort of justice about it.

    No need for a quick election. Rudd is in no danger from Abbott and in now what is effectively an election campaign will drive him nuts.

    I think also that as the global economy again shows it’s systemic weakness and threat to Aust Rudd will be remembered as the safe hands last time.

  12. Dianne on 29th June 2013 6:25 am

    Shriking Pipe, your analysis is insightful and compelling. Are you Barry Jones? But… Something is missing. Is it the Blood? I am a simple soul. This is what I think happened. TA set out to destroy JG. That is what he does. A report back to the party contained these immortal words: ‘She just won’t lie down and die’. I may have inserted a ‘just’ there. He had a bag of slogans and labels which he spouted near microphones: hopeless, can’t be trusted, she was a pretender PM with blood on her hands, she lied …. we all know them well. For juicier stuff he left it up to sections of the population. He stood before signs calling JG a Bitch and Witch who should be Ditched. Behind him were the handmaidens B Bishop and Mirabella, faces knotted into frowns. He could not have been flanked by men like Hockey or Pyne. And so he stood there while the crowd bellowed Juliar. He came over all coy numerous times on Alan Jones’ program when the old pair of bellows wheezed and spluttered venomously about Gillard. The media, particularly the Murdoch press loved it. The ideologues took up the theme. The rest of the pack joined in eager not to miss The Story: Will She survive. Because by this time such a job had been done on Gillard that the dogs of hell had been unleashed. No doubt feeling it acutely and energised by the raw grief one feels after the death of a parent, her father, JG let rip with the misogyny speech. This won her the admiration of many, men and women and entrenched the hatred of many, men and women. As the polls dragged her south out of the shadows came Titus Groan aka K Rudd. The avenging Opportunist. And we all know what happened next. Poor Julia. What a woman. I will miss her.

  13. atomou on 29th June 2013 11:21 am

    Dianne, all of your observations about Julia’s treatment are true. What is also true, however, is the litany of betrayals she foisted on the ALP believers. And it is an endless and groaning litany. which began almost the very day (or rather night) she bloodied the caucus room.
    Her astounding declaration that Assange was “guilty” shocked and awed some of us; her shuffling of funds from Unis to schools, her betrayal of the single parents, of the Climate change fiasco of rewarding the polluters, of her obsequious disposition towards the miners, towards the US, towards her own front bench, towards Crossin… (You want to see the face of a faceless “man?” Well, there it is! It’s a woman after all!)
    Had she not delivered this litany of betrayals, Rudd would have been no more than a faint echo in the chambers of our consciousness. But she did. And the men who helped her usurp the leadership, her co-conspirators- saw the effect those betrayals had on the voting dispositions of us the hop polloi and therein they saw their own demise and the flaw in their own idiotic conspiracy: Gillard stood like a magnifying circus mirror in front of them. So they simply smashed the mirror, hoping that we, the hop polloi, will forget this nightmarish night of the long knives.
    You may well miss her. I won’t.
    Power is an unruly master and a brutal servant! Lesson One in being a Prince!

  14. atomou on 29th June 2013 11:23 am

    For a longer explanation of my views on this, see my article, Cry Me A River, here: http://pigsarms.com.au/2013/06/27/cry-me-a-river/

  15. Dianne on 29th June 2013 1:28 pm

    Thanks Atomou, I will read your article. I share your disappointment with the policy failures you outlined. But JG’s govt did some good things, large and small, to balance the policy ledger. I do not share your take on the Rudd knifing. It is pointless outlining why because all our minds have been made up. I enjoyed your creative image of the smashing of the circus mirror. Much better than turning a new page or starting off with a clean slate. .. Lot of truth there Atomou. Where we digress is the treatment of JG as a woman. I won’t go on because it stirs people up and I am too weary for battle and i will bewilder you all with images of empty fruit bowls and Indian fertility goddesses and the Pre Raphaelite movement. in my mind it is all so much more interesting than what we read in the meeja. I will miss her. She was a great woman. She had her policy failures but circumstances demanded compromises. Always difficult for True Believers to accept. And I put a high value on idealism believe me. I accept am too cynical these days. Surprisingly though cynicism has its softer side and allows you to see a the person rather than the politician. I remain shocked by JG’s savaging. . Meanwhile K Rudd is back and playing his mind games. I had long thought that the Libs year II uniform: suit and blue tie for the boys, blue jackets on formal occasions for the gals was a topic for deconstructionists.I find the wearing of said items immensely amusing. The Ruddster is having his fun too knotting various cerulean tones around his neck. Initial media response? He was being disloyal to JG. Rigid thought patterns at work again. No he had a bigger plan. Subversion. The tie as psychological weapon.

  16. Dianne on 29th June 2013 1:47 pm

    PS Atomou I was unsurprised but delighted in an unseemly way to hear C Pyne accusing K Rudd of having JG’s blood on his hands, or words to that effect. This from the man who accused Julia on a daily basis of knifing Kevin. Poor Kevin has become poor Julia. Now KR has taken on the role of being the best friend people smugglers have ever had – Abbott today. Do they wind those Liberals up every day like tin toys with big keys sticking out from their backs so they can rush about squawking until they lie on their sides exhausted under the couch. They will have to change their slogans. In fact they launched one yesterday. That amused me too.

  17. No Crap App: w/b 24 June 2013 | No Crap App on 29th June 2013 2:43 pm

    […] Piping Shrike: An incomplete revolution […]

  18. Riccardo on 29th June 2013 6:47 pm

    I wonder if the exodus is all the people who went into politics via union endorsement, no longer wish to serve the unions as they will no longer have any influence. You are just as likely to be a Rudd confidante by being an actor or academic as being a unionist in Rudd Labor

  19. Briony on 29th June 2013 11:57 pm

    This website has always been peculiarly blind to the gendered nature of Australian responses to the Gillard government. All PS’s handwringing about Labor’s putative loss of identity/truthfulness/authenticity etc is so much masculinist posturing in the face of the fact that the Australian polity is not ready for a woman Prime Minister.

  20. The Piping Shrike on 30th June 2013 12:35 am

    This blog never wrings its hands over the Labor party losing anything.

    The Australian polity is no less ready for a women Prime Minister now than it was when it decided on a woman to lead them three years ago.

    In fact, I have raised early on in Gillard’s tenure, and more recently, the detrimental way Gillard’s gender has been used, but that was by the left side of politics, so maybe you missed it. Otherwise, if I have time I will look at this in more detail as the faux feminism around Gillard’s dumping should be dealt with.

  21. Dianne on 30th June 2013 7:40 am

    Ah yes PS but it will have to be a certain type of woman. A woman who has discharged her social role as a mother and wife. I have come to the conclusion that we use stereotypes as lanterns to guide us through the dark cave of existence. To digress, blue ties are a stereotypical symbol of conservatism, stability, strength etc. k Rudd is now in subversive blue. He has co-opted the symbol. hilarious. Getting back to Julia. She was too different, too independent. She frightened folk. Male and female voters want Mutti.

  22. gerard oosterman on 30th June 2013 10:13 am

    Pity about Julia Gillard being dumped. Australia might not be quite ready in accepting females in power.
    However, history will be kind to her. She achieved a lot, moved mountains.
    Her speech on sexism and misogyny was hailed by many, including the New Yorker, The Sud Deutsche Zeitung, The Guardian, Le Monde and others as an international sensation. The world gave a standing ovation for her fifteen minutes speech. No female in Australia’s history has ever come closer to so succinctly and precisely sum up the curse of sexism and misogyny.
    Despite a minority government, her leadership and willingness to negotiate led to her passing a record amount of legislation for a post-war Australian Prime Minister.

    This included:
    ◾Australia’s first National Disability Insurance Scheme, of direct benefit to the 500,000 Australians living with disability
    ◾Introduction of carbon pricing and an Emissions Trading Scheme which has reduced carbon emissions in Australia between 8-11 percent
    ◾Overseeing the Gonski review for the revolutionary overhaul of the entire primary and secondary education sector
    ◾Seeing that Australia take up a seat on the UN security for the first time
    ◾Instituted life-changing policies for improvements in indigenous literacy
    ◾Overseeing a national broadband network of high-speed internet is nation-building infrastructure.

  23. Dianne on 30th June 2013 10:56 am

    Gerard, you said it all. It is extraordinary isn’t it that a politician can achieve so much in such difficult circumstances but that the majority of people in this country simply did not care. The level of hatred was electric. It gathered and projected energy as the months dragged on. It took on a life of its own. For me it was summed up by the sandwich throwing episodes. Schoolchildren hitting out without knowing why. There are studies to be made and books to be written about this shameful period.

  24. The Piping Shrike on 30th June 2013 11:20 am

    But two different audiences are looking at two different things. Internationally Gillard Is abstracted from her political position, she is just a high profile woman giving it back on sexism in a country where we are not known for observing etiquette.

    In Oz, she is back room boys stooge/untrustworthy/all spin, whatever you like. To claim this is both a reaction to sexism and is comparable, makes no sense.

  25. F on 30th June 2013 12:14 pm

    I find it increasingly bizarre that folks look to O.S for reassurance that “their” preferred leader was somehow treated unfairly. Who cares what a detached and distant viewer thinks of our politics? The New Yorker? I didn’t know they had such a long and abiding interest in domestic Australian politics!

    I think it suits some observers here to imagine that Australia is some monstrous bastion of sexism. Have any of you actually looked at the data pertaining to the position of women and women’s rights in this country? If we are going to paint broad brush strokes about a country’s treatment of women maybe such data would be the first port of call for any critic? Oh no! Lets concentrate on the “feels” of Gillard, while ignoring the real position of women in Australia.

    Shrike is right. All of you talking about sexism ‘doing her in’ here ignore how she got into power, how she stayed in power, and what she did in power. It suits your narrative to pretend that Australia is somehow backward (and it suits the agenda of certain O.S publications to support such notions)

    Gillard was/is a university educated, highly successful careerist and politician who managed through great personal strength and compete political bastardry to become the most powerful person(ahem) in the nation. Even through massive political tactical errors, overwhelmingly critical press, and deep institutional malaise, she managed to maintain her position as PM.

    This does not sound to me like a country riven by sexism. How did she come so far, and stay for so long against such odds, if we are all frothing sexists?

    It is far more difficult for some to admit that Gillard was a flawed leader (like them all really). Sometimes these flaws can be surmounted and even turned to a leaders advantage. Howard being a boring and unlikeable, but stable old fart is one.

    I think it is far more illuminating to look at what minority government did to Gillard. Every new bit of legislation passed (of which an above poster trumpets) was not a sign of strength or power. No, it was a reminder to the public of this governments complete lack of authority and the ‘grottiness’ of political compromise. Stooping down to do backroom political deals, however needed and just, only reinforced Gillards negatives in the general population. Australians may pretend they like bipartisanship and politicians coming together, but when confronted with its complicated reality it appears to leave a bitter taste in their mouths.

    That was this governments mistake. Gillard and her internal supports seemed to think that successful governing is all about passing lots and lots of legislation…when in reality that just stirs up trouble in an always potentially seething electorate.

  26. gerard oosterman on 30th June 2013 12:38 pm

    Could all those so critical of Gillard be a bit more precise. Please point out which part of the over 500 pieces of Gillard’s legislation was wrong or where she was so flawed in.
    Also, what is so deeply upsetting to you about how others in this big world perceive us?

  27. F on 30th June 2013 3:06 pm

    “over 500 pieces of Gillard’s legislation”

    Since when has passing legislation in the Australian political sense been a recipe for success?

    This government lacks an agenda. That’s fine, so did Howard mostly. In most situations the fact of being in government helps to mask that. The authority of office does wonders for shoring up a government. But not minority government. Minority government in the Australian context clearly lacks the benefits of the authority of office.

    Gillard tried to use the passing of legislation to increase her authority. Unfortunately for her it had the opposite effect.It made it appear as if we had two oppositions. It didn’t help that for many pieces of legislation the ALP looked to getting the Coalitions support.

    While such bipartisanship is the reality of minority government, it just looked like the ALP thought the Coalition’s ideas were better/correct. Gillard continually surrendered from the get go the authority that comes with government to the opposition, the minor parties, and especially the independents.

    Also, why do Gillard’s ‘critics’ have to prove her flaws? Her current situation is testament to the errors she made. It matters not if you view it as sexist, or as the sole actions of a bitter former( now current) PM. She has failed POLITICALLY. Being turfed out of office by your party is a political failure…..isn’t that obvious?

    You can use all the deflection techniques you want but from where I’m sitting a politician lost the support of her party. She lost the support of her party because she made political errors, which led to a loss of support in the community for her premiership, and her party.

  28. Mitchell Porter on 30th June 2013 4:35 pm

    Dianne said “TA set out to destroy JG. That is what he does.”

    Is there another example – of TA destroying someone (or something)?

  29. Avalon Dave on 30th June 2013 8:32 pm

    I’ve said it before here, but Gillard’s problem was that she “could not sell fish on Good Friday”.

    She did an amazing job – no doubts about that. And I suspect that in years to come, she will be almost revered in the ALP as Ben Chifley.

    Paul Keating and Kevin Rudd are the most hated figures of the Right. Why? Because they could communicate. They talked in pictures. They could SELL……

  30. Dianne on 1st July 2013 6:33 am

    Mitchell: another redhead, P Hanson.

  31. Dianne on 1st July 2013 7:57 am

    Avalon Dave. I agree. I think warm regard for Julia Gillard will wider than the ALP though. It has started already in the media. There will be guilt too to assuage. Who will be blamed? TA of course. Watch them turn on him, particularly if the polls continue to slide towards Antarctica.

  32. gerard oosterman on 1st July 2013 9:28 am

    Yes, for the Liberals, Tony Abbott will remain the banana skin on the doorstep of any political future.
    The other problem is the woman with the Darth Vader stare and hair helmet.
    It all has so much of a ‘back to the fifties’ l’odeur about it.

  33. Dianne on 2nd July 2013 7:38 am

    PS I do not believe you can disregard the sexism element in JG’s demise. I accept you know much more about the inner machinations of the ALP than I will ever know or want to know but the sheer hatred of JG which was often expressed in crude sexist terms needs to be recognized and explored. I do not believe for one minute that we live in an oppressive Patriarchy although married women with children have particular problems if they want to climb ladders. JG was, and I hope still is, an ambitious woman. She chose a career over marriage and children. I think she was wise. Many out there found it unnatural. Latham was first off the blocks with criticism of her childless state. Bill Heffernan yammered about her ‘barren womb’ which came to be symbolized by the infamous empty fruit bowl. People want reassurance in their political leaders. Why else do they rush about in smugglers and hard hats and cart attractive daughters around with them? Poor Julia only had Tim and they said he must be gay. And her knitting’. I happened to love that pic. It was quirky, warm and funny. Voterland booed and hissed. The other day Kev wheeled out his family females: wife, daughter, granddaughter AND a Sherrin. No angry buzzing about the football. Give me a knitted kangaroo any day. I hope she finishes it.

  34. The Piping Shrike on 2nd July 2013 9:24 am

    I will look at this in the next post, hopefully. But just to note the examples you cite were before she took the office, did not stop her from doing so and don’t explain why she lost it.

  35. Dianne on 2nd July 2013 10:19 am

    Agree these things do not fully explain why she lost office. It is more complex I believe. I firmly believe though that the matters I outlined above and later extreme examples painted her as The Other. Handy when you have media bias etc etc. Eddie Husic appears to have taken on Julia’s role as The One Who Is Not Like Us. Terrible things have been posted on his Facebook page by folk disturbed by his swearing allegiance on the Koran. Here we go again. Watch the shock jocks and certain media commentators crank up. It is all so ugly and so very fascinating. Best wishes.

  36. Austin 3:16 on 2nd July 2013 11:10 am

    Hey Dianne,

    I think sexism certainly amplified Gillard’s mistakes – but what is the real problem the amplification or the mistakes ?

  37. atomou on 2nd July 2013 11:57 am

    Much will depend upon our media again. Give this sort of crap a lot of coverage and it will snowball. Alas, media loves creating and playing with snowballs. Alas, too, no one can do a thing about it. The shock jocks are self-spawning in exponential speed.

    Racism is, if not worse, as bad as sexism and any other vilification.

    Zeus only knows what he’d be copping if he were the PM!

  38. Dianne on 2nd July 2013 2:18 pm

    Hi Austin, I recently watched a re-run of a three part doco on the Howard years.
    I had forgotten what a pickle The Libs were in their first term.

    Minister after minister was stood down for breaking a code of conduct, Howard himself looked nervous and awkward on important overseas trips and he committed the unpardonable sin of stumbling at one stage,with Clinton, I think, and while the cameras were whirring.

    Then along came Tampa and 9/11 and we know the rest. All governments take time to settle in. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be. As we all know JG’s task was well nigh impossible but she lasted. Amazing.

    So her govt made mistakes but as you say they were amplified not only by the Opposition but by an increasingly hostile media.

    Some commentators appeared to be spokespeople for Tony Abbott in particular. The line between commentary and news evaporated at times. It was an unusual day when you looked at the front page of certain publications and did not find at least three anti Gillard or anti ALP stories. In addition there was a constant angry buzz from shock jocks and high profile commentators.

    Gillard’s voice was drowned out and then The Age had the gall to demand that she stand aside to allow Kevin Rudd back to deliver the message she had failed to deliver because the media would not allow her to do so.

    In short, I think her government made plenty of mistakes and should have been held to account but that those mistakes were amplified while the very real achievements of Gillard and her government were given scant recognition.

    Atomou, I agree with you. And I feel disheartened by the state of the media and its general upheaval. I find it disturbing that TA may be elected with media support. What then? Will he be kept in place with media support too?

  39. Elizabeth on 7th July 2013 9:29 pm

    I agree with Dianne (in fact I think she should have her own blog) Male politicians make mistakes and female politicians make fatal mistakes. Think Cheryl Kernot, Carmen Lawrence, Anna Bligh talented politicians who had their reputations and careers shredded by their ‘mistakes’. While I admit Julia Gillard made mistakes, I would argue because of the extreme gender bias everything became amplified unforgivable and FATAL. It’s the old madonna/whore conundrum, women can’t be seen as flawed or ‘compromised’ in any way. For example Julia’s fatal mistake of the carbon tax ‘lie’. It’s pretty much accepted that politicians ‘lie’ it’s a natural part of the political process but if a woman politician is seen to have lied, back flipped or compromised it is always politically fatal.

  40. Riccardo on 7th July 2013 10:50 pm

    Gillard could have been a good PM. She wasn’t, but could have been. I was quite excited when she was elected with Rudd in 2007 to implement a post-political, technocratic agenda involving dismantling the twentieth century, and nineteenth in places.

    She took to it with relish. When she stooped to do the dirty work of twentieth, no wait, nineteenth century politicians, all men, and knifed Rudd, i has no more time for her. Woman or not, she allied with the unions, did evil. The carbon tax issue is irrelevant and always was.

  41. F on 8th July 2013 9:16 am

    I don’t actually apportion “much” blame towards Gillard for the knifing of Rudd. Sure, she was integral to it, but wasn’t the ‘offer’ made with the proviso that she took the leadership now or they would find someone else and that was the end for her?

    Gillard would have made a great PM, say in around 2015-6. I always thought that was the “plan”. An ‘orderly’ succession with enough time left in the term for her gain authority from the position. Even if she had to take it from Rudd at that point the reaction from the community would have been very different.

    Instead the ‘too clever for their own good’ power-brokers decided to change leaders during the first term NOT for the benefit of the party(in an electoral sense) or the country, but for themselves and their pathetic little fiefdoms.

    By doing so they screwed the obvious successor and therefore screwed the party.

    Not only that but they burnt out what could have been a three term government in ONE term.

    The knifing poisoned one PM, and also it also poisoned the obvious successor.

    Now Labor is in the most pathetic of situations. As shrike has pointed out this was all probably inevitable. Still, one can wonder…..

  42. atomou on 8th July 2013 9:26 am

    It’s about where I stand, too, Ricardo. Gillard was certainly not Lawrence, Cheryl, Anna, Natasha; and every day, she looked more and more like Meg Lees.

    I, too, thought that she was another one in that rank of brilliant women who’ll take us out of the mire into which the cleptocrats, the media moguls, the elites and the religious mongrels have dropped us into, when she and Rudd first appeared on the scene. But the very night Rudd was ousted my stomach churned. A very familiar and a very ungratifying scene!
    It was also a pairing brought together by Lindsay Tanner and that, in my eyes, gave it a strong credibility. This was a team I thought that would do the job that was desperately needed to be done.

    Alas, Tanner -like Faulkner- have given that party the flick, thanks to Gillard and her co-conspirators.

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