Julia Gillard, Australia's first female Prime Minister, is done.
June 26, 2013 9:17 AM   Subscribe

Former Labor leader and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd defeated her in a Labor Party leadership spill, 57-45, on Wednesday. The result has triggered a wave of cabinet resignations, including that of the erstwhile Midnight Oiler and Minister for School Education, Minister for Early Childhood and Youth, Peter Garrett. Previously.
posted by rhombus (152 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's been such a seesaw of news this past 24 hours for so, going from the VRA thing to Texas, then hearing about this, then back to DOMA and Prop 8.
posted by rewil at 9:22 AM on June 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


Julia Gillard's extraordinary misogyny speech should at least keep her name alive for the foreseeable future. It is one of the most electrifying rhetorical performances I have ever watched.
posted by Kattullus at 9:23 AM on June 26, 2013 [34 favorites]


I know this is highly heretical to say in some quarters but - I don't think she was a particularly adept or great politician. And yes, I thought she was mediocre the various times I encountered her when she was in opposition and was surprised Rudd chose her as deputy back in the beginning.That is not to of course excuse any of the disgusting misogyny directed at her by the press, public and fellow politicians, but by being ousted in the this spill she may actually end up with a greater legacy than she deserves - martyrdom and one great speech* rather than being remembered for being a mediocre politician with a bad PR team.


*which I honestly think painted her as more progressive than she really is.
posted by Megami at 9:34 AM on June 26, 2013 [13 favorites]


Since Rudd currently has a seat in Parliament, how is he not automatically prime minister?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:36 AM on June 26, 2013


He is not automatically prime minister for the same reason Gillard was not after the election - labor is not the majority. He needs support from the independents to gain a majority.
posted by jacalata at 9:39 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm going to listen to a lot of Midnight Oil today.
posted by spinifex23 at 9:41 AM on June 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


He needs support from the independents to gain a majority.

Wouldn't the leader of Labor still be prime minister as long as the government had the confidence of Parliament? When Kathleen Wynne became leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, she immediately assumed the premiership despite the Liberals holding less than half the seats in the legislature to this day.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:42 AM on June 26, 2013


Parliamentary democracy hurts my little American brain.
posted by SkinnerSan at 9:47 AM on June 26, 2013 [15 favorites]


In the article at this link in the deleted post, Gilliard is referred to "the candidate of the right-wing trade unions." So confusing - I suppose things really are upside down in Australia.
posted by exogenous at 9:47 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, it is very unclear that they hold the support of the house. I can't link from my phone but it looks like there is expected to be a vote of confidence.
posted by jacalata at 9:47 AM on June 26, 2013


Kevin Rudd will be Prime Minister if Governor-General Quentin Bryce appoints Rudd (which she is expected to do) following Julia Gillard recommending him in a letter to Bryce. See this Wikipedia page.
posted by Quilford at 9:55 AM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


And this one.
posted by Quilford at 9:58 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is Quentin commonly a woman's or gender-neutral name in Australia, or were her parents odd?
posted by Etrigan at 10:10 AM on June 26, 2013


Ertigan, it is an uncommon boys name, and her's is the first instance I have seen it as a woman's name.
posted by Megami at 10:15 AM on June 26, 2013


Thanks. I see only just enough news from Australia that I remember the Governor-General is a woman but not enough that I remember her actual name, so every time it comes up, I'm all, Wait... did they get a new... Oh, no, that's right...
posted by Etrigan at 10:20 AM on June 26, 2013


Kevin Rudd will be Prime Minister if Governor-General Quentin Bryce appoints Rudd (which she is expected to do) following Julia Gillard recommending him in a letter to Bryce

In Australia, does the GG not act as a rubber stamp formality in these matters like in Canada?
posted by Hoopo at 10:29 AM on June 26, 2013


Kevin Rudd will be Prime Minister if Governor-General Quentin Bryce appoints Rudd (which she is expected to do) following Julia Gillard recommending him in a letter to Bryce.

Still, doesn't Gillard remain PM until then? Canadian PM Kim Campbell lost her seat in the House of Commons on October 25, 1993, but remained as PM until November 4, when Jean Chrétien took over.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 10:34 AM on June 26, 2013


Generally that is correct hoopo but in this case labor does not hold an absolute majority in the lower house and there were some interesting questions about what would happen if they boycotted supply. Enough in the end gave supply, so it's not an issue.
posted by smoke at 10:40 AM on June 26, 2013


So does this mean we don't have to invade Australia, or that now is the time to invade?
posted by Mister_A at 10:40 AM on June 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


Using Canada's system of government as a model of Australia's may not be very productive here due to differences in process and convention.
posted by Quilford at 10:44 AM on June 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Remember, the Queen is in charge, and remains in charge until she dies, upon which the Crown Prince immediately takes over. So the magic powers of the tribal alpha-male are uninterrupted: someone is in charge to fight off the evil spirits at all times. Meanwhile, the processes by which the Australians decide who is in charge - which don't really really need to operate instantly, they don't have lots of nukes pointing at Russia - can carry on for a day or two. It's cool.
posted by alasdair at 10:45 AM on June 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


A few good (IMHO) things will come of this: Labor were facing a historic electoral wipeout. A lot of this was due to public dislike (to put it mildly) of Gillard, some of which was due to men who couldn't cope with a woman being PM and some due to the steady drip of highly personal character-assassination propaganda from Murdoch's 70% of the press and right-wing talk radio. With the uppity-sheila-hate factor no longer in play, the scale of Labor's expected defeat will be reduced somewhat, to the point where the Coalition might no longer expect to win outright control of both houses of parliament without having actually aired any policies.

Secondly, the Greens (a left-leaning minor party with some integrity, IMHO) were facing a collapse of their vote, due to the popular belief that putting a party first in preferential voting gives them a stronger vote than putting them behind a minor party who get eliminated in the first round. Now that Labor are no longer a totem of besieged idealism for the inner-city left to rally behind, the Greens stand to get more votes, possibly taking more traditional Labor seats and holding the balance of power in the Senate.

Finally, maybe people will start talking about policies, and subjecting Tony Abbott to some hard questions rather than just praising him for not being “Juliar”. Abbott is not a massively charismatic politician, and has waged an entirely negative campaign; his relative popularity is entirely due to popular dislike of Gillard. Against Rudd (who's essentially Mini-Abbott; the same sort of muscular-Christian authoritarian paternalist), Abbott is no longer the rightful King returning to save Australia. Some speculate that his approval may even end up slumping to the point where the Tories replace him with Malcolm Turnbull. (I wouldn't be so sure, but we can hope.)
posted by acb at 10:45 AM on June 26, 2013 [15 favorites]


And while the Governor-General of Australia may have more of a ceremonial role than a functional one it is nevertheless required that these processes be adhered to. Kevin Rudd is not PM until Bryce appoints him.
posted by Quilford at 10:48 AM on June 26, 2013


Using Canada's system of government as a model of Australia's may not be very productive here due to differences in process and convention.

Right, but if something awful happened (say, if Mister_A invaded Australia) right now, who addresses all Australians on national TV?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 10:52 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Still, doesn't Gillard remain PM until then? Canadian PM Kim Campbell lost her seat in the House of Commons on October 25, 1993, but remained as PM until November 4, when Jean Chrétien took over.

I don't believe that would happen, no - the PM must be a member of Parliament*. Gillard has resigned, and Rudd is expected to be commissioned on Thursday (Australian time, so late Wednesday US time). I guess that we are temporarily without one. Made more interesting by the fact that the Deputy PM also resigned, so in fact I don't know who would address the nation if necessary. Everyone who could get a TV camera pointed at them, is my guess.

*or, technically, become one within three months of the nomination, which also wouldn't apply to an MP who had just lost their seat.
posted by jacalata at 10:56 AM on June 26, 2013


Remember, the Queen is in charge, and remains in charge until she dies, ...So the magic powers of the tribal alpha-male are uninterrupted:

that's an odd statement.
posted by jacalata at 10:57 AM on June 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


acb, thanks for that great little run-down. Personally, I believe that the Greens won't pick up that much support in the House of Reps, but that they will continue to be the 'new Democrats' in the Senate, with more impetus to 'keep the bastards honest' BUT of course with a compulsory voting system I guess those who hate the LNP but now won't vote for Labor due to 'how they treated Gillard' have to go somewhere.

Apologies to non-Australians/Australia-watchers who have no idea what most of that meant!
posted by Megami at 11:03 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Right, but if something awful happened (say, if Mister_A invaded Australia) right now, who addresses all Australians on national TV?

On the Murdoch/Rinehart-owned channels: Tony Abbott, the true and rightful PM.
Elsewhere: who knows?
posted by acb at 11:06 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]



And while the Governor-General of Australia may have more of a ceremonial role than a functional one it is nevertheless required that these processes be adhered to. Kevin Rudd is not PM until Bryce appoints him.


Had neither Rudd nor Gillard gotten the numbers, there was the possibility of Bryce's son-in-law, Bill Shorten, becoming PM, which would have necessitated her leaving the country (!) and a new G-G taking over. No idea why simply resigning the post and not saying anything wouldn't have sufficed.
posted by acb at 11:08 AM on June 26, 2013


I AM invading Australia right now! I'm massed at the border; go check!
posted by Mister_A at 11:13 AM on June 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


Right, but if something awful happened (say, if Mister_A invaded Australia) right now, who addresses all Australians on national TV?

Angus Young.
posted by Etrigan at 11:16 AM on June 26, 2013 [19 favorites]


Using Canada's system of government as a model of Australia's may not be very productive here due to differences in process and convention.

Despite the instability they cause, Aus' frequent spills indicate a more lively and potentially more democratic federal system compared to Canada, where the PMO holds all the cards, from appointing plum committee chairs, deciding (with no input whatsoever from caucus) the legislative agenda of the House, to appointing (and firing) all senior civil servants.

I would love to see a political scientist jump into this thread and compare Canada, UK and Australia's systems of government!
posted by KokuRyu at 11:16 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


So does this mean we don't have to invade Australia, or that now is the time to invade?

We have always been at war with Oceania...
posted by ennui.bz at 11:21 AM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


If the Australian leaders were dogs, Julia would be the wily baby-eating Dingo, Kevin would be the yappy, attention-seeking, ankle-biting Terrier and Tony would be the rabid barking Rottweiler.
posted by islander at 11:26 AM on June 26, 2013


No idea why simply resigning the post and not saying anything wouldn't have sufficed.

She would have left the country so that someone else could temporarily hold the position - much less drastic than resigning.
posted by jacalata at 11:51 AM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


And to be clear - this would have worked because the GG temporarily does not hold the position while they are out of the country, because the position is technically 'the representative of the monarch in Australia'.
posted by jacalata at 11:54 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Remember, the Queen is in charge, and remains in charge until she dies, upon which the Crown Prince immediately takes over. So the magic powers of the tribal alpha-male are uninterrupted: someone is in charge to fight off the evil spirits at all times.

Isn't it true now that the next heir can be either male or female?

But still not Catholic?
posted by Melismata at 11:55 AM on June 26, 2013


In Australia, does the GG not act as a rubber stamp formality in these matters like in Canada?

You'll have to ask Gough Whitlam about that.
posted by nickmark at 12:02 PM on June 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


Poster here. I'm heartened to see this has unleashed genuine curiosity about how Westminister-like governments work.

SkinnerSan: Parliamentary democracy hurts my little American brain.

Strictly speaking, you have a parliamentary democracy as well. Congress is a bicameral parliament (it has two chambers, and people talk, er... past each other in it, hence parlement, from parler, to talk.) You probably meant that Westminister-model democracies hurt your brain. Not to worry, they hurt everybody else's, too.

one more dead town's last parade: Still, doesn't Gillard remain PM until then? Canadian PM Kim Campbell lost her seat in the House of Commons on October 25, 1993, but remained as PM until November 4, when Jean Chrétien took over.

In Australia, as in Canada, or in the UK (where all this nonsense was invented) the government governs at the sovereign's pleasure.

That means that unless and until the Queen -- or her duly-appointed representative, in both Canada and Australia that's the Governor-General -- dismisses the government, it continues to serve, and it basically doesn't matter if the Prime Minister is a currently sitting member of any House. In Canada, for example, there is nothing written anywhere that says the Prime Minister cannot be a sitting member of the Senate (and there have been cabinet ministers who were Senators, although this practice is increasingly rare, since Senators in Canada are appointed. In Australia, where Senators are elected, it's not unusual for them to be cabinet ministers).

That's what's allowed; then there is the parliamentary tradition, which is that the PM is the leader of the majority party and a sitting member of the lower House. When an election is called, the theory is that the Sovereign decides to dissolve Parliament and issue a writ of election. The practice is that the governing party, invariably its leader, approaches the Sovereign and asks that Parliament be dissolved and an election be called.

Until Parliament reconvenes and the majority party asks the Sovereign for permission to form a government, executive power remains in the hands of the previous government. In practice, this is almost always a rubber-stamp process... but every once in a while, things get interesting, like when the Governor-General of Australia dismissed Gough Whitlam's government in 1975 or when the opposition parties in Canada threatened to form a coalition, and the governing Conservatives tried to stop them by asking the Governor-General to prorogue Parliament.

The practice of taking almost informal votes on the party leadership, seemingly after a round of beers (a leadership spill) is something uniquely Australian, though. I'll say one thing for it - it sure keeps things interesting!

Gillard has asked the Governor-General to be relieved of her duties and has recommended Rudd as her replacement. When the GG says go, it's game-on for Ruddy and Gillard can go home.

tl;dr:

Remember: everything happens at the sovereign's pleasure! If you can remember that, you've got the Westminister system down :)
posted by rhombus at 12:13 PM on June 26, 2013 [11 favorites]


Internal party rebellions of this type are exceedingly rare in Canada, which is fascinating given that it shares it's system with the UK and Australia, where these types of things happen regularly (less so in the UK, but revolts do definitely happen). When a party is unhappy with its leader, there is usually a lot of backroom effort to get them to step aside gracefully, not-so-much a night of the long knives scenario.

My understanding of the next steps are that even if the G-G selects Rudd as PM (and her doing so is merely a formality, as the G-G is always supposed to take the advice of the democratically elected leader, unless there are significant mitigating circumstances and precedent to back them up), to effectively govern, Rudd has to seek the confidence of Parliament. Meaning, he has to successfully pass a confidence motion, which is certainly more than a formality since Labour does not have a majority. If the motion failed, the G-G would be obliged to ask another person to try to form a government (most likely a leader of one of the other parties), and failing that, to call a new election.
posted by dry white toast at 12:30 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm curious how the term "leadership spill" came about. Something do to with the round of beers that rhombus mentioned?
posted by exogenous at 12:39 PM on June 26, 2013


Strictly speaking, you have a parliamentary democracy as well. Congress is a bicameral parliament (it has two chambers, and people talk, er... past each other in it, hence parlement, from parler, to talk.) You probably meant that Westminister-model democracies hurt your brain. Not to worry, they hurt everybody else's, too.
The US might have a "parliament" in the broadest meaning of the term, in that the word can refer to any legislature. But really the word parliament should be reserved for executive-in-legislature (or at least dependent on) government. The Westminster system is a subset of that, and there are many parliaments that are not Westminster-style parliaments.
posted by Jehan at 12:54 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Meat is "done". People are "finished".
posted by telstar at 1:31 PM on June 26, 2013


People are meat.
posted by Mister_A at 1:43 PM on June 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


If the Australian leaders were dogs, Julia would be the wily baby-eating Dingo, Kevin would be the yappy, attention-seeking, ankle-biting Terrier and Tony would be the rabid barking Rottweiler.

It would be cruel and unfair to mention Christopher Pyne at this point, I guess.
posted by Jimbob at 2:04 PM on June 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


I like Julia Gillard. At the elite level, few get to play the game they dreamed they would, and I think in the future she will be judged for what she achieved under circumstance where others would have failed. Sure I would have liked here to support gay marriage, to provide better financial support for single parents, but I think she chose the fights she could win.

Kevin won the ballot, but he lost any right to pretend he hasn't been plotting, scheming for this day.
I hope he wins the coming election, but in time, his role in the 2010 election will be remembered a the man who brought down his own party to further his own ambition, a man who blackmailed his way back to leadership.

And to those who criticise Julia's mistakes, I like what teddy roosevelt had to say:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
posted by compound eye at 2:17 PM on June 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


Rubbish, compound eye. Gillard plotted for the leadership too, and her polling is far worse than his ever was in 2010.

She's such a paragon of feminism, that she kicked single mums onto newstart. She's so liberal, she opposes same-sex marriage. She is owned by the right wing unions in a way Rudd never was.

Rudd seems like a turd, but at least we might get some policy discussion now, and scrutiny of Abbott. Labor will lose, but the left might still keep the Senate, and that kinda slimy Bill Shorten may yet become PM in '16 or so.
posted by wilful at 2:42 PM on June 26, 2013 [10 favorites]


Using Canada's system of government as a model of Australia's may not be very productive here due to differences in process and convention.

However, we in the benighted Northern Antipodes, as our batch of bastards, crooks and attention-whores rise for summer break, are pleased to pass the baton of Westminster wing-nuttery across the globe. May you hold it high, Australia!
posted by bonehead at 3:09 PM on June 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm on my phone and don't know how to link, but Grog's Gamut (Greg Jericho) pretty much sums it all up for me, find it and read it (link too!).
posted by wilful at 3:10 PM on June 26, 2013


Grog's Gamut: This the one?
posted by bonehead at 3:12 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ta bonehead.
posted by wilful at 3:20 PM on June 26, 2013


Gilliard is referred to "the candidate of the right-wing trade unions." So confusing - I suppose things really are upside down in Australia.

Well in a party that is supported by and run by unions, you can imagine that unions cover a spectrum of opinion. A teachers union is going to be pushing for quite different policy focus than, say, a retail workers union. Hence, there are left-wing and right-wing unions, and left-wing and right-wing factions within the Labor party. Despite her own history on the left, Gillard was elevated to power by the right faction. Rudd, famously, attempted to be non-factional. This made his position very unstable, especially once he started dictating policy on his own, rather than allowing the traditional factional input. We'll see how he manages it this time.
posted by Jimbob at 3:57 PM on June 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


That Courier-Mail cover is hilarious.
posted by pompomtom at 4:20 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm reluctant to comment on the politics of it all, but I will say that yesterday was one of those days where I really love working at Parliament House. When Big Things happen the atmosphere in the place is something else. Overstimulated journalists everywhere, camera crews in the most random locations, politicians working the phones, and the cleaners just going about their day like they've seen it all before (they have).
posted by the duck by the oboe at 4:20 PM on June 26, 2013 [10 favorites]


Just to muddy the Canadian analogy waters on the question of who is PM

In British Columbia we just had a provincial election. And for the first time we elected a woman premier, who actually wasnt elected because she didnt win the seat in her own riding. (I.e. our first elected woman premier wasnt elected) heh. So she had to watch today's opening session of the legislature from the gallery.
posted by chapps at 4:42 PM on June 26, 2013


Don't think we can expect any rip roaring feminist speaches from Premier Clark , though, sadly. I'll remember Gilliard fondly for that one.
posted by chapps at 4:44 PM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't understand this at all; both Gillard and Rudd were okay Prime Ministers, and Australia is one of the few countries that's actually prospering in the world of the GFC and global finiancial instability.

At least Stephen Conroy is gone, and Peter Garret might go back to making records.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:51 PM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


and Peter Garret might go back to making records.

Given that his recording career was based on him being a voice of left-wing indignation at injustice and corrupt power, I think it'll be a bit harder than Arnold Schwarzenegger starring in the next Terminator film.
posted by acb at 4:55 PM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]



Given that his recording career was based on him being a voice of left-wing indignation at injustice and corrupt power, I think it'll be a bit harder than Arnold Schwarzenegger starring in the next Terminator film.


Honestly, I don't give a shit about his politics. He's a good punk frontman.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:58 PM on June 26, 2013


Pity that Combet had to go. Can't say I'll shed a tear over any of the other resignations.
posted by mixing at 5:00 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Combet is my local member. He was in fact, much better a rep than I expected. Certainly better than what a safe seat normally ends up with. He listened, and he responded when I wrote with suggestions or questions (most recently regarding the NBN and a maternity issue I won't go on about right now) - my point is, like mixing, I'm a bit disappointed about his stepping down from cabinet. It was nice to have him in there. I had at one stage written to him, pretty much telling him the best chance they have is to bring back Kevin. Now they have and he's out.
:/
posted by Raunchy 60s Humour at 5:21 PM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't understand this at all; both Gillard and Rudd were okay Prime Ministers, and Australia is one of the few countries that's actually prospering in the world of the GFC and global finiancial instability.

Not if you listen to the Opposition.
And no one was really listening to Labor for the past three years while they did their best to become an unelectable rabble.

Ditching Julia was necessary. I'm personally surprised that Rudd wanted the job prior to the election given how toxic the polls are. But, he says he can't stand by and let Abbott romp it in. So there you have it.

I think Antony Green said last night that even with Rudd's polls Labor will be lucky to hang on to 50-odd seats in the House. Who knows what September (or August, or November) will bring.

For anyone interested in the Constitutional issues arising today (and there seems to be a pretty good chance Rudd might lose the vote of no-confidence) Mr Green has a fabulous article here.
posted by Mezentian at 5:27 PM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pity that Combet had to go. Can't say I'll shed a tear over any of the other resignations.

The Sydney Morning Herald claims that he may be asked back to the Cabinet.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:28 PM on June 26, 2013


I think Combet still has a future ahead of him.
posted by Jimbob at 5:28 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rudd seems like a turd, but at least we might get some policy discussion now, and scrutiny of Abbott. Labor will lose, but the left might still keep the Senate, and that kinda slimy Bill Shorten may yet become PM in '16 or so.
posted by wilful at 7:42 AM on June 27


Just on Bill Shorten - people will look at his legacy in terms of what he has done in "switching sides" and going from supporting one leader to the other ... and in doing so, people will forget the massive role - the trailblazing role - he had in defining and then getting the National Disability Insurance Scheme to become a reality (in his time as Disability Services Minister).

If the creation and evolution of something like the NDIS is part of your legacy, that isn't a bad legacy to have. Let's hope the NDIS continues to operate as it has been intended to well into the future.
posted by chris88 at 5:30 PM on June 26, 2013


Rudd seems like a turd, but at least we might get some policy discussion now, and scrutiny of Abbott. Labor will lose, but the left might still keep the Senate, and that kinda slimy Bill Shorten may yet become PM in '16 or so.

Policy discussion? Lets hope, we might just get bogged down in commentary about Rudd attack ads.

I had hopes that Warren Mundine might be a future leader of the party. Out of the millions of competent people in this nation, that Shorten is on list of likelys is an embarrassment.

She's such a paragon of feminism, that she kicked single mums onto newstart. She's so liberal, she opposes same-sex marriage.

I was very disappointed by that, it's a demonstration of why Labor hasn't ever had my primary vote.
But it isn't a fair representation of her government to raise only about those issues. I'd like to understand why she took the positions she did, particularly on pokies, single parents, marriage equality and refugees. I've assumed that they were her party's policies, not her own personal convictions, but she chose to accept the limits of her power and focus on education, climate and disability reforms. Perhaps tactically rational within the context of her weak position, but strategically flawed because it ran against the progressive agenda that the nation assumed we had given her a slim mandate to pursue. That disappointment weakened her further.

Gillard plotted for the leadership too

People should plot and scheme for the advancement of their ideals. Parliament should be a complex and volatile.
But I haven't seen anything that indicates she plotted for leadership for her own personal glory and ambition. But I suspect we will hear more as years pass. If I'm wrong I'll try to remember to post you a 'you were right' message.

I do think Rudd pursued personal glory and control, and has done a lot of damage to his side of politics in the process.

I don't read Gillard the same way.

I think the last three years of government have been better that I had expected, but the last three years of the government communicating with the public have been worse.
To use someone else's adjective, I think she was a skilful transactional leader within the parliament. But has been awkward and ineffectual with the public.

I don't think she was driven by ego and image, I don't think she craves popularity, good qualities in a person, but fatal flaws in national leader, particularly in an election campaign.

I think we can assume Rudd will be more competent in that regard.
posted by compound eye at 5:42 PM on June 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


His thoughts were red thoughts: "The Sydney Morning Herald claims that [Combet] may be asked back to the Cabinet."

That's nice to see. Speaks well of Combet if he jumped on principle rather than jumped-before-being-pushed. Though I guess the other interpretation is that Rudd wants wiggle room on climate change policy, and so a pretext was needed to change the Minister. Probably the latter. Still, either version suggests we'll see Combet return, and that's a plus.
posted by mixing at 5:46 PM on June 26, 2013


Julia Gillard's extraordinary misogyny speech yt should at least keep her name alive for the foreseeable future. It is one of the most electrifying rhetorical performances I have ever watched.

On a tangentially related note, their Chief of Army gave me chills.
posted by Phalene at 6:17 PM on June 26, 2013


You can talk about that in the still-open thread about it
posted by jacalata at 6:25 PM on June 26, 2013


Weren't single parents kicked onto Newstart by Howard in 2005? I thought what Gillard did was roll in those parents who had been on a grandfathered scheme since 2005 into the new scheme.

http://www.independentaustralia.net/2012/politics/bashing-single-parents-is-bad-policy/

"That said, it is a slight improvement on the similar policy the Howard Government introduced in 2005 (effective July 2006) whereby Supporting Parent payments reduced to Newstart allowance when the youngest child turned just 6."

And in the comments -

"A correction, if I may be a pain. The Howard change you are talking about (introduced in July 2006) meant sole parents whose youngest child turned 8 (not 6) were not longer entitled to parenting payment. They “exempted” sole parents who were already getting parenting payment, keeping the old age 16 rule instead. Labor’s change is to bring this “exempt” group into line with everyone who’s gone onto parenting payment since July 2006."

It's just that I can't remember any real outrage on anything like the same level when Howard did that, hence my confusion.

I think Gillard's problem was that she was shunted in by the unions and terribly beholden to some of the more old fashioned ideas of power brokers like Don Farrell. Such as those on gay marriage. It just didn't make sense for her to not support gay marriage and to allow religious organisations to discriminate in their hiring practices. In the end they withdrew their support. Live by the unions...

The other problem was that she had to deal not only with the opposition but also with Rudd white-anting the entire time. Those interminable leaks to the press.

She was good at negotiating and really did try to get things done in difficult circumstances. But the policies were communicated badly and sometimes seemed to give with one hand and take with the other, such as cuts to higher education and higher learning rebates to help fund Gonski. Leaving low income dental patients in limbo while bringing in the dental scheme for children. Disability Care, great scheme, horrible name. Arguably failing to sell the business benefits of the NBN and having to deal with that idiotic internet filter dominate headlines for so long, annoying those who they had won over due to the NBN, until it was finally scrapped.

The Murdoch press gave her a really difficult time, kept playing up the internal divisions, making sure THAT was the story no matter what else was going on, and now it will be interesting to see what they will do with Rudd "The second coming." Since they are clearly backing a Liberal government.

I'm trying to be fair about my appraisal. I think I agree with those who say that Gillard is a better person, has more substance, is more of a "people person" but Rudd is a better campaigner, more charismatic, and knows how to win the popular vote. You can just see the differences in their styles. Frankly, Gillard's maiden speech, while OK in general, still has some sections that make me cringe -

http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/i-may-delight-i-may-disappoint-but-ill-be-working-hard-20100624-z2jy.html

"I believe in a government that rewards those that day in, day out, work in our factories and on our farms, in our mines and in our mills, in our classrooms and in our hospitals, that rewards that hard work, decency and effort. The people that play by the rules, set their alarms early, get their kids off to school, stand by their neighbours and love their country."
posted by lucien at 6:42 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


To be honest, the whole thing still leaves me wishing Doug Cameron was in the house of reps instead of a senator, if you catch my drift.
posted by Jimbob at 6:56 PM on June 26, 2013


Hell, or Penny Wong.
posted by Jimbob at 6:57 PM on June 26, 2013


I have really enjoyed learning about the leadership change via this post because it was confusing the hell out of me reading about it elsewhere. I've only been to Australia a few times (Adelaide, Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Great Ocean Road, Newcastle, not in that order) but as an American it always fascinated me how un-celebrity-like your politicians were. Looking at Gillards house in this photo sort of drives that home for me, though maybe she is in a fancier house now (when she's out of The Lodge)?
posted by jessamyn at 6:59 PM on June 26, 2013


jessamyn's link also leads to this interesting article First Female PM, a job with no guidelines". I recall reading Marilyn Waring's chilling account of being a woman parliamentarian in Three Masquerades (incomplete excerpt on Google books gives an idea).
posted by chapps at 7:09 PM on June 26, 2013


Jessamyn, she probably won't be in a fancier house! Can't see them living in a Toorak mansion. For all her other faults, I agree with the others above who've said she wasn't in it for the ego-boost or to make herself important.
posted by Athanassiel at 7:09 PM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think it has to do with the different role of money in Australian politics, jessamyn, due to the Westminster system, and strict party loyalty. Getting to the top is not a matter of using your personality and publicity to attract millions in donations. It's about fighting your way through your own internal party system. I mean, one way to look at it is that, structurally the prime minister in Australia hold an equivalent position to the house majority leader in the US. Julia Gillard was Nancy Pelosi.
posted by Jimbob at 7:14 PM on June 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Julia Gillard was Nancy Pelosi.

Which makes Abbott Newt Gingrich or John Boehner then?
posted by acb at 7:23 PM on June 26, 2013


Yeah that sounds about right.
posted by Jimbob at 7:25 PM on June 26, 2013


Looks like Abbott has lost confidence in his no-confidence motion since yesterday.

Or he could be telling the truth, and it's just that since yesterday he's decided that no-confidence motions are intrinsically bad.
posted by jacalata at 7:26 PM on June 26, 2013


I've been surprised at how much this has affected me. I've cried twice this morning about it - a friend said the same thing. I'm this seething bucket of ineffective rage. She was, in essence, sexually harassed out of her job by the media, by the arseholes who forward Pickering's vile attempts at relevancy, by the opposition, by her own party. I'm so fucking done with the world, with this issue. And I actually like Rudd.

I'm just, quite literally, praying that this means the majority of the spineless lefty misogynists will come flocking back and we won't have Abbott and Joyce running us into the ground for Reinhart and Murdoch.
posted by geek anachronism at 7:33 PM on June 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


Apparently Windsor and other independents (including Katter), along with the Greens, have told Abbot they would not support a no-confidence motion. Thus if he had put one to parliament and it lost, as it would have, it would have been a confidence boost to Rudd.
posted by Kerasia at 7:37 PM on June 26, 2013


I don't think spineless lefty misogynists were the problem, ga. I think spineless tory fuck-up misogynists were the problem. Herald Sun readers. And they won't vote for a Rudd government, either. Who the fuck knows.
posted by Jimbob at 7:37 PM on June 26, 2013


Yeah Katter is on Rudd's side now. Which would be relevant and interesting if, you know, Bob Katter were relevant and interesting...
posted by Jimbob at 7:39 PM on June 26, 2013


Apparently Windsor and other independents (including Katter), along with the Greens, have told Abbot they would not support a no-confidence motion.

So how blatant a lie is this then, from the same article as above?
Mr Abbott said he had not spoken with the independents since the leadership spill.

posted by jacalata at 7:43 PM on June 26, 2013


Herald Sun readers. And they won't vote for a Rudd government, either. Who the fuck knows.

I suspect there'll be more of them voting for Rudd than for a sheila. Rudd's a bloke, after all, and a fairly traditional, conservative sort of bloke.

Murdoch may have his work cut out polishing the turd that is Abbott, and trying to make him look like less of a headkicker.
posted by acb at 7:43 PM on June 26, 2013


I don't know geek anachronism, I couldn't stand Gillard and I'm moderately certain I'm not a misogynist. But bugger me if I can't stand Gillard as an individual. She came across as awkward, fake, poor at communicating and stilted. Policy wise I could deal with her as much as I can ever deal with the labor party, but this is politics, you have to be able to communicate and she was just infuriating to watch when it came to communication and personality.

That has nothing to do with her gender and I know I'm not alone here.
posted by deadwax at 7:48 PM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't know, given that Rudd was the one who introduced the idea of a carbon trading scheme, and a mining tax, Which Were The Greatest Crime Imposed On Ordinary Aussie Battlers... On the other hand, clearly those bogans have short memories
posted by Jimbob at 7:51 PM on June 26, 2013


Don't forget Rudd is responsible for the flood of refugees.

If you did forget, there'll be adverts about it soon.
posted by Mezentian at 7:53 PM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


But bugger me if I can't stand Gillard as an individual. She came across as awkward, fake, poor at communicating and stilted.

But she wasn't always like this! During the Howard era, and even as a Rudd minister, she was bloody brilliant. I recall sitting in my car, listening to question time, where she brought in a pile of Workchoices mouse-mats and other paraphenalia and took the complete piss out of the Coalition. Unfortunately the PR folk got to her, and rounded off her edge.
posted by Jimbob at 7:55 PM on June 26, 2013


Which is why I love Doug Cameron, by the way. I remember listening to Cameron's rant about fighting the tories at the ALP conference, and going to the ALP website and opening up the membership form. Unfortunately, Paul Howes spoke next, and I closed the window.
posted by Jimbob at 7:58 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'll admit to not understanding why she let that happen (or why those PR folk thought it would be a good idea), but then I'm not in politics.
posted by deadwax at 7:58 PM on June 26, 2013


You've got to appeal to the swing-voter, you see. The great unwashed. The Aussie battler.

My feeling is, it's better to try to inform the swing voter why the Liberals will fuck everything up for them, rather than just trying to be Liberal-lite.
posted by Jimbob at 8:11 PM on June 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Rob Oakshott is one classy bastard, it must be said.
posted by Jimbob at 8:42 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


My feeling is, it's better to try to inform the swing voter why the Liberals will fuck everything up for them, rather than just trying to be Liberal-lite.

The problem with that is that it depends on being able to communicate with the swing voter, i.e., the means of communication not being in the hands of the Murdochs of this world, who will edit your finely crafted words into a blooper reel of gaffes and grotesques.
posted by acb at 9:00 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


According to Wiki and my friends, new deputy PM Anthony Albanese "also a music fan who reportedly once went to a Pogues gig in a Pixies shirt[25] and intervened as Transport Minister to save a Dolly Parton tour from bureaucratic red tape."

My friend said they saw him rocking out to The Saints.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 9:01 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's like politicians are people....
posted by Mezentian at 9:07 PM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I find it very difficult to take an objective view on this news. For one thing, I make a big effort to not get too worked up about Australian politics one way or another, since despite living here for 10 years and paying taxes etc, I haven't been able to get citizenship (yet) so can't vote. And it's very frustrating to get irritated about politics and then remember I can't do anything about it. (Even "my" local MPs probably have no reason to pay any attention to any letters I might write them.)

But secondly, I have a personal reason for being happy about Rudd becoming PM again. A colleague (formerly my supervisor) is close personal friends with Rudd and his family. Like, he goes to their house for dinner regularly and they have coffee together most weeks. So I like to imagine that when I complain about anything in this colleague's hearing, that my complaints get passed directly along to the PM, and that Rudd takes them very seriously when considering government policy. (Yeah, I know, but it's a nice fantasy, so don't spoil it).
posted by lollusc at 9:13 PM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


The left-wing unions are basically the ones that were historically communist-dominated; the right-wing unions are basically the ones that resisted communist infiltration. Controversy over this led to the 1955 ALP split and Labor losing government nationally and in the States for a long time - more than thirty years, in Queensland. Current politicians are protégés of protégés of people directly involved in the split, and there's still a sort of cultural history that determines how socialist you are, or whether your views are pragmatically or ideologically socialist/capitalist. So yes, in Australia you really do have right-wing trade unions, even though by US standards this is a contradiction in terms.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:30 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Without denying the blatant misogyny, it's wrong to say that was the cause of her downfall. She's been an atrocious communicator, which is a fundamental job prerequisite.
posted by wilful at 9:33 PM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


As Jimbob says above, she didn't used to be. She used to be a fantastic communicator.

Somehow that ended right around "The Real Julia" debacle, then she did the backflip on the Carbon Tax (and, in the words of one Kevin from Lalor last night "I hate her because Carbon Tax.") and then it was just stumble after stumble after stumble*.

Meantime, Abbott has been largely successful at not saying anything woefully stupid too often. But you know he will.

(*If I were churlish I'd repeat suggestions that that is what you get when you hire a 457 worker, but McTeirnan apparently only picked up his job in November 2011 so there's no sign anything he did really seemed to work. There were even some quips around the embarrassing Blue Tie speech that she was getting her media advice from Twitter.)
posted by Mezentian at 9:44 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cranky old Anne Summers is cranky, but some of you might be interested in reading her comments in The Age.
posted by Mezentian at 10:44 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think we can blame at least part of her "communication problem" on the blatant refusal of journalists to report on almost anything except labor leadership rumblings.

She's an electrifying speaker, and in Question Time she was unfailingly engaging.

But read any recent press conference transcript of hers, and you'll find an appalling dearth of questions related to the subject matter at hand.
posted by misfish at 10:51 PM on June 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


And down they go.
The fallout from Labor's leadership switch continues, with Defence Minister Stephen Smith announcing that he will quit politics at the next election.

However you look at it, the ALP is losing a lot of talent. Plenty of room for some fresh new blood party hacks to contest seats.

His seat, Perth, is considered an ALP stronghold, and is one of only three that the Labor party holds in WA. He has a 5.9% buffer, but I could easily see that getting wiped out. He had a -6.13% swing against him in 2010 and there were 32,228 primary ALP votes and 31,064 primary Liberal voters, and area has been increasingly gentrified.
posted by Mezentian at 10:53 PM on June 26, 2013


Must add, Perth is the seat Howard Sattler threatened to run in.
posted by Mezentian at 10:57 PM on June 26, 2013


I'm mostly non-plussed by all this palaver. The current era will not be viewed with any particular kindness by political historians in the future; more like, it will be held up as an educational footnote and warning about the perils faced by a nation when their parliament is filled with a beige fucktonnage of megalomaniacal mediocriity.

I'm most embarrassed by the deployment of Albanese as Deputy to be honest. Another A+ lacklustre mealy mouthed cretin. Dear world, please don't judge us too harshly for this misstep; we're not all such vacuous grubs, honest!

Other than that, I generally tend to agree with Jimbob (as usual) about the specifics of this tawdry epoch. I want to be cryogenically frozen NOW with some political criteria set out that must be met before the switch is flicked and I'm thawed out, a lonnnnggg time down the road.
posted by peacay at 11:11 PM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


However you look at it, the ALP is losing a lot of talent.

Well. It's losing a lot of people. Not sure about talent.

Conroy sodding off is frankly a net gain.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:20 PM on June 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


She was, in essence, sexually harassed out of her job by the media, by the arseholes who forward Pickering's vile attempts at relevancy, by the opposition, by her own party.

Without trivialising the tsunami of sexism that she faced, I find some of the victimising of Gilard a bit disempowering in some ways. She wasn't a victim when she took the job of PM from Rudd, she wasn't a victim when she went to election, set her front bench, won the last two challenges. She left as she came in; politics is a tough game, especially when the factions are involved. Indeed, her own party forced her out, just as they forced Rudd out. That's just democracy for you.

I feel like the "it was the media and sexists" angle really deprives her of agency. She was not a helpless victim to sexism, men (faceless or otherwise), or merely a puppet. We have a long way to go, but her loss should not be viewed as a setback for feminism, imho.

Her performance (and I hate that it is a performance, but we must acknowledge the truth) - in a man, would still have been execrable, and the criticism just as sustained, albeit with far less shit about ear lobes and pants and whatevers (if you don't believe me, cast your mind back to what the papers were writing about Beazely, and Nelson, and many, many others).

I feel like it also implies that the many literal millions of women who did/do not support Gillard are secretly sexist - and I guess I have a problem with that, as I think one of the critical fault lines in the liberal feminist tradition is a tendency to dismiss feminist thought that doesn't fit into a bourgeois, white, liberal tradition as examples of false consciousness or ignorant, reflexive sexism (which, to be fair, is one the philosophy has acknowledged and grappled with for decades).
posted by smoke at 11:40 PM on June 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


I saw a photo earlier today of Conroy with his staff and an inflatable Dalek, and now I'm not sure what to think
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 11:46 PM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I generally tend to agree with Jimbob (as usual)

This is an interesting and novel approach. Do elaborate.
posted by Jimbob at 12:07 AM on June 27, 2013


I saw a photo earlier today of Conroy with his staff and an inflatable Dalek, and now I'm not sure what to think

"Finally; some honesty about their intentions."
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:09 AM on June 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


--Do elaborate--

The 'generally' is an actively operative word (where my overall disdain for the subject matter dissuades me from bothering with substantial commentary) and you're in danger of diminishing your position if you're so unfamiliar with the inside of your head that you need help with its elucidation!
posted by peacay at 1:12 AM on June 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gillard was the subject of a focused and singularly vicious campaign which revealed the rotting underflesh of both Australia’s grotesque sexism and its for-profit media machine.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 1:20 AM on June 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I'm mostly non-plussed by all this palaver. The current era will not be viewed with any particular kindness by political historians in the future; more like, it will be held up as an educational footnote and warning about the perils faced by a nation when their media is filled with a beige fucktonnage of megalomaniacal mediocriity."
Trite as the saying is, I've fixed that for you…
posted by Pinback at 1:51 AM on June 27, 2013


%n: "Her performance (and I hate that it is a performance, but we must acknowledge the truth) - in a man, would still have been execrable, and the criticism just as sustained, albeit with far less shit about ear lobes and pants and whatevers (if you don't believe me, cast your mind back to what the papers were writing about Beazely, and Nelson, and many, many others). "

Exactly what parts of the performance were execrable - you need to elaborate on that, because the media did not even come close to talking about Beazley, or Rudd, or Abbott, or Turnbull in the same way, either about the political 'performance' or the actual performance of the government.

Because the sexism, the misogyny and the utter dreck of the media performance over the last three years needs a lot more to debunk than what you've just said.
posted by geek anachronism at 2:02 AM on June 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not getting the 'she was an electric speaker' thing until she was PM - I saw her speak in various live occassions, including to groups of party faithful and even Emily's List groups, so groups pre-disposed to lap up every word, and she was totally lacklustre. She was not engaging, didn't have much to say that drew you in, was just not a good speaker.

And put me in the camp of feminists who just did not think she was that good - not because she is a woman, but just because she is not a great politician. Penny Wong, Tanya Plibarsek - now there are politicians who are also women I will happily say are great at their job. Not because they are women, but because they are committed individuals who are good at getting stuff done and communicating.

And for all of those claiming Julia Gillard was never in the leadership battle for ego but because of, I don't know, doing good or something - really? I find that almost sexist - men want to be leaders for personal pride but women are all caring, sharing, collaborative and only put themselves forward as leaders for the betterment of all? She was always ambitious, she always had her eye on the prize - she and Rudd couldn't stand each other yet she took the Deputy position in the first place. She happily ran against him in that first leadership spill, ultimately weakening the party she was meant to be 'doing good for' for personal gain. Whatever you think of her, please give her a bit of personal agency in all this.
posted by Megami at 2:13 AM on June 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Pinback I swear: if I meant to swap out the words, parliament and media, I would have written it that way. That's a fairly insulting case of the ftfy trope imo. If you have your own thesis or idea or even sarcastic observation to offer, then hows about you use your own words and sentences.
posted by peacay at 2:14 AM on June 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Exactly what parts of the performance were execrable

All right, I'm game:

Promising there wouldn't be a carbon tax, then instituting an ETS that was indistinguishable in the public eye.Proposing a "people's assembly" on it.

Bouying up Swan's moronic surplus fucking nonsense at every opportunity.

Promising legislation on pokies (popular), reneging on that promise (unpopular), and then promising a trial, and then reneging on that (unpopular).

Engaging in a fruitless pissing contest with the libs on asylum seekers, when the libs would always and forever be able to move more to the right, and instituting an inhumane policy that is also a complete failure, chewing up hours of time talking about something that will always be perceived by the public as a weak issue for Labor, and in the process alienating half their base on an issue that facts have completely shown is genuinely not a vote-maker or breaker, despite all the noises from bogans in Penrith.

Wasting an issue that Labor is perceived to be strong on (education), by tying Gonski reforms to huge university cuts and muddying the waters.

Useless mining tax that clearly pandered to special interests

Replacing a popular sitting PM when public mandate was clearly and unequivocally against it - especially in QLD which is frigging vital to the ALP holding power but weak for union bases (funny that, almost like the Shoppies cared more about controlling Labor than the country)

"The real Julia"

That bizzaro kindergarten sing-song voice she always adopted when addressing the public directly as opposed to journalists

Saving her best speeches and fire for parliament and 45 minute pressers that literally no one except tragics like us watch

(this is not to elide her positives, of which there were many, but you asked for negatives)
posted by smoke at 2:28 AM on June 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


Oh, and those Rooty Hill community sessions. She would have been better off going on Sunrise and putting that pig Kochi in his place.
posted by smoke at 2:31 AM on June 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


>that pig Kochi

So, so true. My wife insists on watching Sunrise. I swear I've started waking up later just to avoid it. (or I'm not a 'morning person'... which is actually true... but still)
posted by panaceanot at 4:01 AM on June 27, 2013


That is a foul slur on pigs.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:05 AM on June 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Either Rudd will win the election, in which case he probably deserves it, or he'll lose it. If he loses the election then it will be Kevin Rudd who loses it and not yet another woman who gets stuck with an unwinnable task.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:11 AM on June 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Smoke - I think Julia did a much better job than she is given credit for.
But even so... that's an excellent summary of Julia wtf were you thinking Gillard.

One day we will have a party that has responsible environmental and economic policies, is socially progressive and compassionate, and can communicate its agenda to an engaged electorate. But in the meantime I'm just grateful we have at least a slim chance of avoiding a conservative government led by Tony Abbott.
posted by joz at 4:11 AM on June 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was living overseas when The Labor Party took office... I've never voted for the winner of an election in my life. When I cast my vote for Labor at the next election, and on the slim chance that they win, I will be overjoyed.

But then I think about the let-down 'left' in the US that's still coming to terms with Obama and I don't know.

I'm not even in the Labor demographic. I'm surrounded by Liberals ('People's Democratic Republic...', anyone?) who detest Labor.

The beer I'm currently imbibing's name is 'don't let the door hit you Conroy!'.
posted by panaceanot at 4:21 AM on June 27, 2013


Can't say I'll shed a tear over any of the other resignations.
I'm saddened by the loss of Stephen Smith, who was my member for a while, seemed a decent guy, and certainly held his seat against the odds for many years.
I'm by no means a labour devotee but I shudder to contemplate what the party's current public self-destruction will mean for Australian federal politics.
posted by overyield at 5:58 AM on June 27, 2013


I shudder to contemplate what the party's current public self-destruction will mean for Australian federal politics.

One word:
Menzies.

All of this has happened before, all of this will happen again.
I'd like to say another 18-year term for the Liberals is unthinkable, but you just ponder even six years under under Abbott.
posted by Mezentian at 6:26 AM on June 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mrs Jimbob was saying, earlier this evening, that the focus of the ALP campaign needs to be "Where's Mr Abbott?". When their MPs get interviewed, they need to say "here's our education policy... Why don't you ask Tony Abbott about his? Oh, he won't come on your program? How interesting!". I'm a political tragic, as so many of us in this thread are, but honestly I can't describe a single Coalition policy, apart from vague arm-waving about rolling back the carbon tax, and forcing us to rely on rusted, flooded decayed copper wires for the internet for the next 100 years. Now that we've had the cathertic return of Rudd it's time to focus on not just ALP policy, which at least has some meat to it, but rather the Coalition's lack of policy. What the hell is their grand vision for the country, beyond throwing the keys to Gina?
posted by Jimbob at 8:05 AM on June 27, 2013


I'm a political tragic, as so many of us in this thread are, but honestly I can't describe a single Coalition policy,

You forgot tow-back, and the absolutely insane* maternity leave plan.
Possibly something about nannies.

We did get a 30-page booklet in the junk mail the other day, but I didn't read it, so it could just as easily have been filled with properly costed policies as jingoistic slogans in the place of policy.

(*Whether that is insane by sane standards, or normal Tory standards, I leave you to be the judge of).
posted by Mezentian at 8:26 AM on June 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is radical free-market privatisation of everything, (a.k.a. Milton Friedman's wet dream or Pinochet-era Chile minus the mass graves) an official Coalition policy, or merely a dog-whistle to the IPA?

And then there's the Rinehartian policy of massive population relocations to the low-tax, low-reg Free Enterprise Zone in the north. A bold new project Australia can unite behind, minus the un-Australian black-armband latte-elitists, of course.
posted by acb at 1:13 PM on June 27, 2013


me: "Pity that Combet had to go. Can't say I'll shed a tear over any of the other resignations."

overyield: "I'm saddened by the loss of Stephen Smith."

Yeah, I like Smith too. He hadn't announced his resignation when I wrote that. Lesson learned. Next time we get a wave of leadership-spill-induced resignations I'll be more precise about who I'm not sorry to lose, just in case someone I like jumps ship after I write. (Really, I'm surprised I hadn't already figured that one out)
posted by mixing at 3:43 PM on June 27, 2013


Is radical free-market privatisation of everything [...] merely a dog-whistle to the IPA?

Liberales omnes divisa in partes tres. The first part is the politicians; the second part is the staffers; and the third part is the membership at large which is called the Blue Rinse Brigade. The politicians' top priority is winning elections and they will adapt their public statements and actions to that end. This tendency is often mocked, but it's actually their job: they are our representatives. The Blue Rinse Brigade are the people that go along to the various Councils and Committees and Conventions. They tend to be older and/or tragic, because nobody else has time for this. They are mostly sensible enough but by definition they are unrepresentative of the vast bulk of Australians. And then there are the staffers. They are typically young, and like many young people they (a) want to change the world; (b) chafe at constraints; and (c) do not empathise with the old and sick. Their interest in these positions is frequently sparked by the IPA and similar groups, which undoubtedly sees their influence as a way of getting their policies adopted.

The policy of the Liberal Party as a whole is voted upon at the aforementioned conventions but it is not binding upon the Parliamentary Party and, in fact, would typically not be adopted. Liberal policy for elections and while governing is formed by the Parliamentary Party of each governing body: i.e., the Federal politicians in Canberra and the State politicians of each State; but it must obviously be greatly affected by the views of those politicians' staffers. So when you see some particularly stupid policy ("Let's privatise the nature strips!") it's undoubtedly the fault of some gung-ho staffer. It isn't meant to attract the support of the IPA (which has neither votes nor money); it just reflects the influence of the IPA and similar groups within the Liberal Party.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:04 PM on June 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can't describe a single Coalition policy

It's kinda part of my professional responsibilities to keep up with these things, particularly their "Direct Action Plan", so I can speak with some confidence to the fact that they really don’t have much in the way of policy, and the Direction Action Plan itself is a mess of contradictions and rubbery figures.

One policy they do have that is clear and mostly costed is their NBN-lite policy. While I don’t particularly agree with it, it does have some internal rigour and logic. So Malcolm Turnbull is the only member of the front bench that has really done his homework.
posted by wilful at 4:14 PM on June 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mezentian: "We did get a 30-page booklet in the junk mail the other day, but I didn't read it, so it could just as easily have been filled with properly costed policies as jingoistic slogans in the place of policy."

I got one of those. It was awesome. Sure, it wasn't exactly overflowing with policy details, but it kept me entertained for a good half hour. There was one bit where it had a bulleted list of policies in which the top three items were: Three totally distinct, innovative and exciting policies for Australia's future right there! The whole thing felt like the same five slogans randomly recombined: and so on. Best thing I've read in weeks.
posted by mixing at 4:24 PM on June 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


BOAT THE CARBON MINES.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:51 PM on June 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


Kevin Rudd will (possibly) announce his new cabinet within the hour. If it turns out that Bill Shorten, the current caucus cockroach, is still allowed roam the cabinet and benches then nothing has changed.

Howse Paul?
posted by de at 8:10 PM on June 27, 2013


I'm pretty outraged at how Labor is proving just as cruel as the Libs on refugees.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:21 PM on June 27, 2013


According to an FB friend, Rudd has just called upon Abbott to allow for a full conscience vote on Marriage Equality.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:24 PM on June 27, 2013


Tony Abbott: Malcolm Turnbull 'invented the internet in Australia'.

Actual words, people. His actual words.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:01 PM on June 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Great, I can hold Turnbull in contempt for how shit it is, then. (Currently paying $80 a month for 200kbps over a corroded, flooded, interference-prone copper wire. Thanks, Mal!)
posted by Jimbob at 12:02 AM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought that politicians were good at lying. He might as well have claimed that Turnbull invented the moon.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:08 AM on June 28, 2013


His thoughts were red thoughts: "BOAT THE CARBON MINES."

Yeah, "MINE THE CARBON BOATS" is a lot more likely. Two birds, one drill, so to speak.
posted by mixing at 2:30 AM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did anyone catch Michaelia Cash's.... whatever the hell that was? It was insane.
posted by Mezentian at 4:54 AM on June 28, 2013


Sorry, must share, 'cause the Internet thing has, as they say in the news, gone virally memetastic.
posted by Mezentian at 4:58 AM on June 28, 2013


Mezentian, I know, I know, one shouldn't mock people's appearances, especially professional women at this time, but in that photo, she looks like she's got really cheap star trek makeup circa 1987 with the crinkly nose so that she looks just a little bit alien. Oh it's late and i should go to bed.
posted by wilful at 7:10 AM on June 28, 2013


Senator Michaelia Cash-Price ought to be fired on the spot for inappropriate workplace behaviour. Heaven knows we're legislating against workplace bullying. "Fair dismissal"

Pack her bags, bundle her off. I'll drive the bus.
posted by de at 7:16 AM on June 28, 2013


Oh bollocks, Combet really is gone.
posted by mixing at 11:35 PM on June 28, 2013


Wish Peta Credlin and Bill Shorten would show some scruples and resign. Both Liberal and Labor Party cultures need respite from toxicity.
posted by de at 1:50 AM on June 29, 2013


This thread would not be complete without this archival image.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:32 PM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh that photo doesn't take it far enough; you need to see the movement on stage for the full, extraordinary, effect. (first 50secs)
posted by peacay at 2:49 AM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you're the kind of person who believes the polls, if you polling data from recent days into Antony Green's calculator, ALP actually gains some seats. Wat.
posted by Jimbob at 12:40 AM on July 1, 2013


ALP actually gains some seats. Wat.

Nothing is bizarre* in politics anymore. The Liberals have faith in the polls, and there's ample time for a Liberal Party leadership spill. Abbott's hands have to be clammy. Peta Credlin will wrong foot any day now.

Where are you Julia?
Get Credlin on the front page.

* 20AU$, November 30, Rudd vs Hockey, (apologies to Wilke).
posted by de at 1:16 AM on July 1, 2013


* 20AU$ same as in town
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:52 AM on July 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Possum's latest post (yay for possum sadlling up again) strongly suggests that the ALP under Rudd could win the election, due to a strong rebound in QLD, the ever parochial state.
posted by wilful at 9:58 PM on July 3, 2013


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