Just Say Yay

Today’s guest poster is long time blogger ThirdCat, aka Tracy Crisp, a South Australian writer and comedian currently living in Abu Dhabi. This post is a slightly edited version of a post already published at her blog.

Julia Gillard, Australia's new Prime Minister, smiling broadlyVery strange it’s been, watching Australia’s politics from afar. I do a quick read of the papers and the ABC site online every day, so I knew Kevin was having iss-ewes, but doesn’t every prime minister, and don’t the papers always say there’s trouble in the lead up to the election and so on.

Then, the night before the party room vote, I was freaked well and truly out. I didn’t understand what was happening. I made a quick skype call home, ‘What’s happening?’ I asked, and my friend watched Lateline for us both, even coming back with the notes she’d taken so she wouldn’t forget anything. But I still didn’t really understand. From this distance, it looked like the beginning of one of those messy, messy times where someone challenges, doesn’t win but doesn’t lose decisively, then no one is convinced of anything, no one trusts anyone and all of a sudden Tony Abbott comes along and wins the next election. My friends, I was scared.

At the same time, I’m exactly the same as all othe women of my age, political persuasion and so forth. To me, Julia really should’ve led the ALP in the last election. So when I went to bed, I was like, Far out, this really could be it.

And it was.

Wow. Julia. I did get goosebumps, and I did cry when I woke up the next morning, and switched the computer on before I’d properly opened my eyes. Oh, wow.

For the first time in perhaps ever, I will be voting for a party led by someone I want to see as our Prime Minister (never was a Keating fan I’m afraid – do think he’s quite something, but he was just never quite my cup of Prime Ministerial tea).*

I haven’t really read heaps about it all, because on the day it happened, I went off to my last day of work (had to quit my job, long story involving reasons and tears beyond reason), then went home, packed my bags and caught the 2.30 am flight to Istanbul, but I have seen quite a bit of rubbish recorded in the words I have read.

For example, I read someone say that this was the most underhand move since the dismissal. That’s just stupid. Here’s the thing: when was there ever a graceful change of leaders in Australian politics? Myself, I’m not so hot on the ALP’s machinations, bit concerned about the apparent influence of the media and so on. But there’s a pretty big gap between this and the dismissal. Also, Tony Abbott saying there would never be anything like it in the Liberal party. Good grief. Dude, even the bloke who was at the centre of the dismissal thinks you’re nasty.

And another thing: don’t use the word ‘coup’, just don’t. It’s completely inaccurate and it’s bloody disrespectful. We live in a democracy,** and we get to vote without fearing for our lives, and no tanks rolled up to the steps of Parliament House, and Kevin Rudd got the opportunity to make a dignified farewell speech and no one got locked up, and no one has disappeared. And you know what? If you don’t like it, you can bang on about it as much as you like. You can write about it on your blog, you can ring talkback radio, you can start your own ‘I’d never backstab anyone’ party, you can even meet Kevin Rudd for a drink and discuss it with him if you like. You can do all those things because it wasn’t a coup.

Anyway, enough of the don’ts and back to the dos. Do say yay.

Yay to the day Quentin swore in Julia.

*strictly speaking, I won’t be voting for them, because I vote Greens these days, but of course, I effectively vote for the ALP. I can’t really see my reasons for voting Greens changing, though I’d happily change back to the ALP if they started backing public education again instead of building on the Howard-era scarifying of it, and if they showed a bit of humanity on the refugee and asylum seeker side of things (and there’s a few other things, but to me, if they’re getting those things right, then they’re prolly doing other stuff I like too)
**well, technically speaking, I don’t live in a democracy at the moment, but you know what I mean when I say ‘we’



Categories: language, parties and factions

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17 replies

  1. “For the first time in perhaps ever, I will be voting for a party led by someone I want to see as our Prime Minister”
    Yes, this is it, really, isn’t it? (with much the same caveat as you do in your footnote)

  2. Nice one, Tracy. All the talk of coups and assassinations and executions is annoying the crap out of me too.

    Dude, even the bloke who was at the centre of the dismissal thinks you’re nasty.

    This made me chuckle.

  3. I’ve written this somewhere else (Feministe? The Hand Mirror?) but I think it bears repeating. On Thursday when the news came through, my eleven year old daughter and her best friend were running around the school and shouting with delight. They were so pleased. Suddenly, a female prime minister wasn’t just a theoretical possibility, but a concrete reality. It is so affirming for them.
    Also, just “Yay!”

  4. *Thank you* for the thing about using the word “coup”. I get so ratted off about that because of all the reasons you listed. What happened was built into the constitution as a bloodless way to change leadership. This is our democracy at work, this is the way it’s supposed to work if a sudden change needs to occur. Sure, it isn’t very nice, but that is the way the system works and if people have a problem with that, I’m pretty sure they can band together and make a noise about it and not end up in front of a firing squad for their efforts.
    The same thing happens on either side of the two-party system. I don’t get why people are tutting and nodding at the crap Tony Abbott says. Thankfully, they’re people that’d vote for Tony anyway in the most part.
    I, too, will be voting for the Greens (as I always do) but my votes will go to Labor as they usually do.
    I like Gillard. I hope she gets to sit in the big seat for some time yet.

  5. Boo to the lack of principle and dishonesty that got her there.

  6. That’s only one way of looking at it, TimT.
    I suspect that we won’t know for sure, until she’s a silver-haired memoirist, the truth of how long Gillard had been considering an ouster as an option for before the next election (rather than the widely-expected scenario of her tapping Rudd on the shoulder after 12-18 months of a second term). So we don’t know if she was being dishonest about not (actively) wanting the job before last week.
    As for principles: given that nearly everybody in the parliamentary Labor party is talking of how they’d totally lost confidence in Rudd as leader, isn’t it just as principled for an alternative leadership candidate to look to the preservation of the party?

  7. Well for one thing Gillard had been saying repeatedly that she would not be running for the leadership. For another she had enthusiastically partaken in the general anti-Liberal campaign in the run up to the prior election arguing that if you voted Liberal you wouldn’t know who you were getting, John Howard or Peter Costello: she’s been quite dishonest.
    You don’t run to be PM if you don’t feel absolutely committed to the job and that sort of thing doesn’t happen overnight. I think she was deeply involved in the anti-Rudd scheming from the moment it started.

  8. I’m getting really sick of people claiming there’s a lack of principle involved – not just you, Tim, but all over the intertubes.
    Exactly what principle do you think she’s violated?

  9. I’ve had cause to doubt Gillard’s principles for a long time so for me the leadership spill was but more confirmation of it.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/02/23/2499270.htm?site=local
    In short I don’t trust her and won’t be voting Labor while she’s in power.

  10. As has been said elsewhere by PC, Julia was loyal right up until the moment her loyalty was questioned by Alister Jordan (the former PM’s golden boy). Also she’s a politician. None of them would be there if they didn’t want a shot, however long, at the top job. Why shouldn’t she go for it? Would you feel this way if it was Julian Gillard?

  11. In answer to that last question, yes.

  12. TimT #9,
    I don’t see how that news article supports your point. Mocking drawn-out Liberal infighting is meant to de-legitimise a swiftly handled crisis of no-confidence within the Labor Caucus?

  13. Actually TimT I’d like to apologise for that last question, it was unnecessary.

  14. She was making a veiled anti-gay joke in order to appeal to self-styled macho Labor hacks.

  15. So, Tim, you going to vote Liberal instead? For the man who openly admits you can’t believe everything he says, who’s insulting towards women and who thinks “climate change is crap”, only then doesn’t, but it was hotter in Biblical times?
    And worse things have been said in politics than calling Chris Pyne a poodle.

  16. TimT, I agree that her use of “mincing” is indeed a homophobic slur, and I wish she hadn’t gone for such an easy, lazy, hateful word. It’s not a good look at all, and ideally I want people in Parliament who have undergone the self-examination and self-discipline required to purge these slurs learned in childhood from their vocabulary.
    I do however understand that sometimes the temptation to be a smartarse trumps sensitivity, which is what I think happened there. It’s certainly happened to me, and up until a few years ago I didn’t even think there was too much wrong with it when it did happen. I hope that there aren’t people out there who have dismissed everything I will ever say about anything ever because I’ve been an insensitive arsehat sometime in the past.
    As it happens, I’ve never thought that Gillard was a progressive picture postcard. But I also don’t think she’s ever pretended to be – she’s a tough centrist, through and through. I admire her despite her flaws, not because I don’t think she has any.

    • Very disappointed with the publicised lack of support for marriage equality. Again, it was the answer to a media question rather than a formal announcement of policy, and I can see the pragmatic merits of not making this an election issue. Disappointed nonetheless.
      Addendum: Actually, I reread the above and though about those alleged “pragmatic merits” – the majority of Australians when polled support marriage equality. So are the centre-conservative swing voters who do not support it actually a high enough proportion in the marginal seats that they need to be pandered to like this? Taking principles off the table for a moment (it is, after all, (probably) an election year), could the strategy of wedging the LibNats on this actually work for Labor’s benefit at the only poll that matters?

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