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.
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.