Now’s a good time to send Julia Gillard a personal message – congratulating her, and reminding her of what you’ll be hoping for from her Premiership. (She will definitely be getting these sorts of messages from groups like the ACL.)
This was mine:
Congratulations on becoming Prime Minister.
I hope that your election by the Labor caucus means that the ALP will now become a stronger voice for humane policies in Canberra.
I hope that, notwithstanding your rhetoric on your first day about “being strong on border security”, you will be ending cruel present Labor policies like refusing to process refugee applications from countries that are so dangerous that our troops are still dying there.
I hope that you will be able to break with your predecessor’s lock-step with Mr Abbott and Jim Wallace’s unrepresentative mob on issues of continuing discrimination such as by finally enacting marriage equality – it is long overdue in this country for gay and lesbian people to have equal rights before the law as the rest of us. (That will be a historic change and something that would cement your place in the history books as a positive, reforming Prime Minister.)
I hope that you will move to cancel Mr Conroy’s fundamentally flawed internet filter plan that not only will be expensive and curtail Australians’ rights (particularly given its incompatibility with our existing classification system), but will – by driving the criminals further underground where they’re harder to catch, and by giving parents a false sense of security – actually put children in danger. (If you care to look you’ll realise that lobby groups for victims of child abuse oppose the filter.)
I hope that you will push for decent health services, particulary in the long and cruelly-neglected area of mental health.
I hope that you will not cave to the big 3 miners and will stand up to their corrupt bullying of parliament, of the rest of the mining industry, of the rest of corporate Australia.
And I hope that you will negotiate meaningfully on climate change, which means treating the Greens as representatives of a progressive left rather than just ignoring them as a threat to the Labor base that must be destroyed. If, as you say, climate change is a real issue to you, negotiate meaningfully with them, as your predecessor refused to do.
I expect that the ALP thinks that your background will be enough to convince progressive voters to vote ALP ahead of the Greens even if you continue the existing conservative ALP policies – or, worse, if you make them even harsher.
Believe me, this will NOT be the case from me. I look forward to voting for (or at least preferencing) a Julia Gillard who represents the principles that put her into politics in the first place – not the Right faction that arranged the numbers yesterday.
Best of luck in your term of office. I hope that the Gillard premiership is one of which all Australians can be proud.