Sympathy for a PM who, like many of her predecessors and likely successors, lacked sympathy for the vulnerable

I feel really bad about what happened to our former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

Rob Oakeshott

  • Her colleagues (and predecessor/successor) white-anted her from the very beginning.
  • The media led a breathtaking chorus of misogynist hate, largely because she dared not to be a married, church-going, middle-aged male.
  • She was damned with unprecedented vehemence for standard political conduct in the big old parties – replacing the previous leader in a vote (shocking! See: Abbott v Turnbull, Keating v Hawke etc); being unable to stick to a (stupidly made, admittedly) pre-election promise when the post-election circumstances made it impossible (remember when the media dubbed the last LNP PM “Howardliar” after he invented “non-core” promises? Oh wait, no, they let it go.)
  • She achieved some important things (NDIS, Gonski) in very difficult circumstances – but the media preferred to drown them out with leadership speculation bullshit instead.

And any fall from Prime Minister is a hard, painful one.

But I feel equally as bad for the marginalised and vulnerable people she abandoned and hurt:

  • Asylum-seekers (including children), who she locked up indefinitely – and wanted to send to Malaysia where they’d have even fewer protections.
  • Gays and lesbians, who she insisted should continue to be discriminated against by the law because of “tradition”.
  • Poor Australians, as she left NewStart further and further behind subsistence and then shoved a whole bunch of single parent families onto it.

In short: my sympathy for our badly-treated first PM is real, but tempered by the lack of sympathy she showed for those even more deserving of it.

The whole thing is terribly sad.

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24 responses to “Sympathy for a PM who, like many of her predecessors and likely successors, lacked sympathy for the vulnerable

  1. I wholeheartedly echo your sentiments, and while I agree that she does have a list of negatives which will define her years as Prime Minister, I sincerely doubt that Rudd or Abbott would have done any better.
    In fact, Australia under either of them would have been a hell of a lot worse than it ever was under the Gillard/Swan government. We’re sadly about to find out just how bad.
    But, as they say, people get the government they deserve and Australians have proved they really deserve nothing better… and that’s the greatest disappointment of the all.

  2. That pretty much sums up what I feel, her race to the bottom on asylum seekers IMO was cruel, expensive and unforgivable.

  3. Yes, I am similarly torn. She tore through legislation like nobody’s business- yet her policies and practices towards asylum seekers was worse than Howard. They are effectively authorising the torture of lawful asylum seekers in our name. I just can’t believe that more Australians are as disgusted, ashamed and outraged at this. In 20/50/100 years time, a future government will stand and make a public apology to those who committee suicide and suffered permanent psychiatric damage as a result of what they are doing today.

  4. narcoticmusing

    Jeremy – I think you should be a little more balanced about how much she and the ALP did in their years for GLBTI rights generally instead of pretending gay marriage is the only right that matters – this is not the US and it is misleading to pretend this is as significant an issue as in the US, where there are not alternatives and people are being denied the benefits etc because of it – same sex couples have substantially all the same rights/benefits as anyone else due to the reforms of the ALP. That doesn’t excuse not amending the Marriage Act (as you know I 100% support same sex marriage) but it is misleading to throw her in the ‘she descriminated’ heap by considering what she didn’t do in isolation of what she did.

    Regardless, lets hope Rudd gets an amendment to the floor!

  5. Rudd had already passed those amendments… But then the ALP stopped short, maintaining that extraordinary ongoing discrimination, thrown into even sharper relief by the other amendments (many of which, by the way, were negative, such as with Centrelink).

    Gillard presided over a period where full equality could finally have happened – and thwarted it. It was the one big matter of social equity which came up in her term, and she stood against it. It’s a damning black mark against her.

  6. “many of which, by the way, were negative, such as with Centrelink”

    I assume this is not supposed to be a criticism. Being treated equally under the law is, even where it happens to remove some sort of financial advantage, is the entire premise of the marriage equality campaign.

  7. Sure – it’s just galling when they get equality of losing benefits whilst being denied equality before the law elsewhere.

    Also I still object to us cutting Centrelink payments for ppl if they partner with someone else on a Centrelink payment. New start is already below subsistence.

  8. narcoticmusing

    Agreed, J, it is as if partnering with someone on centerlink payments is a windfall. Although Jordan is right that people are being crapped on equally by Centerlink (providing they don’t earn enough money of course)

  9. Such a shame Julia Gillard was cut down, not because of her performance but, because of the performance of others in spreading and promoting hatred.

    For 2 years or more, most Oz media and the rabid Shock Jocks drenched the populous with brainwashing bile, marinating their heads with poisonous spin, whipping them into a frenzy, mouths dripping with venom and their heads full of hatred until they were so psyched up they actually believed the disgusting things being said.

    Hundreds of years ago, the Witchdoctor did something similar in whipping the young mindless warriors into a frenzy around the campfire before sending them off to attack a nearby tribe. They believed the Whitchdoctor.

    It worked then and it’s working today. But Julia didn’t deserve it.

    She has taken this hatred with her, so now the Witchdoctors will work fevorishly to “create” a similar intense hatred of Rudd.

    They really do intensify the meaning of that great Australian noun, “Bastards”.

    One of my cartoons on them . . . . . . .

    http://cartoonmick.wordpress.com/editorial-political/#jp-carousel-574

    Cheers

    Mick

  10. Splatterbottom

    “Her colleagues (and predecessor/successor) white-anted her from the very beginning.”

    The very beginning is when she stabbed Rudd. And then lied about making her mind up on the day she did it, having written her victory speech a week before that.

    “The media led a breathtaking chorus of misogynist hate, largely because she dared not to be a married, church-going, middle-aged male.”

    In fact she was welcomed with a chorus of wanking orgasmic bliss at the fact that we finally had a female PM. This was not only from the usual suspects but also the likes of Alan Jones. As she copped more and more criticism for her broken promises, her complete lack of principle and her utter incompetence her defenders whined about sexism and misogyny.

    Gillard’s disgraceful and hypocritical ‘misogyny’ attacks on Abbott were utterly disgusting. The only thing she had left was the politics of abuse and division. That alone should earn her the undying contempt of the Australian people (and probably did).

    And it is pathetic that you can’t see the difference between a deputy stabbing a first term PM (and then lying about her involvement) and the stoushes between Abbott/Turnbull (not even in power, Abbott a reluctant candidate) and Hawke/Keating (Hawke had broken an agreement to retire and was into is third term as PM).

    And Howard promised no GST, but then took it to an election before he introduced it. No such principle from Gillard.

    In case you missed it neither the NDIS nor Gonski is “achieved” although this exercise in the political exploitation of misery seeing desperate elderly parents calling up government departments only to be told that nothing can be done any time soon to help their disabled 50 year old child.

    Gillard’s legacy is one of unprincipled incompetence.

    “Asylum-seekers (including children), who she locked up indefinitely – and wanted to send to Malaysia where they’d have even fewer protections.”

    Before Labor took over there were about 3 in detention. Now there are thousands, not to mention over a thousand killed by Labor’s murderous policy. That change in policy was nothing more than a disgusting display of moral exhibitionism.

  11. The very beginning is when she stabbed Rudd. And then lied about making her mind up on the day she did it, having written her victory speech a week before that.

    Wait, you never prepare for something and consider the alternatives before you make the decision to do it?

    Gillard’s disgraceful and hypocritical ‘misogyny’ attacks on Abbott were utterly disgusting. The only thing she had left was the politics of abuse and division.

    Yes, she certainly hurt the feelings of us privileged heterosexual males when she pointed out the areas of discrimination continuing against women. Why on Earth did so many women respond to that speech, anyway? It’s almost like they have a different experience of misogyny and sexism than us men.

    And it is pathetic that you can’t see the difference between a deputy stabbing a first term PM…

    When did being a “first term PM” get this magical power? Oh, wait, when it suited the Right to pretend it did.

    And Howard promised no GST, but then took it to an election before he introduced it. No such principle from Gillard.

    I suppose Howard’s excuse for promise-breaking after an election, that something was a “non-core” promise, was principled too, eh?

    Before Labor took over there were about 3 in detention. Now there are thousands, not to mention over a thousand killed by Labor’s murderous policy. That change in policy was nothing more than a disgusting display of moral exhibitionism.

    To quote a former Liberal PM:

    [Can nothing in your view act as a deterrent?] No it can’t because what, especially the Liberal Party have forgotten, is the circumstances from which people are fleeing. The only way you could – a democratic government such as Australia’s and even the Opposition, as Australia’s is, could not be nasty enough to match the terror, the persecution that is meted out by the Taliban or meted out by possibly both sides in Sri Lanka and a lot of other places; you can’t match that.

    And therefore nothing we can do will be a deterrent. We can’t cut off the heads of young Afghani girls and send them back to Afghanistan and say you better not come to Australia we’re as bad as the Taliban and therefore nothing we can do will be a deterrent.

  12. narcoticmusing

    Funny, when Napthine replaced Baillieu there was media silence. Nothing to see here.

    Gillard had an overwhelming majority of the vote from her party to lead; Abbot only one by one vote – certainly not a case of the party clearly wanting him in favour of Turnball.

    Regardless – she went to an election and was able to form a government with far fewer non-ALP members than the Liberals hve ever managed. ALP had won most of the popular vote too – so why the constant pretending of her government being illigitimate?

  13. Splatterbottom

    “Wait, you never prepare for something and consider the alternatives before you make the decision to do it?”

    That wasn’t the answer she gave. She didn’t give an answer, just looked shifty and shamefaced and said when the question was repeated that she had given the answer she was going to give. A bit like when she was asked what line Craig Thomson had crossed. She wouldn’t say, just crapped on about adding one molecule to another.

    “Yes, she certainly hurt the feelings of us privileged heterosexual males”

    Speak for yourself. Stupidity and hypocrisy rarely hurt my feelings. We have all seen someone go all shrill and shouty when they are caught out as hypcrites.

    “Why on Earth did so many women respond to that speech, anyway?”

    Most responded with revulsion.

    “When did being a “first term PM” get this magical power? Oh, wait, when it suited the Right to pretend it did.”

    Or maybe it is just unprecedented. And no answer to the substance of my argument. And just to emphasise Gillard’s monumental hypocrisy: she campaigned against Howard on the basis that if you elect him you will end up with a different PM. Then by her own bloody hand she ensured that that was exactly the case with Rudd.

    I wasn’t defending Howard so much as pointing out that in the case of the GST he was more principled than Gillard. Maybe you should ask Wilkie what he thinks of Gillard’s integrity when it comes to promised pokie reforms?

    And quoting Fraser, possibly the most egregious moral exhibitionist of them all, is pointless. In case you were swept away by the melodrama of his quote you may have missed the fact that it is pure hyperbolic bullshit. What a contemptible old fool he is.

  14. Marek Bage

    “Most responded with revulsion.”
    Really SB?
    Are you certain that you want to stand by that statement?

    Please note that Jeremy asked why so many “women” responded to that speech.
    He didn’t ask why so many ersatz conservative middle aged Australian men responded to that speech.
    To argue that Gillard’s speech did not strike a positive and resonant chord with women in Australia and around the world is to reduce yourself to the level of partisan idiocy.

    Having said that, you’re well within your rights to be a partisan idiot.
    Your call.

    Cheers,

  15. narcoticmusing

    Agreed Marek. SB, I think you’ll find that women’s experience of this place that is all built even down to the language, by white men, is quite different to that of white men. You may experience Abbott’s words and policy as being all good, but that is very different to me. For me, as a woman working every day in a place filled by men, Abbot’s words and policies drip of women being sub-human. That to me is misogyny – when you view a woman as less than human just because they are a woman. It is not merely sexism; it is far more debasing than that. It is far more about making paternalistic decisions for women because well, according to Abbott we just aren’t capable of that. We women are just not capable of doing the things men can. That is Abbott. Just because he has a wife and daughters doesn’t make him not a misogynist – just look at how he’s talked about them. As objects. Where their virginity is a gift to give to a man, wrapped in a bow. That is how he sees women’s place in the world. It is always the ‘man (subject) fucks woman (object)’ never the other way. Sure, he loves his wife and daughter but he has a place for them and limits for them that he’d never impose on his sons.

    You often speak about the ‘victim’ mentality as a basis for woman and minority groups to just suck it up. While there is a degree of that required, as a woman I’m pretty sick of having to do it every fucking day – and if a dare call someone out on it, I’m the bad guy. Gillard called someone out on being a sexist pig every fucking day and if you can’t see that for what it is – then you are facilitating the continued repression of the majority of the population.

  16. Splatterbottom

    “Are you certain that you want to stand by that statement?”

    That was the reaction I heard from most women I know. It was reinforced by Gillard’s support among women not actually increasing at the time.

    Most sane people noticed the hideous hypocrisy in Gillard using the attack on Gillard as cover for her defence of a misogynist. Most contrasted her promise to call out sexism and misogyny wherever she saw it with her scripted photo-op with Kyle Sandilands.

    Being a partisan idiot in your parallel universe is fine by me.

    Narcotic: “Abbot’s words and policies drip of women being sub-human.”

    What do you mean by this? Any evidence?

    “It is far more about making paternalistic decisions for women because well, according to Abbott we just aren’t capable of that.”

    Any evidence for this?

    Real negativity and hate has been injected into the political debate by those who think the only path to victory is the demonistation of Abbott. These people are either deeply stupid or viciously cynical.

  17. And quoting Fraser, possibly the most egregious moral exhibitionist of them all, is pointless.

    Bit rich from someone who quotes Graham Richardson and Mark Latham approvingly.

  18. Instructive once again to see the extent to which SB’s comments align pretty much perfectly with LNP talking points. And they are so hard to find in the media these days, so it’s good to know I can always collect them here in one convenient location.

  19. narcoticmusing

    Actually SB, I’ve quoted Abbott on this forum many many times giving direct evidence to what I asserted. Are you seriously asking me to do that again? Do you honestly think Abbott isn’t a dinosaur?

    Btw, Slippers comments were repulsive but they didn’t impact policy and he isn’t the leader of a party. Abbot was Slippers mate for a long time – so don’t pretend that if this was normal behaviour for Slipper, that Abbott didn’t go along with it until it was convenient not to. In addition, what was said was disgusting yes but not hateful about women as human beings – which is what Abbott gives us, he gives us the “women are great and pretty but should just know their place’ type of thing which is far more destructive than Slippers gross banter that Abbott would have joined in with as a good friend of Slipper’s if this was normal.

  20. Splatterbottom

    Buns: “Bit rich from someone who quotes Graham Richardson and Mark Latham approvingly.”

    Point taken as to Latham!

    “And they are so hard to find in the media these days”

    Only if you restrict yourself to the ABC.

    Narcotic: “Are you seriously asking me to do that again?”

    I think your comments on Abbott were OTT. I doubt you will find comments that support your hard-line view of him. He has been subjected to much more spiteful goading from the government than he has dished out to them.

    O f course you are going to have people view you as an extremist if you make OPTT statements. It happens to me all the time.

    In paragraph you wrote on Slipper you failed to address the question I raised which is Gillard’s hypocrisy in supporting Slipper (and in choosing to use Kyle Sandilands to promote her own image).

  21. narcoticmusing

    A. Calling Abbott out on him having the gall to lecture a woman on misogyny is not the same as supporting Slipper – do you recall the speech? I do. She condemned what Slipper wrote in those texts. She did not defend him. She defended due process – something you normally defend too.
    B. Describing a body part using awful terms is not in itself misogynistic – in poor taste, sure, but not the same as treating women as a lesser species. Abbott does the latter and is happy to implement that as policy as seen by his stance on abortion.
    C. Abbott only cared about the Slipper texts because it was convenient for him to – where is your horror at the hypocrisy of Abbott and him being mates for ages. Clearly if this was normal behaviour for Slipper, Abbott was aware of it as his mate and constant support. It was LibCo that put Slipper in positions of power over and over. Indeed, the entire incident occurred during LibCo’s watch – it was only when he was important to the ALP that LibCo were happy to kick him to the curb.
    D. I do not see any of the same comparisons made regarding Geoff Shaw taht are made relating to Thompson. Indeed, when Thompson crossed the floor, rather than do what was best for the country, Abbot and Co decided to behave like children. The media coverage too went for the pro-childish approach rather than acknowledging habeus corpus limiting legislation was passed that day.
    D. All politicians are suckers for media attention – are you suddenly not allowed to have photo opportunties if you are a woman? Or is it that you are not allowed to call out a misogynist on being a misogynist just because there are other assholes out there too? Abbott too has had plenty of photo opps with misongynist pigs – does that mean each one of those can be used to demonstrate he is a misogynist? Hell, he’s had more photos with Slipper than Gillard… Seriously SB, a photo op with Kyle Sandilands is “hypocrisy” but you defended Abbott for standing in front of ‘ditch the witch’ and ‘Brown’s Bitch’ signs? One is just some guy, like him or not (I don’t, but many do). The other is endorsement of hate towards women and the PM.

    A couple quotes from Abbott if you are confused, SB.

    “The problem with the Australian practice of abortion is that an objectively grave matter has been reduced to a question of the mother’s convenience”

    “I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons”

  22. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “A. Calling Abbott out on him having the gall to lecture a woman on misogyny is not the same as supporting Slipper – do you recall the speech? I do. She condemned what Slipper wrote in those texts. She did not defend him. She defended due process – something you normally defend too.”

    Gillard didn’t even know what mysogyny was (apart from a way of slandering her opponents) at least until the Macquarie Dictionary validated her ignorance by changing the definition of the word. She was not defending due process. The only reason she was supporting Slipper was to shore up her numbers.

    “B. Describing a body part using awful terms is not in itself misogynistic – in poor taste, sure, but not the same as treating women as a lesser species. Abbott does the latter and is happy to implement that as policy as seen by his stance on abortion.”

    Don’t agree at all. The abortion debate is about when human life begins and at what stage to humans get to have legal protection against being killed.

    “C. Abbott only cared about the Slipper texts because it was convenient for him to – where is your horror at the hypocrisy of Abbott and him being mates for ages. Clearly if this was normal behaviour for Slipper, Abbott was aware of it as his mate and constant support. It was LibCo that put Slipper in positions of power over and over. Indeed, the entire incident occurred during LibCo’s watch – it was only when he was important to the ALP that LibCo were happy to kick him to the curb.”

    You are making a few assumptions there. The ALP bought Slipper, knowing of his reputation, so it is no surprise that it blew up in their faces.

    “Seriously SB, a photo op with Kyle Sandilands is “hypocrisy” but you defended Abbott for standing in front of ‘ditch the witch’ and ‘Brown’s Bitch’ signs? One is just some guy, like him or not (I don’t, but many do). The other is endorsement of hate towards women and the PM.”

    Gillard had promised to call out misogyny wherever she saw it. That is why her using Sandilands as a photo-op stinks of hypocrisy. It was a deliberate and calculated choice. OTOH there is no evidence that Abbott even saw the sign. His minders tried to remove it when it was brought in behind Abbott after he had started speaking.

    I don’t think the two quotes are evidence of misogyny. There are many, many women opposed to abortion.

    And gender feminism is a really dumb concept, which is what I assume that Abbott was getting at in the second quote. Gender isn’t exclusively a mere social construct, it is part of human nature. Abbott’s quote is certainly way broader than I would put it, but I don’t see it as evidence of misogyny. The President of Harvard was forced to resign for making a similar statement, but that was merely evidence of the vicious stupidity of the leftist herd.

  23. Slipper – charged for misuse of $900, even though he offered to pay it back. Abbott – $9000 and lied and lied again, then lied again – no charges. Whoever referred Slipper to police, thus preventing his payback, is unknown.

  24. Splatterbottom

    Rudd has been incredibly effective in exposing the incoherence of Abbott’s policies and this is reflected in the polls. This is due in part to Rudd largely abandoning the Gillard tactic of personal abuse of Abbott, of prefacing the answer to every question with a reference to Abbott’s alleged misogyny.

    It is not as though the electorate is misogynisitic, preferring Rudd to Gillard. Voters rightly detest the politics of personal abuse.

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