Special K

Posted: July 3, 2013 in Politics

I have held back on writing my opinion on last week’s dramatic turn of events in Canberra, however now the dust has started to settle I will have my little vent for what it’s worth.

It is fair to say on the evening of the 26th June I was quite taken aback and utterly devastated that our first female Prime Minister could be outed in such a fashion.

I make no apologies for being a fan of Gillard, her achievements speak for themselves.

As I write this the National Disability Insurance Scheme has just started to kick in which will transform the lives of many Australians, this was long overdue and was initiated, negotiated, and put in motion by Prime Minister Gillard.

We have had major education reform, with a huge investment in the education of our youth, and with GONSKI already signed and sealed in the biggest state, a Coalition controlled state I might add.

The Murray Darling Basin agreement, an agreement that has been out of reach for around a century has become a reality under Julia Gillard, with a lot of brilliant work also done by Minister Tony Burke.

The countries first ever Paid Parental Leave scheme.

Putting through a Carbon Pricing scheme and tying it in with Europe’s scheme.

In a world first introducing plain packaging for tobacco products with Attorney General Nicola Roxon. Achieved whilst Coalition took millions in political donations from “Big Tobacco”.

At long last Gillard was the Prime Minister to stand up to the big churches and announce the decades overdue Royal Commission into sexual assaults of minors via institutions which of course includes organised religions.

Not to mention leaving behind an economy that is the envy of the world and an unemployment figure that most nations can only dream of.

All of this was achieved through a minority government, which is a feat that must leave the world’s greatest negotiators jaw-dropped in awe.

To have achieved so much in less than one term is remarkable, and as Australians we should hold our head high and be proud of Gillard’s achievements, but alas the press didn’t really like to embrace these achievements.

For the press, there were more important things to discuss. Julia’s hair was always a popular topic, as was the size of her butt, her choice of clothes, but also open for debate has been her marital status, her lack of children, “Deliberately Barren” as one Coalition MP put it, and the sexuality of her partner.

For Julia Gillard to stare sexism and misogyny in the face on an almost daily basis, and hold her head high and maintain her dignity while many of those in the main-stream waded in the gutter up to their chins is something she should be incredibly proud of.

Julia Gillard - Achieved so much in such a short time

Julia Gillard – Achieved so much in such a short time

Australia was not the first country to have a female leader, many others came before us and I’m sure many endured similar gender based slurs and sexist comments as Gillard did, but that does not make them right.

Below is a list of some other countries that have had a female leader, several of them enjoyed the experience so much that they have had more than one female leader.

Ceylon Poland Germany
India Turkey Chile
Israel Canada Jamaica
Sri Lanka Burundi Moldova
Argentina Bulgaria Kyrgyzstan
Central African Republic Bangladesh Iceland
United Kingdom Liberia Croatia
Bolivia Ecuador Trinidad And Tobago
Portugal Guyana Costa Rica
Dominica Mongolia Finland
Norway Panama Slovakia
San Merino Senegal Brazil
Yugoslavia Indonesia Peru
Phillipines South Korea Mali
Pakistan Finlad Thailand
Haiti Peru Denmark
Lithuania Mozambique Guinea-Bissau
Nicaragua Macedonia Slovenia
Bangladesh Ukraine Northern Cyprus
France Bahamas and of course New Zealand

What is remarkably telling is some of these countries are Islamic. We are constantly being told that Islam is the religion that holds women back and oppresses them, yet we seem to have had a harder time grasping the concept of a female leader. What does that day about us I wonder.

One of the great things about being at arm’s length from a bitter divorce as that one can continue to admire both parties for their qualities. It is the same with leaders of a political party.

No matter what your preferences in the leadership debate there is no doubt whatsoever about the immediate impact of Kevin Rudd once again being back in the Prime Ministers chair.

The impact on the polls has been instantaneous, with Labor once again being back in the position where they can fight for a win. In the preferred Prime Minister stakes Tony Abbott finds himself lagging behind Rudd despite all the trash talk coming from those in opposition.

Opinion polls? Don't make me laugh...

Opinion polls? Don’t make me laugh…

The other more welcome impact has been the dialogue surrounding the election, in particular the refection of it in the main-stream media.

We now seem to be talking about policies rather than taking pot-shots at the PM.

In the last week there have been public discussions about 457 Visa’s, refugee’s, emissions trading schemes, and of course the reality behind Abbott’s “Turn Back The Boats” pledge.

The switch back to talking about actual policy has clearly caught the Coalition off guard and left them fumbling about in a desperate search for any logic in their positions.

The turning back of the boats for example turned into a public fiasco when Rudd stated that it could create the risk of conflict between Australia and Indonesia. Julie Bishop came out all fired up and ready to take on the issue from every angle except the glaringly obvious one that the Coalitions policy directly conflicts with Indonesia’s. When you also consider that it would also be both nations defence forces who would have to actually face each other to enforce each nations policy conflict doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch to me…

Indonesia has stood their ground ruling out any support of Abbott’s slogan posing as a plan.

Then it was John Howard’s former Foreign Minister Alexander Downers turn to put in his two cents worth.

Downer told the ABC that Indonesia was OK with us turning the boats around as long as it was done in a discreet manner to save embarrassment to the Indonesian Government.

However as the ABC’s Latika Bourke pointed out there is nothing about the Coalitions policy that is in any way discreet, quite the opposite in fact. This is slogan driven politics where a bumper sticker is turned into a policy position.

Over the weekend many of you may have witnessed the spectacle of Tony Abbott at a Liberal campaign launch. Tony stood before a room full of people all wearing the same shirt and waving the same silly flags while Tony Abbott paraded himself on a platform like he was Sarah Palin jumping onstage after a moose hunt.

Tony Abbott signals his intentions at his campaign launch by turning his back on his supporters

Tony Abbott signals his intentions at his campaign launch by turning his back on his supporters

Abbott was introduced by the most popular Liberal Party figure that they could muster, John Howard who took pot shots at Kevin Rudd like a bitter and twisted old man.

John Howard as most of you will remember was defeated in spectacular fashion by Kevin Rudd in 2007. So unpopular was John Howard he was even wiped out in his own electorate, the only time this has happened since 1929.

Whilst all this back slapping and self congratulating was going on Rudd was off meeting the people of Western Sydney, walking the streets talking to real people while he took the rock-star adulation he received in his stride.

Abbott though has been quick to point out that the Labor Party is clearly unstable, the evidence being how close the vote was, as only 12 votes separated Gillard and Rudd. I have to admit he has a point on this one, clearly instability was an issue.

However the operative word in the previous sentence is “was”. Julia Gillard has announced she will not be contesting her seat in the election so the instability is gone it would seem.

Interestingly though when we look at the Liberal Party and their last leadership challenge the two candidates for the position were separated by only one vote. Malcolm Turnbull lost his leadership to Abbott by one lousy vote. I wonder if that makes the Coalition 12 times as unstable.

Particularly when you consider Malcolm Turnbull is still there and is again standing in his electorate come election time.

Just one vote???

Just one vote???

Abbott says the faceless men have chosen the leader and it should have been the people who choose the leader, not the Party. I wonder when he will practice what he preaches and allow the public to choose the Liberal Party leader, call it a hunch but I think if it were up to the public Malcolm Turnbull would be at the helm.

Abbott’s Liberal Party relies on the support of their Coalition partners, the National Party who claim to look after the best interests of rural Australia. So while those in rural Australia are screaming about the impact of Coal Seam Gas Mining, Tony Abbott is getting nice and cosy with the Mining Companies that seek to destroy these farmers future.

Whilst farmers scream blue murder that the big two supermarket chains, Coles and Woolworths are squeezing them dry and sending them broke with their demands, Liberal Party MP’s and staffers are attending events sponsored by Woolworths and hosted by a Woolworth’s senior staff member where Tony Abbott’s cheerleader and shock-jock Alan Jones makes tasteless and offensive comments about the Prime Ministers recently deceased father.

How long I wonder until National Party voters wake up, smell the coffee, and realise they are being treated as fools and are being sold out by the Party that claims to represent them.

Tony Abbott likes to portray himself as a “real man”. He does the cycling, the sport, and likes to perform his ridiculous strut whenever he walks near a camera. However in the “real man” stakes it is Kevin Rudd who wins out.

We all know Rudd has flaws, we were bombarded with them by not only the Coalition, but also Labor during the leadership challenges. However Rudd has manned up, taken a big bite of humble pie, admitted his flaws, dealt with and overcome them, moved on, and is all the stronger and better for it. This to me is the mark of a true man.

In contrast Tony Abbott also has flaws which he starts out denying, then either making up lame excuses or ignoring them. Most of these flaws have shown up in Abbott’s past, and clearly Abbott has not grown up or manned up since.


Those who choose not to base their opinions of Tony Abbott on the multitude of claims of misogyny, religious extremism, and negativity, and those who ignore Abbott’s past of throwing punches at a woman, and his inability to speak the “gospel truth” probably should ask themselves a question when judging Abbott’s character and the quality of the Coalition team.

Do you know anybody else at all who would think the front bench of the Australian Parliament an appropriate place for somebody like Sophie Mirabella?

Sophie Mirabella - All charm

Sophie Mirabella – All charm

The decision to leave Mirabella there alone should be enough to convince people that Abbott leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to decision making.

We all know Kevin isn’t Mr Perfect, nor is he Kevin 07 or even Kevin 11 any longer, however the bounce back in the polls, his popularity, and his ability to pull himself back up certainly make him Special K.

Kevin Rudd - Special K all the way...

Kevin Rudd – Special K all the way…

For those who are seeking a real point of difference between Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott, there is one difference that truly defines them, it is this difference above all else that truly separates them:

Tony Abbott will never be Prime Minister.

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  1. As always, Peter, your analysis is penetrating, accurate, wise, generous and characterised by uncommon sense. I say this because such rational thinking as yours is not common.

  2. clarittee says:

    Certainly there is less instability over leadership in the Labor Camp than the LieNP. Julia has made herself absent for THAT very thing. STABILITY. Why does Turnbull put up with the dopes around him if it is not for the opportunity to lead the Party again. In fact IF the LieNP feel threatened the polls give a quick and assured solution to needing more support from the electorate. Replace an unliked leader with one with much more approval.
    Did you list the UK with a female leader Peter? Perhaps I didn’t see it.
    Anyhow we are a lesson to the world about bloodlessly changing Leaders and Treasurers. EVEN the world’s BEST.

  3. Good summary. The penny finally dropped this week when Deputy PM Albo spilled the beans on the Coalition front bench pay deal that explains at last why these old dinosaurs are still taking up seats long past their use-by date.

  4. Heather says:

    We hope Peter (that Abbott will never be PM). It’s really a no-brainer.

  5. sue says:

    Sorry but I cannot believe Rudd has changed. He has spent 3 years undermining the party. He is trying to change the Carbon Tax & today there is the story in the OZ that he is willing to renegotiate Gonski. Lucky for Australia that to do his “changes” would require the return of the parliament (that could cause problems for Rudd) the only thing it looks as though he could do is delay start of Gonski & maybe start an ETS from July 2014.

    As to admitting his flaws, I believe that’s for the cameras, but will happily say I’m wrong if I see changes. But so far we have: Rudd dithering about an election date, for what good reason? He is apparently going to “fix” same sex marriage, How? apart from the headline about it ( that was one of his flaws last time, going for a headline without substance).

    I want the legislation passed by the 43rd parliament to last because it was legislation for the future of Australia. I hope that the current 2 leaders, who are appear more interested in being a PM than the future Australia, are both passed by before too much damage is attempted

    • Marilyn says:

      Sue you do realise that the only mention ever of Rudd being so dopey came from the men who dumped him, there has never been any evidence to back up those claims.

    • lvan61 says:

      Agree. Rudd is in it for Rudd. The reformist Labour agenda that cares about the future of Australia has gone. Those who think policy will prevail now are wrong. Yet again, the media will reduce political discourse to a presidential campaign. Simple messages, by simple media for simple folk. So sad.

    • puffytmd says:

      leopard – spots – especialy when leopard rewarded with big fat haunch of wildebeest for being leopard

  6. Joy Cooper says:

    Excellent analysis as usual, Peter. Do heartily agree Kevin Rudd should be fully supported now he is PM. This is what the outstanding Julia Gillard has said we should do. The thought of Tony Abbott as PM is too awful to contemplate.

    The Coalition brag about how many in their very bloated shadow ministry were Ministers in the Howard government. They don’t see the irony in that. All that means is that they have no new talent coming through the ranks who are good enough to be able to prise these people’s butts off their front bench. Even the septuagenarian Bronwyn Bishop has a couple of placatory shadow “ministry” titles. Anything to keep the old bat happy.

    As for Mirabella, Julie Bishop, Pyne, Abetz, Brandis, Hockey, Dutton (who?), et al, the less said the better. Turnbull cannot really be trusted as he has amply shown in the past. He, as well as Abbott, would do anything to be PM.

    • lvan61 says:

      If KR prevails again over TA then ALP will be consigned to an even bigger wilderness. Fact: he could not make decisions when PM. This is the basis of TA/LNP narrative of ALP ‘chaos’ as government. Best for OZ if TA/LNP can be viewed by the same MSM prism as KR/ALP and, hopefully, judged by the same standards. Can’t imagine that TA’s need to stick to a script will work as PM. He has same character traits as KR – and will be as poor a PM as he was.

  7. Craig Muldoon says:

    I think that with even just a small amount of support from the MSM with regards to Gillards achievements then the sexist morons out there would have been a minority instead of an acceptable stance and we would have instead seen a clear debate on policies for the past 12 months. The MSM have massively failed Australia.

  8. Marilyn says:

    I have been saying for years now that there has been a big increase in accepted racism in the country since Gillard walked into parliament and told Abbott “game on”” and never once stated clearly that racism is unacceptable. Being a woman I find crude sexism sick and always have, I don’t even like dirty jokes and at age 60 don’t think I ever will.

    Now no matter how much I will be howled down here Gillard and Abbott are both racists and that I think is why the scabs thought it was fine to shockingly abuse the mild mannered Ed Husic yesterday, it took a Jewish MP from the liberal party to speak out.

    Game on turned parliament into death roll between Gillard and Abbott who are two sides of the same coin.

  9. Bultaco Metrella says:

    Rudd’s best feature is that he isn’t Gillard or Abbott. He’s the circuit breaker we needed to turn off the monotone. Lets get to the election and pack Abbott to the wilderness, After that perhaps we can have a grown up discussion of politics in Australia instead of this eternal grovelling by the MSM in trivia an blatherskite. Surely this is the last election where the MSM will hold any influence.

    • Marilyn says:

      Yes indeed, it seems to have been forgotten by everyone that in every leadership of the ALP poll Gillard scored 4-5% and now she is gone as if she has never been.

  10. Maryanne says:

    Glad Gillard has gone. You don’t mention all the stuff ups her government made. Taking money from single parents when labor is ‘suppose’ to look after the disadvantaged. Hope the Carbon Tax is ditched. Don’t think any side really supports the people who vote for them but they accept big pay rises and hold us back by saying the country can’t afford it. How come we can always afford a pay rise of a politician. I don’t get that.

    • Robyn says:

      All governments make stuff ups but Carbon pricing isn’t one of them, and I think the achievements under incredibly difficult circumstances far out way the stuff ups. I’ve had my reservations about the Newstart situation but don’t forget this was something put in place by John Howard. I also recently read something from a single parent who said she supported the scheme which was an eye opener to me. We have to do something about carbon emissions, we owe it to our children, and the Carbon ‘price’ is working Maryanne, emissions are down, companies who are embracing the need for change are benefitting. Don’t you want a cleaner world for your children (if you have them) Maryanne? The impact on us as consumers has been minimal, and we received compensation for that in things like having the tax free threshold raised, which is of particular benefit to people on low incomes. The biggest increase in things like electricity has come from the power companies themselves and these are under State government regulation. The Carbon Price makes the big polluters pay the most forcing them to clean up their act and pollute less whilst Tony Abbott wants to replace a Carbon Price with an as yet uncosted Direct Action plan where the polluters won’t be paying, we will, and that’s just not fair.

  11. tommetje says:

    Polls haven’t moved that much in reality—Newspoll took 4% from its ridiculous 14% Others and gave it to Labor where it probably always really was, apart from that fiddle Newspoll and Essential both show Labor gaining 2%—not enough to win the election.

    Kevvy is now busy shitting in Julia’s legacy—he doesn’t watch out he will lose that 2% quicksmart—he was elected Leader to win the election not besmirch Julia’s great achievements! Wed night he praised Julia—for what she did as his Deputy!

    I see huge problems coming for the ALP.

  12. pappinbarafox says:

    The LOTO has some gall talking about the Australian people choosing their leader. If the Coalition form the next government not even ALL the parliamentary members of the new government will have been involved in choosing the Prime Minister – the Nationals will be locked out of that little democratic activity. So talk about faceless men – the Nats are not only faceless but not even there. And the Liberals do not even get to choose who will be deputy PM. Could be Barnaby. Spare us the high moral ground on leadership questions Tony, you aint fit for the post.

  13. Mercurial says:

    Great article Peter. Rudd is the consummate media tart. It amazes me that people warm to him so much, but warm they do. There is no room for sentimentality either; if we have a winner in Rudd, then we have to back him.

    Just one thing: ‘The countries first ever Paid Parental Leave scheme.’

    You will change this before further publishing won’t you?

    The country’s first ever Paid Parental Leave scheme.


  14. Mercurial says:

    Regarding misogyny, I think Gillard said it all in her farewell speech: “heavens, nobody noticed I was a woman until I used it (the gender card)”.

    Almost every time Gillard addressed an issue that had a gender slant or could be perceived to have one, she was accused of playing that card. A perfect no-win situation for her.

    And you missed a significant achievement: the NBN.

    It will be interesting to see what MarilynS says when Rudd finalises his asylum seeker policy. I think she’ll find it ‘not to her liking’; I wonder what her opinion of Rudd will be then?

  15. robyn says:

    Excellent summary ….

  16. Jack says:

    I was a farmer and always thought the farming and country community should be supporting the Labor Party as the ones to look after the battlers. The Lib/Nat gang look after the bigger side of the business i.e. the big landholders.
    How dare the Libs claim that the Labor Government was illegitimate because they relied on the votes of a couple of independents and the Greens when their own party relies on the support of the Nats!!

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