It is highly likely that a move to replace Prime Minister Julia Gillard will be made by supporters of Kevin Rudd. This did not happen today at the Labor Party Caucus meeting. But it is anticipated that next Tuesday’s meeting will see a spill when the vestiges of support for the Prime Minister will evaporate and the former Prime Minister, Mr. Rudd will once again lead the Labor Party. For how long is anybody’s guess, as it is tipped he will call an earlier election and so the nation may go to the polls before the Gillard-chosen date of 14 September.
Should Ms. Gillard be removed as Labor leader it is difficult to predict what she will choose to do; remain as backbencher if re-elected or resign and pursue another career path? But it is interesting to read non-News Limited journalists pointing out we have never had it so good and that misogyny towards female leaders not only exists, it is particularly vicious, according to the Guardian’s Simon Jackman,“Gillard has been subject to criticism that she simply wouldn’t be getting if she wasn’t a woman … Female Labor leaders aren’t just defeated, it’s almost as if the electorate goes after them with a special kind of vengeance.”
I thought I had been around a while and seen a lot in politics. Whitlam’s dismissal, Frasers’s tears, Hawke’s replacement by Keating and Howard becoming the second Prime Minister to lose his own seat. I was surprised to see a female Prime Minister – but also delighted that a generation of young women would consider it normal for a woman to lead this country.
But sadly, I suspect that is not the case. For why would any woman stick her head above the parapet when the combined fury of the nation is sitting there with a bloody great gun to shoot you down? And why should our first female PM get ‘taken out”? Well, according to the Guardian UK, it can hardly be because of our economic performance – because the Australian model is the one being envied by most other developed nations.
And it can’t be due to a lack of concern about the disenfranchised when so much legislation has been created to even the ledger for those with less, whether this was for retirement income, disability support or educational opportunities, the Labor Party has delivered. For those concerned about global warming, here was the party which had the intestinal fortitude to deliver a tax on carbon emissions.
So, no, we have to look harder to see the reason why our first female PM is so under-appreciated.
Firstly her coming to power was unexpected, unprecedented and unacceptable to many, but particularly to the loser in the contest, Mr. Rudd. Since then this disaffected former PM has worked hard to outshine former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie as the ultimate media tart. Forget the good of the party, at every twist and turn, Mr. Rudd has been there beaming and subtly undermining both the PM and her cabinet.
Supporting this destabilisation, and creating ‘news’ that was never ‘news’, merely opinion, is News Limited and its 67 per cent stranglehold on our nation’s newspapers. If there has been a positive headline about the current PM, I’ve yet to see it. Instead day after day the narking headlines appear and many Australians believe every word. Sad, but true.
So rather than hoping the PM will tough out yet another leadership challenge if called next week, I would rather that she takes the easier way out and simply lets Mr. Rudd and his overweening ego have full rein.
Julia Gillard has worked hard to deliver sensible and wide-ranging reforms in health, education, disability, retirement income and the environment, to name just a few. She has headed a government which has steered us successfully through a Global Financial Crisis. Most of us have never, ever, ever had it so good. Including our age pensioners who have received far more from Labor in five years than in 11 years under the Howard Government. Everyday she has got up and copped the abuse, the rumours, the slander and the downright personal attacks from the likes of Alan Jones and Howard Sattler. Without complaint.
And are we grateful? No we are not. So it’s time for us to get the Government we truly deserve and Ms. Gillard has the break she truly deserves. She won’t be appreciated any time soon, but history, I believe, will judge her far more kindly than the Australian voters.
What do you think? Is Julia Gillard as under-appreciated as Kaye says? Or is Kaye simply dreaming, once again?