Gillard blows opportunity to achieve one lasting good thing with her premiership

Julia Gillard is apparently persuaded by some really dumb arguments:

Asked about her attitudes on social issues, Ms Gillard harked back to her upbringing in Adelaide and agreed that she was a “cultural traditionalist”.

“I had a pro-union, pro-Labor upbringing in a quite conservative family, in a sense of personal values. I mean we believed in lots of things that are old fashioned in the modern age,” she said. “We believed in politeness and thrift and fortitude and doing duty and diligence. These are things that were part of my upbringing. They’re part of who I am.”

…On gay marriage, Ms Gillard said: “I do find myself on the conservative side in this question.” Declaring there were “some important things from our past that need to continue to be part of our present and part of our future”, Ms Gillard said her view was that the Marriage Act – and marriage being between a man and woman – “has a special status”.

(“Politeness and thrift and fortitude and doing duty and diligence” are “conservative”, now?)

So – Gillard once again repeats the argument-by-assertion that is all the marriage discrimination advocates have left. Why does discriminating against gay people “need” to be part of our future? Why do John Howard’s 2004 changes to the Marriage Act have “a special status”?

Can Gillard give one single reason for either of those assertions? Has she ever?

Of course she hasn’t. Of course she can’t. There isn’t such a reason. This isn’t about something she rationally believes, it’s about not alienating social conservative Labor voters.

But Julia – anyone so strongly opposed to marriage equality that they’d switch to the Liberals has already done so. They’re not voting for you anyway. They’re the people who are put off by you “living in sin” with your live-in unmarried boyfriend. They’re the people who can’t stand the fact you’re an atheist. On the political spectrum, Tony Abbott will always be further away than you from the people these voters hate the most: the Greens. And, unlike you, he personally lives the social conservative dream – married, very religious, advocates anti-choice policies.

You’re not going to win them back.

All you’re doing is driving the far more numerous social progressive ALP voters to the Greens, and leaving a legacy for which you will always rightly be excoriated and condemned. Surely you can see that discrimination is the wrong side of history. Your premiership may well not be all that long – do you really want your record to be of one who used her brief position to stand for bigotry and against equality?

Sometimes people fight so long to get to “the top job” that they forget what the hell they wanted it for in the first place.

Still, it’s sad, but it’s only a temporary setback for the rest of us. If she won’t take the opportunity to do something lasting and positive on which she could always look back with pride, there’s always the next person. History is not going to wait for the Julias of this world to catch up.

UPDATE: Marriage Equality rally in Melbourne on Saturday. I won’t be able to go – I’ll be in Albury – but here’s hoping for another excellent turnout of supporters. (I expect we’ll start seeing more signs along the lines of I’VE GOT BETTER THINGS TO DO WITH MY SATURDAYS, COULD WE HURRY UP AND END THE DISCRIMINATION ALREADY?)

UPDATE #2 (23/3): Dr Kerryn Phelps kicks the Prime Minister’s unconvincing “traditional values” crap out of the park.

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21 responses to “Gillard blows opportunity to achieve one lasting good thing with her premiership

  1. narcoticmusing

    What do you expect from focus-group driven, risk averse, headline seeking/avoiding pollys like those invertebrates we have in the Feds now?

  2. I don’t vote for those sorts of MPs. I’m relieved I’ve got a principled party representing my viewpoint.

  3. Jeremy wrote:

    Why does discriminating against gay people “need” to be part of our future?

    Because she considers it is electorally advantageous. Sad, isn’t it?

  4. Splatterbottom

    “Sometimes people fight so long to get to “the top job” that they forget what the hell they wanted it for in the first place.”

    What we see here is the corrosive effect of the chicanery necessary to get the top job. At first it was just careful phrasing, then a little bit of necessary spin, perhaps emphasising different points to different audiences, then it is a cynical game justified by your need to compete with your lying opponent. But you still think you understand your core values. People say you are wooden when delivering you insincere promises so you start acting like you believe them – a rasp in the voice, a trace of a tear and soon you can no longer distinguish you principles from your lies. Like an entertainer you are only truly alive when you are on the stage delivering your lines.

    One day you catch yourself lecturing the Australian people on the virtue of bible stories. By this stage you no longer care. Power is an end in itself. Your core values have been hollowed out but, in the thrall of the thrill of it all, you don’t miss them.

  5. narcoticmusing

    Gillard seems completely trapped in this stupid media based risk averse loop that NSW govt has been stuck in the last decade – it means they do nothing because they perceive stagnation or non-decision as not being a decision. They don’t seem to realise that not changing something IS a decision: to not change. Sometimes not-changing needs a rationale just as much as a change, particularly when not changing is inconsistent with either the body politic and/or the percieved values of a party.

  6. Autonomy and SB have said all that needs to be said about Ms Gillard.

    She’s very skilled at playing politics, but that’s about as far as it goes with that hollow-woman.

  7. Hi Jeremy,

    Surprised you didn’t note the latest bit of hippie punching from Gillard, telling a meeting about how extremist and irresponsible and unfit to govern the Greens are and how everyone should just be sensible and vote labor.

    Unfortunately we see this sort of thing every time a Labor leader slips in the polls. Gillard is currently desperately, desperately trying to avoid being tarred as a “lefty” and the anti-Greens rehetoric is par for the course. Gillard is much more symptom than disease.

  8. Gillard is doing nothing more or nothing less than any other politician.

    Her brief from the Labor party is to keep the reactionary Tony Abbott or for that matter the Liberal party out of power. She is expected to achieve that goal by any means at her disposal. She is well cognizant of the Australian political demographic, and plays the game that politics is, accordingly.

    No more is this game more clear than from the usual comments of SB, who is not toooo subtle in his obfuscation of his own true ideology, by trying to be all things to all people. His tactic is crystal clear, as is Gillards. It is the nature of the beast.

    I vote Green as do most of my friends, not because of their progressive attitude to Gay marriage or similar, both of the other major parties still live in la la land when it comes to sustainable economics.

  9. “Gillard is doing nothing more or nothing less than any other politician.”

    Than any big party politician.

    The Greens pick a position and stick to it consistently. The ALP pretends to be progressive and then conservative simultaneously. That’s what happens when you’re trying to pretend you can represent 51+% of the population at once. It’s the central lie that renders the ALP and Liberal parties innately dishonest.

    Cygil – didn’t think there was much to it. Loved the way Brown just laughed it off.

  10. I don’t understand why interviewers just let her get away with stating all this stuff without calling her out on some of her points.

    As much as I deplore that dreadful interview she had with Alan Jones where he called her Ju-liar, or something similar, I wish there was left-wing shockjock who could a bit of similar hammering.

  11. Splatterbottom

    My favourite lefty shock-jock is Phillip Adams. He was very peeved at Gillard’s knifing of Rudd and he certainly doesn’t agree with Julia when she speaks out of the conservative side of her mouth, so perhaps he might ask her the obvious questions.

  12. SB, I just realised what your gravatar is. I wish I hadn’t clicked on it for the larger version! 😀

  13. Sad as it is it’s about gaining and holding power. When your opposite number is as two faced and disingenuous as Abbott it’s a question of having to fight fire with fire. Until the Liarberals find a leader with a modicum of decency I’d suggest Julia will follow the low road as it appears to appeal to the great unwashed. Sad, but that’s politics today.

  14. ” Than any big party politician”

    A well known Green politician was in bed literally with the enemy over here in the west. We have our share of Green politicians that bend in the breeze, and make deals with the Labor party, it’s called politics. The Greens ascendancy has nothing to do with their honesty or consistent position on any issue. They are the only game in town for the future of mankind. Tis a shame I won’t live long enough to see them one day, form a government.

  15. “We have our share of Green politicians that bend in the breeze, and make deals with the Labor party, it’s called politics.”

    Nothing wrong with deals, provided they’re consistent with your principles. What were these deals?

  16. “WA Premier Colin Barnett denied he behaved improperly by negotiating a deal that would allow a former Greens and now independent MP, Adele Carles, get an extra staff member in return for backing his government.”

    Above is from the financial review. Of course you can do your own research for other deals. The fact said women resigned from the Greens is absolutely irrelevant. The fact is, all politicians lie and sometimes cheat, it is the nature of politics. BTW I don’t condone such behaviour, however, I am unlike some who comment here, a realist. Gillard is expected to retain power for the Labor party, by any means at her disposal. The fact that she may mis-lead the parliament, tell the odd porky pie, is where we are as a society. to deny this salient fact is naive in the extreme.

    Is all I will concede is, the duopoly that takes turns at running our country no doubt have the lions share of thieves, charlatans, shysters, and general all round toe rags. Most of whom couldn’t work in an iron lung, or a barrel of brewers yeast. Come the next election, my fellow plebes will again kill each other in the rush to vote for them.

  17. Gillard is a disgrace to the supposed left faction she comes from. One time those factions actually had principles – different principles (hence factions). Now these factions have completely outlived their purpose and are nothing more than stepping stones for ALP hacks to make their way up. Shit, even right-wing union leaderPaul Howes is more progressive than Gillard on this issue.

    Now, that is sad.

  18. AU,
    Had you seen the profile on Julia on (I think) Four Corners a month or two ago you’d know she has never genuinely been of the left. A great user of the system is our Julia. A political chameleon like Abbott but less shifty.

  19. narcoticmusing

    If Abbot is a lizard that is skilled at deception in order to prey on others but so heavily customised he doesn’t survive well in other environments; what the hell is Bishop?

  20. And yet I’ve still got one-eyed Labor supporter friends trying to convince me Labor is the only workable progressive choice.”Just wait, Gillard will come through with SSM when it’s politically acceptable, she’s not really against it.” Dream on kids.

    They also rabidly turn on me if I even mention the Greens.

    @Ronson: accessing this site from my phone, I didn’t even know it displayed Gravatars until your comment – they’re offscreen right. Der!

  21. I’m a former Labor voter who was pushed to the Greens by Rudd drifting to the right to try to seduce Liberal voters, and I’m sure I’m not the only one here. I wonder, however, how many former Liberal voters there are that have turned to the increasingly conservative Labor? I’m sure there are some – there are definitely swinging voters who are comfortable with both parties and would have been happy with Howard but are wary of Abbott – but I doubt it’s anywhere near the number of former-Labor-now-Green voters.

    You could probably figure out the actual stastistics by looking at the voting results of the 2010 election, couldn’t you? The Greens had to pick up their swing from somewhere, and I doubt there are more than a few thousand people in the entire country who went straight from Liberals to Green without stopping at Labor in between.

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