Gillard departs graciously

Julia Gillard is incredibly brave, astoundingly resilient, one of the toughest people we have seen in The Lodge. Through all the difficulties of her prime ministership she was stoic, dignified, composed, resilient. She departed in that style on Wednesday night. Shoulders back. Head high. In the circumstances – the provocation, the consistent undermining by colleagues, the terrible erosion of her authority executed by her enemies within Labor, Kevin Rudd’s slow terrible revenge – she exited with class.
There was no self pity. She was confident it would be easier for the next woman, and the one after that. She had done her best. She had achieved difficult things in tough times. She had blazed a trail.

Katharine Murphy in the Guardian

After months of speculation the media finally called the #spill correctly. As someone quipped on Twitter last night “the media called 20 of the last 3 spills”. After an anxious 45 minute or so wait the news was in Rudd had been re-elected as the leader of the Parliamentary Labor party. He was not yet PM, as Gillard had to travel to the Governor General’s house to resign her commission, and recommend that the GG accept Rudd’s appointment in her place which both Gillard and Bryce did in turn. That didn’t stop Rudd tweeting about being the PM before this had even happened though. One PM was being classy last night and it wasn’t Rudd.

The elevation to Saint Gillard started last night. Now that she is gone, the media were falling over themselves to talk about how good she really was and to wonder how it was that her message never really got out there to the public. If Twitter could literally go up in flames it would have last night with the furious anger of many who burned at the lack of self reflection the media seems to be capable of.

Rudd has an interesting challenge now. He has the ghost of Gillard to contend with as well as Abbott. Gillard kicked some real goals, along with her failures, and Rudd would do better to focus on righting Gillard’s wrongs – same sex marriage, asylum seekers, and taking money from single parents and the tertiary sector. But I can’t help but wonder if he will focus on tearing down what Gillard built. Will he let Gonski slip away by failing to negotiate with the remaining states who have not signed up, will he squib on the carbon price, at least he can’t do much about the NDIS now. Will erasing her name be more important than what is best for the country? Having succeeded in finally seeing her off after three years of dirty politics and destabilisation – if not personally with his blessing – can he be the man we need to beat Abbott at the next election? Time will tell and you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be holding him to account, just the way that the Gillard despisers jumped on her every wrong move. The precedent has been set and I will meet if not exceed it. I am woman hear me roar and I am fucking angry. Gillard was always accused of stabbing Rudd in the back, when he was riding high in the polls, when he did no wrong. It is my LIVED EXPERIENCE that Rudd had micromanaged the Government into the ground. Gillard did what she had to do and was subjected to death by a thousand cuts for it. Don’t tell me that if she had remained his loyal deputy and let another man take the top job that we would be here now because we know that isn’t true. This is about a woman taking a job from a man. Well he’s back now and whatever the result whenever the election takes place, Australia will have the government they deserve.

Categories: culture wars, gender & feminism, media, Politics

Tags: ,

14 replies

  1. I noticed that in his address to parliament this morning KRudd, in praising the achievements of Julia Gillard, did not mention the carbon tax. I wonder if that is sour grapes because she got it through when he could not or indication that he will propose to rescind it?

  2. Actually, on second thoughts he didn’t mention quite a few things, as Anne Summers elaborates upon here

  3. I’d note the Leader of the Opposition showed his sexism to the last. Every single sitting day of the 43rd parliament was made ugly by a constant effort on the part of the Opposition to suspend standing orders and call a vote of No Confidence in the elected government of the day. Every single sitting day… except today. The one day where Julia Gillard wasn’t Prime Minister. The one day where Tony Abbott is facing a bloke across the bench.
    Sexist and misogynist to the bloody last.

  4. I was surprised by that Megpie71. I thought he would leap at the chance to a) rail against the instability of the government, and b) take advantage of the fact that some disgruntled Gillard supporters and/or crossbenchers might cross the floor. It’s pretty telling isn’t it?
    It also occurred to me that not only did Kevin only mention Julia’s accomplishments as deputy prime minister, in his valedictory remarks about Wayne Swan he also only talked about stuff Wayne did when Kevin was PM. It’s like he’s trying to erase the last three years….

  5. Yeah, they can all say nice things about Gillard NOW.

    Bloody meeja.

  6. I think Rudd’s borrowing a page out of Fraser’s 1975 election campaign: “The Three Dark Years”. And that campaign was brilliantly successful as we all know.

  7. The Mental health care plan, where people could access up to 18 sessions of mental health treatment was cut back to 10 on Gillard’s watch.
    I feel she was treated horribly in the media. But, what she achieved was, in my view quite polarising – she did great, awesome things (NDIS, Carbon Tax), or terrible, horrible things (Cutting mental health treatment, single parent cuts, same sex marriage)

  8. Thanks a lot, misogynists in the media and the parliament:

  9. Is it okay to remain critical of Gillard now that she’s gone? I do like to be consistent. = P
    I agree, the media suddenly remembering her with rose tinted glasses is hypocritical, but so is writing off her downfall on ‘misogyny’ rather than ‘woeful inability to sell her successes and manage her party’…
    The ALP looked at the polls and decided they had a better chance of self preservation if they dropped Gillard for Rudd. Chalking it up to sexism/misogynism is as disingenuous as the media’s suddenly discovered respect for the former PM.

  10. Asmodai, Gillard has been the subject to misogynist attacks , that does not mean that she flawless and without blame. It’s just that her flaws were criticised more harshly and sometimes flaws she didn’t possess were invented by the media.
    I think Gillard as a PM is several times better than Abbot could ever be. I also hope we’ll never find out whether I’m right or not.

  11. I don’t know anything about Australian politics (I’m from the US) but it sounds so much like the treatment of female politicians in the US (Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachman). The criticism is so much harsher and more personal and more concerted and consistent compared to their male colleagues who have similar or usually worse flaws.

%d bloggers like this: