Thursday, 27 June 2013

Last night the Australian Prime Minister

was removed in what is best described as a very bloody revenge attack. It was not a coup. She brought it on herself.
Although there will be people who say otherwise the attack had absolutely nothing to do with her being a woman. The Prime Minister was not ousted because she was a woman. She was ousted because the man she knifed has been plotting revenge ever since she knifed him. 
Kevin Rudd was so unpopular with his party and his electorate that Labor was in danger of losing the election. Julia Gillard tapped him on the shoulder and told him he had to go. She was his deputy at the time.
All that happened with a swiftness that took many people by surprise - and Labor was returned to power with (but only with) the assistance of the "independents". Windsor and Oakeshott went against the wishes of their own electorates and, post election, supported the Labor minority. They have remained loyal to Gillard throughout - always claiming, particularly in the case of Windsor, that their support was to her personally and not to Labor. Such claims are of course nonsense but they were politically useful to both Gillard and those supporting her.
Gillard has laid claim to "reforms" in workplace relations - although some would say she was merely doing what the unions required of her. Certainly union power has been strengthened under her. School halls, the national disability insurance scheme, the national broadband network and the Fair Work Act have all come in under her watch.
So has the carbon tax - something she promised not to introduce at the time of the election. It is a promise she never intended to keep. She introduced it almost immediately the election was over and got it passed by offering massive sweeteners to the "independents". 
She kept insisting, as did her Treasurer, that there would be a surplus in 2013 - even as the major economists said it could not happen. 
At times she made major announcements without reference to her own party and - worse - without reference to the governments of other countries. Her plan for a centre for asylum seekers in East Timor was one such plan. Later she failed to get support for an exchange of asylum seekers with Malaysia.
Her poor judgment showed in her support for Craig Thomson. That continued far too long - and only because she needed his vote to retain power. That did not go down well with the electorate either.
Her cynical removal of Speaker Harry Jenkins - one of the best and most popular Speakers with both sides of politics - in order to install Peter Slipper and thus shore up her own support was another example of her poor judgment. Although people understood why it was being done relegating Jenkins to the back bench was not a popular move. It might have allowed her to retain power but it did not go down well with the electorate. 
Her now infamous "misogyny" speech was widely misreported and was in fact given in support of the insupportable. She was supporting Slipper when he had been accused of sending lewd messages. Despite her support he resigned later that day. It was the only thing he could do. The media, being what it is, chose to concentrate only on the portion of her speech which accused the Leader of the Opposition of behaving badly towards women. It was an accusation she was not prepared to repeat it outside parliament.  She knew she would not need to. The media would do it for her. 
As Prime Minister Julia Gillard began with more support from her colleagues than Kevin Rudd now has. She also had the support of the media - both because she was a woman and because they saw her as a saviour of the Labor party and, ultimately, the government. 
The idea that she has been ousted because she was a woman is simply not correct. She was ousted because of the way she first obtained the job - by backstabbing the then Prime Minister - and then because of a series of tactical errors, a refusal to listen to advice and a growing unpopularity in the electorate over policy. 
Ultimately she tried to play the gender card - and it did not work.
What happens next is anyone's guess. Parliament has a day to run. It is likely that the Leader of the Opposition will not mount a challenge. 
If Kevin Rudd loses then it is likely that he will be the most hated man in politics. 


Anonymous said...

She lost the position not because she was a woman, but because she was a flawed woman ... much the same reason as many men lose positions of power ... only the gender is different.

Anonymous said...

It is still very cold here Cat! Chris

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Really interesting, thanks. We saw this son the UK news last night, and it certainly is being trumped as a gender issue... but I guess in the light of what you are saying, he would say that, wouldn't she?

Vanessa Gebbie said...

sorry that should be 'saw this ON..."

catdownunder said...

She was/is flawed - but then I suppose most of us are. (I certainly have plenty of faults!) It is not a gender issue though. It is even clearer tonight that it was a move to try and reverse what would have been a bloodbath at the next election.
Yes Chris, I imagine the corridors of power are still very chilly. It may take them a while to warm up!

widdershins said...

My go-to cat for Aussie politics! ...

I was wondering how this would pan out ...

"Round and round and round it goes. And where it stops, nobody knows."

Philip C James said...

Wot? No criticism of her shoes...? ;-)

catdownunder said...

Shoes? What shoes? I thought it was her jackets everyone commented on. :)