Julia Gillard

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Malcolm Turnbull’s relaxed and natural demeanour comes as a relief after Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard, except they were once like that too. AAP/David Moir

Can the ‘real Malcolm’ survive being PM?

Australians have seen their recent prime ministers lose the very qualities as communicators that took them to the top. Malcolm Turnbull's challenge is to avoid succumbing to the same fate.
Tony Abbott’s speech after losing the leadership differed from his recent predecessors' efforts by making no mention of his successor. AAP/Sam Mooy

Abbott’s last speech as leader – no tears or laughs here

A politician's final statement as leader is their chance to have the last word. Tony Abbott's speech was telling in both what he chose to say and not to say.
Former prime minister Julia Gillard said she had been so concerned about the same-sex marriage plebiscite that she changed the topic of her speech. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Gillard does U-turn on same sex marriage

Former prime minister Julia Gillard has switched her position to now favour same-sex marriage.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott is struggling to contain instability in an openly divided team. Lukas Coch/AAP

A well-functioning cabinet – who are they kidding?

When Kevin Rudd came under attack from some of his ministers for the way he ran his cabinet, it turned out to be the beginning of the end. Now we are seeing Tony Abbott struggling to contain instability…
Kevin Rudd was portrayed as interfering, micro-managing and bullying in his first stint as prime minister – but some painted a different picture. AAP/ABC

The Killing Season exposes multiple truths, but little honesty

Whose "truth" best explains the implosion of the Rudd-Gillard Labor governments? Multiple "truths" are presented in the ABC's The Killing Season as we continue to pick over that era's debris.
The world is recognising that the issue of same-sex marriage is a matter of what state law, not religious doctrine, says, to the extent that Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel (right) and Gauthier Destenay recently married. EPA/Julien Warnand

Same-sex marriage should not be a matter for a conscience vote

Same-sex marriage is about state recognition of the union between two people and is a political issue. Religious belief can apply in a church and in individual decisions, but not to a secular state.
It was a novelty when Conservative leader David Cameron had to enlist Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg’s support to govern, but Britons may have to get used to minority government. EPA/Andy Rain

What Westminster can learn from minority government in Australia

The UK is poised for another minority government, this time possibly with a hung parliament. Australia's long experience of such arrangements offers lessons in how to manage minority government.
Because their votes may be open to negotiation, crossbench senators often have the final say on the form, and passage, of legislation. AAP/Alan Porritt

Scorn the crossbench, ignore Australian political history

Instead of treating crossbenchers in parliament as a source of chaos and an aberration, we should recognise that they play a crucial role in shaping legislation as the constitution provides.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott confers with his chief of staff, Peta Credlin, during question time. AAP/Lukas Coch

Why Credlin is seen to have gone too far as PM’s right-hand woman

Peta Credlin is in the classic "double bind" of all women in power: if they take charge, they transgress the gendered expectations that "female qualities" are best suited to a supporting role.
Tony Abbott is offering logical evidence and emotional appeals, but the rhetorical problem is his own loss of credibility and authority. AAP/Mick Tsikas

The prime ministerial promise to change: can it work?

“Is it me?” That was the question John Howard reportedly asked his cabinet colleagues as his government remained stubbornly behind in the polls in 2007. One of those colleagues, Tony Abbott, now confronts…
With just eight MPs to back her campaign for government, Queensland ALP leader Annastacia Palaszczuk relied heavily on local community organising and decision-making. AAP/Dan Peled

‘New politics’ announces itself in Queensland and beyond

The “new politics” of 21st-century Australia is much clearer after the extraordinary result in the Queensland election on January 31. Australia’s new politics consists of three elements that they will…
It’s not yet clear how the Coalition will weigh health issues against economic priorities. jdwfoto/Shutterstock

Coalition’s policy bodes ill for health in free trade negotiations

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
Julia Gillard’s My Story is about defending her legacy, but she is not blind to the faults of the Labor Party nor to her own mistakes. AAP/Dean Lewins

Book review: Gillard’s My Story, a defence of her prime ministership

Julia Gillard’s autobiography, My Story, presents a comprehensive defence of her prime ministership. Gillard dives straight into the heart of her story, beginning on the day she was sworn in as prime minister…
Even before it was born, the carbon price had plenty of friends – and lots of enemies. Shutterstock

Obituary: Australia’s carbon price

The Carbon Pricing Mechanism, known to its friends as the carbon price and its critics as the carbon tax, passed away today in Canberra, aged two, after a long battle with slogans. While it won praise…
Bob Carr ‘obviously revelled being back in the middle of the action’ in his 18 months as foreign minister, says former Labor foreign minister Gareth Evans. AAP/Alan Porritt

Gareth Evans: ‘Bob learned early self-deprecation is for dummies’

Bob Carr took on the job of Australian foreign minister believing, as he doesn’t hesitate to tell us in his Diary of a Foreign Minister, that it was highly unlikely that he would be there for very long…

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