It seems not only that you can’t keep everyone happy all the time, some people you can’t keep happy at all. Especially if they are white male columnists in major newspapers. I won’t link to them all again, but there have been a lot of blokes (oops is that sexist?) upset with Gillard giving it with both barrels to Abbott over his history of misogyny and sexism. As HaT author Orlando said “About Bloody Time”. Fortunately there are many others: bloggers, tweeters, and non-MSM columnists, male and female, applauding Gillard finally unleashing her anger. It must have felt good.
But there are also others angry with Gillard for other reasons. Their anger is from a few different sources; the two main ones I have seen are the change in single parent payments and same sex marriage. Where was Gillard’s righteous anger when the same sex marriage debate was on and where was her defense of women [and male single parents] when the changes to the single parent pension were voted on?
I’m ashamed to admit my first response was ‘can’t you just be happy that she did this?’. Then the snide* little voice that lives in my head said ‘yes why can’t they wait their turn’ and I was suddenly thinking of Obama telling LGQBTI people in the US to wait, their time was coming they just need to be patient a little longer. I think it was the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell legislation that was the issue at the time. That legislation was finally repealed but still the lesson remained – why does someone always have to wait until a better time to raise the issue, a time that never comes?
If you raise these issues when Gillard is riding high, you are accused of trying to bring her down. If you raise the issue when Gillard is trailing in the polls you are accused of trying to destroy her chances. If you raise these issues when everything is going smoothly then you are accused of rocking the boat. But it is 2012. Single parents are set to lose their pension and be put onto Newstart allowance when their youngest child reaches 8 and that’s a difference in payment of up to $140 per week. That is a large slice of your income when you are supporting yourself and at least one child. Same sex marriage has been on the agenda for years but still nothing. The Intervention has been going on for years but I don’t see that many changes coming out of the NT.
I realised that this was the best time. Gillard had just given one of the best speeches of her PM’ship and those people raising those other questions were proud of her, but also disappointed that she had failed them in other ways. I get that now. Gillard is not just PM for white, cis, het women who liked her speech she is PM of Australia and every Australian has the right to give voice to their needs and wants. Now is the time to remind the PM of that, to tell her how proud we are and how we want and need her to continue in this vein. Don’t give up on single parents, don’t take crap from old white men – including the ones running the Unions, don’t treat our First Australians like second class citizens, and make some serious changes. You did it with putting a price on carbon despite the cost to you politically, do it with same sex marriage and supporting Aboriginal rights and single parents too. Be written in the history books as not only Australia’s first female PM, but an outstanding PM in your own right. Now is the time. Please.
* that f’ing little voice could give lessons in snide, seriously.