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Is Australia still not ready for a female prime minister?

On June 24, 2010, Australia’s first female prime minister, Julia Gillard, was sworn into office by Australia’s first female governor-general, Quentin Bryce. The iconic photographs of that day spoke of…

In the three years since she took office, has Julia Gillard been able to reconcile her gender and position as prime minister? AAP/Mick Tsikas

On June 24, 2010, Australia’s first female prime minister, Julia Gillard, was sworn into office by Australia’s first female governor-general, Quentin Bryce. The iconic photographs of that day spoke of an occasion that was a long time coming.

In the three years to have passed since then, Gillard has been the victim of appalling levels of sexism not seen before in Australian public life. With some justification, therefore, she has made her gender a political issue. But has it been a proportional response to the misogynistic attacks meted out, or used simply for her own political gain?

By July 2011 a Facebook page had been created called “Julia Gillard – Worst PM in Australian history”. The iconic photo of the day Gillard was sworn in was now accompanied by obscene suggestions as to what the prime minister and the governor-general would do next.

And in 2012, after cartoons of her naked and wearing a dildo were emailed to all federal parliamentarians, Gillard finally started making public references to the sexism going viral on the internet. In October she made headlines around the world for her speech to parliament on sexism and misogyny.

Many in the Australian media reacted with outrage that the prime minister was drawing attention to the sexism experienced by women in public life. Critics attacked Gillard for “playing the gender card” – as though she should ignore this sexual vilification. But to remain silent would condemn others to experience the same treatment, just as silence over domestic violence still does.

Gillard had studiously ignored gender issues during the 2010 federal election, going so far as to “forget” to allocate a status of women portfolio immediately afterward. She was much more likely to don a hard hat than to identify as a feminist, despite being instrumental in changes of particular importance to women, such as the replacement of WorkChoices by Fair Work Australia.

What happened between 2010 and 2012? Gillard had been subjected to an unrelenting campaign of vilification by a loose coalition of shock jocks, bloggers and newspaper columnists.

The campaign has been rhetorically violent in nature at times. Talkback radio host Alan Jones suggested Gillard be put in a chaff bag and taken out to sea, presumably to drown. His justification was that she was a “liar”, having broken a campaign promise not to introduce a carbon tax.

Television watchers also saw a banner reading “Juliar…Bob Brown’s bitch” behind opposition leader Tony Abbott while speaking to an anti-carbon tax rally at Parliament House in 2011.

Has Julia Gillard ‘played the gender card’ for political purposes or simply as a response to unadulterated misogyny and sexism from her opponents? AAP/Alan Porritt

This lack of respect contrasts strongly with the treatment of Denmark’s first female prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who took office in 2011. Thorning-Schmidt also headed a minority government and faced numerous accusations of broken election promises – but not of being a “liar” or someone’s “bitch”. She explained that the government had made a mistake in not making sufficiently clear that the election result demanded compromises.

In the past fortnight outrage has again been expressed over the prime minister’s speech to the launch of the Women for Gillard campaign. The speech was largely a summary of policy gains under Labor governments, including the Rudd and Gillard governments. It covered paid parental leave, the equal pay win by community service workers and the increase of the tax-free threshold to A$18,000 – of particular benefit to part-time and low-paid women workers.

What was extracted for media headlines was a clumsy warning about “men in blue ties” retaking centre stage in Australian politics, and a single sentence about abortion again becoming the “political plaything of men who think they know better”.

And yet, there has been little media attention to the drop in women’s political representation across Australia since 2009. For example, the fall of the Queensland Labor government in 2012 led to a drop in the number of women in that state’s parliament from 37% to 20%. Given Australia’s commitments to gender equality in public decision making this seems a fair point to raise.

Was it outrageous of Gillard to raise the issue of abortion? Given the halt to overseas aid for family planning during the Howard period, the ministerial veto on importation of RU486, and the federal funding of misleading pregnancy counselling services, this hardly seems an irrelevant concern.

Women mobilised across party lines on these issues to oppose the then-health minister Tony Abbott. The big gain from the inclusion of abortion in Gillard’s speech was a commitment by Abbott, now as opposition leader, not to do any deals to restrict the funding of abortion.

No reasonable person could argue that all the policies of the Gillard government have advanced gender equality. Cuts to public expenditure always have disproportionate impact on women. The shift of sole parents onto the Newstart Allowance was strongly resisted by elements within the parliamentary ALP.

But regardless of the reasons, the issue of gender equality has once again been put on the political agenda – where it should be, as long as women remain underpaid, underrepresented and at risk of violence from their intimate partners.

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143 Comments sorted by

  1. Pera Lozac

    Heat management assistant

    Julia is the worst prime minister because she is the worst prime minister and NOT because of her gender. If she was a male she would still have been the worst prime minister. The main reason is her utter artificiality, lack of humanity and humility. Every time when she would get a pole boost was in the rare occasions when she would react to Abbot's provocations as a human being not as a bureaucratic robot, which is her normal persona. She should sack the whole PR team and talk to a real human being with a heart and soul.

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    1. Nick McIvor

      Illustrator

      In reply to Pera Lozac

      The strange thing is that she was labelled the worst prime minister ever almost immediately after the election - with little to no evidence for the claim.

      Her opponents just kept making the claim until the public naturally began picking their own "evidence" to support it.

      She isn't a perfect leader or a perfect politician, but neither was the last guy or the guy before that.

      The tragedy is that we (the people) made up our minds 3 years ago, and we've just been witling down the time since then.

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    2. george theodoridis

      Brain Deconstructor at Synapse Collapse

      In reply to Nick McIvor

      The evidence was there for all to see: She was hiding a dagger and on the most propitiated night she revealed it. The cloak of words she and her co-conspirators used did not cover the blood. But the back-daggering was as inapt as her governing and the man is still alive. Wounded and angry and still alive.

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    3. Eddy Schmid

      Retired

      In reply to Marion Wilson

      Marion, please read again, my earlier post.
      People need to sort out in their heads, the issue is NOT about her being a woman, that's the crap the media is feeding us all.
      The issue is she obtained her post by stabbing a sitting, duly democratically elected PM in the back.
      IF, she had replaced Rudd BEFORE the election, I'd say then there MAY be validity in the claims of anti feminism at work, which IMHO, do not stack up against the evidence before us.

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    4. Dennis Alexander

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to george theodoridis

      Perhaps you should actually read Julius Ceasar, George. People were lining up to bury Kevin Rudd well before Julia was drafted, which is what it was, no knives, daggers or Ides of March. While I accept that Kevin was a flawed leader, I thought he was rather good as a PM otherwise. I also think Julia has been a better PM. However "krudd" was already the epithet levelled at the man in the media, on the street and in the blogs well before 2010. Murdoch and the conservative commentariat were already consigning him to a deprecatory history. Julia Gillard was the only available choice to "save the furniture" for Labor, and she did by the skin of their teeth. Anyone who thinks any furniture will be saved by returning to Kevin Rudd is kidding themselves: "krudd" will be trotted out along with "gutless" and other such vilification within minutes and not just, perhaps not even, by Julia Gillard supporters.

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    5. george theodoridis

      Brain Deconstructor at Synapse Collapse

      In reply to Dennis Alexander

      Dennis, I could probably recite the whole of Shakespeare's magnificent work without too much trouble, as well as great chunks of many other magna opera of Roman history.

      All leaders are good for some and dreadful for others. In a Democracy, it's a numbers game, though that too is a delusion. Caesar, and yes, Rudd, had their dissenters but were not both assassinated extra-judicially? Could not either be deposed lawfully, democratically?

      I had no intention of going into the fine details of the…

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    6. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Marion Wilson

      She was not standing up against misogyny, she was cussing out Abbott and a few things he has said over the past 12 years in a carefully crafted speech, it was all about her.

      I didn't watch it because I watch and listen to her about as much as I ever listened to John Howard, zero, but I read it and it had no substance at all.

      Whether the moderators here like to hear it or not she is inherently racist as well, how else do you explain her complete and utter inability to see the humanity of people…

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    7. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Dennis Alexander

      That is not true, Gillard was one of the chief drivers of the back stabbing, this was shown without a doubt in the Wikileaks cables, her abuse and undermining was going on for 18 months while her spies Shorten, Feeney, Arbib and Danby spied on the government for the US and Israel.

      Don't make her out to be a reluctant draftee, for god's sake she had her acceptance speech written weeks in advance.

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    8. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Pera Lozac

      Even if she is "the worst PM" that does not justify the relentless and serial number of personal attacks against her.

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    9. Ler Ming

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Eddy Schmid

      Correct me if I'm wrong but the 2010 election was decided between Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard? Ms. Gillard may have stabbed a 'duly democratically elected PM in the back' but won the next election democratically (despite it coming down to a hung vote).

      I'm not endorsing Gillard for PM; rather I believe Kevin Rudd as leader is the option I loathe the least, miles ahead of Gillard and many miles ahead of the moron Abbott. However Gillard has endured a torid time as PM despite many of her achievements, notably with a minority government. I find it hard to believe that such ruthless contempt for Julia Gillard is motivated by her supposed unprecedented incompetency

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    10. Michael Field

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Pera Lozac

      I don't think she's the 'worst'. She's achieved a lot more than George Reid, Jim Scullin, Harold Holt or Billy McMahon, for starters, and I've only picked the ones you couldn't argue with. In my opinion she's also much better than the unstable and incompetent Rudd. She might just be the most out of touch PM ever, though, and her particular brand of cliched leftiness is something that I think annoys the living crap out of people - she just doesn't know how to talk to the public.

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    11. susan walton

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Marion Wilson

      She has bought us the most progressive, stable and positive government?

      Progressive? she announces thought bubbles before they've barely left the think tank room..she couldn't wait to call a press conference to tell us the asylum seekers were off to Timor, she didn't even bother to discuss one word of this with the Timorese President! it's the same with every major policy, barely thought through, let alone costed and funded. The NDIS nor Gonski is funded let alone thought through properly.

      Stable? In whose dreams? there has been nothing but infighting and squabbling over the leadership since June 2010! Labor is shaky, not stable. Very, very shaky.

      Positive? In what way have Labor been positive? Positive means that everything is going along smoothly, all policies tried and trusted, the country running like clockwork. None of this is happening so positive is not how anyone could describe this government, with their gender and class war rhetoric.

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    12. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to susan walton

      Thank you, I am glad others can see the facts.

      Gillard takes her queues on social issues from the likes of Joe De Bruyn on gay marriage and abortion, she got her job on the back of the sexist Emily's list when many in the party didn't want her.

      She takes her racist views on asylum seekers and aborigines from Howard and Ruddock and then makes them worse.

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    13. Peter Blackwell

      Supply Chain Consultant - realist

      In reply to Pera Lozac

      Thank you Pera - it is that simple - Julia is the worst prime minister because she is the worst prime minister and NOT because of her gender. If she was a male she would still have been the worst prime minister.

      And as for comments about the lack of respect given Julia; people respected the position of Prime Minister until Julia made such a mockery of it they could no longer in good conscience respect her. Respect is earned not given, and in her case it was not earned.

      As for Marion commenting against those who agree with Pera - blind faith regarding God is harmless,,, blind faith to a PM deconstructing our way of life and the socail fabric which holds this country special deserves no support, not even blind support.

      P.S. Just to confuse those who presume my bias, I am historically a Labor supporter and wish Rudd every success as long as he shows contrition for the mistakes he and his colleagues made.

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    14. Peter Blackwell

      Supply Chain Consultant - realist

      In reply to Marion Wilson

      Marion, women should be embarrassed and disappointed that they were represented so poorly by our first female Prime Minister. Perhaps the second will be more capable and deserve the respect we normally reserve for competent public servants.

      Misogynistic cowards ? Neither misogynists nor cowards - they called her out for being totally incompetent and not once did anyone suggest it was because she was female - she was merely incompetent.

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    15. Peter Blackwell

      Supply Chain Consultant - realist

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      Yes it does - and please note - the attacks had nothing to do with her being female,,, cancer requires surgery. Now lets get on and heal the gaping wounds,,, stop the power of the Union movements over Labor policy and candidature,,, and start representing us as we wish to be represented - honestly, fairly, and in an even handed manner.

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    16. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Marion Wilson

      Where is your evidence of "she has brought us the most progressive, stable and positive government we have ever had."?

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  2. Karenza Witcombe

    Retired

    Julia Gillard has failed as Prime Minister largely because her political judgement has been repeatedly just plain wrong, not because of her gender. Her gender has been used to lampoon her but it would have been a useless weapon had her decision-making ability, timing and accountability been better.

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    1. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Marion Wilson

      A failure to introduce a National Plan to reduce violence against men and their children, failure to finance and resource prostate cancer at the same rate as breast cancer, the invention of the "glass ceiling", she obviously isn't the right person to lead the ALP. Misogyny is fine as long as it benefits her, etc etc

      Having a seat at the UN, doesn't mean a thing and doesn't change anything. Plain packaging, doesn't reduce smoking

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    2. Marion Wilson

      retired

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      Same reason Tony Abbot doesn't have a National Plan to reduce violence against men and their children and has no policy to resource prostate cancer at the same rate as breast cancer, Maybe she will get to it next term, she has done a great deal for the homeless and improved mental health care for men and women and is doing great work for people with disabilities great reforms that previous governments neglected.. .
      Having a seat at the UN and having triple A credit rating gives us international…

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    3. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Marion Wilson

      Your post was about how wonderful Julia Gillard was, not Tony Abbott.

      You really think it was Julia Gillard who has established that women can aim as high as they want. They used to have a lesbian prime minister in Iceland so what on earth could Julia Gillard teach any female in that regards.

      More countries have a triple A rating and triple A rating would be there with Abbott as well. Having a temporary seat with UN security council doesn't mean anything, even Libya under Ghadaffi had it as well.

      So Gillard is doing something about people with disabilities which merely put Australia in line with other countries.

      And the list goes on

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    4. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Marion Wilson

      Rudd did the work to get us on the UN seat, he did the work on the NBN, he made us a slightly better country with the apology, he made us slightly better in our treatment of refugees, he and Swan were the drivers of the stimulus that saved us from recession and he drove the pension increases that Gillard did not want.

      And Gillard has not done anything to reduce violence against women and kids, she herself with her policies is more brutal than anyone in the past.

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    5. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Marion Wilson

      That's just plain silly Marion, we have had a female head of state for 60 years.

      WE have had female premiers going back decades, a female judge awarded my divorce in 1978 and then became governor of SA, we have had female governors and a GG, women on the high court and so on.

      Just because we are women doesn't give us special privileges, we did have a revolution to be equal.

      And Gillard is a product of one of the most sexist policies in the country - Emily's list - so for her to whinge is just plain hypocrisy writ large.

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    6. Marion Wilson

      retired

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      South Australia was a leader for the rights of women, it forced voting rights for women into the Federal Parliament - was second only to the Isle of Mann. It was a bitter fought battle but with less bloodshed than in many other countries. It took more than 100 years to get a female Prime Minister and there are many people who still believe that women have no place in Government. I do not agree with some of Ms Gillard's views, condemnation of Julian Assange and treatment of asylum seekers and not voting for equal rights in marriage for persons who have sexual inclinations different to the alleged majority to name three but in the management of the nationals interests I give her top marks. She deserves top marks for standing calm before a barrage of vitriol and undeserved abuse..

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    7. susan walton

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Marion Wilson

      A seat on the UN that she had to buy for a cool $25mil! yet couldn't balance the books! and how has this very expensive seat helped Australia? it's not even a permanent seat! it's not much more than a joke!

      Super has NOT been raised to 12%..there has only been talk of it.
      A National plan to reduce violence? these sort of plans don't work. They're nothing more than talk fests.. in the meantime we have violent men walking the streets on parole and murdering women. Yet another one the other day to add to the Jill Meagher case.

      Increase health funding? really? yet Gillard withholds state hospitals fundings by playing blackmail games with them? health is not a game for Labor to play with! Toe the line or we'll cut your funding she has said...disgusting!!

      How about YOU show US the great things Julia has done and spare US your vague and baseless rhetoric.

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    8. Peter Blackwell

      Supply Chain Consultant - realist

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Thank you for a balance retort. One eyed Marion shall not be judged for being a woman, merely because she is out of touch with reality.

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  3. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    " In the three years to have passed since then, Gillard has been the victim of appalling levels of sexism not seen before in Australian public life. "

    A few protesters holding up signs and someone sending around a crude email or starting a facebook page aside , where really are these apalling levels of sexism?

    The signs referred to her as a witch or bitch because that is what you might call a female you disapprove of whereas if it had been a male it certainly would not have been wizard used…

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    1. Rick Fleckner

      Student

      In reply to Greg North

      A bit disingenuous Greggy. If it really was only a few protesters holding up signs, you may have a case. It was in fact the leader of the opposition endorsing the sentiments of the offensive signs by using them as background props, just like sports club interviews with banners of their sponsors providing 'subtle' background exposure, Combine that with a sycophantic concentrated right wing media, it becomes a fair bit more than just a few protesters. I suspect you are someone that just loves to argue that black is white and to hell with logic. Put your mother into that situation. Would it be a fair cop then? I think not.

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    2. Mike Farrell

      Former Penny Wong employee (DSP)

      In reply to Rick Fleckner

      Rick - who is being disingenuous? TV coverage of Tony Abbott mounting the rostrum to speak shows the signs weren't there. They only appeared behind him after he started speaking. They were probably organised by Julia Gillard, just like the Canberra race riot. Tony Abbott, whilst being God-like, doesn't have eyes in the back of his head.

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    3. Rick Fleckner

      Student

      In reply to Mike Farrell

      You will believe what you want to believe. You get the prize for today's "Most Fatuous Comment" of the day. Hooray for you.

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    4. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Greg North

      It comes back to the level of it Greg and I would contend that Julia Gillard has copped much more than Abbott.

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    5. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Mike Farrell

      Got some evidence to support that breathtaking assertion ? Or are you only able to throw verbal hand grenades?

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    6. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Mike Farrell

      They weren't organised by Julia Gillard. They were organised by journalists who wanted to create something to write about.

      What is beyond dispute is that they weren't present when Mr Abbott mounted the rostrum, and all the abuse heaped on him since then, over them, is groundless.

      There is no question that Ms Gillard is aware of this, and her response over the matter is simply yet further evidence of her abusive and vindictive approach to smearing her opponents with deceit and lies.

      If, perchance, she is unaware that they appeared only after Mr Abbott turned his back then her office, and by extension herself, are guilty of incompetence and willful ignorance.

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    7. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Mike Farrell

      There was no Canberra race riot and the person Gillard sacked was cleared of all wrong doing.

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    8. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Marilyn,

      We all watched that fiasco on the television, to deny the riot is to ask us to ignore the evidence of our own eyes. We are also well aware that the PM's office scapegoated and sacked the most junior person they could link to it, instead of those responsible.

      Just another example of the ethical standard Ms Gillard brings to high office.

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    9. Peter Blackwell

      Supply Chain Consultant - realist

      In reply to Rick Fleckner

      No Rick, you do - Labor may not have arranged the signs behind Tony,,, in the cut and thrust of politics the words which should have been aimed at the incompetent Gillard are much less polite than the few throw away lines heaeed in her direction. And men over the years have copped the same.

      Presuming student = young, you can be forgiven for being unaware and ignorant. Your language skills and use of bigs words is excellent, your understanding of the facts not so much.

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  4. Daniel Boon

    logged in via LinkedIn

    I believe the way this article started says it all " On June 24, 2010, Australia’s first female prime minister, Julia Gillard, was sworn into office" ... not that she was Not Voted in. (Back-stabbing is not a desirable trait and Bill Shorten 'power-broker/queen maker' should fade into insignificance)

    I don't need to tell the author of this work that people read and make their own judgements on the validity of content; that the function of the writer is to get their message across with as little…

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    1. Marion Wilson

      retired

      In reply to Daniel Boon

      Daniel Boon does the usual thing sly unsubstantiated gossip. Julia Gillard was the Deputy Prime Minister when Kevin Rudd demonstrated that he was an unsuitable leader, she was the obvious choice as replacement - this stab in the back language demonstrates the misogynistic attitude of many men. Do doubt you think that she should have been passed over like poor Julie Bishop who is just a sad token throw away woman. discarded three times when the top job was contested. As to your ugly slight on Cheryl Kernot keep in mind that Bob Menzies didn't remain loyal to the Party he started with and he cheated on his spouse so what is your bad taste in the mouth about Cheryl Kernot that doesn't fit Menzies?
      There is no point in telling you what to think, your mind is already full of unsubstantiated gossip.

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    2. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Marion Wilson

      Why do you believe that crap? It was Gillard undermining Rudd for 18 months before she stabbed him in the back.

      He was a very suitable leader.

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  5. Stephen Ralph

    carer at n/a

    Australia is ready for a great P.M. - female OR male.

    We need one desperately........unfortunately the candidates we seem to have don't rate too highly in the "great" P.M. stakes.

    I do think that gender has been a card played once too often by all sides of politics. No side of politics is guilt-free when it comes to sexual invective, so for one side or other to take the high moral ground is ludicrous.

    Can't we just move on to polices, policies, policies and get integrity and sanity back into Oz politics.

    We seem to be in that phase of lose-lose at the moment.

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  6. James Jenkin

    EFL Teacher Trainer

    It's an interesting question - but the debate is going nowhere.

    'It's about gender.' 'No it's about competence.' 'No it's about gender.' 'No it's about competence.'

    It would be useful to research people's attitudes to the PM, and how these attitudes are formed, rather than just make assertions.

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to James Jenkin

      James - we all read the news and media opinions, and we watch television.

      The "assertions" made are based on reading about, listening to and watching the current crop of Australian politicians make complete idiots of themselves.

      You do the research - we'll make the assertions.

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    2. Darryl Coulthard

      university worker

      In reply to James Jenkin

      Yes, I will have to agree with some of the earlier comments – the evidence presented that Australia was not ready for a woman PM is pretty weak. I would have thought that the required evidence would have been her character assassination in the media, a consistent campaign by the opposition, letters to the editor, far right groups organising themselves and so on, all on the basis that because of her gender she unfit to lead. There has been barely a squeak.

      Is calling her a bitch - evidence of sexism? I wonder. I think it is more likely that so few women have been in power we don’t know what to call them and there will be a bit of argy bargy until the ‘rules of engagement’ are settled.. As for calling her a liar is that sexist? I’ll have to check that with honest John.

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    3. Nick McIvor

      Illustrator

      In reply to Darryl Coulthard

      I don't think public opposition to the PM has been totally about sexism either - It's mostly about image. Much of the public still see her as the man that stabbed Rudd in the back, and they will not be dissuaded from this view. Her complete inability to cash in on her achievements hasn't helped much either.

      Still, that doesn't mean there hasn't been disproportionate attention paid to her appearance and her gender. Yes, personal attacks were committed against the last few PMs too, but it was hardly as intense as it is now.

      I used to get a bit of casual work at an RSL, and the general conversation about Julia Gillard was pretty gross (bad enough to make that menu look good) - some of it was from supposed Labor supporters. I do think that people use the feminine to criticise females more than they realise.

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    4. Marion Wilson

      retired

      In reply to Nick McIvor

      Your "Stab in the back" rhetoric demonstrates your misogynistic view that the Deputy Prime Minister must not replace an errant Prime Minister if the Deputy is a female - that she should be passed over and a male must replace the unsatisfactorily performing Prime Minister. Is there any other explanation of your assertion? Remember John Gorton was also removed from office when he was Prime Minister.
      I have no doubt that some members of RSL might criticise a female Prime Minister - we only have to take note of the appalling scandals of misogyny that disgraces the Defence Forces at the moment.. .

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    5. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Marion Wilson

      It is nothing to do with misogyny, do you even realise what the word means?

      Gillard was pre-selected against the wishes of many in the ALP because she was so right wing and pretending to be left wing, she only got the gig because of a sexist policy called Emily's list that guarantees women like her and Roxon safe seats.

      As a 60 year old woman I find that offensive.

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    6. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Google this: Dutch women frustrate feminists or How Dutch women got to be the happiest in the world.

      Turns out that Dutch women are totally rejecting Anglo feminism, they like to work part time and be family members instead of chucking their children into child care in order to break some weird thing called glass ceiling.

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    7. Peter Blackwell

      Supply Chain Consultant - realist

      In reply to Marion Wilson

      Shorten, Swan, Abib and Howes - not faceless men but unscrupulous self serving power mongers who determined they didnt like Rudd telling them and the Unions to pull their heads in.

      Rudd intended to groom Julia to be a competent PM and hand over to her in his 2nd or 3rd term.

      Impatience and noses out of joint prompted a premature and inappropriate replacement of a sitting PM. Unacceptable.

      Shorten is the last man standing, now trying to realign his allegiance so may yet again be in line for the top job in the future.

      I hope people have LONG memories.

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  7. Jeremy Samuel

    Consultant

    Australia is just ready for a GOOD PM, irrespective of gender, religious or ethnic background. We haven't had one of those for the last 7 years.

    It's always interesting that the people who complain most about the apparent treatment of Gillard (and yes, there has been some pretty bad stuff in there) are the same ones who NEVER mention the sustained, highly personal, withering attacks from Gillard, Rudd and the entire ALP hate-machine against Tony Abbott. So maybe those folks just protest too much...

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    1. Marion Wilson

      retired

      In reply to Jeremy Samuel

      Just what we need a Prime Minister who drags us into a war on lies and denies Aboriginal heritage. Is that what Abbott is going to do?.

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    2. george theodoridis

      Brain Deconstructor at Synapse Collapse

      In reply to Marion Wilson

      Marion, even if that were true, it would not make her any less bellicose or enamoured to the Aborigines.

      I'm certainly not saying that shit-happens-Abbott is any better; just not any worse -in the bellicose and anti-Indigenous stakes.

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  8. William Pinskey

    Accountant

    I find myself nodding and agreeing with many of the comments here: Gillard, whilst making some pretty impressive policy manoeuvres, has been a pretty ineffective communicator, unable to sell any of her achievements and compounded things by making some truly bizarre and questionable political statements.

    HOWEVER, I just need to remind everyone about the leader of the opposition.

    You think Gillard is bad?

    Tony will be MUCH MUCH worse. Mark my words.

    Both parties could do with some new candidates imo.

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  9. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. Fred Pribac

      logged in via email @internode.on.net

      In reply to Gordon Comisari

      So ... bringing it back to the actual point of the article in as civilized a manner as possible ... do you think Australia is ready for a female prime minister?

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    2. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Fred Pribac

      It is rather pointless when we have one.........I guess the question is do we want another one.

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    3. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Can I clarify that with my last comment I was making the point that as we HAVE a female PM it is a pointless statement.

      That the headline should read "Do we want another female PM"

      From my pov, the gender of a PM is irrelevant. Great if it's a woman, great if it's a man. Perhaps even greater if it was Penny Wong???

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    4. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      "do we want another one." (?)

      Another what exactly?

      SJR, I am sure you think of yourself as a human being, well so do women.

      Given that the population is half female, the question remains why should this even be an issue?

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    5. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      I did have a rethink about how my comments would be taken , so qualified above.

      To me as I stated it's about the job, not the gender.

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    6. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Freud would have a wonderful time analysing your references to women as "this one or that one".

      I'm not saying I don't believe you, I'm just basing my response on an overview of your posting history, Stephen.

      Maybe a bit more than a "rethink" is required. Just sayin'.

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    7. Marion Wilson

      retired

      In reply to Gordon Comisari

      Regarding Gordon Comisar.
      Why is this still on the page? Does "Conversation" publish unsubstantiated libel by choice?
      Is it joining the Murdoch press in its attempt to destroy Julia Gillard by supporting the throwers of filth? It is shameful to resort to such depths and proves the weakness of the Opposition if they cant find honest complaints against Ms Gillard...

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    8. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Perhaps even greater if it was Penny Wong???

      They would then have a damned good chance of getting my vote!
      Gillard? None!

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    9. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      If you did re-read my posts re women, it would serve to illustrate that I have no opinion that deserves condemnation.

      No group or sector in a society is above criticism, and any criticism I have made of women's attitudes have been tempered with a strong belief in equality.

      Nothing gets served up to men or women, gays or straights, on a plate. Sometimes the world is a cruel place and often we need to suck it up and push forward.

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    10. Marion Wilson

      retired

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      Can you imagine what the Opposition would do to Penny Wong? I think she is brilliant but imagine what poison would be poured over her, her child, her partner and her "unwed mother" status. The media lying in wait to pounce on her partner at the shops and asking her about her sex life, taking photos of them through the window like they did with Mark Latham when he was in hospital. No I would not wish the fallout of being the Prime Minister onto the shoulders of a woman with a family to protect. Tim Mathieson can fight his own battles - he seems to have done OK to date..

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    11. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      SJR

      I agree politics is not for the sensitive (or sensible) - I would be served up before you could even say "toast".

      I will have to agree to disagree that Prime Minister Gillard has had the same level of verballing as other PM's before her.

      I am sick of pointing out that a male PM has never been asked about his partners' sexuality, had his genitals referenced on a menu, been called Brown's Bitch (I understand this is non-gender specific, or should I have written "bumb-boy"?), had vulgar…

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    12. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Do agree that JG has taken a lot of negative and scurrilous attacks of late.

      I can remember a whole lot of invective and innuendo being written about Billy Mc Mahon.

      From my p.o.v. what I'm saying is that it has been a journey for women that started in the late 19th century, faltered in the ensuing decades, got revived in the 70s, faltered again, and is now enjoying an early renaissance with the future starting to look good.

      The majority of people do believe that women and men should be…

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    13. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      I have no doubt that you have remained silent in the face of discrimination, simply to avoid conflict. We all do this.

      What we have never witnessed is a woman in power speaking out instead of keeping quiet after being told her father "died of shame".

      Clearly this is too much for some (women speaking out) and it is good to see them outed; the bigoted, the narrow-minded, blinking in the light of a new century, a new paradigm which they fail to begin to comprehend.

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  10. Rob Blakers

    Photographer

    There is not a doubt in my mind that the virulence of attacks and the level of insult that is directed at Julia Gillard is because she is a woman. I'm not a Labor voter, and I don't like many of her policies, but I have spent some time in her company and see that she is an engaged, witty, warm and intelligent human being.

    The conservative rump of Australian consciousness can't stand the fact that our country is lead by a woman, and that is the single most important reason for her, and the ALP's, current poor polling.

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Rob Blakers

      Rob, she may be witty, warm and intelligent BUT is she a good P.M.

      It may help to be all those things, but if you can't impress as a politician and leader, they don't account for much.

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    2. Noel McFarlane

      Cycling advocate

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      The PM has sometimes seemed wooden in her public address. I accept that if that is her failing. (I agree we may have far more disturbing failings when Mr Abbott is PM).
      I remember feeling conned when the Rudd Government began to back pedal on the carbon scheme. He was flawed in my mind from that point. Now I am proud that Australia had a go at pricing carbon. Judging by the polls, we are about to lose it and have leadership on this issue drop back 15-20 years.
      There are a number of policy areas where I believe we will be, in a few years, looking quite admiringly back at the Gillard government. I think it has been an excellent modern Australian government. Without even having a parliamentary majority they have addressed many important public issues. Compromises they had to make along the way, most notably on the mining super tax, are now the things they are criticized for. As if the people that forced the compromises are made more appealing for having wrecked what was good policy!

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    3. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Noel McFarlane

      I agree, Noel.

      What is interesting is the complete disparity between so-called popularity polls on preferred PM compared to public support for many Labor reforms, for example:

      "...a poll of 1009 people, conducted by JWS Research for the Climate Institute, found just 37 per cent of them now supported the Coalition's intention to wind the tax back in favour of its ''Direct Action'' policy, which involves paying companies to reduce emissions.
      Advertisement

      Even fewer people - 34 per cent…

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    4. george theodoridis

      Brain Deconstructor at Synapse Collapse

      In reply to Noel McFarlane

      "...I believe we will be, in a few years, looking quite admiringly back at the Gillard government..."
      May Zeus forfend!
      Tortured refugees, gays and lesbians treated with utter disdain, single mothers given the Marie Antoinette treatment, vicious pronouncements about Assange, meaningless moves to mitigate climate change, bugger all changes in the work place, staunch advocate of the zionist lobby... and she had the abject audacity to dislodge Rudd with the excuse he was badFrom her lot, " in some abstract way!
      As always, after an assassination the subsequent history could only be a history of terror: From her lot, we get "Cop me or you'll cop worse!" while from Abbott's lot we get, "This is a baaaad govn't!"
      Gender cards are pulled from both sides as nothing more than the cards of war. A war on political terrorism.

      Zeus, bless the Greens!

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    5. george theodoridis

      Brain Deconstructor at Synapse Collapse

      In reply to george theodoridis

      Oh, and Huxley was right: Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored!

      Fallen trees might not have been seen during their fall but fallen they have been.

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    6. Dennis Alexander

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to george theodoridis

      Yes George Huxley was right. Now the interpretation of facts is a different matter. It may be a fact that someone does or does not do something, but when that someone is in a government, perhaps especially a minority government, fiat and autocracy are not as available as one might think and the doing or not doing may not be either for the explaining or the interpreting: she is not, after all, a Ferdinand Marcos, a Jon-Il, a Castro or even a Putin (and neither was Kevin). And, we do not vote for who is to be PM, we should be voting for local members who will represent us and the rest of the electorate because that is how our Federal Constitution is framed. The myth of strong government is just that, a myth.

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    7. george theodoridis

      Brain Deconstructor at Synapse Collapse

      In reply to Dennis Alexander

      It's a hackneyed myth, Dennis! Some may well vote for the nice Rep in their electorate but the majority by far vote according to the leader and/or simply and blindly, the party, just like footy followers barack for their team. Otherwise why all this vehement separation of camps - Gillard vs Abbott? I've never seen anything like it! Labor vs Coalition, yes, but two leader contest?

      It's an utterance made by the leaders themselves -or, rather their co-conspirators, after they have had their way with the hop polloi. Its truth lies only in the quaint technicalities of the constitution and certainly not in the reality of the hastings.

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  11. Tim Benham

    Student of Statistics

    > The iconic photo of the day Gillard was sworn in was now accompanied by obscene suggestions as to what the prime minister and the governor-general would do next.

    I didn't find the photo on the facebook page. Thanks for pointing us to the page anyway. It is good to start the day with a laugh. Maybe there is a similar page about the Danish PM. I don't know but I think it is a good thing that we don't treat political leaders with exaggerated respect in this country.

    > the issue of gender equality…

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    1. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Tim Benham

      The fact is rates of domestic violence of men against women collapsed 20 years ago, and have continue to decline ever since. True, the data on lesbian domestic violence is nowhere near as comprehensive, but all existing data show the rates remain high, and higher than male-on-female domestic violence. When you look at the incidence of male-on-female domestic violence among folks 19 years an older, in 21 st century Australia, the rates are - thankfully - very low and declining, especially once folks the emotional/hormonal roller-coaster of the teen years.

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  12. Dale Bloom

    Analyst

    Polls have shown nearly twice as many people prefer Rudd to Gillard, but twice as many people prefer Malcolm Turnbull to Tony Abbot.

    So the low popularity of Gillard is not gender based, because Abbot has relatively low popularity also.

    Throw out the lot out by voting independents only, and interestingly, one of the most popular independents in QLD (Liz Cunningham) is a woman who represents constituents in the highly industrialized town of Gladstone, and achieved an 8% swing towards her in the last state election.

    Hopefully she will eventually go into federal politics as an independent.

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    1. Dennis Alexander

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      Dale, we don't agree on much but on the "vote for the local member who best represents you and your electorate" idea, we do agree. That said, tho' I did not and cannot vote for Julia (or Tony or Kevin), I do think she (Julia Gillard) has done a better than worklich job as PM.

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  13. Wade Macdonald

    Technician

    Julia Gillard has my respect if not my vote but that is always based on policy. It is articles like this one that hurt our first female pm in my opinion.

    The last paragraph in this article attempts to isolate men as abusers when I have witnessed many violent acts by women against men and against other women.

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  14. Carole West

    retired educator

    It cant be a coincidence that the first responders to this article have chosen to ignore the basic theme to the argument that Julia Gillard, as Australia's first woman Prime Minister, has been subjected to a campaign of sexist vilification since she came to office. I can understand that its easier to say she's just a bad politician- you don't need any facts for that statement, just an opinion.
    To look at the claim of sexual harassment, however, needs facts, some of which have been provided by the author.
    There is no doubt, that the opposition and some of the media, have used language that is gender specific and offensive to many women, and have cast doubt on the Prime Minister's ability because she is a woman, not just because they dislike her policies.
    And as for comparing 'witch' with 'wizard' - Wake up and look at the real world.

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Carole West

      I'm sure JG gives as good as she gets.

      Both sides of politics have engage in sexual taunts and innuendo.

      If she rose above it, more people would have greater respect her, instead she resorts to shallow responses.

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    2. Rick Fleckner

      Student

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Both sides? I don't think so. My opinion but I believe it to be superior to your opinion. Perhaps you have some evidence.

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    3. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Carole West

      Carole, as with any article about anything to do with being a woman, on this site, the first comments we see are from DB, a known troll.

      Any article about politics, is a red rag to GN, who is also a known troll, that feels the need to push his own brand of LNP propaganda at every opportunity.

      Look at the posting history of these two posters, the evidence speaks for itself.

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    4. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Don't we all push our own barrow in these sorts of forums.

      Any way that's what a delete button is for.

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    5. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Carole West

      " The signs referred to her as a witch or bitch because that is what you might call a female you disapprove of whereas if it had been a male it certainly would not have been wizard used… "

      It was not so much a comparison Carole and you will find there is not a male equivalent of a witch unless you add a doctor to the title.
      Perhaps because Julia has referred to Craig Emmerson as Doctor Emmerson, he could be a witchdoctor!

      So if you have awoken, you will see I asked in my post " where is the apalling sexism "
      Feel free to provide some facts.

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    6. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      <"Don't we all push our own barrow in these sorts of forums.">, No Stephen, "we" don't, there are those that will post on an article that interests them, and then there are the trolls. The trolls are easy to spot.

      As for a delete button, I see one for recommend, and one for reply, and there is even a report button, but no delete one in the comments section.

      Besides, I was providing some information for the poster above, not wishing to "delete" anything.

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    7. george theodoridis

      Brain Deconstructor at Synapse Collapse

      In reply to Carole West

      But, let us look at Ms Gillard's first act: The removal of an elected male PM. Was that a sexist, nay, a misandrist act, the ultimate of them, or merely a political tactic with gender being a mere coincidence?
      Would she -and her backers- have committed that same act if Rudd were a female?

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  15. Rene Oldenburger

    Haven't got one

    Of course Australia is ready for a female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard simply isn't it.

    And this sudden "victimhood" of sexism is rather tedious and boring. Gillard is one of those who set up the Emily's List in it's initial stages.

    1970's Feminist gender and patriarchy rubbish doesn't cut it anymore in the 21st century. And Women for Gillard, says it all.

    Desperately divisive Gillard, which begs the question, are women who do not vote for Gillard somehow second class in the views of those who keep continue to rant on about Gillard and her "victimhood"

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  16. Rae McPherson

    Natural Resource Manager

    The Gillard govt has a very impressive list of bills passed while managing a hung parliament. Australians still enjoy a very high standard of living that has been maintained through the GFC. If people read Hansard as much as they read the daily "news" papers then they might see what a success story JG really is in these tough political times.

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  17. george theodoridis

    Brain Deconstructor at Synapse Collapse

    There isn't an inch on this planet free of sexism, or racism, or homophobianism, or any other "ism" one cares to mention, so why should Australia be exempt? These dispositions, alas, are part of Everyman.

    And these dispositions come out into the spotlight, often as tools of expression of outrage. Swear words and insults of the similar type that we fling at someone on the football ground who has, say, ripped the ball out of our hands. Not nice, must be condemned, must be eliminated but they do…

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  18. Mike Farrell

    Former Penny Wong employee (DSP)

    If Miss Gillard was a male, she would have been rolled in caucus about 18 months ago. It is only because she is a WOMAN, that she is still prime minister. This is the worst case of reverse sexism we are ever likely to see, and the country has suffered dearly for it. Gillard talks of Labor values, but has not displayed them. Gonski & the NDIS are years down the track before full implementation. Her perverted use of abortion as an issue clearly shows she is unfit to lead the ALP. As she said previously, abortion is a state matter. Don't bring it into the federal arena - it shows disrespect for all women, except the feminazis.

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  19. John Stanley

    Manager

    Discussions about Julia Gillard are almost always dominated by people suffering from Clinton Syndrome.

    This ailment is gender neutral and typically affects a percentage of conservative voters. Although it is also known to affect some Labor voters as well

    It causes otherwise perfectly sane and reasonable people to lose composure at the mention of a name, and be obsessed with the denigration and destruction of that individual.

    Sufferers become irritable and their statements are often emotional and generally not based on specific facts. Other symptoms include dilated pupils, raised temperature and the loss of hearing which is characterized by an inability to hear others and shout.

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  20. Dan Bryant

    Baked Bean Counter

    Get rid of all these pretenders, and vote for the Australian Sovereignty Party. Australia needs new politico's, who haven't been inbred with deceit and masquerading. http://www.sovereigntyparty.org.au/
    And no, Gillard hasn't been labeled the worst PM because she's a she, she's been labeled the worst PM because she's the worst PM - ever.

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  21. Edward Henner

    Consulting Electrical Engineer

    I am not sure whether the attacks on Julia Gillard are sexist or just a concerted effort by Tony Abbott and his team to destroy the credibility of the government from day 1. But I do agree that these attacks, particularly on the internet and by the radio jockeys, include personal comments much more vicious than I have ever come across in the past with the possible exception of the Whitlam government between 1972 and 1975. Anyone who claims that John Howard has been abused in a similar way to Julia…

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  22. Tony Black

    logged in via Facebook

    There are many reasons to despise Julia Gillard none of which have anything to do with her gender. One fact about Julia that remains obvious from the observations of many is that Julia hates men. She attacks men at every opportunity and when men dare criticise her, men are misogynists. Julia is therefore seen as the queen of the double standard. It`s OK for Julia to unleash a barrage of vitriol against her opponents but don`t dare try to hold her accountable because that`s misogynist. I`m sure that Julia with be remembered much more for her lies and her failures than for being our first female PM.

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    1. Marion Wilson

      retired

      In reply to Tony Black

      Evidence Please Mr Black.
      The only remark made by Ms Gillard that some might think as being sexist would be about the "blue ties" drawing attention to the bland lack of imagination or initiative by those on the Opposition Front bench. They cant even choose their own ties - that's not sexism that's the bleeding obvious..

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    2. Peter Blackwell

      Supply Chain Consultant - realist

      In reply to Marion Wilson

      The said reality is, you actually believe what are you are saying !

      Thanks Tony - a fair assessment.

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  23. Suzanne Arnold

    Co-ordinator

    As a former member of Women's Electoral Lobby and someone who has fought for women's rights, Julia Gillard has, in my opinion, ensured that there will be no women PM's for the next hundred years. The example she has set is nothing to do with feminism, or gender equality. She's a bad politician, with no social or environmental credentials, an arrogant attitude, talks down to people, has an astonishing ego and her voice and persona are so irritating that many of us have to turn off TV or the radio. The woman is incompetent. Her unpopularity has nothing to do with gender bias and increasingly, the feminist community is in supporting Gillard just because she's a woman doing a massive dis-service to all women

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    1. Marion Wilson

      retired

      In reply to Suzanne Arnold

      To Suzanne Arnold. You have made statements of opinion but in no instance have you stated any evidence to support your assertions. - "bad politician" "no social or environmental credentials" "arrogant attitude" "talks down to people" "astonishing ego" "voice irritating" "irritating persona " "incompetent" these are just subjective opinions of a person who is determined not to accept another person's credentials. I could insist that you tell us what a "bad politician" is, why do you say she is arrogant - because she gives Tony Abbott less than grovelling eyes cast down when he insults her. There are no facts to support your bias. I'm sorry you are such a miserable, dissatisfied person.

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    2. Peter Blackwell

      Supply Chain Consultant - realist

      In reply to Suzanne Arnold

      Thank you for an impartial balanced assessment of competence, independent of gender.

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    3. Peter Blackwell

      Supply Chain Consultant - realist

      In reply to Marion Wilson

      What is a bad politician you ask ? Its actually a new entry in the Oxford English dictionary - "Bad Politician" = Julia Gillard the new benchmark.

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  24. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. John Stanley

      Manager

      In reply to Eddy Schmid

      Well Eddy, here's my two bobs worth.

      First of all her name is not Juliar spelt in capitals. It's Julia.

      Juliar was originally coined by that tower of moderation Allan Jones about three years ago as a lie to describe a broken promise. I thought the abuse may have become a bit more sophisticated sine then. Obviously not

      Second; after she replaced Rudd, there was an election. and although her party which she led through the election was in a minority she still managed to form a government…

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  25. Dianna Arthur

    Environmentalist

    Something I would like to see:

    Prime Minister Gillard debates Opposition Leader Abbott - each other live on the TEEV.

    Surely Q&A must be champing at the bit for this one. Or, do they have something to fear?

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    1. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Maybe I am only writing to an audience of one (yours truly).

      I don't care.

      I just received an email from the production team at QANDA and they are as eager to see a debate between Prime Minister Gillard and Mr Abbott as I.

      I have no doubt that Ms Gillard has the necessary equipment for such an event, but does Mr Abbott?

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    2. george theodoridis

      Brain Deconstructor at Synapse Collapse

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Dianna, neither do. They'll be excruciatingly boring and, for once, Tony the interrupting moderator Jones, will be the only interesting person on the panel. Julia vs Tony, ugh!
      Though, tonight's panel will probably be as bad: George Brandis, Graham Richardson, Judith Sloan! Ugh and double ugh! We'll probably be watching some on line Greek TV during it, again!

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  26. James Hill

    Industrial Designer

    Concerning whether Australians are ready for a woman PM, there is something disturbing and repellent about any supposed group of "men" so cowardly as to be actually scared of a woman PM.
    Hopefully this apparent group gutlessness is just a fiction of the mainstream media.
    If not then there might need to be a little soul searching among the "moights".
    As for the women who may not want a woman PM, that would be the normal green-eyed jealousy?

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  27. Chris Harper

    Engineer

    Australians, in the main, doesn't give a toss about the gender of any politician. The only thing they look for is competence first, and then honesty.

    Julia Gillard has failed because she is unable to demonstrate either attribute.

    All this drivel about the sexist abuse is a storm initiated by her, and her supporters, because she, as an individual, can't cope with criticism. Her only response to the criticism that any and every Prime Minister rightly gets is to snivel and whine that "It's cos…

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    1. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Henry,

      Don't forget, this is a Prime Minister who's office initiated a race riot in an attempt to embarrass and smear the Leader of the Opposition. I believe he is still await an apology.

      As to abuse, Ms Gillard, in Parliament, abused Christopher Pine as a 'mincing poodle'. Homophobia or what?

      Ms Gillard is everything she spits abuse about in others. The sycophantic hypocrisy of her supporters on the progressive left is sickening.

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  28. Suzanne Arnold

    Co-ordinator

    It was also Rudd who initiated the legal challenge against Japan's whaling in the International Court of Justice. Interestingly the mainstream media does not acknowledge his role. Our political parties suck, they do not reflect the democratic process or the concerns of the voters. We're in the midst of a coup d'etat by the resources industry and other interests. Our " leaders" are there by the grace and favor of the big interests who support them. Australia is in a stinking mess and the only place for any debate seems to be on line in sites like this.

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  29. John Clark

    Manager

    Marian, you are unable to see the wood for the trees. Australia was and is ready for a female Prime Minister, just not this one. PM Gillard is incompetent, and has probably set back the prospect of a capable female leader many years. Irrespective of gender, she is the worst PM of the worst Government in memory. She has polarised Australians along gender lines, and degraded the office. Having failed in such a spectacular way she now resorts to the basest instincts of blaming everybody else. It is to be hoped that after the election, we will no longer be exposed to this form of debate, and the Nation return to some form of normality, treating this period as an unfortunate aberration.

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  30. Sean Lamb

    Science Denier

    Alas, being a woman is no guarantee of being a successful prime minister.
    Before Helen Clark in New Zealand there was the highly forgettable Jenny Shipley - took over by party coup and went down to defeat in the next election.

    All politicians are subject to nasty attacks, because we seem to have a greater range and a greater sensitivity to vulgar abuse of women, the abuse seems worse. But honestly, we try hard as we can to abuse male politicians as well.
    I only learned the meaning of the term "cottaging" through a discussion concerning Christopher Pyne.

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  31. Renato Bright

    Consultant

    When The Conversation first started in Australia I was extremely impressed by the quality, not just of the articles, but of 'most' of the commentary.
    Often the comments provided additional insights and, just as frequently, would entice the author to respond.

    Sadly, how things have changed!
    Why would an author, who has spent considerable time researching data and checking facts before writing the article, waste their time with some of the unedifying comments below?

    With some notable exceptions…

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    1. Darryl Coulthard

      university worker

      In reply to Renato Bright

      I've made the odd comment on articles in the Conversation but I've never followed them through to the bitter end as I did with this issue. It held me with some sort of macabre fascination. That the level of debate was so low and so sectarian. I'd think a debate between Carlton and Collingwood supporters would be more reasoned.

      I shall swear off following such debates again. The situation mirrors well our politics and I'm rather dismayed by the lack of hope in finding a solution. However, Renato while I fully agree with your sentiments, I think censoring things is worse.

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    2. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Renato Bright

      Sometimes "fact" & "facts" are simply opinion or manipulated data.

      Climate change is a good example - but only one.

      The comments made are from a reasonably varied strata of the Australian community. That in itself must give this form some cache.

      It's not thankfully all a dry academic fact sheet.

      Whether comments are fact free is really irrelevant - the comments reflect peoples thoughts and opinions.

      Not everyone can be right or wrong........just look at politics.

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  32. Peter Sommerville

    Scientist & Technologist

    Lots of interesting posts - defensive and critical. Mariian (an Emeritus Professor) has advanced an argument to explain our PM's dilemma. Personally I think the argument is nonsense, but that is merely my opinion.

    At some time in the future the reasons for JG's dilemma will have to be faced. And it is really very simple and has nothing to do with gender. Julia Gillard is a classical example of the Peter Principle. Except unusually she has progressed to at least 4 levels above her natural level of competence.

    The interesting story is about how this happened. I am sure their is a book in explaining why.

    The sooner this farce reaches a conclusion the better for the country.

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  33. ernest malley

    farmer

    It is unfortunate that so many comments here refer to a "democratically elected PM" as it demonstrates that the writers have little or no idea how our electoral system works.
    This is not a republic, we do not have a president and we do not s/elect the person who becomes PM.
    Voters select only their local MP and >97.5% vote above the line on the Senate ballot so have no control (nor, apparently, concern) for which time server gets their snout in the trough.
    There is no mention of PM in our constitution…

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    1. george theodoridis

      Brain Deconstructor at Synapse Collapse

      In reply to ernest malley

      Ernest, with all due respect, I fear you are sucking from Marx's opium pipe. He talked of religion, you're talking about numbering a voting sheet. The notion that people vote for the local candidate is a myth, a dose of opium handed to you by the Establishment with a little novelty card that reminds you what the Constitution says.
      This is not the reality in the booth. Use yourself as an example.

      Would you vote for the local candidate who most reflects your political views who, unless s/he is…

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    2. ernest malley

      farmer

      In reply to george theodoridis

      I would say "way to miss the point" if I thought that you were merely thick. However it is clear from your loggorrheaic verbiage that you are yet another astroturfer troll.
      Unless you rilly, rilly are as thick as you'd have to be to believe the diversionary drivel you posted.

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  34. Bronwyn OBrien

    Admin Assistant

    This is a bit late but anyway.

    I have often heard people say things like, "Julia Gillard has ruined it for every other female politician to ever become Prime Minister. And, "I'll never vote for a woman for Prime Minister after Julia Gillard".

    If it's not about her being a woman why would people even say these things?

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Bronwyn OBrien

      Pretty silly comments from those saying it.

      Come to think of it, it's not silly, just stupid and ignorant.

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  35. Tony Grant

    Student

    Election night 2010...photo's of Abbott "off his face' couldn't believe he had won...????

    Yes, he had it in the bag late that night but what happened?

    His foul mouth and no policies just "whatever you want" to the independents?

    The media did it's job and Abbott blew it in the interview...that's the facts, oh and the Nationals are hated by many in the bush including Windsor/Oakeshott and Katter so close?

    If Gillard was a car accident victim she could honestly say" they just kept running over me...backwards and forwards" this was no accident and the blokes hated her for surviving!

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  36. George Michaelson

    Person

    I think women voters can elect women leaders on their policies and not their gender, and also of course choose to vote on gender. But I have a hard time believing from now on, for some forseable time, the party machine will risk male voters backlash and lack of thought and foresight when voting for strong women roles in government.

    I don't think this has anything to do with the success or failure of the politics at hand. I simply observe since Margaret Thatcher neither side of the UK political agenda has succeeded in voting in an electable woman leader.

    My sense is that having tried one, and disliked the outcome by proxy (we never got asked: the newspapers set the agenda) we're unlikely to be allowed to risk it again for some considerable time.

    Evidence: watch Labor avoid the emily's list issue when it comes to the seats with greater than 8% margin.

    I'd even invite the psephologists to rank seats where women candidates are permitted to stand, and assess their margins.

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  37. Venise Alstergren
    Venise Alstergren is a Friend of The Conversation.

    photographer, blogger.

    Those who would deny the fact that Julia Gillard has received shockingly sexist remarks have cotton wool stuffing up their heads. Yes she has made mistakes but, interestingly, whenever her critics criticise her they invariably link her error to a disparaging anti-female crack across her face.

    Anyone remotely honest with themselves should ask when was the last time Tony Abbott was called a fag; was criticised for his sexual behaviour; called a bachelor; slammed with someone calling his wife butch…

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  38. Chris Harper

    Engineer

    You know, I could treat this "Oh, poor Julia" cr*p with a tab more sympathy if it wasn't for the vile and venemous gender based abuse which the oh so compassionate progressives spat at Margaret Thatcher and Sarah Palin.

    I don't mean just in their home countries either, I certainly include progressives here in Australia.

    The hypocrisy is sick.

    As to misogyny, I can only imagine the contempt that Margaret Thatcher, Indira Ghandi, Golda Meir and Sirimavo Bandaranaike would feel for this whinger.

    Compared to these women, Ms Gillard has been treated with kid gloves, but still she whines and abuses.

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    1. george theodoridis

      Brain Deconstructor at Synapse Collapse

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Chris, a little bit of mismatch there, putting the names of Indira and the "weeping widow" in the same sentence as those of Marge and Golda. But one could see the ideological connection with Julia.

      Still, I think you've done so only to group them as women (of steel though the latter two might have been) and who have possibly suffered the scorn of men and not as philosophical kindreds. Though, I think you'll find Golda was so ruthless that she had the backing of all the males (and females), particularly…

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  39. Chris Harper

    Engineer

    Julia Gillard was Prime Minister of her country. She had reached the pinnacle of her profession, and occupied the top political position Australia has to offer.

    For Ms Gillard to present herself as a victim is an insult to every person, male or female, who actually is a victim.

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