Sections

Services

Information

UK United Kingdom

The political tragedy of Julia Gillard

In the middle of the 2012 winter, an influential supporter of Julia Gillard laid out for me the intricacies of the Labor caucus’ power structures, the labour movement’s web of personal antagonisms and…

While she may look elsewhere, ultimately Julia Gillard has no-one to blame for her political demise but herself. AAP/Lukas Coch

In the middle of the 2012 winter, an influential supporter of Julia Gillard laid out for me the intricacies of the Labor caucus’ power structures, the labour movement’s web of personal antagonisms and the federal government’s dire predicament. At the end of his treatise, with a wide-eyed look of resignation and a despairing tone, he summed up:

The whole show is f—ed and no-one can work out how to unf— it.

A few weeks later, a highly experienced Labor figure with deep knowledge of public attitudes to the Gillard government and how to harness voter support shared his assessment. He’d concluded that Labor was headed for defeat and had lost the capacity to independently influence the 2013 election outcome because the bulk of voters had lost any desire to listen to the government.

An avowed agnostic on the Kevin Rudd-Julia Gillard question, he averred that the only way Labor could re-enter serious consideration would be if the Liberal-National Coalition made a series of major public blunders.

Both encounters came after the introduction of the carbon tax, which Gillard had consistently told her MPs would be the moment when the dark electoral clouds would part for the government, and only a few months after Gillard had thrashed Rudd in a caucus ballot and declared that the leadership question had been settled for all time.

And yet, Gillard managed to hang on as Labor leader for almost another year, right up until Wednesday of this week. With Gillard having surrendered the leadership to Rudd in decisive but not overwhelming fashion, it seems that 26 Labor MPs who in February last year backed Gillard found, to borrow the aforementioned Gillard supporter’s eloquent term, a way to “unf—” the government. They did so by switching back to the man Gillard thought she’d vanquished.

In doing so, they have at least created the possibility that the ALP can moderate, or perhaps even avoid, the electoral nightmare that was likely to consume the nation’s oldest political party. Or maybe not. Rudd’s return affords an opportunity for Labor, but that is all.

The caucus’ decision also implies, heavily and unavoidably, that it made a mistake by elevating Gillard to the leadership on June 24, 2010.

The truth is that the Australian Labor Party nationally has in the past three years experienced its most rancorous divisions since the split of the 1950s. Unlike the period of the split, which occurred in opposition and guaranteed many more years of it, the party has endured these divisions while holding office, and the enmities have, for the most part, grown from ego rather than ideology.

If the events of the past few days are to have any meaning, they need to be seen in the context of what has happened to the Government since early 2010. First things first: Julia Gillard’s downfall as prime minister is one of the greatest personal tragedies in Australian politics.

It is a tragedy because Gillard’s ambition ultimately exceeded her political talent, and to the very end she would not see it. Her speech delivered after her caucus defeat on Wednesday night attributed her removal as leader to only two causes: a loss of fortitude among past supporters who buckled under external pressure and sexism directed at her as the nation’s first female prime minister.

There was no acknowledgement that she had lost the confidence of most of her colleagues because of her own performance.

The pattern of failing to fully own her errors was set early during the 2010 election campaign when she said that she would no longer conform to her handlers’ directives and from that point voters would see “the real Julia”. Notably, it was the advisers who had made the big mistakes. Her mistake had been to follow their advice.

Gillard had been a brilliant deputy to Rudd, an earthy foil to his high-flown nerdishness. But as leader, she rarely looked comfortable and did not seem at ease with the natural authority that comes with the nation’s highest political office.

Nor did she have the benefit of a deputy who could perform as well as she had. Indeed, in Wayne Swan she had one of the least effective communicators modern politics has seen. It has become a mantra for Labor and its supporters to bemoan the fact it does not get the credit it deserves for its handling of the economy.

The media gets the blame which, to a degree, it should. But Swan was charged with selling Labor’s economic policy from December 2004 until last Wednesday. Should he not shoulder most of the responsibility?

Gillard’s defenders in the party room and in the electorate produce a list of reasons for her removal: Rudd’s refusal to accept his loss of the leadership and leaks aimed at harming her; sexism; a ferocious, sometimes unhinged approach from some people in the opposition; harsh treatment by the media.

There is something to all of them. She definitely was the target of vicious, sexist attacks. The media was quick to turn on her and some elements were relentless in their dismissive attitude. The opposition treated her time as prime minister as one unbroken crisis.

And Rudd did undermine Gillard. The leaks against her during her first weeks as leader either came from Rudd or people sympathetic to him and they hurt her. One revealed that she had opposed a rise in welfare payments chiefly on the basis of Labor’s political interests.

Another far more damaging leak, put directly to Gillard during an appearance at the National Press Club, suggested that during a long meeting with Rudd on June 23, 2010, she had undertaken to give him several months to repair his faltering leadership. During a break in the meeting, she was told by her supporters that she already had the caucus numbers stitched up, whereupon she returned to Rudd and withdrew her undertaking: she was challenging him.

To this day, this leak is regarded by many on the Labor side as appalling treachery, which it was. But one thing needs to be said: it has not been challenged successfully on the grounds of veracity. The real damage was not in the act of leaking but in its substance, which presented Gillard as someone who would put her ambition ahead of her word.

From that moment, her troubles never left her. Her trustworthiness was in question but voters were still willing to give her the benefit of the doubt – until she committed after the 2010 election to a carbon tax.

Gillard favoured an emissions trading scheme until early 2010, when in the face of an onslaught by Tony Abbott and some bad polls she urged Rudd very strongly to put the policy on ice until there was a cross-party consensus. Rudd, revealing his own severe propensity for misjudgement, accepted that advice. Then Gillard replaced him as leader and once again favoured an ETS.

During the 2010 election campaign, Gillard promised to refer the issue to a hazily-designed “people’s assembly” and vowed there would be no carbon tax. After the election, under pressure from the Greens, she dropped the idea of the assembly and adopted a temporary carbon tax as Labor policy. But, incredibly, rather than emphasising its temporary nature and perhaps calling it a levy, which has a different meaning for many voters, she declared that she was happy to call it a tax.

That sealed the trustworthiness question and it’s why there was no recovery in Labor’s polling numbers after July 1 last year. Too many voters resented the way she had pursued the policy much more than the policy itself.

The argument in defence of Julia Gillard is that her government managed to get hundreds of pieces of legislation through a parliament in which Labor did not have majorities in its right in either house. This included the signature reforms of new education funding arrangements and the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Again, the argument has merit.

But the story must also include the failed idea of a processing centre in East Timor, the enlisting of Peter Slipper as Speaker of the House, the crazy idea of setting a September election date in January and the departure of two Cabinet members two days after the announcement, the costly architecture of the minerals resource rent tax, and the threat in late 2011 to force a parliamentary vote on the Malaysia solution as a wedge tactic against the Coalition which was withdrawn when she realised she would lose.

Worst of all, it must also include the oft-repeated pledge by Gillard and Swan to return the budget to surplus this year. The signs were there in mid-2012 they could not deliver but they kept promising it until the end of the year. Incredible.

Neither Rudd nor the media nor pollsters nor the nation’s sexists forced these errors. They were entirely the work of a politician who, like all leaders, was fuelled by immense personal ambition but who could not learn from her mistakes. Sadly, the journey Gillard took to the summit deprived her of some of the skills and the sense of legitimacy she needed to fully inhabit the role she had sought so desperately.

Join the conversation

372 Comments sorted by

Comments on this article are now closed.

  1. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. Deirdre Whitford

      Un-Worker

      In reply to Valerie Kay

      Yes, abso-bloody-lutely, Valerie, you said it.
      And I've just heard on Radio National that, although heaps of people prefer to use postal voting anyway, we can't vote on the day Julia chose because it happens to coincide with Yom Kippur.
      Apparently August 24th looks attractive to the new old PM, so I'll take this opportunity to be the first on this thread to opine:
      "Well may we vote on 24 August 2013, because NOTHING will save us from this election being The Massacre Of Saint Bartholemew's Day!"
      Hey, Kevin, don't you think your late hero D. Bonhoeffer would like you to consider Christian hagiography every bit as respectfully as Jewish religious sensibilities there?
      What's that you say, Mr Quixotic Churchgoer, hmm?

      report
    2. Bronwyn Clarke

      Bris resident

      In reply to Valerie Kay

      Oh, please! The point of this article was to acknowledge some of the problems she faced but also list the litany of problems she created.

      I look at it this way: would every female have been treated that way or was it something she was responsible for? I think it is more b) than a). Politicians are under the microscope - she was found rather seriously wanting.

      If you can show me a valuable and credible female politician who is being targeted then I will concede sexism. I don't think this was truly the case with Julia.

      report
    3. Jim Howe
      Jim Howe is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Neurologist at Neuropalliative rehabilitation

      In reply to Valerie Kay

      Agree Valerie, though there were mistakes, the way it was reported, and the way abbot was allowed to get away with negative comments and no policies, was astounding. I admit I am new here, and still can't vote, but at 67 I've seen some dreadful stuff done in UK politics, this however is far worse, ( with the possible exception of Parnell's destruction by hypocrites).

      I hope for another hung parliament, with green and independants holding some control.

      report
    4. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Jim Howe

      Hi Jim

      Please don't wish another hung parliament on us.

      The idea of a democracy (at least in our form) is to have an elected government run the country based on their policies and programs.

      If the majority choose the LNP then hopefully they will have a sufficient majority to run the place - and well we would hope.

      Politics is cyclical - as our short history has shown us.

      It does appear this time it's the LNP's turn. And as someone who has never voted LNP, I am not unhappy with the political reversal after the last three or four years of good policies, but bad government.

      report
    5. Deirdre Whitford

      Un-Worker

      In reply to Bronwyn Clarke

      Well, you know Bronwyn, even if you were not a fellow-female, I'd be quite happy to pretend to be Voltaire as regards you disagreeing with the ex-PM's policies or perfomance on any criterion that you care to name. (And for sure Manus Island and the mining tax fiasco remain pretty much unacceptable to me, too.)
      But please re-read Valerie's post, if you have the time to, and you might realise what Valerie, myself and a lot of others are either discreetly noting, or screaming at the top of their voices (according to personal style/or and context) right now to try and point out, that is:
      The Mal Brough fundraising menu did not suddenly emerge unexpectedly from a Martian spaceship recently to anybody's complete surprise AT ALL.

      report
    6. Bronwyn Clarke

      Bris resident

      In reply to Deirdre Whitford

      Thanks, Deirdre.

      I did read all of Valerie's post before I commented and have now read it again. I understand it but don't agree with it.

      Unfortunately I don't understand your post so not sure what else to say.

      report
    7. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Well, as far as I can see, with two men attacking her, and acknowledging all the mistakes Gillard made, the hung parliament she led actually managed to work very well and passed a mass of legislation.

      As that good man and wise politician Tony Windsor pointed out, a hung parliament means that legislation needs to be debated and discussed on the floor rather than just rammed through by a majority government: remember the disaster when Howard had control of both houses.Imagine that - debate and discuss! How un-Australian

      The thing to remember is, as the policies of the two major parties creep closer and closer together and they begin to look like Tweedledum and Tweedledee we'l more than likely get more hung parliaments with independents and the very sensible Greens providing a guiding hand.

      report
    8. Deirdre Whitford

      Un-Worker

      In reply to Bronwyn Clarke

      Thank you, Bronwyn, for your courtesy in re-reading Valerie's post at my suggestion -- I suppose I just wanted to exclude the possibility that you had misunderstood or misconstrued her point of view.
      It is extremely OK by me that you do after all understand what she contributed, and simply disagree with her. Very much so.
      I am not an academic, and so it is hardly surprising that you cannot make much sense of my clumsy attempt to describe my own perception that, from the start of Gillard's term…

      Read more
    9. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Jim Howe

      Tactics clearly dictated the Abbott approach and they worked.. There is no compulsion for premature ejaculation pre-election. Ladies seem not to like it and they exceed 50% of voters.

      report
    10. Gyan Sporn

      Retired

      In reply to Deirdre Whitford

      Yes i'm sure Christians everywhere will be reluctant to tear themselves away from their St Bartholemew's Day commemorations to vote ! Seriously, isn't every day of the year some saint or other's Name Day ?

      report
    11. Ian Bryant

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Bronwyn Clarke

      It might not have been entirely sexism, but she was targeted. How do you compare her treatment with the lack of scrutiny Abbott is getting away with?

      report
    12. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Gyan Sporn

      "Seriously, isn't every day of the year some saint or other's Name Day ?"

      My thoughts exactly. Far too many religions - we can't arrange life around all of them - so best to ignore the lot - their followers can surely learn to adjust to the fact that the world does not revolve around their particular faith.

      Just another stick to beat up former Prime Minister Gillard. Her fault that Yom Kippur is on September 14. Gimme a break!

      report
    13. Deirdre Whitford

      Un-Worker

      In reply to Gyan Sporn

      Sorry, Gyan, my feeble witticism was actually referencing the infamous massacre of French Protestants by their Catholic neighbours in Paris sometime way back when that split was a live issue in France.
      It was named and remembered as temporally proximate to the Feast of St Bartholemew, who, as one of Jesus' Twelve Disciple's, was notionally more memorable than other saints whose annual commemorations fell on or around 24 August.
      For more about this,should you require same, please direct your attention to Google Inc's treatment of the vital controversy that you are kind enough to take the trouble to raise here.
      Such fastidiousness as you display about facts and the truth is both gratifying, and also seems to be comparatively rare in our public discourse these days.

      report
    14. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to Bronwyn Clarke

      Can you name me one prior example of an Australian Prime Minister who had his home life turned into a sitcom aired on the national broadcaster while in office? Have any of them ever been depicted on TV having sex in The Lodge?

      report
    15. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Jim: I'm with you!
      Stephen: where is it written that Australian politics require a majority parliament?
      We have an example of the disaster that that concept brings in the eleven (hundred?) years under the heel of Howard.
      NZ has chosen to go down the road of negotiated outcomes, which although it defangs the dictatorial somewhat,they still haven't gotten quite right, they still try to cram it into the two party concept -- hopefully they will learn!

      report
    16. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      I haven’t got my teeth exactly into the clever allusion Deirdre was making but I certainly get the drift. St Bartholomew’s massacre of the Huguenots or members of the Calvinist faith in their struggle for tolerance in Paris on August 24, 1572 and Shakespeare's play Hamlet commemorating the memory of the vanquished Essex Rebellion against Queen Elizabeth are a nice little find. I guess there would be some great satisfaction felt by Rudd over this co-incidence. Is this the measure of the man?

      report
    17. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Deirdre Whitford

      "La Reine Margot", from memory is French film centering on the infamous St Barholemews Day Massacre.
      Certainly not to be featured in the curriculum of a certain private school network.

      report
    18. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      But Stephen, a newcomer should know that it is not the Liberal party's turn again.
      Abbott destroyed the Liberal party in 2009, and in 2007 the last Liberal PM lost his own seat
      Abbott is merely carrying on with the nefarious politics of his student days, when he and his DLP crony's, (under orders from from right wing religious extremists, many of them war criminals hiding out in Australia), infiltrated and took over the University Liberal Party club as part of a Cold War campaign to destroy student…

      Read more
    19. Katherine McKay

      Retired

      In reply to Greg Young

      Thanks Greg Young, and what other Prime Minister ever had their partner's sexuality questioned on public radio?

      Kath

      report
    20. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Gyan Sporn

      Gyan, in 1572, five thousand French protestants, invited to Paris to celebrate the marriage of Henry IV, Henry of Navare, were treacherously slaughtered, while unarmed, at the orders of the mother of the Bride, Catherine De Medici.
      Tens of thousands of other French Protestants were also, on the same date, with premeditated malice aforethought, slaughtered throughout the rest of France.
      Certain religious types, typically claiming the status of a persecuted minority, when it suits them, are very keen that such such historical information not stain their immaculate religous piety.
      Seriously, Gyan, not just another saint's name day, but those bearing the guilt have been quite good at suppressing this information it would seem.
      Ever heard of The Armada?
      A media version of this was launched in Australia three years ago.
      That one succeeded.

      report
    21. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      From my understanding you need a majority to get legislation through.

      That may be an arrangement or a coalition.

      The Labor party has/had an arrangement (formal I gather), the LNP is a coalition.

      report
    22. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Gyan Sporn

      Precisely! And, worse; while St Bartholomew's Day doesn't celebrate St Bart, it does commemorate one of many obscene examples of the evils of sectarianism on both sides and in this instance one that is used by James Hill to camouflage a far more deadly persecution of Irish Catholics inflicted by Cromwell and his forces.

      Incidentally, Protestants are appropriately regarded with great respect in all Francophone countries and are disproportionately represented in them at the highest levels of government…

      Read more
    23. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Of course it takes a majority vote to get legislation passed.
      My comment was poorly phrased: Minority governments are not rare across the globe. They have to be able to demonstrate that they have the confidence of the parliament. From that point on, they have to negotiate each piece of intended legislation.
      Isn't hat wonderful? To have to convince others that your bright idea is actually,maybe workable? This takes time, opens the issues up for debate, both inside and outside the parliament.
      Not necessarily a true democracy, but at least ten steps closer to being so than is the Australian system.

      report
    24. Valerie Kay

      PhD candidate, public health

      In reply to Deirdre Whitford

      My comment was removed, I guess because I used a four letter word about Shaun Carney's article. It was rude, and I shouldn't have done it - I can only say in my defence that I read the Age for many years and I have just become gradually more and more depressed and gradually enraged by the apparent dishonesty and lack of ethics by some of the senior journalists there.
      I know that abuse is not the right way to argue, but sometimes you just get so upset that four letter words seem the only recourse. What's the point of setting up The Conversation as an alternative to spin, and then giving so much space to journalists who've been spinning it for years?

      report
    25. Stuart Mackenzie

      PhD candidate at the University of Ballarat

      In reply to Valerie Kay

      I sympathise with your sentiments, Valerie. The arrival of Carney and Grattan is completely at odds with The Conversation's tag line of "Academic rigour, journalistic flair".

      report
    26. John C Smith

      Auditor

      In reply to John Newton

      Independents and Socialists after a Green Acrylic shower providing a leading hand.
      Ms Gillard former PM said she will never have Carbon tax under the government she leads. The govt that introduced CT was lead by the Greens not by Julia.

      report
    27. Deirdre Whitford

      Un-Worker

      In reply to Greg Young

      Yes, Greg!
      And perhaps even the most die-hard, tie-wearing Coalition supporters could imagine how seeing that on Auntie felt to the to the numerous Joan-Bloggsesj who had been feeling vaguely hopeful that some things might be different now that we had a lady at the apex of our politics.
      Well, they could if they wanted to exercise their imaginations along those lines, which, I suppose, they did not.
      Truly, "Tim" and "Julia" snuggling under our flag like that was not really how I wanted my own eight cents for that day to be invested.
      A radically demeaning and dismissive devaluing of every woman and girl who happened to be tuning in that night to ABC 1, that scene remains fresh in my memory, and evokes even now a sort of inchoate despair and, beneath it, a rising anger.
      If anyone reading this post is female, they may grasp what I'm trying to say.
      But if not, alas, perhaps they will not really understand at all, whichever side or team they happen to barrack for.

      report
    28. Deirdre Whitford

      Un-Worker

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Thank you so much for the compliment, Chris, especially as my allusions rarely get called clever by anyone.
      Your teeth may be more comfortably accommodated in what I was trying to say if you are old enough to recall a little sample of EG Whitlam's off-the-cuff rhetorical genius, delivered from the steps of the old Parliament House on 11.11.75 immediately after his PM-ship had been terminated by then G-G Kerr.
      For many Australians of my vintage and older, much of what is now known as The Dismissal is as emotionally potent even today as, perhaps, the St Bartholemew's Day Massacre might have been for the French protestants who observed those goings-on.
      Anyway, thank you for making me smile, now, as I look back and remember what a very remarkable contribution the actor Gary Macdonald, in his guise as Norman Gunston, made on that, for me unforgettable, day in Canberra..

      report
    29. Peter Blackwell

      Supply Chain Consultant - realist

      In reply to Stuart Mackenzie

      What, too many facts for you to refute/understand ? A spectacularly accurate piece of writing from Shaun.

      report
    30. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      How does one have good policies but bad government I wonder.

      Could it be too boring - not sound-bitey enough - to cover policies? Not when there are the old market winners scandal, rumblings of discontent and Big Brother personality clashes.

      A sad day for our political development I think.

      Incidentally, re the hung parliament - not too bad at all I reckon. Bit like juggling eels at times - and Slipper was a big mistake Albo. Could have had one of those side-show ride parliaments like Italy. Lord knows Abbott tried to give us one.

      The boys are back in town.

      report
    31. susan walton

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Deirdre Whitford

      Unfortunately, I can't read Valerie's post as it has been removed, however, I have read other posts by her so can only presume how it went.

      The Mal Brough affair is done and dusted, it's pointless to keep screeching about it as we all know it was a kitchen backroom 'joke', and nothing to do with Mal Brough, or any other politician that attended that dinner. We also know the menu was a very old 'joke' that was bandied around with Hilary Clinton's name, in place of Julia's.

      Crude and schoolboy…

      Read more
    32. susan walton

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Ian Bryant

      Because Julia kept the media so busy with her nonsense, day in and day out...there was simply no time scrutinize Abbott, I should imagine.

      When the country is all agog over blatant lies regarding carbon taxes, men in blue ties and menu's..I'm afraid comments such as 'stop the boats' are pretty boring.

      For 3 years, day after day, week after week...the drama's continued, Abbott was lucky to get to get a word in!
      We need a break.

      report
    33. susan walton

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Greg Young

      That was truly disgusting, I watched 10 minutes of it and flicked to SBS.

      How the ABC thought it a good thing to run with, I'll never know.

      report
    34. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to susan walton

      "Because Julia kept the media so busy with her nonsense, day in and day out...there was simply no time scrutinize Abbott, I should imagine."

      So Ms Gillard woz the one in control of the MSM? You'd never guess that considering where we are today. Here's me thinking that Murdoch owned 70% of Australia's media. Must've got that wrong somehow...

      Hey, don't let reason intrude upon your blame game, m'dear. If you believe in something for long enough it comes true. Just keep repeating Abbott never had a fair go.. Abbott never had a fair go...

      report
    35. susan walton

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to James Hill

      Julia, also, did not stray far from her student days,..leopards and spots I suppose..

      "Julia Gillard's first foray into politics was in the early 1980s, when, as a university law student, she became active in the now-defunct Australian Union of Students (AUS).

      The AUS was then totally dominated by the extreme left. In 1983 — the year she was elected AUS president — an AUS annual council defeated heavily a call to oppose "all acts of terrorism and political violence" (AUS Annual Council 1983…

      Read more
    36. susan walton

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Valerie Kay

      I had a comment removed yesterday as well..and I did not abuse anyone or anything..and certainly did not swear.

      It does put one off bothering to come here though.

      report
    37. Stuart Mackenzie

      PhD candidate at the University of Ballarat

      In reply to susan walton

      No - because, despite their academic appointments, they don't seem to understand the difference between evidence-based academic discourse and anonymously-sourced political opinion.

      report
    38. Deirdre Whitford

      Un-Worker

      In reply to susan walton

      Thank you, Ms walton, for your contributions to this discussion.
      I have read them with attention and have found them to be very illuminating indeed.
      As it happens, I too exprienced Australian Student Politics and the struggle to defend the existence of my national union, or AUS as it was called, at about the same time that you did.
      Unlike you perhaps, my own non-office-bearing face-in-the-crowd involvement in that, as you note, quite bitter conflict was exclusively selfish because;
      a) I was only…

      Read more
    39. susan walton

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      You can blame the media all you want Dianna..the fact remains she was disliked by most of the population for a reason, many reasons in fact.
      Partly, from what different people have said, because she came across as not quite 'human' , for want of a better word.

      Robotic in her speeches, condescending, sloganized and repeating herself over and over. Basically a bad communicator with the people, though some (and I repeat 'some' ) of her colleagues saw her in a different light apparently..the public did not.

      I see the same patronizing tone in a lot of your replies..they do you no good and do not help your cause...........m'dear.

      report
    40. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to susan walton

      Well done you on regurgitating every mainstream utterance.

      Strange to consider that Ms Gillard earned a standing ovation when addressing the House of reps in the USA - very strange considering the difficulties Americans often have with a broad Aussie accent - something that clearly vexes you Ms Walton - Ms Gillard's accent that is; I have no idea what your opinion is of the USA.

      In fact she proved a very effective communicator when international - not that you would be aware of this as it is all part of her many achievements, something Australia's Murdocracy cannot abide.

      But don't let a few facts get in the way of your rant.

      report
    41. alfred venison

      records manager (public sector)

      In reply to Stuart Mackenzie

      its not anonymously-sourced political opinion. they know their sources. do you ever consider their sources may not want to be named? that if they told you and i and everyone else who every source was their sources might not speak to them again. they're not the political science department. -a.v.

      report
    42. susan walton

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Deirdre Whitford

      Good for you Deidre. I do not remember the AUS union at all..it must have been quite insignificant in the scheme of things?

      Though it would appear it wasn't around for very long, much like it's president Ms Gillard.

      report
    43. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      No no Ms A .... don't you find yourself yearning for the bouncy music of Kevin's vernacular ... his jocolar asides... his sauce bottle sucking bon-hommie.

      Or that nice man John Howard - whose chanting chainwork of the language seemed designed to keel haul us back into 1957... or Bob Hawke's parrot-like screeching. Now Gough could round a vowel - but was too innerlecural. All those dole bludgers and loans and Morosis. And Malcolm Fraser could do a good Oxford prefect. Bit left-wing though with…

      Read more
    44. susan walton

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      The americans are nothing if not polite. That aside, appealing to americans is helpful how? if one does not appeal to one's own people.

      Nothing vexes me Dianna..interest is quite different than being 'vexed'. I can, however, dislike something..that is still my right wouldn't you agree? or would you rather that was taken from me as well.

      Your use of slogans merely bores me.

      report
    45. Deirdre Whitford

      Un-Worker

      In reply to susan walton

      Thank you so much for that susan. And, by the way, "Deirdre" is spelt with two (2) "r"s, actually.

      report
    46. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to susan walton

      No no not insignificant at all ... it was a hotbed of wildly influentential ideas like Trotskyism and worse. And Thatcherism too actually in it's opposition ranks. The thing was full of ideas.

      And as we all well know now - ideas are dangerous things. They should be watched. Guided. Regulated. Places that house ideas should be abolished lest these madly popularist messages of class struggle and encircling the cities in a worker peasant revolt against the comprador bourgeoisie of the North Shore take root and bring forth an era of Pol Potted proletarian dictatorship.

      Certainly took up a lot of Tony Abbott's early years. He and Ms Gillard have been crossing swords and trading blows all their adult lives. Such a curse. Like being chained to a rock and having this bloke come and peck at you every damn day.

      More novels Ms Gillard.

      report
    47. Peter Blackwell

      Supply Chain Consultant - realist

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Oh dear Dianna,,, even Americans can be polite to foreign dignatories regardless of the content or delivery of such a speech. It has no impact on them so they wouldnt have even been listening let alone paying attention. Facts ? Rant ? Your view - which I might claim is one eyed and ill-informed - but such an attack would be uncharitable.

      report
    48. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Indeed Mr O

      The depths of shallow are infinite in their judgement.

      Where's Professor Henry Higgins when you need him? He may have made all the difference to Fair Lady Julia.

      report
    49. susan walton

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Being in opposition Peter, throughout the years it seems, I would suppose it was in Abbott's DNA to 'debate' with Julia...Rudd is not supposed to be in opposition to her, they are supposed to be batting for the same team.

      And therein lies the problem with the de-stabilizing of Labor...not Abbott, but the illustrious Mr Rudd.

      The man some you would wish upon us as leader. I haven't heard Rudd being called a misogynist as yet..or is it only opposition leaders that fall into that category.

      Perhaps Julia should have saved her gender attacks for Kevin? he was certainly a greater danger to her leadership than Abbott could ever have hoped to be.

      Abbott did not oust her..her comrades got there first.

      Et al Brutus never rang so true..

      report
    50. susan walton

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      He certainly could have assisted in her speech and her command of the english language...she appeared to be very passionate in her education demands, or was that merely more hyperbole.

      report
    51. Thomas Fields

      "progressive" watcher

      In reply to Stuart Mackenzie

      Why, because they don't just say 'it's all the men and media's fault'?

      This is one of the better articles on Gillard's downfall because he traces it to several factors and not just 'the men and media are to blame'.

      report
    52. Valerie Kay

      PhD candidate, public health

      In reply to susan walton

      I worked with Julia Gillard for two years under very difficult circumstances. I found her to be very human - kind, generous, witty, good honoured and very level headed. Perhaps it is worthwhile to reflect on the fact that people who know her well seem to think more highly of her than those who don't know her, and ask yourself why that might be. I'm not saying I have the answer, but I think it's a lot more complicated than saying "poor communicator" because again, in person she is a good communicator.
      Someone here was saying that Wayne Swan was wooden and unimpressive - I noted that I found John Howard (the ultimate I would say), yet he managed to have an impressive political career.
      There's all sorts of things going on here about how the media portrays people, what the public expects of different people, the impact of someone being publicly treated with contempt or disrespect, and more. Simply saying its all Julia Gillard's fault is just a shallow response I suggest.

      report
    53. Valerie Kay

      PhD candidate, public health

      In reply to Valerie Kay

      Sorry meant to be found Julia Gillard to be "good humoured" and found John Howard to be "wooden and unimpressive" - posting too quickly.

      report
    54. Neil Mcnally

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      No..I like the balance been controlled by Independants,because far more debate is forced upon the govt and opposition,there-by involving more of the public.

      report
    55. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Leave the Pink Poodle out of it, puhleese, Pete! He so reminds me of Norman. For those of you who don't know, 'Norman' was a Tory 'wet' and nephew of that Irish bodice-ripping novelist, Edna O'Brien. He had a famously dramatic sister - the stage actress, Juno Alexander, who was married for a while to the British comic actor, Terence Alexander.

      He changed his name and accent, though not, thankfully, his religion, and attended both Oxford and Cambridge, ascending to the Tory cabinet under Thatcher…

      Read more
    56. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to susan walton

      What a pity, Susan! You should fill these big gaps in your knowledge by googling Bob Ellis about what happened between Abbott and Costello, while in the AUS. You'll find there's quite an entertaining story to tell about which Bob is uncharacteristically quiet!

      report
    57. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Americans always give standing ovations. Their inclination to do so was so misread as an accolade, when Billy McMahon attended a piano recital by Winifred Atwell at the White House that, presuming her to be a virtuoso, he invited her to give the Sydney Opera House its opening performance.

      report
    58. Stuart Mackenzie

      PhD candidate at the University of Ballarat

      In reply to alfred venison

      I have no problem with political commentators using all the anonymous sources they can find. My point is that the resulting product is political journalism which one expects to find in the mainstream media. My understanding, which appears to be shared by many others, is that writing in The Conversation was meant to be different, specifically with academic rigour but written for a general audience. That is not what is being delivered by Grattan or Carney.

      report
    59. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Stuart Mackenzie

      'The Conversation was meant to be different, specifically with academic rigour but written for a general audience.'

      And I never expected it to be 'politically correct' --- as Loathe to run what is factual, despite being 'non acceptable' to US lead opinion.

      report
    60. Deirdre Whitford

      Un-Worker

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Let's face it MLF, nobody requires further evidence that gay men are statistically over-represented in virtually every grouping of citizens who've made society better and more interesting, worldwide.
      When I first noticed that, and wondered about it, I concluded that it was because many were not constrained by aspects of parenthood.
      More recently, though, I've started to realise that more subtle psycho/social factors may be at play in that causation. I'm still trying to get to the bottom of that puzzle.
      Anyway, thanks for the good oil on Norman, who was unfamiliar to me till now. And humour, especially referencing gender/sexuality, is both refreshing and relevant to this discussion of Gillard..
      I intend to conduct a little independent research on the late Lord St John courtesy of Google Inc. this afternoon. He sounds intriguing.

      report
    61. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Deirdre Whitford

      Your deductions are generous but overgeneralised. The stats show that most gay men and women, until recently, have been coerced into tumultuous marriages and therefore are more likely than not to have been parents. And, of course, without arousing yet another storm of controversy, the general trend towards the global equitable extension, on human rights grounds, of marriage security and responsibilities to gay and lesbian citizens, coupled with access to in-vitro and other donor fertilisation technologies, means that quite a few gay and lesbian couples that I know have children. In my own case I have two beautiful and feisty daughters.

      report
    62. Deirdre Whitford

      Un-Worker

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Yes, precisely, Michael,
      Exactly the developments you've noted are the reason why I'm revising the conclusion I had jumped to in callownesshood.
      Right now I'm speculating a bit, just to myself, about what other parts of gay people's lives and experiences could be causing them to play such a central role in arts and letters and, as with Norman, public life.
      Especially as, like left-handed people, they are numerically a minority, and quite a small one at that, really.
      What is it that causes a k.d.lang, or a Patrick White or a Justice Michael Kirby?
      I don't know the answer to that question, but I suspect it is probably quite complex and multi-themed.

      report
    63. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Michael Kirby and Bill Heffernan !!!! Really???

      Now there's a turn-up for the books - almost shocking - still he does have a sort of brutal earthiness to him I guess.

      report
    64. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I could never understand why the prime minister of the day [John Howard] kept him on board, both he and Tony Abbott have caused so much angst with their "brutal earthiness" using Julia Gillard as the most recent good example..
      There's no similarity to the likes of Malcolm Turnbull or even Joe Hockey for that matter, all though the latter is, or was venturing into a grey area at times.
      B H and TA are ring'ins from somewhere, or maybe nowhere is a better word.
      What's is the retiring age in Parliarment?

      report
    65. Deirdre Whitford

      Un-Worker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Yes Peter,,you seem to share my own take on aspects of higher education there.
      And you know how to gracefully place one heckova skilful classical alluson very nicely too.
      Not only Julia -- all of us would benefit by adding more novels and veggies to our daily diets, for sure.

      report
    66. Deirdre Whitford

      Un-Worker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Very nicely placed, Mr Ormonde, and also pretty witty as wel!l
      But if Bill, perhaps in second childhood, has a yearning for an esteemed legal eagle to have and to hold, and if at the same time Michael is extremely cross because, even after all those years with his pal, he is still enduring the daily anguish of inexpertly squeezed toothpaste, well, I for one say: let them marry!
      I don't wish to see how either BH or MK look in friilly white frocks on Their Special Day. (Yikes! No!)
      But, hey, I don't know either of them personally, so it's unlikely that anyone will force me to look at their wedding album (thank God for that!)
      And in those circumstances the whole thing is totally None Of My Business, really. They're both free, white and 21. (Or is that 71?)
      .

      report
  2. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    It's been big in terms of national politics, and it has amused, infuriated and enthralled the media and the masses.

    But it's over for the moment at least and KevRu can enjoy being P.M. for a month or so.

    The article mentions ambition as though it hasn't it hasn't come up before in any politician's aspirations. The prize position of P.M. has seen many battles of ambition (and hubris) over the years.

    Ironically, we are now seeing many who were critical and carping of JG, lament her demise and saying what a wonderful world it was.

    This will be a lot of future books for political historians and gossip mongers alike.

    report
    1. James Jenkin

      EFL Teacher Trainer

      In reply to Peter Vogel

      Maybe Peter a government can't make lots of mistakes (Labor insiders were saying one every two weeks) - even if they're minor.

      If I had a maths teacher who wrote something wrong on the board every two weeks - no matter how confident and intelligent they seemed - I'd start worrying.

      report
    2. Steve Phillips

      Nurse Practitioner

      In reply to Peter Vogel

      You are dissappointed because you dont recognise why Julia lost the confidence and respect of her own party and the voting public.
      The writer has quite clearly laid out in a (to me anyway) generous way the things that made Julia unpopular. Weather you acknowledge them does not invalidate them. I'd suggest doing a little personal poll yourself, speak to people you know who are not 'burning' left or right and ask them what they thought of her time in the PMs chair.
      I have freinds (yes they still talk to me) who are Labor supporters, one is even a member of the party. They are reticent to talk Julia up or downright angry at her performance as leader.
      My opinion does not matter here, nor does the personal opinion or political colour of the writer, facts are facts and what Julia presided over was not edifying to Labor.

      report
    3. David Ransom

      Former journalist

      In reply to Peter Vogel

      Agree. In reality the mistakes were minor compared to the achievements. But fanned as they were by political opportunism, a bellicose opposition, a relentless Murdock media smear campaign, outrageous shock-jock insinuations and an onslaught from self- interested big money, Australians somehow got sucked in to believing every minor misstep was a national scandal. Certainly Julia Gillard made mistakes, some of them serious. We all do. That's what happens when you do things.

      report
    4. David Ransom

      Former journalist

      In reply to James Jenkin

      That's the point James ...."Labor insiders were saying...." and the public swallowed it and the other scuttlebutt without considering the veracity, relevance and motivation behind it.

      report
    5. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Steve Phillips

      I have to agree with you Steve and I am a Labor supporter. Sean's article is an incisive and fair summary of Gillard's woes and performance. Yes there was a lot of disrespect and sexism (more so than against John Howard or Tony Abbott in my opinion) but there were some monumentally unwise decisions from her. Wayne Swan had a good story to tell about the economy which weathered the GFC much better than most countries but he lacked the skills and the confidence to defend in a positive way. To me he came across as defensive even when he was armed with strong economic figures.

      report
    6. Sean Manning

      Physicist

      In reply to James Jenkin

      Also, one of the main mistakes they made was inadequate communication of their successes so that's a double whammy.

      report
    7. Ian Bryant

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Peter Vogel

      Peter I believe it's the mere perception of mistakes that matters. Most people view politicians as their protectors, people who will make life easy for them. Howard was extremely successful with the 'relaxed and comfortable' meme and demonising asylum seekers played well into that. People were fearful of Gillard because she didn't appeal to their insecurities. She didn't come across like an uncle (or aunt) who would make everything right. This I believe is what people meant when they said she couldn't weave her achievements into a narrative or vision for the country.

      Australians' fears and insecurities will now be pandered to by Uncle Kevin. It wasn't by accident that his Kevin 07 campaign looked like "Howard-lite" - that is exactly what he was striving for.

      report
    8. Katherine McKay

      Retired

      In reply to Steve Phillips

      I don't think it was so that Julia lost the confidence of her own party. I think many of them know perfectly well that she was a far greater person and a far greater negotiator and achiever than Rudd. They just voted for him because the opinion polls showed that he might, just might, 'save some of the furniture'. Unfortunately, with the exodus of a swathe of good politicians and the kowtowing of other good ones, Rudd has not saved the furniture, he will be responsible for burning the house down.

      report
    9. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Ian Bryant

      Nothing vaguely mercurial about this post, I'm afraid. Gillard left on a great-maiden-aunt note, thereby confirming the stereotype she so strenuously and justifiably objected to being subjected to. To be photo-opportunised knitting a teddy-bear (with a cute terrier entangled in balls of wool) for an unelected pregnant foreign potentate may also be sweet but kinda corny. Add the almost daily hair-colour changes, with and without spectacles, and you have no less of an appeal to another kind of stereotype than any of her predecessors. I'll buy into your theory when Kev strips down to his underdaks and flexes his unprepossessing pecs at the drop of a disgusting hat. Until then I'll watch with delight his methodical and forensic policy evisceration of Abbott.

      report
    10. Valerie Kay

      PhD candidate, public health

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      I think you, like quite a few others, completely don't get this stuff. There is nothing wrong with being a engaged great aunt or with knitting. Just because these are traditionally feminine activities doesn't mean they are somehow worthless or that anyone who engages in them can't be taken seriously, in politics or anywhere else. Take of your patriarchal blinkers and try to understand the world in its diversity and richness.

      report
    11. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Valerie Kay

      Nothing patriarchal, blinkered, chauvinistic or even stereotypically male about me, I'm afraid. I'm a black, gay, chucked-out-of-the-Catholic-Church, social justice leftie. And, apart from a conscience, I also have a brain.

      Stick to the four-letter words, I might add. And do forgive me, but they rather better reflect your justifiable outrage about the author's views than your one-sided attempts at policy analysis: sometimes a few choice expletives, as Rudd himself is prone to use, are better…

      Read more
    12. Peter Blackwell

      Supply Chain Consultant - realist

      In reply to Katherine McKay

      Are you serious ? She was incompetent on almost every possible measure. Kevin may have been bad, Tony is likely to be bad,, she was abominable !!!

      Good politicians leaving ? Dross that allowed Gillard to reign and didnt take her aside and sort her out when things were constantly coming unstuck.

      Both sides of politics needs a broom through them,, and the Greens to be sent to exile forever after finally showing us who they really are when a little power is granted them. Labor are now in front having swept out a goodly number - they now need to fix the model so they can attract young capable people to the party for their and our future.

      report
    13. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Peter Blackwell

      Peter, I am getting a lot of anger from your posts. It seems incompetent means something different to you than it does to me. For Gillard to be incompetent to me means that parliament would not have worked and that was not the case. It would have meant that the economic downturn would equal that of Greece or even the USA, but that too is not the case. It would have meant that there were no policies and no vision, again that is not the case. It would have meant that we were still antagonising places like China and Indonesia, again this is not the case. It would have meant being taken to war on a basis of lies, again this not the case.

      report
    14. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Dr Furtado, I found Mr Bryant's comment perceptive.
      The way women deal with stereotypes, of which there are many, and all of them contradictory, is to choose for themselves how they will behave, regardless. We see no point in striving to meet the unrealistic expectations and contradictory demands of whoever is criticising us at the time. We have accepted that we are complex and multifaceted human beings, unlike many men, apparently.

      report
    15. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      You may be black and gay, but that doesn't exempt you from misogyny clearly.
      Now you are accusing Gillard of being too girlish?
      Your double standards are showing.

      report
    16. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      If you'd followed the thread and the context, those on my side of this improbable fence were accused of a lack of respect for 'diversity'. My riposte exposed the absurdity of that remark.

      Is your's then the kind of comment that flies in the face of Gillard's much better considered comment after her downfall? "Nothing's black and white", she said, while I was alluding to the fact that her photo-shoot did her a disservice by positioning her to be photographed as someone with kindly pre-natal instincts…

      Read more
    17. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Well, apart from being derogatory, I'm not sure how else one was supposed to interpret your statement re charm and skittishness. In appreciation of your taste for obliquity, I think girlish was close enough.
      My point is that your criticisms are personalised, belittling and bitchy. And your issue with the authenticy of her interest in other people's children is puerile and baffling. She clearly loves children, as do many women who choose to be child free like myself.
      It is your ideas about women that are black and white it seems to me.

      report
    18. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      The point is that I never said "girlish", which is as oblique an insinuation of yours as any I've heard. No traction here for you except withdrawal, I'm afraid.

      As for my criticisms being 'personalised, belittling and bitchy', I've certainly had fun with both sides on a topic that's been taken far too seriously as a means of obscuring the expected leap in Labor's poll ratings, an outcome that I suspect is somewhat disappointing for you.

      I have no interest in questioning the 'authenticy' of Gillard's interest in other people's children'. My point was to question her manufacture and donation of a gift for a future monarch, when her instincts are so palpably republican.

      'Puerile and baffling'? No; just frustrated and impatient for a higher quality of discourse!

      report
    19. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      As I said, what you meant by "misplaced charm and skittishness" is anybody's guess, so I stand by my point, I'm afraid.

      Re the polls and your suspicions of my feelings about them: As the polls are perfectly consistent with the polls of the last three years, I'm not disappointed, or remotely surprised that my own sentiments are still at odds with the majority.

      Your belief that the issue of discrimination against Gillard is being taken too seriously to "obscure" events is ludicrous, particularly…

      Read more
    20. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      Let's see:

      "As I said, what you meant by "misplaced charm and skittishness" is anybody's guess, so I stand by my point, I'm afraid." Susan Walton has dealt with this better than I have. I appreciate that you're embarrassed by this, but it was Gillard's mistake, not your's.

      "Re the polls and your suspicions of my feelings about them: As the polls are perfectly consistent with the polls of the last three years, I'm not disappointed, or remotely surprised that my own sentiments are still at odds…

      Read more
    21. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      So, your inability to construct a logical argument in response has unleashed a stream of personal invective and character attacks. How tediously predictable.

      report
    22. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      We might leave others to decide about that. Meanwhile I suspect that passionate antipathies incline towards betraying secret affinities. Are you perchance engaging in some very personal clothes wrenching and breast beating, I wonder? If so, dear sister, do desist. I fear you are about to be rude.

      report
    23. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Ormondesque ??? Some sort of elephantine display of verbal burlesque ?

      No no Michael young feller, you keep me and my final sentences out of it - you've got yourself in enough trouble already!

      My ultimata are WMDs in the wrong hands.

      report
    24. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I thought calling someone a troll constitutes bringing out the nuclear option? But I am new here so any pointers welcome :)

      report
    25. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      And it appears you have been rude. Does that mean I win? It is getting rather boring though, so I will concede I have not the energy or the will to match your sarcasm, I'm happy to call to a draw.

      report
    26. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      I am very glad you didn't Michael ... and I would expect a far more imaginative and thoughtful put-down were you so inclined.

      No I myself have been accused of trolliciking about ... can you believe it??? ....more a gnome on the rampage in fact.

      I must admit I do not take all contributors with the respect and dignity they feel they warrant - certainly only a fraction of the respect they show themselves. Pomposity does that for me... brings the rock out of my pocket.

      But in my experience…

      Read more
    27. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      I hope you will too, Freya. My comments were directed to another person, at which point you leapt in to take sides. I had never intended this level of personal exchange and your bilious remark was a classic in understatement.

      Tomorrow's a special day for me and I would rather not maintain this level of animosity. 'De gustibus non disputandum est' or 'In matters of taste there is no dispute.' Let's agree to disagree, which is one blessing that democracy affords over other political systems.

      I don't actually dislike Gillard and feel very sorry for the way she was treated by the Coalition and its abusive supporters. By the same token, my view is that it had to go for Labor to stand a hope in hell's chance of keep the Coalition out.

      My sense is that you will not be mollified by this, but at least it gives me a chance to extract myself with a modicum of dignity from the fray.

      I wish you well.

      report
    28. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Thank you, your gracious explanation is much appreciated as I have no wish for ill feelings myself. I leapt in I admit, but with no intention to troll or appear aggressive. I can see I will have to pay attention to that.
      I pretty much agree with your assessment of Labor's situation, thank you for explaining that also. Emotions are still high all round, not least for me obviously. Extraordinary times.
      I'm genuinely mortified and sorry to have distressed you on the eve of a big day, that's not nice at all I know. I hope it is salvageable by my apology. I wish you all the very best for tomorrow :)

      report
    29. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I didn't notice your comment earlier Peter, but I'm suitably chastened It's not often I feel like the cat among the pigeons I must say, so I promise to take it down a notch. I do seem to be setting off IEDs all over the place lately!

      report
    30. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      Lovely, apologies all round I see. Perhaps other passionate posters could learn from such an exchange, but probably not.

      Freya - this is the Conversation and, therefore, you are free to comment on any conversational thread as you see fit. You are not at the boss's Christmas gala.

      Michael - silver tongued you maybe - however I fear that your have made an error of Freudian proportions. Please tell me what is wrong with your statement, below:

      "I don't actually dislike Gillard and feel very sorry for the way she was treated by the Coalition and its abusive supporters. By the same token, my view is that it had to go for Labor to stand a hope in hell's chance of keep the Coalition out."

      Hoping for a non-pompous reply to my sincere request.

      report
    31. Valerie Kay

      PhD candidate, public health

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      I can't resist coming back to this discussion, even though I should be doing other things. "[picture of Julia Gillard knitting] struck everybody as false, except perhaps yourself" - don't speak for me Michael, it didn't strike me as false - I know JG knits and I'm perfectly happy for her to do so.
      As I said, and I think Freya is arguing, I believe you are demonstrating patriarchal attitudes in your implied association of knitting with can't be taken seriously (or wearing dresses and can't be taken seriously, as you suggest elsewhere).
      Btw I'm a republican. The issue of who she was knitting for is relevant, but not the key issue here, which still is 'does things that are traditionally feminine' = 'can't be taken seriously as a politician'.
      Think you are wrong on this Michael and should admit it. Cheers.

      report
    32. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Thank you, wise Dianna, duly noted. Consciousness struggles to be free.
      I think I can guess Michael's one now...

      report
    33. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Valerie Kay

      Yes indeed it was, thank you, Valerie.
      That, and all the other tiresome double standards too numerous to mention in the whole ker-furphy which would never have reached the light of public "discourse" were Gillard a man.
      Compared to the ms media's poker-faced presentation of the Abbott and Margie Show. Not a hint of "irony" there, tho they had plenty to work with.
      Only Gillard spin got the "meta-analysis" treatment, like everything else she did.

      report
  3. Bronwyn Hanna

    Historian

    I don't think this article correctly represents the situation. Sure the Gillard Government made mistakes but so does every government. They also did a lot of good. I think their failure lay in their inability to promote their achievements in the face of the cleverly effective onslaught from Abbott and the media, so that they were always on the back foot. They lost the representations wars.

    report
    1. Katherine McKay

      Retired

      In reply to Bronwyn Hanna

      Agreed. The personal attacks on Julia by the media and the treacherous undermining by Rudd clearly combined to bring on this disaster.

      report
    1. Katherine McKay

      Retired

      In reply to Anne Cooper

      Thanks Anne, disappointing to see how many men comment on this post but do not understand the misogyny (yes, it is real) that operates/d in politics and society at large. Julia understands it and names it and that is one of her legacies. To name and shame misogyny is an important goal for us all. Women who dare to have power have always been attacked in this way. Women (like Julie Bishop) who allow themselves to be tokens and doormats do not further the cause of women.

      report
    2. John C Smith

      Auditor

      In reply to Anne Cooper

      "The only talent Julia Gillard lacked was the ability to enter a men's room and relieve herself without dropping her pants"
      There are lot of women who can do it. Not many in the developed world where most of basic physical activites have dissapeared due to "civilised" "developed" and technologically advanced. They cant hose it six meters but could make a deep hole in the ground (not concrte or bitumen) without wetting them.

      report
    3. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to John C Smith

      John C Smith (Is there a Pocahontas in there somewhere, I wonder?), you are a very naughty boy or perhaps a woman (does it matter?) who has somehow managed to pierce the armour of many in these columns, who are clearly disconsolate at the loss of their hero.

      I congratulate you on succeeding with this, given the abject failure of the rest of us to offer a sympathetic handkerchief to soak up so many rivers of crocodile tears. Perchance you will pierce their hearts as well with the laughter your pithy one-liners have evinced.

      report
    4. susan walton

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Katherine McKay

      Calling women tokens and doormats do not further your cause either.

      Julie Bishop appears very happy in her political role, and in the long run THAT is all that counts, she is a very strong woman also, so if you're honest, your only beef with her is that she bats for the other side.

      Women that do not agree with you, or your preconceived ideas on how all women should conduct ourselves, are not doormats or tokens..they are merely different. We're not all cut out to be militants, we don't all want to join your army.

      report
    5. Thomas Fields

      "progressive" watcher

      In reply to Katherine McKay

      In what way is Julie Bishop a doormat?

      Why is it that women that don't tow the socialist/progressive line are seen as controlled by men?

      report
    6. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Thomas Fields

      I think it has something to do with the fact that Gillard being deputy of the Labor Party was next up on the list and accordingly chosen leader when Rudd was considered a liability to electoral success. If I remember correctly at the time there was any number of names put up by the MSM as possible successors , but not Gillard's. Bishop, on the other hand, although deputy of the Liberal Party has not automatically assumed the leadership through three changes. Of course, if Bishop doesn't want leadership…

      Read more
    7. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to susan walton

      I wouldn't like to count on her as a friend, fancy sitting there listening to all the diatribe coming out of the mouths of the men that surround her.
      At least we won't have to suffer her as prime minister one day.
      Tony Abbott and Bill Heffernan should be put on a slow boat to Indonesia and take her with them.

      report
    8. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      "...fancy sitting there listening to all the diatribe coming out of the mouths of the men that surround her..."

      Aaah, that explains Ms Bishop's stare, not the natural repose of her features after all.

      report
    9. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      You naughty perceptive thing, you, Lady Di, referencing people's organs, squints and jaw-lines to see what they might resemble in repose. There'll be none of that happening, I'm afraid, until we get Tony Abbott in his budgies off the minds of so many hot and bothered women (and men!) trying to look lantern-jawed and visionary, while girding their (ahem!) loins to turn their attention to matters of serious policy substance.

      report
  4. Gideon Maxwell Polya

    logged in via Facebook

    Julia Gillard had many things to commend her - she is a woman (a great role model as the first female Australian Deputy PM and first female Australian PM) , an atheist (in a country in which religion has malignant roles in societal distortion and physical and intellectual child abuse), a child-less woman (in a grossly over-populated world) , an unmarried person living with her partner (a strong statement of personal rights). and a Labor MP (i.e. an MP on the ostensibly progressive side of politics…

    Read more
    1. Katherine McKay

      Retired

      In reply to John Newton

      Because she doesn't believe in it and will not compromise her personal principles for political gain. You just don't get that do you?

      report
    2. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Gideon Maxwell Polya

      None of those listed failures are unique to Gillard.
      Scapegoating allows the others to escape criticism.
      Not, surely, your intention, Gideon?

      report
    3. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Gideon Maxwell Polya

      "one example out of 100 Gillard Labor failures: 3. Afghan Holocaust, Afghan Genocide, Afghan War"

      Indeed. It's a demonstration of wishy-washyness. And given that Rudd has a better knowledge of foreign affairs (and presumably Afghan and Taliban history) than Gillard then it's probably even worse that Rudd went along with it while he was PM.

      report
    4. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Gideon Maxwell Polya

      She rid us of a holocaust festing beneath a cloak of political expediency and religiosty and against our children.
      Who knows what else she would've achieved, but today, it was enough for tomorrow's generation of children.

      report
    5. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      He had a better knowledge of the "wishy washyness" of religious affiliations and institutions and did nothing to.
      He claimed he was satisfied with how they were dealing with the Australia wide crisis, kowtowing to the pope on his visit during WYD twelve months after his election, reven eclaiming his Catholic roots after issues he had of his own, all gone and forgiven.

      report
  5. Anne Cooper

    Osteopath

    Now (if we had not cancelled our paper) we will read about policy, not references to the genitalia of Kevin Rudd.

    report
  6. George Michaelson

    Person

    Any leader facing less than overwhelming support from inside their party can fall prey to leakage. You note one unverified and observe it wasn't a question of true or false, it was a question of the damage it did to the image. I think I agree with this, but I also wonder who in the leaking camps thought their off-the-record materially advanced the labor cause.

    The LNP have a distinct advantage in having the formalism of a (dis)united front which is overt: if you are an agrarian socialist you go with Barney, and if you are an economic rationalist you sit with the Costello-ites. Labor has factions but the lack of a public facing formalism to unite around means all they're left with is leaks.

    Ms Gillard also had to try and construct a cabinet. Alas, the IKEA instruction set didn't say "you need more than an allan key to unite this one"

    report
    1. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Kate Sommerville

      'I doubt that the Australian community was ready for such a leader. She is articulate, genuine, tough and a ground breaker'
      Tough, stubborn, .obstinate, self opinionated. dogmatic, I'm boss'. (captains pick), attempt to impose her pro Zionist views in opposing the Palestinians ....

      Just why is this seen as a virtue?

      As for the comments upon how she was attacked because she was a woman --- imagine attempting to inflict the same concept upon Penny Wong. Do you really imagine that they would have damaged her?

      report
    2. Katherine McKay

      Retired

      In reply to Kate Sommerville

      Well said Kate. Shaun's article appears superficial and certainly does not do justice to the outstanding and courageous work undertaken by Gillard.

      report
    3. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Kate Sommerville

      Kate, I think Julia Gillard gave too much credit to the intelligence of Australian Journalists.
      And they proven thenselves unworthy of that credit.
      The sooner they all get sacked the better.

      report
    4. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to David Thompson

      Well, only in the sense of Germaine Greer's criticism of Gillard's attire, otherwise we'd have to classify Rudd as portly and built for comfort; though he wisely eschews Abbott's ridiculously purposeful, get-down-to-business, pumped-up look and flat-footed swagger.

      However, what a professional woman is doing in this day and age wearing a dress or skirt in the workplace is entirely a mystery to me and most of the women I know and respect.

      report
    5. Peter Blackwell

      Supply Chain Consultant - realist

      In reply to Kate Sommerville

      You cant be the worst PM in history and be judged anything other than that. Julia knifed a sitting PM - unacceptable; lied and broke fundamental promises on which the trust of the Ausralian public was based.
      True she was the hand puppet to the Union movement and Rudd must now find a way to forever crush their stranglehold over the party or get out and form a new one - ideally with Malcolm, as they both share ideology which better relfects what we want our nation to be going forward.

      report
    6. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Michael

      "what a professional woman is doing in this day and age wearing a dress or skirt in the workplace is entirely a mystery to me"

      Me too. Especially high heels.

      Sure I like to dress up but for the work place pants and walking shoes for me - you never know when you might have to run. Unfortunately (or fortunately) my work attire has paid off.

      Anyway, what I really wanted to say was how big Kev's bum looks in his suit and when is he going to do something about those bags under his eyes? Oh and his wife looks needs to learn to dress more suitably for a woman of such stout proportions -(to the feeble minded (not you Michael) I am being ironic!

      Disagree with you about Gillard - her legacy may take a while to shine, shine shine in the annals of time it certainly will.

      As for me, am happy to campaign for Penny Wong as our next PM - would just love to see what the troglogdytes would make of her after having so much fun at Ms Gillard's expense.

      report
    7. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Ah Ms A - the outrage! Chinese, lesbian and smart... can't be having any of that then - not here.

      I'm just waiting for one of the smart poll-watchers now running the joint realise that having someone like Penny Wong so prominent is actually upsetting the blue rinsers...costing traditional votes in the marginals - perhaps all ministerial positions should be allocated on the basis of focus groups' analysis. Maybe the Press Gallery could do a vetting first up.

      Penny Wong - yeah right. A joint ticket with Lee Rhiannon. Or Bob Katter. He's "foreign" too you know. Like Joe Hockey. It's a shocking business.

      report
    8. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Mr O

      I am very happy to see you back on board with all your usual wit. We must learn not to take people for granted, they always leave, in the end.

      The thought of Penny Wong as PM just won't go away. Didn't know Katter was like, "foreign" such a good ole boy.

      Hockey - hasn't been nearly so verbal since his lap-band surgery, or maybe I haven't been paying attention.

      None of this is for the faint of heart.

      report
    9. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      I'm working on feint of heart myself Ms A ... I think a pale attachment to the whole process for the next few months is advisable... even detachment if I can swing it.

      I can see no solution for Labor other than the "creative destruction" of electoral decimation - and some hoped for generational renewal and rebirth. NSW Labor has gone viral. It is a collapsing frantic rabble. Not bad - just frightened. Of lots of things. But mostly voters.

      I feel like Big Brother has in fact become reality TV via the Press Gallery... phone polled respondents get to vote on who should be PM. New depths of shallow.

      report
    10. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Must needs adopt some zen-like detachment.

      " phone polled respondents get to vote on who should be PM"

      The polls were wrong for Kennett (so dazed when Bracks won), more recently wrong in Poll Central, the USA. If anyone could get their polling right, surely the yanks?

      Now, we will never ever know... what could've been.

      report
    1. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Anne Karma

      Anna, I support Labor and have supported Julia Gillard. Despite my misgivings about Rudd I will vote for him mainly as I dislike the LNP under Abbott. Rudd at least offers some hope that he can engineer a turnaround of some significance and maybe even better by some sort of modification of policies that have caused Labor untold electoral grief: the carbon tax and asylum seekers.

      I do think that Julia Gillard faced much more nasty and personal attacks than previous leaders but I also have to acknowledge…

      Read more
    2. Bronwyn OBrien

      Admin Assistant

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      Hello Henry

      I agree with most of what you say but I think the reason she never 'gained her full licence' had a lot to do with her being a woman.
      What male politician has ever encountered the level of ill treatment she has? I have heard so many people call her a slut and a whore. What male politician has ever been called by those names? (No words even exist that are as degrading as these for a man). How long did the country call Howard a liar when he promised that there will be no GST under…

      Read more
    3. John Robert Brooker

      Retired

      In reply to Anne Karma

      I agree with your summation of the real reasons for Julia Gillard's demise. As a one time middle level manager, I have had the great misfortune to work for a corporate psychopath and I know the bullying, self aggrandising and ultimately incompetent management style they exhibit.

      The most telling count against Rudd was that he was fired by his troops in 2010, not by Julia Gillard or even the alleged 'faceless men' as the biased media and loyal opposition would have us believe. I also note the number of relatively youthful and competent senior Ministers that are leaving politics over his accession. That alone should be telling us a lot about Rudd and who he really is.

      report
    4. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Bronwyn OBrien

      I agree Bronwyn.

      Women are judged against a different scale to men. It is not just men who judge harshly either but other women who appear just as threatened by intellectually smart and outspoken women.

      As I stated on another topic: "Lindy Chamberlain all over again".

      Internationally Julia Gillard was and remains highly respected - in spite of her bum, nasal voice, de facto relationship and lack of offspring, apparently Australia is still in the 1950's with its collective attitude towards women.

      "...As she entered the packed house of representatives chamber she was given a three-minute standing ovation....

      ...She's only the third Australian prime minister to be given the honour of speaking to a joint meeting of the House and Senate, after Bob Hawke and John Howard, but Sir Robert Menzies addressed two joint "receptions" in the 1950s...."

      http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1497516/US-Congress-hails-Gillard-speech

      report
    5. Katherine McKay

      Retired

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      But flawed men do not get the personal and sexist vitriol blasted at them that Julia had to endure. And then have it recast as her fault!

      report
    6. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Anne Karma

      Anne Karma, you are correct.
      Most of the corporate sociopaths are men, and they certainly don't lead by serving.
      Women have always be very good managers, or more accurately economists, for the "Household Managers" from whom, through ancient Greek, we get the word economy, were all women.
      Strangely, one of the trials of Heracles, to prove he was a real and fearless man, worthy of a place among the gods on Olympus with his father Zeus, was to spend a whole year, dressed as a woman, under the direction…

      Read more
    7. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to John Robert Brooker

      Retired but evidently suffering an unfortunate memory loss about the blatantly corrupt mess that Rudd cleaned up in Queensland as Head of the Public Service, itself the instrument through which Joh asserted his many-tentacled tin-pot dictatorship in that state.

      'Corporate psychopath', 'bully', 'self aggrandising' and 'incompetent'? Ask Wayne Goss. Ask Tony Fitzgerald.
      Ask the civil libertarians who helped clean up that state!

      Hard-driven? Yes! No tolerator of fools? Sure! Prodigiously hard worker? Unquestionably! But also modest, reflective, a committed family man, forgiven for his faults, admired by his people!

      report
    8. Peter Blackwell

      Supply Chain Consultant - realist

      In reply to Anne Karma

      The irony is we know how much better it could be if managed properly - households are still hurting trying to make ends meet on a weekly/monthly basis,, manufacturing is drying up, unemployment is set to blow out UNLESS some fo the flawed fundamental economic priinciples are rectified.

      report
    9. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Peter Blackwell

      And those flawed principles might be?

      Surplus NOW! No more debt! Cut taxes! Flexible work contracts!

      These are slogans.

      What rectification are you looking forward to Peter?

      report
    10. Peter Blackwell

      Supply Chain Consultant - realist

      In reply to Bronwyn OBrien

      I have never heard Gillard referred to as a 'slut' or a 'whore' - but in the context of her rise to power where she 'prostituted' herself to become the puppet of the 'faceless men' (not so faceless - Shorten, Abib, Howes and Swan), and the Unions, blindly peddling their agenda,,,,

      When people referred to Gillard they use words abouts females,,, when men are attacked they use masculine terms - as the most incompetent PM in our history words were chosen they were not intended to be gender based, merely related to gender as she is in fact a female. I know thats a bit complex to comprehend for some - none the less, true.

      report
    11. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Peter Blackwell

      "the most incompetent PM in our history..." ????

      Worse than Billy McMahon? Harold Holt? Not enough history Peter.

      Incompetent governments give you Cyprus. Or Spain. Or Italy. Or the USA. This government - from a conservative approach - has been an excellent manager. The numbers speak for themselves.

      But yet we have the worst PM in our history.... on what basis I wonder.

      report
    12. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter: You missed Howard! And (unfortunately) my history goes back as far as yours, methinks!

      report
    13. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      Not sure how "incompetent" Howard was. I disagreed with pretty much everything he did - save guns and Timor - but he did what he said he'd do... tried to bring back the picket fence and the Cold War ambience he grew up in.

      But incompetent? Nah - just awful.

      report
    14. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      The absolute worst public speaker I have had the misfortune to hear.
      Gillard, with the (dis) advantage of her insufferable voice runs him a very close second.
      Howard lead government. No infrastructure to speak of, spent everything that a very buoyant economy brought in, and for which he deserves no credit.
      Most divisive ever. Slavish pandering to anything US.
      Incompetent, but i cloud use more descriptive language but TC would undoubtedly delete it.

      report
    15. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      Squandering you bet ... blew the lot and nothing to show for his time here at all... but popular. So popular he lost his seat - but we've all forgiven him ... forgotten at least.

      I don't know why the pollsters don't ask that every week ... "who would you rather have Tony Abbott or John Howard?" I reckon we'd have Honest John being dragged out of his ill-judged retirement within the month. Come back John we've forgotten it all. We didn't mean it.

      report
    16. Thomas Fields

      "progressive" watcher

      In reply to Katherine McKay

      "Little Johnny Howard", "Budgie Smugglers" and the "unflushable t***" sound personal and sexist enough? How about "lying rodent"?

      Calling Howard "little" is an attempt to belittle his manhood, which according to "progressive's logic" would be classed as sexist. The "budgie smuggler" comment is no different from the "big red **" comment, yet it received zero criticism. The "unflushable t***" comment toward Howard is probably the worst I've ever heard. It was from the journalist Mungo MacCallum.

      report
    17. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      Mr Verberne, "cut through" is media-speak.
      Might be worth thinking about that, as the media has this thing called editing you know.
      Gillard and Swan are highly skilled communicators and politicians, how do you think they got where they did? Can you even remember when anyone in the govt in the last three years, particularly the PM, was permitted to speak for more than a soundbite, or to respond to an open question?
      As for "blunders", that again is opposition/media-created beat up- determined on personalising the entire debate around her putative "incompetence". Propaganda in short.

      report
    18. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Peter Blackwell

      Abbott called Gillard a whore.
      The term "dishonest woman" is traditionally used to refer to prostitutes. Hence the phrase to "make an honest woman of" meaning to marry a woman who is "living in sin"/prostituting herself.

      I don't doubt a Rhodes scholar would be aware of this reference, even if the press apparently weren't.

      report
    19. Deirdre Whitford

      Un-Worker

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      Yes exactly Freya, I share your disgust with Abbott's sheer cynicism in deploying that little piece of calculated misogynistic abuse
      Another seamless fit with the narrative that also gave us the Mal Brough menu and the chaffbag...
      Playing the very lowest card in the politcal deck for reasons of unmixed self interest, just because he can.
      Utterly beneath contempt, really.
      .
      And all of a piece with the Jones/Hadley Murdoch naa

      report
    20. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      Isn't that disgusting, I really don't understand why the decent members of the Liberal Party haven't given him the flick.
      Could you really imagine Malcolm Turnbull making a comment like that.
      And as for Julie Bishop ,she must desperately be in need to save her job, to sit next to him day after day and listen to him, nodding her head in agreeance with him and smiling at his "jock shock" antics.
      And a once candidate for the priesthood!
      The Lord preserved us!

      report
    21. susan walton

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      Oh for goodness sake! Do you really believe the drivel you are coming out with.
      Dishonest woman meaning a prostitute? you are seriously clutching at straws with that one!
      She is dishonest because of her very suspect 'slush fund' with the AWA. which is under investigation with the Victoria police. This business stinks to high heaven no matter which way one wants to look at it.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AWU_affair

      On the other hand, Julia was president of the AUS union, which emphatically did refer to married women as prostitutes, a union which was eventually banned from every university in the country.

      report
    22. susan walton

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      I know exactly to what you are referring to and to pathetically attempt to link 'dishonest' with 'prostitute' is just off the planet.

      Take a bex and lie down.
      Unfortunately Julia was dishonest from day 1.

      She was dishonest in her events of the night of the long knives, the Timor rubbish, the Malaysian nonsense, the carbon tax, the cash for clunkers, citizen's assemblies, the AWA affair, the misogyny rant whilst defending a man who likened our privates to seafood and worse.

      Dishonest…

      Read more
    23. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to susan walton

      At the risk of unleashing yet another unreadable diatribe on Gillard's dishonesty...
      You haven't heard of the double entendre then? It's very popular with some politicians.
      I'm sorry that I have undermined your belief in the purity and virtue of your idol. The reference originates in the bible (as Abbott would know), was in common use in the Middle Ages, and is still used today, usually ironically.

      report
  7. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Gideon Maxwell Polya

      Oh Gideon please get off the Zionist mantra.

      I've hardly heard the word Israel mentioned in Australian politics since Hawke left office.

      The elephant in the room is a dinosaur.

      report
    2. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Gideon Maxwell Polya

      As you say - "Self-confessed ignorance and bald denial are no substitute for sensible discussion."

      I don't really think Australian politics cares too much for Israeli or Middle Eastern affairs.

      I doubt very much discussions about those issues arise in Labor or Liberal party meetings.....perhaps the odd unionist or two.

      I'm no fan of Israel whatsoever, but as I said earlier, I can't recall the last time I heard an Australian politician mention Israel.

      report
  8. Anne Karma

    logged in via Facebook

    For those who claim this economy is in a disaster thanks to Ms Gillard I quote the following

    What debt? It's matched to our GDP. This from Aust. economy overview. Wiki. "Australia's
    per-capita GDP is higher than that of the UK, Germany, and France in terms of purchasing
    power parity. Per Capita GDP (PPP) Australia is ranked fifth in the world (IMF 2011). The
    country was ranked second in the United Nations 2011 Human Development Index and sixth
    in The Economist worldwide quality-of-life…

    Read more
    1. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Anne Karma

      I can only agree Anna with your comments about the strong relative economic position in this country and foreign commentators are baffled by the negativity here.

      But for various reasons the voters out there perceive otherwise and seem ready to vote for Abbott's LNP though their policies are mainly defined by what they say they will abolish, or are against and they have been able to get away with only scant details which are little more than "motherhood"statements.

      But perception is as important as substance. I think a negative perception of incompetence and trustworthiness is responsible for Labor's woes.

      report
    2. John C Smith

      Auditor

      In reply to Anne Karma

      These numbers got nothing to do if you are single parent I mean man or a woman.

      Australia has a hybrid economy, Those who comparing it to Industrial nations should also compare it to countries like Momgolia and Nigeria.

      report
    3. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Anne Karma

      One salient point on that personal wealth, this is based mainly on inflated house prices and Americans had high house prices too, before the housing related GFC came along.
      I wonder if those very profitable Australian banks, with $1.5 Trillion dollars worth of mortgage debt on their books, want to risk it all by supporting a job destroying, mortgage default inducing Abbott recession?
      Well do yah? Punks! theres a 45 calibre CFC bullet heading their way if they do back Abbott.
      Australia is riding…

      Read more
    4. Peter Blackwell

      Supply Chain Consultant - realist

      In reply to Anne Karma

      You are well read and can quote from published data, but how in touch are you with everyday households who are struggling to pay their bills ??? Consumer confidence is at an all time low, people are trying to pay down debt because they are unsure of the future, and retail sales reflect this - where are those facts ?

      report
    5. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to John C Smith

      John: Bondi Junction and Paddington, areas I have known well for many years are doing anything but well.
      The empty shops. The empty shops! Bing Lee has just pulled the plug in the Junction after 25 years. The small businesses that are struggling.
      Australia may be doing well, but the small business sector certainly isn't.

      report
    6. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      About the plight of small business in Paddington and Bondi Junction, I would certainly be looking at the hand of Westfield in this situation before I would be blaming any government. As for the fashion strip at Paddo they lost out to low cost imports from Aust manufacturers going overseas virtually overnight with the lowering of tariffs back at the turn of this century. There is nothing recent at all about this situation. All this amazing gloom never mentioned in Howard’s time.

      report
    7. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Chris: I tend to agree and I wasn't actually intending to blame Gillard's government.
      Intended it as a comment on the supposed booming economy.
      The evidence is that at the small business/personal level thisis not the case.

      report
  9. Annie Geard

    Consultant at Dept of Education

    We forget that Ms Gillard attained government by a coup, not bloodless, by sleight of hand, this has coloured the whole tenor of the government. People don't forget that and its left a bad smell/taste in the electorate's collective mouth.

    She talks of how badly she was treated my goodness yes, but so did Joan Kirner, Natasha Stott Despoyer, Bronwyn Bishop, Amanda Vanstone , pretty well every woman in politics has been attacked in similar fashion. Something as a society we should be ashamed of

    Finally Ms Gillard's relationship wit the union movement, the whiff of dodgy union deals, was also just a bit on the nose. It really is time we grew up and started to behave like decent civilized people, get rid of the pack mentalilty

    report
    1. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Annie Geard

      The coup was never adequately explained or justified and that hurt Gillard enormously as rightly or or wrongly Rudd was still popular among voters. However I could see some of Gillard's strengths and though the coup took my breath away I supported her and she does have some real achievements in a very difficult Parliament (the hung parliament arguably reflected the disapproval of many voters of the means of accession to office).

      In contrast to you I do think that Gillard copped a lot more vitriol and even comments suggestive of violence among the shock jocks than the women you list. But I also accept that this is difficult to substantiate both my claim- and yours.

      report
    2. alfred venison

      records manager (public secotr)

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      the removal of rudd was unjustified and against the national interest. -a.v.

      report
  10. Dr Graham Lovell

    logged in via Twitter

    This article claims that "Gillard's ambition ultimately exceeded her political talent." This is a new suggestion. Given the fact of her initial ability to turn the Labor vote around, and then her gradual loss of support despite the good economic stats, it must have some validity, even though it is only a partial answer to the conundrum of Gillard's loss of popularity.

    What I find interesting is the new regime (it can only be called that) is adopting pro-business rhetoric, in contrast with the…

    Read more
    1. Peter Heffernan

      Chartered Accountant and Employer

      In reply to Dr Graham Lovell

      Thanks Graham for a balanced comment in this sea of bigotry.

      No one argues that Gillard Labor didn't have some good ideas, but 'Politics is the Art of the Possible', and here Gillard, without any real world business type leadership experience, could not understand what was realistically possible to achieve, had no idea of how to embrace stakeholders, sell her ideas and take people with her, i.e. governing for all Australians!

      Her 'modus operandi' may well have served her well in rising up…

      Read more
    2. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Peter Heffernan

      You make some well reasoned points Peter. In retrospect JG was not ready to run the country and despite some strong personal attributes, she may never have been ready.

      I do contend that she has been relentlessly and viciously attacked and more nastily so than say John Howard. But I concede that this is a matter of opinion and not easily substantiated.

      report
    3. Rotha Jago

      concerned citizen

      In reply to Dr Graham Lovell

      I agree. The difficulty I think Gillard had was something which could be seen as feminine. That was a tendency to take on new or altered policies (That Tax) without making her mental processes known to the public. Now that is a big ask for a politician, but if it is not done the person appears deceptive or at best unreliable. It is a problem for anyone who is collaborative in their approach. "Why did you say this last week and now you are saying the opposite?".
      Rudd addressed the problem up front…

      Read more
  11. Jennifer Frances Armstrong

    logged in via Facebook

    She seemed to have a tremendous amount of natural authority to me. Loads of it. Perhaps some people might think women look uncomfortable in authority, but that wasn't my impression.

    report
  12. Anne Karma

    logged in via Facebook

    For those who think MS Gillard was a disaster and achieved nothing I give a list of what she achieved in a hung parliament that I doubt whether Abbott would be able to get through let alone Rudd (who is already abusing his fellow party members and claiming the upper hand) No longer will the Labor Party be able to claim that it is fairer to women than the Liberals. There was a world wide concert recently where Beyoncé, Madonna and many other successful women said that no country will be able to…

    Read more
    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Anne Karma

      But unfortunately no-one decreed politics is fair, sensible and rational.

      It's a profession that eats it's own.

      report
    2. alfred venison

      records manager (public secotr)

      In reply to Anne Karma

      I know you’re aggrieved but fair is fair
      Rudd signed kyoto
      Rudd started the move for the u.n. seat
      Rudd appointed bryce
      Rudd spoke the apology
      I give up . . . . .

      report
    3. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to alfred venison

      He also started hospital reform which Gillard cancelled, he started refugee policy reform back to the convention laws instead of deranged racism that has led to this:
      But before you do could you spare a moment about today.
      An Iranian couple and their four year old daughter moved into their new home today.
      They were released from Detention on the NO ADVANTAGE BRIDGING VISA a few weeks back to tyransit accommodation in a de-commissioned age care home in the Western suburbs where they shared…

      Read more
    4. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Ask your Brigidines to check in with Vinnies or Sals. I know that when I attempted to gift them some reasonable furniture surplus to my needs with children leaving home, they knocked them back. I put them out the front verge for council pick-up and my neighbors asked permission to take certain items, they were cleared within a day. Don't give us the old not generous aussie nonsense or aussies are so rich they are too proud to accept any secondhand stuff. I'm sorry for your Iranian friends, but I am sure they do not share your expectation of instead household aussie largesse. It's hard to believe in your generosity when you appear so mean spirited re Gillard and now Roxon who was superb minister.

      report
    5. Stuart Mackenzie

      PhD candidate at the University of Ballarat

      In reply to Anne Karma

      Can I suggest you check your facts before making these claims, Anne?
      A considerable number of the items on your list were achieved by the 2007-10 Rudd Government and it is difficult to see how you can attribute 21 years of continuous economic growth to someone who was PM for only three years.

      report
    6. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Marilyn: if it were Sydney, they would have a fridge and other bits and pieces tomorrow.
      Unfortunately there are too ,many who do not see the treatment of refugees as a problem, as they do not see the ongoing slaughter of the Palestinians as a problem.
      Don't give up, convince one in every thousand to take a look at what Australia supports, get them asking questions, in some the light dawns.

      report
    7. Peter Blackwell

      Supply Chain Consultant - realist

      In reply to Anne Karma

      Many of these unfunded, and/or contributing to further deficits which I as a tax payer will need to fund going forward. There is no doubting a few good things happened, but the magnitude of the bad outweighs them exponentially.

      report
    8. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Anne Karma

      Anna,
      In a household analogy, I could buy a top new car with 23 air bags, remove allasbestos from the home, paint it to lengthen its life, install a stainless steel roof for longevity, pay for a new school next door for child safety ......
      I could do these things after going deeply into debt. Someday, my offspring would have to repay that debt with interest. About then, they might cease to call me a visionary thinker.

      The test is not how much was spent or how long the list is. The test is value for money. Our money.
      Very few of the items on your list will show much value.
      Like, explain the future value of the Kyot protocol, already a dead duck in the water.

      Quality trumps quantity here. Many of your listed items can do without the Nanny State that they typify.

      report
    9. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Too right Geoff.

      I want a government that knows the value of a dollar. I want them to only spend money where they will make a profit. And then why not us rather than them really?

      I think we should slash health funding dramatically on this basis. All it does is make the pension and old age budgets blow themselves to smithereens. It's completely counterproductive to be investing on lengthening life indefinitely while incurring all the costs of doing so.

      We need to inject a few market signals into the life cycle choice issues that we face as a nation! This Nation.

      You know it makes sense.

      report
  13. Chris Saunders

    retired

    Putting it all down to Gillard’s naked ambition and inability to learn from her mistakes might be a nice bit of populist reasoning and it certainly exonerates everyone from media bashers to cranky sexists from any real hand in the abuse and ultimate demise of the former PM. What you have done here smacks very much of creating a victim (or straw man) and then blaming her for what others did to her. From my estimation of Gillard she would no more see herself a victim than fly. Laying at her door sole responsibility for her fate means you and all in sundry can wash our hands of any part in the events.
    The truth, common to all politicians as well as their leaders, still remains that they are all driven by naked ambition, and confined by their ideology. They do not however operate alone, or in a vacuum and from that aspect alone your analysis is ultimately hollow.

    report
  14. John Stanley

    Manager

    Keeping a minority government together for close to a full term requires enormous political skill. In 1940 Menzies led a minority government He was hounded for his lack of service in the first world war, and his government failed after 13 months.

    Gillard's appointment of Peter Slipper to Speaker was considered a mistake. But in the context of a minority government it was necessary to stop a very damaging, well organised and funded campaign against Andrew Wilkie's non negotiable poker machine legislation.

    The problem for Labor was that any rational debate on policy achievements was consistently drowned by the intolerant, and a Murdoch press obsessed with her demise.

    While history will record that Gillard made mistakes, I believe it will also recall this time as one of the least edifying in our history.

    In my lifetime I have never seen any person manage such a difficult situation with such strength and dignity.

    report
    1. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to John Stanley

      Why blame Wilkie? See here you go. It's easy to find the hard core partisans as they blame everyone but the one at fault.

      Gillard got the gig with the help of Wilkie on a set platform, she threw him to the dogs, the pokie problem is getting worse and worse so she dragged in Peter Slipper.

      Insulting and abusing one of the most honourable people in parliament, a true hero whistle blower who had the guts to quit a well paid job to state rightly that there were no WMD worth speaking of in Iraq is disgusting, just as Abbott abusing Bernie Banton was disgusting.

      Gillard broke her word to many people about many things.

      report
    2. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to John Stanley

      Strength and dignity? Let's see now, she had a set program worked out with the Indies, then she shafted a number of them so she had to make more Indies.

      She had the easiest senate in the world to get good things past and in reality when it comes to punishing and persecution of minorities the ALP and coaltion are exactly as brutal as each other.

      Angela Merkel manages a coalition without resorting to the poor widdle woman thing though, as do many other governments around the world.

      report
    3. John Stanley

      Manager

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      The problem Marilyn is that Woolworths has a lot more money and influence than Wilkie.

      And I don't know what planet you're from but if you think she had it easy then I don't want to live where you are.

      You go on about the poor widdle woman thing, but but I think she was remarkably restrained in the face of some of the most disgusting and disrespectful treatment handed out to any politician in my lifetime.

      Let's see how Tony deals with it. Let's see how a real man lives up to his promise to stop the boats.

      report
    4. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to John Stanley

      The Nation suffered while in her greed she refused to call an early election, while sticking with a near-unmanageable hung parliament. Dumb, dumber, dumbest.

      report
    5. John Stanley

      Manager

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Precisely, how did the nation "suffer" ? Was it high unemployment, inflation, lack of services? Of course not. Rusted on Liberal voters suffered because their party with a sense of entitlement couldn't muster enough votes to govern in their own right. And we all suffered having to endure the longest dummy spit in the history of western democracy.

      report
  15. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

    Boss

    Why the adulation for a female bully with tools to transfet $$$ from the private to the public purse with little respect for scientific uncertainty and unintended consequences? Plus very little consultation with the public before policy announcements as fait accompli? Even I could have done that, as a 70s male who can knit.

    report
  16. Evelyn Haskins

    retired

    Julia Gillard's downfall was entirely of her own making.

    SHE might blame it on being a woman in a man's world, but in fact I think that BECAUSE she was a woman, we put up with her far too long.

    We put up with her through the years of those ugly and unflattering jackets, we put up with her despite her terra-cotta hair. We even tried to listen to her despite her harsh and uneducated accent. (Does anybody inthe real world ever talk with a Gillard Accent?)

    But eventually I suspect most people decided that we were sick of cringing whenever JG appeared on the International Scene.

    When I heard that Kevin Rudd had beaten Julia Gillard on her challenge, it was as though the sun came out again. Now I don't know if Rudd is good, bad or indifferent, but at least he is not embarrassing.

    report
    1. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to Evelyn Haskins

      Julia Gillard won an election in 2010, securing a majority of the popular vote and commanding a majority on the floor of the House.

      Under Australia's Consitution, there is no election due until 2013.

      So how can you argue that "we put up with her far too long". As the winner of an election, she is constitutionally entitled to govern for 3 years.

      This is a perfect example of the difference in standards people applied to Gillard vs earlier PMs. Not to mention the total lack of understanding of our political system that such a statement implies.

      report
    2. Brett Bailey

      Self Employed

      In reply to Greg Young

      Hmmm Greg methinks you are twisting the outcome of the parliamentary vote - did Gillard Labor obtain a majority of the seats? errrrr no you say she won the election - no she did not and it is disigenous of you to suggest she did. If what you say was at all correct then we would not have had to wait 17 days to find out if LNP or Lab was to form Government. Commanding a majority on the floor was in concet with the support of independants - at no stage was Gillard Labor the majority party. Recreating histopry is always fraut with danger if you don;t draw on the facts - please check with the AEC website for confirmation.

      report
    3. Renato Bright

      Consultant

      In reply to Evelyn Haskins

      Like most unthinking people your comments resort to vacuous personal attacks - colour of hair, unflattering jackets, voice.

      From the tone of your comments I'm sure we'd all cringe if you appeared anywhere let alone on the 'International Scene'.

      report
    4. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to Brett Bailey

      By all means you should check the AEC website. There you will find that, at the 2010 election:

      1. Labor won far more seats than any other single party.
      2. Labor won the 2PP vote over the Liberal-National Coalition.

      In any normal democracy, that gives Labor the right to attempt to form a government. The coalition that Gillard was able to put together in the House was larger than the Coalition that Abbott was able to put together in the House. Ergo, she won the election, according to the Australian…

      Read more
    5. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Greg Young

      Hear! Hear! Greg.

      Not only are people writing nonsense (clothes, hair colour, accent) but they are trying to rewrite history.

      report
    6. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Brett Bailey

      So Dear Tony won the election if Gillard didn't?
      At very few stages have Liberals ever won a majority of the vote.
      Minority governments the lot of them except for 1975.
      Hey, but it is alright, if it is minority liberals protecting their supporters from the depredations of the unwashed hordes who want to trample their rose beds.
      Plenty of work, you know, for those willing to beat the majority 'Scum" back with a stick though?

      report
  17. Michael Leonard Furtado

    Doctor at University of Queensland

    No tragedy here, except for those who misunderstand the complex processes of policy, especially in a democracy. Gillard and Rudd are both highly competent politicians. They are good at different things. This sunk home fairly early in the piece. Labor learnt from its mistakes in Australia and its counterpart in the UK.

    Thus, quite early in the cycle, Labor stage-managed an internal coup, allowing its highly competent presidential-style election strategist (Rudd) to step aside to enable an equally…

    Read more
    1. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to George Michaelson

      Abbott is starting from a low popularity base and will find that his popularity will be hit as soon as he has to start making a few unpopular decisions to deliver on his promises. The media will still be writing their weekly poll stories, only this time it will be about how the electorate hates Abbott and loves Turnbull. And the whole treadmill will start again.

      report
    2. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Greg Young

      Why bellyache about this (as you consistently do)? Its one of the jobs of the fourth estate in the democratic polity to expose cant and pretence, especially as reflected in the polls! I'd love to see a Rudd versus Turnbull contest. The Australian people surely deserve better champions than second-raters, such as Gillard versus Abbott.

      report
    3. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Why "bellyache"? Because i care about it. What other reason do I need? I certainly am not seeking your permission.

      The media are going to give you your second-rater, that's for sure.

      report
    4. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      We want Malcolm!
      The Abbott crushing steamroller is firing up!
      You are correct, Michael, there is a reasonable expectation in the electorate now that if Labor can change leaders then the Liberals can ditch the loser of 2010.
      Three word slogan, Liberals, Lose the Loser!.

      report
  18. Stuart Mackenzie

    PhD candidate at the University of Ballarat

    The first comment elicited a discussion with nine or so comments, yet the original post has been removed by the moderator, making the discussion unintelligible.
    Could the moderator please edit the offending bits of the original post and then repost so we can make sense of the subsequent discussion?
    Thanks

    report
  19. George Michaelson

    Person

    In other times, might we not have lauded a government for pragmatism in the face of reality?

    I can't help feeling the narrative could have been elsewhere, had we chosen to focus it that way.

    The Ju-Liar concept resonated far too strongly. How can you objectify one person as a Liar yet laud Howard for a fundamental honesty of "I changed my mind' ?

    report
    1. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to George Michaelson

      The Ju-liar meme was usually invoked in relation to her changed stance over a carbon tax.

      Abbott made exactly the same reversal in his view of a carbon tax, but was never called out for it and never accused of being a liar about it.

      report
  20. Stuart Mackenzie

    PhD candidate at the University of Ballarat

    The points identified in the article are all relevant, but are inadequate as an explanation for the essential phenomenon of Labor government since 2007, which is why a government that has steered the country through difficult economic conditions - to the general acclaim of external observers, including the ratings agencies - and implemented an impressive reform program is regarded by so many in Australia as incompetent?
    There appears to be a disconnect between reality and the perceptions held by people living here, and that's the real question that needs to be explored.
    Labor's inability to sell its message, a ruthlessly negative opposition, the influence of talk-back radio in critical marginal seats, superficial - and possibly agenda driven - reporting by the mainstream media are all possible factors, but it seems to me to be a mistake to assume that party leadership is the entire, or even a major part of, the explanation.

    report
    1. Valerie Kay

      PhD candidate, public health

      In reply to Stuart Mackenzie

      Hi Stuart I didn't keep a copy of the post and can't remember it exactly, but the key point was that Shaun Carney had done exactly what Julia Gillard identified in her farewell speech - acknowledged that there was sexism and misogyny towards her, but then said it didn't matter.
      I tried to explain using a simple statistical argument: if sexism means her statements and achievements are one per cent less likely, then it is real but minor. However, if it's five per cent, then it's very important, and if it's ten per cent, then it's politically disastrous.
      As Julia Gillard said, sexism doesn't explain everything, but it does explain some of what we've seen.
      What we need (as I think you will agree) is thoughtful and considered analysis of just how much, and in what ways, sexism and misogyny do affect political discourse in this country, and what we can do to redress this. We don't need articles like Mr Carney's, which appears to be mainly an attempt to justify his previous positions.

      report
    2. Valerie Kay

      PhD candidate, public health

      In reply to Valerie Kay

      Sorry should read
      If sexism means her statements and achievements are one per cent less likely to be heard or recognised, ...

      report
    3. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Valerie Kay

      Valerie

      Thanks for explaining your post. I could not comment as it had already been deleted, making the entire thread of responses almost nonsensical. Quite terrifying to know we cannot critique authors.

      Anyway.

      Agree with you and Ms J Gillard that sexism didn't explain all but clearly was a very useful tool attracting the lowest common denominator AKA troglodytes. The 'faceless' could not have achieved their slander without such weaponry. Quite disturbing to see how much relish there is in sticking the boot into an 'uppity' woman.

      report
    4. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      No no no Ms A...I think TC's new policy of whipping away comments based on niceness is excellent... captures the zeitgeist... especially when there is a whole string of comments predicated on the whisked away detritus of the initial post. Alice in Wonderland meets sodoku.

      One gets the reaction and works back to the facts - or some notion of it - like a crossword in space and time... one fills in the awful, dreadful menacing toothy gaps in an invention of a comment we were not deemed fit to see. Lest it corrupt us. Or lower the tone. It's a mannerly entertainment at its heart.

      report
    5. Thomas Fields

      "progressive" watcher

      In reply to Valerie Kay

      "We don't need articles like Mr Carney's, which appears to be mainly an attempt to justify his previous positions."

      Hilarious.

      This is one of the only articles on The Conversation that tries to find alternative reasons than 'the media and men' for why Gillard failed. In an academic environment it ought to be more than welcome in a sea of articles that simply agree with one another. Moreover, the article looks to actual decisions she made and how they resonated with the electorate, rather than saying 'it's all because of misogyny'.

      report
  21. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

    Boss

    Let's get this straight.
    The Feds have either assumed, or been allowed to hijack, so much power that the wish of the citizen counts for very little.
    It is childishly easy to dream up a huge Federal 'initiative', to borrow vast sums to fund it and to have it called 'visionary' and to make out that only the ALP is really visionary.
    Next, there comes the time to repay the money borrowed. This realisations by the masses usually happens about the time a Coalition government is elected…

    Read more
  22. alexander j watt

    logged in via Twitter

    You know i just don't read it this way. To me, Gillard was not politically weak. Just the opposite, she has shown nothing but strenght of purpose and determination. It was her colleagues who were weak, with their eyes on the polls and the media. I think Gillard was playing the long game.

    I don't see her problems with selling the message that everyone says she had. I got her message loud and clear. She gave great press conferences. I don't think the media ever truly looked her in the eye. They…

    Read more
  23. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    Fifty shades of grey, and fifty shades of black and white.

    Imagine if the commenters herein (including me) were historians.

    What truth would come out about the JG government and JG herself.?

    Could there be an objective history on what's been offered here via opinion and comment?

    report
  24. Comment removed by moderator.

  25. Michael Field

    logged in via email @gmail.com

    Glad you mention the role of Wayne Swan, in my mind the biggest real weakness of Labor under both leaderships.

    report
    1. Valerie Kay

      PhD candidate, public health

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Exactly my perception of John Howard.
      In response to your earlier post about being black, gay and ex-Cathoilic, good for you, you should certainly be well placed to recognise the richness and diversity of life. This makes your negative comments about women who like to knit or wear dresses all the more puzzling. Choosing traditionally feminine pursuits or clothing doesn't determine a woman's ability or intelligence.
      Also I found your comments to me about my supposed inability to do policy analysis somewhat patronising, especially as I've written quite a lot of policy at national and state level in my career.

      report
    2. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Valerie Kay

      I apologise for my rudeness, Valerie.

      Like Julia, whom I actually like, I don't want to be black and white about the identity stuff. I know plenty of feral blacks, have profoundly disappointing experiences of some gay people, and, in the end, remain a Catholic with one disaffected foot within the cloister'd camp and another as an outcast.

      Here's a peace-offering, explaining my situation of perpetual doubt, from Francis Thompson to share with you and other erstwhile e-companions on this most splendid and effulgent of Sunday mornings:

      "I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
      I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
      I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
      Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
      I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
      Up vistaed hopes I sped;"

      Have a great day!

      report
    3. Deirdre Whitford

      Un-Worker

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Well thank you, MLF, for offering all of us that marvellous slice of Francis Thompson's sheer poetic excellence.
      Unfortunately, Thompson's work does not feature in my standard anthology of Poems for Female Heterosexual Anglicans.
      After reading your quotation,,I may well email the editors of the next edition of that useful tome and advocate strongly for his inclusion henceforth.
      Thanks again!.

      report
    4. Valerie Kay

      PhD candidate, public health

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Thank you Michael, appreciated, although I don't completely understand how the quotation from Francis Thompson fits into our discussion. I'll think on't as Shakespeare may (from memory) have said! Cheers

      report
    5. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Valerie Kay

      I was ruminating about the wisdom of Julia's statement that there's nothing black and white about her claims that gender played a part in her downfall.

      It caused me to reflect similarly about my own context as a balding, disaffected, brown(ish) Catholic person of a gay disposition. Nothing special, or indeed black and white about me, as I maintain a foot in many camps, including Francis Thompson's.

      Why not, thought I, let Julia have the last say on this matter, instead of drawing yet more blood from Lynne Newington to fan the flames of this controversy ?

      (There's a mixed metaphor in there somewhere, but you know what I mean; otherwise she won't be satisfied until she yet again drags George Pell and the entire Catholic clergy into this, accusing them and their wicked ways for somehow bringing about Julia's downfall).

      report
    6. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      I have no neeed of metaphors, it's purely black and white and as far as clergy and their wicked ways...... living in Queensland, you should know all about that, your state was a dumping ground for Victorian at least, wayward clergy
      How do you get on with Archbishop Mark Colerige, he's gone very quiet [as have many others] since all the Inquiries and now Royal Commission, he'd be happy not to have to see her face in the media, a constant reminder she was only a [powerful] woman who should know her place.
      Another reminder of his attitude, recalling his comments to Muriel Porter some time ago when she reported him to the Melbourne Archbishop.

      report
  26. Michael Bolan

    Systems practicioner

    The constant false promises of a surplus are informative. Operating at a loss appears to have been accepted as normal practice yet slowly combine to put the population into debt and disadvantage future generations.

    What would happen if governments were required to operate within their budgets and to breach that condition required a referendum?

    report
    1. David Ransom

      Former journalist

      In reply to Michael Bolan

      What would happen indeed? By that reasoning you could ask what would happen if we had a referendum on everything? Did you ever see the film The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer. I recommend it to you.

      report
  27. Fred Moore

    Builder

    Julia's surrender of power is hardly a tragedy. To assume such is to aid and abet the external forces that are arrayed against our "easybeat" Nation as we speak. Foreign corporations and Governments see a rock bottom Australia as a good investment and THEY know how to manipulate our economic parameters through Quantitative easing theft strategies & PRIVATISATION treachery to ensure we DO hit rock bottom.

    The privatisation component is the most dangerous. For when you sell public assets and…

    Read more
  28. Comment removed by moderator.

  29. Don Butler
    Don Butler is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Paediatrician

    Rudd's personality is Labour's and his own fatal weakness. He is unable to work with people. This characteristic can be a positive in "opposition' , but a fatal flaw when in power. It was for this reason he was removed as PM.
    Asperger Rudd will not change, can't change and the result of this rigidity is inevitable failure.

    report
  30. Comment removed by moderator.

  31. TheBackYardLemonTree

    logged in via Twitter

    The tragedy of Julia Gillard is that her 'ambition exceeded her talent' Really? and how many men who have have wanted to be or have become PM had their ambition exceed their talent. Rudd, Abbott, Costello John Howard, Billy McMahon or it is only women who struggle with the legitimacy of their ambition. This article is a good example of why so many Australian women are pissed off with the backward gender politics of this country.

    report
    1. Brett Bailey

      Self Employed

      In reply to TheBackYardLemonTree

      Abbott hasn't been PM - nor was Costello - Rudd has and was disliked by his party - McMahon was and he was disliked by his party Those two PM's were white anted from within - McMahon was Pm during the Voietnam War and suffered accordingly - he was also rumoured to be Homsexual - his looks and his voice (where have I heard those negatives before?) went against him. A cursory look at McMahons life - he was a very competant MInsiter serving for 21 years - so I am not so sure he wasn't talented but he certainly had difficulty in debating with Gough Whitlam who like Menzies was an outstanding orator with public appeal

      report
    2. Deirdre Whitford

      Un-Worker

      In reply to TheBackYardLemonTree

      Thank you so much for posting that, Ms LemonTree.
      This particular slice of your sour-citrus-fruit wisdom did not make me grimace one little bit.
      Indeed, it had quite the reverse effect on my facial expression.
      Now I find I am smiling one big watermelon smile.
      On you, sister!

      report
    3. TheBackYardLemonTree

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Brett Bailey

      That's not really my point, this would never be said about a man. Ambition is seen as natural in a man (whatever his talents). To say Julia Gillard lacked the talent and ability to be PM is quite extraordinary. If Julia Gillard wasn't talented enough to legitimately aspire to high office, what woman is? Is Shaun Carney suggesting that the under representation of women in our parliament is due to a lack of ability and talent on our part, when the one woman who breaks through the glass ceiling is seen as too ambitious for her abilities. If that isn't sexist I don't really know what is.

      report
  32. Stuart Mackenzie

    PhD candidate at the University of Ballarat

    At 2.38pm I received an email alert about the following post by Renato Bright:

    "Attention: Editors of The Conversation. No information has been provided to advise what Shaun Carney does for his full time career - is he an opinion writer for the main-stream-media? I ask because this piece, and many, many others posted to The Conversation in recent times suggest a distinct, and highly regrettable, lowering of standards in terms of authors and articles accepted for publication by The Conversation…

    Read more
    1. Deirdre Whitford

      Un-Worker

      In reply to Stuart Mackenzie

      Oh, really, now...I had independently formed my own vague opinion along the same lines, which I will loosely summarise here as: Yes, I agree, Bright Is Right.
      Thank you very much for your extremely valuable post, Stuart.
      With any luck. the TC Editors will do me the courtesy of allowing you and others to read this expression of my approval of what you have posted, and of you for posting it...

      report
  33. Doug Robb

    Director at Clarity Software Pty Ltd

    Shaun that's a magnificent and insightful summary. It's shame some of the comments show so much vitriol. It's part of our human condition that we only see what we want to see but there comes a point when readers would be better served thinking about lessons learned than attacking the messenger.

    report
  34. Peter Horan

    Retired

    Apart from all that, doing what you should be doing - negotiating and passing good legislation - gains nothing. It is no wonder that they did not "cut through". People don't listen when you are doing the right thing. Not doing what you should be doing, doing the wrong thing or something going wrong with something one supported is absolutely damaging. It is a one way negative.

    Then there is the opposite case. Going on the attack against the opposition, as Rudd does, wins. People pay attention…

    Read more
  35. John C Smith

    Auditor

    There are faceless who run the country and then there are faceless who run the political entities. The faceless who run the country are not happy with a hung thing unlees they can get the sticky tape to do what they want like what they did with Demorats to get GST.

    report
  36. Lee-Anne Walker

    logged in via Twitter

    Some good points, Shaun, but way too harsh on Gillard. You try getting through the plethora of bills she managed with a hung parliament, Rudd's machinations and the relentless vilification by the Murdoch press! (enjoyed the comments, particularly the erudite historical allusions :)

    report
  37. David Lees

    Consultant & Coffee Drinker

    My 2 cents + GST worth ....

    At first I agreed with the axing of Kev for Julia as a bold & clever political move. But .... as Shaun points out the 'trust' factor was lost from the 'get-go' for Julia.

    Having said that, the hung parliament and the compromise needed to form government was a game changer for Gillard.

    Coupled with Coalition attacks on her personal integrity and yes some gaffes, it was not looking good.

    I agree that sexism, the media, bad decisions, Coalition negativity, lack of communication with the electorate, Rudd, contributed to the demise of Gillard.

    The real tragedy (in my humble view) is if she had waited, she would have eventually become Labor leader (after a Rudd election defeat & an Abbot Government) and very likely become Prime Minister in her own right.

    Hindsight is such a wonderful thing!

    report
  38. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    Ah yes ... from reading the auguries to a bit of long distance personality analysis...Personally I think Gillard is well out of it.

    The triumph of the poll watchers. Nothing about policies they didn't agree with or new ideas ... nope just about a more popular messiah.

    And heck why wouldn't he be popular? With the Press Gallery picking up every breathless tweet or whisper from Rudd or one of his "loyalists" as fact - and fact more important than another asylum seeker boat flipping over…

    Read more
  39. Peter Blackwell

    Supply Chain Consultant - realist

    Shaun,, an inciteful and thoroughly accurate assessment of facts and circumstances surrounding Gillard as PM. It is my understanding Kevin's intention among other things was to groom Gillard for PM and hand over in his 2nd or 3rd terms, thus being in part responsible for our first female PM. If she had been patient she may have listened and learned, and may have developed the skills required - although having seen the trail of destruction in her wake I am no longer sure she would ever have been up to it.

    Well writen !

    report
  40. Decortes Fleur

    Writer Researcher Producer at creative industry

    We are such a relatively new country politically. On St Bartholemews Day 1572 France had a massacre. Vote early. Polls open two weeks before. November 2013 would be fine. On the up side a lot of 'hate' died on 26 June 2013 and striking 'young' Lib. Senator Mickalia Cash with her Shakespearean speech on sisterhood became a THEATRICAL LEGEND. The Australian Wool Promotions Poster of Julia Gillard and pup if 'doctored' in photoshop to remove the dark patches and disarray of wool and replace it with…

    Read more
  41. Decortes Fleur

    Writer Researcher Producer at creative industry

    Say for example if the PM had allowed her portrait 'knitting' to be a power portrait with a beautiful backdrop. A nod to creative industry. Nature. The Great outdoors. A totally inspiring knockout image. Would this have turned the tide?

    report
    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Decortes Fleur

      I suspect that Julia Gillard could have cured cancer one weekend and the news coverage would be damning come Monday ... looking for how this affect Rudd's chances... or attacking it over costs...or the damage to existing cancer cures.

      Short of donning herself up like Britannia or the Queen - as Thatcher was almost able to do - Julia is not a costume party kinda person. Would look like feathers on a bull. She's is too smart by half to crack it as the hausfrau next door. Be like Gough dressed up as Ginger Meggs.

      No - too smart and a woman apparently! Who knew? Well that won't be happening again for a while.

      report
    2. Valerie Kay

      PhD candidate, public health

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Love your comments - may I quote you? Your first paragraph says it so well.
      I hope your last one isn't right though (though I fear it may be).
      Actually I am giving a presentation soon and would like to quote your comment (with attribution of course). Not quite sure what the policy is on this re permissions, so will check and find out.

      report
    3. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Valerie Kay

      Cite away Ms K... a few months back an old friend tracked me down via a quote run by a local paper in some far flung province pinched lock, stock and semicolons from the Conversation here. That's really most nice.

      report
  42. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. Peter Blackwell

      Supply Chain Consultant - realist

      In reply to Geoffrey O'Shea

      There we go - of course - its Rupert's fault.

      I completely missed that.

      I must tell myself it has nothing to do with her lack of competence, her inability to sell policies, her poor decision making, or for allowing herself to be surrounded by fools as advisors and then taking their advice ! Clearly, my mistake !!!!!!

      report
  43. Lee Emmett

    Guest House Manager

    'It is a tragedy because Gillard’s ambition ultimately exceeded her political talent, and to the very end she would not see it.'

    I suppose if Shaun Carney means that she didn't have the political talent to disbelieve Kevin Rudd's 'word', then he's right. However, many others believed in Kevin Rudd's 'word' too, and now a lot of us are wondering what his 'word' is worth. His 'word' has provided enough ammunition for the LNP to tear his credibility to shreds.

    On the other hand, Julia Gillard…

    Read more
  44. Neil Mcnally

    logged in via Facebook

    There isn't much that is new which I can add to this debate.

    Let's just say that,as the Prime Minister of Oz,and the-leader-of -Labor,Julia Gillard had to present to the voters the Labor way,which increasingly over time resembled the Liberal way..AND subsequently let down a majority of sworn Labor-supporters..including me.
    Nothing to do with the sex of Gillard..more to do with what she presented as "our forth-coming lot"..so like it or lump it!!

    report
  45. Lynne Newington
    Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Researcher

    Heading...The political tragedy of Julia Gillard.
    If this was a Jewish site, I would say, maybe there is a plan... and they would understand what I was saying, but it isn't so I will express this as of myself and let it be put down as coincidence.
    This first woman Prime Minister, in her three years has done more for the anguished souls of our Australian children for the torture they have experienced against their bodies, with a sense of helplessness and hopelessness while the self professed…

    Read more
    1. Deirdre Whitford

      Un-Worker

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Thank you, thank you, Lynne for pointing out some of the things that must be said about Julia's term, and for saying them so very, very well..

      report
  46. Valerie Kay

    PhD candidate, public health

    I've just read an excerpt from "The stalking of Julia Gillard" which comes out on Tuesday. Those who are still on the 'hate Julia' or 'yes there may have been sexism but it's still all all her own fault' (like Mr Carney) bandwagon, might like to read it. I doubt it will change your minds, but it might give you something to think about it.

    report
    1. Deirdre Whitford

      Un-Worker

      In reply to Valerie Kay

      Thanks for the tip, VK. The title alone means I'm glad there's only two sleeps till Tuesday.

      report
  47. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    Yet more articles on how warm and wonderful Julia "was"....and how history will remember her kindly - how the successful policies under her leadership will be her legacy.

    The sheer hypocrisy of the media is breathtaking.

    It is galling in the extreme to read & hear these weasels.

    report
  48. Helena Kadmos

    PhD research

    It wearies me to read statements that speak of, for instance, Julia GIllard's "pattern of failing to fully own her errors ". Has ever a prime minister been so scrutinized? Has, on anyone's shoulder, so much ever been expected - from perfection as a political strategist and leader to expectations on her appearance, dress and so forth. This sounds so much like a pattern I am more familiar with - that women have to perform twice as well as men to get recognition. I am astounded - I can't in memory think of any male politician who, while in the heat of their political struggle, ever admitted to any mistakes. Some do, many years later, through memoirs or interviews. And in the vast majority of cases, our leaders have been fairly ordinary men - with some strong qualities, and many faults. In years to come I look forward very much to hearing Gillard's thoughts on her prime minister-ship.

    report
    1. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Helena Kadmos

      While I perfectly understand the tiresome nature of this conversation, Ms Kadmos could do much to conserve her energies on sleuthing for evidence of sexism and misogyny against the former PM, and turn them instead to matters of higher import through consideration of the following:

      Brendan Nelson, while Leader of the Opposition and prior to that as Health Minister, was regularly asked about the ear-ring he sported and later removed.

      Charles Blunt, widely remarked upon in public as a handsome…

      Read more
    2. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      I know you have admitted to being a great admirer of Rudd because of his clean up of the Queensland bureaucratic mess left by Bjelke-Petersen and that certainly sounds like a good reason but I still need to take that admitted bias into account, evenso for the life of me I don't know who you are talking about when you say "speaks much more eloquently than the interminable whinge of those who have taken up the cudgel on her imagined behalf". Are you implying that no-one should speak up purely on the basis that they have observed someone being treated badly?

      report
    3. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      As a general rule my view is that in politics one chooses one side, simply because there's too much at ideological stake to uphold a particular principle that must be abided by at all costs, regardless of the consensus.

      Were one to follow your lofty ethical rule, we would get nowhere and our parliamentary democracy, which coalesces individual policy preferences in the interests of supporting a broad party-based legislative program, would not be a viable one and the other side would constantly triumph in a battlefield strewn with the corpses of purist principles for want of a decent bit of give and take.

      There's a raft of political theory from Locke to Mill to support my position.

      report
    4. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Michael, I can't pretend to be an expert on political theory from Locke to Mill, but I do know enough to say they would all advocate "doing no harm". To call that simple prerogative a 'lofty ethical rule' is to imply that such behaviour could never be pragmatic or in fact instrumental in social or political life which is blatantly not the case. In fact, our societies could not work without that "lofty ethic".

      report
    5. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      It may surprise you to know that I agree and, as far as I am aware, try and abide by that rule. In the one instance in these columns in which I believe I overstepped the mark I abjectly apologised.

      Having said that, the art or science of politics is based essentially on vigorous debate and not centrally on consensus seeking or mutual congratulatory back-patting or even grief-counselling. One becomes tired of platitudes appealing to the imagined and contested injustices meted out to a second-(not third)-rate Prime Minister, whether woman or man.

      No time for wound-licking therefore if, in terms of moral proportionality, a much worse evil (viz. an Abbott's victory) is to be avoided. That's my take and I'm sticking to it.

      report
  49. Alex Njoo

    Architect/academic (ret.)

    The removal of this country's first female PM is indicative of the role of the male-dominated media. Even once respectable journalist Carney's assessment of Gillard's 'downfall' is riddled with self-denials (on his part).
    The media, largely dominated by News Corp gargantuan presence, simply refused to bother to listen to Gillard. she has either been accused of lacking in "leadership" (sic) or "her ambition ultimately exceeded her political talent". Really? Notwithstanding the constant sniping by Rudd and vitriol from Abbott, Gillard managed to keep a minority government alive for three years, passed more than 150 significant legislations (among other things) and the tanks were not rolling down Swanston street.
    As I have mentioned elsewhere, Vale Australian womanhood!
    In the years to come, when the likes of Shaun Carney and I are dead and buried, the legend of Julia Gillard will continue to inspire generations to come.

    report
    1. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Alex Njoo

      Thank you, Alex. You have said it all. And might I add even the speech Gillard gave on her so called "dislodgement from the lodge" (will the hate and mocking never stop?) she displayed the same graciousness that she has shown all along.

      report
    2. Deirdre Whitford

      Un-Worker

      In reply to Alex Njoo

      Yes, thank you for saying what you have, Alex. I hope you will be able to make similar contributions to public discourse when Julia's centenary is marked in 2061.
      Alas, yours truly is unlikely to live long enough to see those national celebrations, so please remember me then, Alex and others who've enriched and consoled me throughout this little TC thread.

      report
    3. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Alex Njoo

      Alex

      I can only echo Deirdre's & Chris' thoughts.

      Thank you for a positive look at what (barring religious or other fanatical influence) will be the shape of things to come. A time when women in power aren't seen as aberrations and are simply part of our cultural landscape.

      report
    4. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      All women in power? Fie, Lady Di; where does that place religious women or are they fanatical as well? Why not take on Eva Cox in today's TC ('Is this the end of the gender wars?'), instead of engaging in cryptic one-liners marvelling at my silver tongue?

      report
    5. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Stop putting words into my comments.

      I said "women in power" not "all". Fie yourself, it was a general comment irrespective of religion, race or creed.

      As for where that places religious women, probably in much the same situation as religious men, I would posit.

      If you have chosen "silver tongue" so readily from my last post why have you not reread your statement, as I politely requested:

      "I don't actually dislike Gillard and feel very sorry for the way she was treated by the Coalition and its abusive supporters. By the same token, my view is that it had to go for Labor to stand a hope in hell's chance of keep the Coalition out."

      And tell me what it reveals about your view of women (in general).

      report
    6. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      For goodness sake, I said: "I don't actually dislike Gillard and feel very sorry for the way she was treated by the Coalition and its abusive supporters. By the same token, my view is that 'it' (my inverted commas in both cases: I meant 'she') had to go for Labor to stand a hope in hell's chance of keep the Coalition out."

      It reveals nothing of bias in my view of women and I have defended to the death her speech on misogyny. What I was perplexed about were some of the gaps in her feminist discourse…

      Read more
    7. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Thank you for finally taking your words into account.

      Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard is not and was not a problem to be removed, a thing, an 'it', nor a boil that required lancing from the backside of the Labor party.

      The problem, the festering boil, was the three years of white-anting by Kevin Rudd. He successfully played upon the lies of Tony Abbott, the prejudices of a public who had only the mainstream media from which to interpret the "game of thrones". As an academic, Michael you…

      Read more
    8. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Dianna: You write as if you think Gillard was rushing around attempting to do everything, and that nobody else had a stake in keeping the arrangement going. If this was the case, and I very much doubt it, she had it all wrong.
      ‘Her government sits on a knife-edge margin to get every piece of legislation through the parliament.
      ‘This requires her to consult and liaise regularly with the Greens and the Independents to gain their vote.’
      This is the reality of minority government, arguably the reality…

      Read more
    9. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      >> ‘Her government sits on a knife-edge margin to get every piece of legislation through the parliament.
      ‘This requires her to consult and liaise regularly with the Greens and the Independents to gain their vote <<

      Not my words, Peter. I clearly placed quotes around my source as well as a link.

      That said, of course Julia did not rush around trying to do everything, she had strong support, many of whom will no longer be in politics after the election.

      Such a loss of talent. All for what? Bringing down a capable, intelligent woman.

      Please explain why Rudd put his personal ambitions ahead of the party he supposedly supports?

      report
    10. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      I can't explain why Rudd would put his personal ambitions ahead of the party. Something perhaps about Droit_du_seigneur? I have noticed that there is/was a lot of talk about Gillard's personal ambition, and I can only take that as projection. Like Abbott's "great big new tax" when it was his party that brought in the great new GST and refused a cut in company tax, but I won't go on.
      But as regards independents:
      A few people are advocating we vote for independents; seemingly on the basis that…

      Read more
    11. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      I apologise for missing the quotes. However the context of my argument still stands.
      You seem to have some emotional attachment Gillard as PM, or to a women as PM, I have neither.
      Clark in New Zealand did a great job, and is the only one with guts enough to tell the Yanks to piss off.
      On the other hand US secretaries of state merely demonstrated that women, given power could be just as vile as the worst male.
      Thatcher put an end to an Israeli (Mossad) killing spree across Europe in the early…

      Read more
    12. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      I agree, Chris.

      All politicians have to have a level of mongrel in them (including Gillard). It is when the mongrel is unleashed that we encounter precisely what occurred between Rudd and Gillard. The former let his ambition decide his interests above and beyond that of his party's, Gillard didn't and, for that matter, won't. Unless Rudd leaves politics; Gillard is still young.
      ;)

      As for JWH, I think losing the seat of Bennelong was the final straw for him. I also had doubts about him stepping aside - however JWH is a true conservative and much more likely to cede to tradition and rule than, say, Tony Abbott.

      As for Independents, we will be lucky indeed if we see the calibre of Windsor, Oakeshott again. Which is why I will be considering my vote carefully - hoping there will be someone worth voting for.

      report
    13. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      Of course, Peter, it's my emotions - intelligence, reason and critical thinking play no part in anything I do, say or write.

      I'm being sarcastic - in case you think I have just fallen meekly into line.

      Suggest you read and investigate a little more about the destruction of the Gillard government.

      I note that KRudd is happy to take all the policies of the last 3 years to election. But then, he is not so influenced by his emotions and did not plan and plot for 3 years....

      report
    14. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      The evidence is that Gillard leading the Labor party would have would have resulted in a landslide to the coalition. Utter disaster.
      I have no interest in Gillard, I do not think that she was qualified for the job, but that is irrelevant.
      If Abbott is dumped for Turnbull, which would be a positive, I would not care what happened to Abbott.
      For you this seems personal, for me it is not. Fair, not fair, who cares, it is politics.

      report
    15. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      You can call it personal, I call it politics and very dirty politics at that.

      Fact is I think we were all hasty - 3 months out from the election all signs were that Abbott would romp into the Lodge. I think you are being the emotive one here. Simply because it fits your view that the decimation was "fair" because that's "politics". Well that's an emotive response not a logical or even reasonable one.

      The policies implemented by the Gillard government (and currently being utlilised by Rudd…

      Read more
    16. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Not skimming the surface being one of your attributes, you may like to listen to Fran Kelly's Friday panel on this mornings ABC Radio National Breakfast. Prime Minister Rudd One Week On.
      The Womens Trust of Victoria, have taken up the baton making sure Julia Gillard is not going to be air-brushed into history:
      Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due.

      report
    17. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      As to Fran Kelly, the little terrier, good things to you. I saw their advertisement and share the Victorian Women's Trust concerns for the loss of civility and common decency in politics and by its example its enticement of the free expression of latent prejudices in the broader community. However, it is witnessing Abbott and Rudd and their media cohorts fighting a girl with lies, mockery, innuendo and envy and anonymous witness in place of reasoned and respectful argument which leaves me with a very bad taste. It makes one question the manhood of certain Australians.

      report
    18. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Thanks for putting the link to the Victorian Women's Trust up as I hadn't got around to seeing it
      Your comment is a good way to go out on and I was glad to see they mentioned the Royal Commission, it seemed to me, to be the elphant in the room with no-one commenting openly on it except myself.
      In dealing with the C Church, and knowing the machinations belonging to it myself, what she did was ground breaking, I also claim it was a subterfugal? reason why she had to go.
      And yes her father was [for those who don't believe] and is for those that do....proud of her.

      report
    19. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Lynne

      I have no doubt that Ms Gillard trod upon many orthodox toes. The Royal Commission merely added to her 'crimes'. However, we, as a society, have managed to move an nth of a degree further to being civilised than we were. Thanks to Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

      Cheers

      report
    20. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Society collectively will move on, it's the individuals who get left behind, not all can or do, I've seen too much of it to accept otherwise.
      The attrocities and degradations committed against women by members of the clergy you will never hear of are still out there, with no healing for them...some never marrying or having children.
      Then there's those who do have children, with one bishop repeating a comment from his "boss" it was wished she and her newborn would disappear off the face of the earth", she was left floundering to preserve the priesthood.
      Other's disorientated, coerced to relinquish theirs, left with empty arms......
      Let society move on, I'll stick to the ones who can't.

      report
    21. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Lynne

      I do not believe that "society has moved on" unless it takes everyone with it.

      There's only one habitable world in this solar system - we do not have dominion over it. What we do have is responsibility, as the most intelligent and most deadly creature to walk the earth, to maintain all in its complexity and diversity.

      report
    22. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Concur absolutely Dianna. Re Eva, her words count as they are the most prominent in the media which lacks women's voices talking about women's issues in general. It's unhelpful that she repeatedly portrays legitimate criticism of her views as some sort of censure for a failure to toe an imaginary feminist party line. Her left sentiments are understood. They don't have to be incompatible with feminist ones.

      report
    23. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Hear hear, Dianna!
      I notice already that other prominent individuals are following Gillard's example and speaking out about their own experiences of discrimination. And the press appears to be paying attention!

      report
    24. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      I hope I don't interrupt to offend, I just want to make it clear that I agree with you that all human rights are equally important. I would add that all feminist discourses also support this.
      I would only suggest that, whilst it may appear that women are adequately represented, or even over represented in the public discourse, these representations are overwhelmingly discriminatory and partial.
      I think it is a mistake to regard subjects of discrimination as in competition with one another. What advances one, will advance all. I also suggest this sense of competition is probably an anxious legacy of the negative attention that has been given to discrimination issues during the Howard era and the "culture wars".
      I don't think any feminist would disagree that, as you say, the task is now to defeat Abbott. It's encouraging to see the strong line Rudd is recently taking on indigenous issues as well.

      report
    25. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Chris, as usual you identify the heart of these issues.
      If civil discourse is allowed to continue to deteriorate then the rights and enfranchisement of all those less advantaged will suffer.

      report
    26. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      Freya I had let Michael's post go at the time, but it still, none the less, rankled, so now you have returned to it, I would like to add. “Eva Cox, has repeatedly addressed in great detail the policy shortcomings of the former prime minister”. Let’s be clear Gillard had never claimed to be a feminist. she stated at the very beginning that she would govern for all Australians. For her to be criticised by Cox or anyone else because she did not govern like a feminist is rather silly. “At no stage…

      Read more
    27. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Chris, I wonder if everyone is rankled by what is beginning to look like a three year demonstration of power and a comprehensive assault on the right of free speech (in the 'unmediated' sense) via the person of a Prime Minister who is 'Different'. Perhaps women are not the only ones who feel less safe as a result?

      Meanwhile Eva continues to twist words and peddle the loyalty furphy in the Guardian. It seems that the imaginary feminist party line is still being drawn to defend earlier positions.
      But Jane Gilmour has a good piece in the King's Tribune http://www.kingstribune.com/index.php/weekly-email/item/1840-media-bunnies-become-the-hounds

      I concur with all your points. Your clarity is encouraging as always.

      report
    28. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      Yes, I agree that the treatment of Gillard by her political colleagues and the media has rankled with members of both the left and right of politics, and both male and female citizens and has done so for quite a while. The Australian people found their sense of what was right and decent trampled upon with the forced feeding of personal slander and refusal to concentrate upon and debate political policy. And what’s more pertinent perhaps, is that they would not stop no matter the protests made against it. This gave the Australian people a sense of powerlessness and a low sense of morale set in. How much easier this made it then for either Rudd or Abbott to snatch the Prime Ministership and be hailed as the new Messiah. And how much easier it is to govern a depressed society as opposed to an oppressed one. These people knew what they were doing.

      report
    29. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Thank you Michael, I'm glad my intentions get through my pompousnesses sometimes :)

      There is indeed a positively bewildering array of agendas to choose from in this debate!

      It's always good to have my own limited views challenged, but I do wish you hadn't Michael! Reading that was a torturous exercise for a feminist like me, and my compassionate glow has faded a little.

      I've got no objection to the confessional style but this is just emotional blackmail I'm afraid. (The repeated use of…

      Read more
    30. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Words almost failed me Chris, for your comment deserves to stand alone. Sadly, I'm incurably chatty in these interesting times! It seems that whilst the adults have been pointing and laughing at each other's costumes, they have failed to see that the emperor never had any clothes at all. Perhaps only the child noticed that the battle was elsewhere?

      report
    31. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      Possibly many of those intent on playing the game of “ain’t it (she) awful” were entranced and carried away with the fun of the game itself together with the added advantage of belonging to the larrikin and superior club of people who agreed on these things. I have the jokesters on social media and many of the journalists chatting away to each other in mind here. Such behaviour also came with the added bonus of its being a lazy way to achieve notoriety or make a living. For the strategists ‘the…

      Read more
    32. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Exactly, a moment in the spotlight will go to anybody's head. Especially those who have been ignored for so long, so I can't really blame them. We have to make use of what attention we can get, as any revolutionary girl knows. Back to knitting behind the barricades for us then. Good luck with the revolution boys!

      report
    33. Deirdre Whitford

      Un-Worker

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      Strewth, Freya, that last allusion to revolution and French Knitting was just beautiful!
      It's inspired me to imagine the following runaway box-office smash short screenplay:

      The place: Paris.
      The Time: circa A.Tale of Two Cities
      .
      Citizeness Gillard, her red hair enhanced by a cute red cap, is sitting around with her sisters in the shadow of Madame Guillotine, just at the time when Arthur Phillip is writing home to Europe about all these very weird "marsupials" around Port Jackson.
      And…

      Read more
    34. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Deirdre Whitford

      Diedre! I thought everyone had gone home and I was soliloquising to the janitor!
      I always thought Mme Defarge got a bad rap, myself. What else was she supposed to do?
      I'll be there at the premier, D!
      I'd prefer Mr Bell, too, we've had enough showtunes. Mr Roxburgh can play any role he likes as far as I'm concerned. Mme Gillard will be a tough one, we need gravitas without martyrdom, but I guess they will only be looking at her costume anyway. Perhaps St Germaine could play the wise fool?

      (I'm not such a smartypants that I know E's position on coincidences, but I'm intrigued now, thank you.)

      Ps don't tell anyone, but the guards have already unlocked the gates ;)

      report
    35. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      Freya

      I have a rotten head cold and will be heading back to bed after I write the following:

      "It's normal for the victors to consign history to the trash and it's normal for the victims to take it seriously."

      Noam Chomsky

      report
    36. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Thanks for the reprieve girls, just what I needed, I was about to go and watch Mrs Browns boy's. I've reviewing files on the so called apparitions in Bosnia Hertzagovina [Medjugorje], where the faithful have been lured for the past thirty or so years.... under the juristrictions of the Franciscan Order, with connections here in Australia, making a fortune......only to find the new pope, as Archishop of Buenos Aires, [one of the many members of the hierarchy giving it credibility]...seeking a personal blessing from the friar suspended in a case for assaulting women!.
      The tendacles are everywhere!

      report
    37. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Lynne, I can see why Mrs Brown would have seemed more appealing! But enough intrigue now, pick up your knitting! Here comes the gendarmerie!

      report
    38. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Doesn't sound like you have time, Lynne, I wouldn't bother. I can knit square shaped things, but a marsupial? That's impressive. I really do wonder when they will close comments, though, this conversation is getting positively seditious ;)

      report
    39. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      Afraid I’m letting the game down ladies, I could never hope to knit a marsupial as you say Freya ‘impressive’. My game is crochet, you know more like a limited male ability concentrating on one hook, one stitch at a time. Gosh, working two needles at a time and counting stitches and designing patterns and watching the goings on, keeping your head while everyone around you in the bloody revolution is losing theirs (yes, in more ways than one), and looking to the future, that those brats will still be born, come what may, and will be needing toys not to mention a gift forms alliances; only a woman could do that. We could love ‘em for it. Still, you know it is positively anti-capitalist, anti-technology, anti-sophisticated society and somehow anti-male to knit and in the process knitting something useful is unforgivable. As the terminator promised (kinda) we'll be back.

      report
    40. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      I'm glad you're back Chris. We've been gossiping and plotting as people do when they won't be heard. I think crochet looks quite difficult myself. I'm trying to remain optimistic, we need all the help we can get :)

      report
    41. Deirdre Whitford

      Un-Worker

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Hey, Chris, that is one great riff of a post, so thanks!
      I was going to chime in with some clever reference to a Man that I'm Reallly Into. Don't knw whether or not This Dude ever wore blue ties, red speedos or lycra,, but He is on the record as wearing a seamless garment at a Very Notable Fashion Event a while back.
      (Freya, think knitting on circular needles. I can't knit, but my Mum turned out some you-beaut jumpers in her earlier days, and the ones made on circular needles were seamless, of…

      Read more
    42. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Deirdre Whitford

      No I haven’t been bitter Deidre and glad you aren’t either. I’ve been more like the startled mouse mesmerized by the goings on of the snake if I could be forgiven for that rather unpleasant analogy. I could not believe what I was seeing was really happening over these past three years, and then it was suddenly verified and revealed as true by the likes of Anne Summers and Kerry-Anne Walsh and of course recent events. It put me off my crocheting and had me writing posts to the Conversation so all…

      Read more