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593 responses to “Feminism, Julia Gillard and Magical Thinking”

  1. mindy

    So who is the saviour of the Labor party then? I think Rudd proved once and for all it’s not him when he hung his supporters out to dry on Thursday so where to from here?

  2. Pavlov's Cat

    Julia Can Do No Wrong

    Name one person who has claimed that. I certainly don’t know anyone who believes it; I and most of the other women I know who support her do fervently wish she were less beholden to the patriarchal religious right on all matters to do with women, children and sexuality.

    Where is the commentary on this from feminists?

    Now, wherever have I heard that before?

    What’s more, it’s right there in your own post, Kim, in the long quotation from Eva Cox. Feminists, including those who support the PM, mention this constantly, critique it and wish it were otherwise.

  3. Jacques Chester

    There’s something weird about the way collectivist politics throws up so many frantic quests for a singular messiah. “If only we had the right person!”

    I see the same talismanic thinking in the selection of CEOs and footy coaches.

    Sometimes events are bigger than any person.

  4. Helen

    Oh, goodie, another “where are the feminists” and “how much [other] feminists suck” piece. As if we didn’t get enough of those.

    And from Kim at LP, of all people.

    How delicious.

  5. mindy

    Well Jacques I think Kim has made the case for Julia not being the best leader for Labor, I think Kevin has made the case for himself not being the best leader and there obviously needs to be someone or are you suggesting that they lead by committee? Perhaps they could all take turns?

  6. Kim

    Where do I say I think Kevin Rudd should be leader?

  7. Andrew Wilson

    I think Eva and Kim need to read this piece by Anne Summers, published last year to get some idea of exactly how ferociously misogynists the attacks on Julia Gillard are – and there is clearly more to the attacks than the fact she is PM. This articles makes me ashamed to be Australian, frankly: annesummers.com.au/speeches/her-rights-at-work-r-rated/

  8. FDB

    Awesome stoush bait Kim.

  9. mindy

    Sorry Kim, what I meant to say was that you made a case for Julia not being leader, I don’t think Kevin has got what it takes, so who is next up? I did not mean to infer that you were championing Kevin’s cause because you don’t say that at all.

  10. Russell

    “Where is the commentary on this from feminists?”

    Kim, which feminists do you have in mind? You quote Eva Cox and I’m sure Anne Summers would have a different opinion, but apart from those two old warhorses … who? Who has the access to the media, that we would hear their analysis? Who recognises them as feminists?

    I suspect Gillard thinks of herself as a feminist in that by providing good educational etc opportunities, anti-discrimination laws and so on
    she is creating a level playing field, where it wasn’t level before. You just have to set your clock early, and get up every day determined to do better etc etc

  11. Kim

    Kerryn, my question about missing commentary goes to the paragraphs immediately above it.

  12. Sam

    Julia Can Do No Wrong

    Name one person who has claimed that.

    Anne Summers comes perilously close.

  13. Kim

    Thanks, Mindy.

  14. Kim

    I am pissed off, FDB. Stoush we need to have.

  15. Jacques Chester

    mindy;

    You’ve made my point exactly. Saying “well should it be Kevin or a rotating chair or what?” is besides the point: the well is so thoroughly poisoned that Gandhi could be rotated in and still lose the next election.

  16. Pavlov's Cat

    but apart from those two old warhorses

    Russell, Russell, Russell.

    *Shakes head sadly*

  17. monkeytypist

    @Pavlov’s Cat I can attest to conversations I’ve had with many people who believe that the only reason Gillard is unpopular is because of Rudd destabilisation, and that there would be no hung parliament if it weren’t for the “Rudd leaks.” There are also people who say that now Rudd is out of the way, Gillard should have no trouble securing re-election. I can’t believe any of these claims.

  18. mindy

    But Jacques that is not solely because of Gillard and Rudd’s shenannigans. Have you noticed how whenever either of them gets up to speak about something the only thing the media is interested in is leadershit? They were even asking leadershit questions of Bob Carr in the US last week.

    How are Labor supposed to get any good news stories out there when the media isn’t interested. The media lost interest in what Labor was doing well before Gillard became leader so she can’t be blamed for that.

    If the chalice is indeed poisoned then what does it matter if Gillard is an effective leader or not?

  19. Sam

    There are also people who say that now Rudd is out of the way, Gillard should have no trouble securing re-election.

    Oh yes, no trouble, no trouble at all. Because the electorate just adoresher.

  20. mindy

    Wow there is some great magical thinking going on in comments too. The leaks against Gillard weren’t damaging, the constant leadership speculation hasn’t been damaging, people just don’t like Gillard because …

  21. Paul Norton

    Jacques @3:

    There’s something weird about the way collectivist politics throws up so many frantic quests for a singular messiah. “If only we had the right person!”

    In certain left-wing political circles I moved in back in the day, the prevalence of the notion that “the right person” would fix all the problems of an organisation was seen as a prime symptom of how bad the organisation’s problems really were.

  22. monkeytypist

    @mindy

    If you’re putting me forward as an example of ‘magical thinking’ I can’t see where I said that leaks against Gillard “weren’t damaging”.

    People don’t like Gillard for many reasons. A lot of it is just out and out misogyny, depressing as that is.

    A lot of it is because people view Gillard not to have delivered what she promised (Rudd’s popularity started dropping when he dropped the ETS, a decision, incidentally that he made because Gillard and Swan privately urged him to).

    And a lot of it is because of the way the leadership change happened. People like Anne Summers pretend that Gillard just walked into the job; voters are smarter than that. It’s not just a media fixation.

  23. Casey

    The failure of Julia Gillard paves the way for Tony Abbott. That’s truth. It would be better to confront it, for feminists and for everyone else who cares.

    Oddly, I find myself repeating this question a lot lately. Once we’ve confronted it, what is it we are supposed to do? Exactly? Continue to support Labor, handing out how to votes, whilst hacking into its leader? Cause that makes us look really rational, of course. I don’t understand what people want. Unless, of course, what they want, is to hate on Gillard cause Rudd blinked.

  24. MH

    Great post. It’s not really about feminism, although one can hope that a critique comes from there. Gillard’s “transactional” leadership style is the logical end-point of the managerialism set forth by Hawke/Keating Labor Outcomes, metrics, KPI’s, all of it, the rationalized machinery of state that operates as if it is free of ideology. It occludes its politics in its claim that there is no other way. And treats real politics, the arts of leadership, vision, choices, as similar exercises in managerialist image-control.

    The Labor Party thinks its about authenticity, constructing the artifice of the Real Julia through media events and presentation style. But it’s not authenticity, its about understanding that some things in the life of the nation cannot be reduced to a metric and the Labor government needs to address those in a compelling way.

    Wayne Swan has said a number of times that Australians should be proud of a quarterly GDP figure. He cannot see what an extraordinary diminution of the national story there is in such an appeal. Should I get a “3.2%” tattoo?

  25. Helen

    You quote Eva Cox and I’m sure Anne Summers would have a different opinion, but apart from those two old warhorses … who? Who has the access to the media, that we would hear their analysis? Who recognises them as feminists?

    “Two old warhorses”? So their age and lack of nubility have, what, some relevance here? All you are demonstrating is your pre-feminist thinking. Are you using that epithet for Crean (born 1949, hardly any younger than Summers)? Bob Carr (ditto)? If not, why not?

    Anne Summers and Eva Cox – if you had been paying attention – have supplied quite a lot of interesting commentary in the last couple of years. Andrew Wilson’s link is a doozy. You might want to start there, then educate yourself a little via Google Uni.

  26. Pavlov's Cat

    I can attest to conversations I’ve had with many people who believe that the only reason Gillard is unpopular is because of Rudd destabilisation, and that there would be no hung parliament if it weren’t for the “Rudd leaks.” There are also people who say that now Rudd is out of the way, Gillard should have no trouble securing re-election. I can’t believe any of these claims.

    No, neither can I. Of course she’s not perfect or anywhere near it, for the excellent reason that nobody is. Of course she supports some regrettable policies that I wish she didn’t support. But to argue that feminists shouldn’t support her because some of her policies don’t support women seems to me to be exactly the same ‘logic’ as arguing that Catholics should leave the church because many of its priests are child abusers. Which I also think is rubbish.

    And the fact that she’s not perfect and she has plenty of other problems with the electorate doesn’t mean she doesn’t have my support. It doesn’t mean that if she’d been pushed out by the people determined to push her out then a lot of Labor women wouldn’t have gone with her; it doesn’t mean she’s ‘inept’; it doesn’t mean she’s a liar (goodness me, Kim, why didn’t you just call her JULIAR and be done with it?); and it doesn’t mean that anyone who supports her is indulging in magical thinking.

    And frankly, as an atheist, I find being implicitly accused of magical thinking by a repeatedly-professed fervently faithful Catholic both entertaining and a little freaky.

  27. Martin B

    I’m sorry, but I cannot accept predictions of the future in terms of certainty and truth, instead of possibilities and probabilities as credible. That’s rhetoric, not analysis. In another place I wrote:

    What is reality? That Rudd has the numbers? That the ALP cannot win under JG? That the ALP can win under KR? Any of those might be true, none of them is self-evidently true. Reality is a capricious master that looks after its own interests. Attempts to enrol its support in a contested situation are rarely successful.

    Certainly there are people in denial that “Gillard is only in trouble because of Ruddist whiteanting”. You can see it at Pollbudger, although not from anyone I’d take seriously, and I haven’t seen it here. Conversely is the absurdity that “Rudd would certainly win, and everyone knows it” absurdity that leads some people to claim that Gillard supporters are somehow choosing an Abbott PMship.

    As I wrote, these are matters of judgement in a contested situation. The stakes are high so of course people are passionate. But why there are so many people willing to fly straight into questioning others motives or sanity – rather than just fiercely, passionately disagreeing with their judgement – is beyond me.

    If we each get to give one straightfaced assertion of Certain Truth per post, here’s mine: Gillard has been a poor PM but so was Rudd. Establishing that Gillard’s chances for reelection are poor-very poor does not establish that Rudd’s chances would have been good, or even better.

    There is one thing that I will vehemently agree with – I deplore the renewed emphasis on the culture of ‘strong leadership’ within the ALP that the recent spat has brought. Again, I don’t think this is a point that is to the credit of either side in this dispute.

  28. Helen

    Because Julia Gillard has been on the receiving end of misogynist characterisations and attacks, her own very problematic record on the substance as opposed to the rhetoric of feminism has not just escaped scrutiny, but actively been ignored. It’s as if some phenomenon of over-identification is at work – Gillard is the first female PM, this is a worthy end for feminists, therefore she must be defended no matter what she does to actual vulnerable women.

    This is where your analysis goes off the rails Kim.
    What is being discussed, much of the time, is the quality and quantity of the entrenched sexism in the opposition to Gillard which is separate from her actual policies and performance.
    You are falling into the trap of thinking that we will only support women in power where they are somehow angelic or better than the male alternative. I have written at least one blog post and countless comments on various fora stating that I cannot have a bar of the majority of Gillard’s policies and political direction. However. I do not support her being attacked in very gendered and sexist ways. I think the case has been convincingly made that that has happened and is still happening.

    Condemnation of the double standards pertaining to the female PM does not necessarily imply some kind of messiah-complex or sheeplike adherence to her policies and utterances and I’m very upset and insulted that after the long history of LP, you would say that about us and about feminists in general.

    How much reading are you in fact doing on JG and her treatment? I don’t know how much time you are spending in the US and how much in Australia.

  29. Paul Norton

    Maybe one thing that’s needed is a big and inclusive feminist conference to undertake a wide-ranging analysis and critique of the ALP and consider possibilities either for its renewal or its replacement. No, I’m not being flippant.

  30. patrickg

    And frankly, as an atheist, I find being implicitly accused of magical thinking by a repeatedly-professed fervently faithful Catholic both entertaining and a little freaky.

    I don’t see how that pertains to the discussion at hand, and nor – given I don’t recall it being flagged on LP prior to your comment – do I see it’s anyone’s place to talk about it here.

    I feel that it’s needlessly personal, condescending, snarky, and disrespectful. I understand emotions are, as ever, high around feminism threads on LP and this issue in particular, but uncalled for, Pavlov’s Cat.

  31. Helen

    But we don’t necessarily “line up with” Julia Gillard when we *criticise the differential treatment of her* (to a male equivalent) in the media, politics and commentary. That’s where you get it so wrong, Kim.

  32. Helen

    @34, what I just said, critiquing the differential treatment of a woman PM = / = “supporting” her. I’m not the one being manichean here.

  33. Martin B

    Do you think she should be supported even though the actual impact of her policies on disadvantaged women is horrible? Why?

    Personally I am one of those leftists who will preference the ALP in pretty much any conceivable situation – because I certainly deplore the affect of the Liberals on social institutions – while voting for other parties and otherwise attempting to influence the ALPs in a more progressive direction from without. So I’m pretty used to that kind of choice.

  34. Casey

    I don’t line up with Cardinal Pell in the Catholic Church. Why should I line up with Julia Gillard if I think she is going to harm women first through her own actions, and second through paving the way to Abbott?

    Funny, Mark used that same analogy on my facebook page, recently. It fails on your part, Kim because the head of the Catholic Church is the Pope, not Pell. You support the Pope, I know from the Pope Francis thread even in light of all the Church’s problems. The analogy stands. Again.

  35. Casey

    I don’t line up with Cardinal Pell in the Catholic Church. Why should I line up with Julia Gillard if I think she is going to harm women first through her own actions, and second through paving the way to Abbott?

    Funny, Mark used that same analogy on my facebook page, recently. It fails on your part, Kim because the head of the Catholic Church is the Pope, not Pell. You support the Pope, I know from the Pope Francis thread even in light of all the Church’s problems. The analogy stands. Again.

  36. Casey

    Can’t we hand out how to votes and still publicly criticise and agitate?

    Against what? How can you say to people that they should vote Labor because you can’t stand the leader?

    How insane is that?

  37. patrickg

    Kim your point about entrenched power is something that Piping Shrike has been banging on about at her/his blog for sometime. I think the focus can sometimes get a bit monomaniacal, but the thesis is ultimately compelling.

    Where Shrike falls down, imho, is the acknowledgment that whilst Rudd may be unencumbered (relatively) by factional interests, in this respect the alternative he represents (the “strong personalities” alternative) is ultimately no more sustainable as it’s subject to the capricious whims and personality of the strong leader.

    On Gillard and feminism, I think it’s undeniable she has – of course – been victim to sustained and outrageous chauvinism, for sure she has.

    However, I feel that to focus on this and disregard any and all other factors in her unpopularity is myopic, and whilst she has my sympathy and support for those attacks, she definitely does not have my support as leader of an ALP seemingly determined to preside over a historic loss, the policies and politicians she champion, and her tin-ear with the public.

    I think much of the emotion associated with this topic comes from assertions that not supporting Gillard is to deny or even abet the chauvinism, and the flip side that supporting Gillard is solely as a result of feminist ideals or something.

    It’s unfortunate all round, really.

  38. Casey

    By all means agitate, but when you are out there, you have to point the good things Gillard has done. Tell me, are there no good things at all this Prime Minister has done, in your view?

  39. Casey

    Tell me, are there good things this government has achieved under Gillard? Or not?

  40. mindy

    The Labor party needs to earn my loyalty, and the first bit of that is to support the PM you have, or if they can’t do that bite their tongues and move to the back bench – no more leaks no matter who they came from. They need to prove that they can unite behind a woman for the good of the party. Then I will stay.

    If the backstabbing continues then I will wish them a pox on all their houses and go elsewhere.

    I think you are being a bit inflexible with the No Criticism thing. Feminists criticise Gillard’s policies quite a bit. The only difference is we focus on policies not what she is wearing, how big her bum is, whether she has given birth etc. Sure she is unpopular but how much of that is also because we are told time and time again she is unpopular by the MSM?

  41. Russell

    Helen – I not only read the Summers when it appeared but put it on our intranet at work so it would be more widely read.

    I think warhorse is an OK description, as it would be for Hawke, Fraser and any number of other people who have been out there pushing their views and campaigning for decades.

    Kim, you write “public perception is that she is untruthful and self-interested” but do you think she had this reputation before she became leader? I think it really became her reputation after she became PM, and partly because her ascension was associated with the awful labor culture of backroom deals where any integrity has to be thrown out the window. Many would see her as a puppet who is really doing what she is told, and that would be an untruthful position to be in.

    Plus that feeling that many of us have that you never see the real Julia, that she’s hiding some of herself from us – which could well be due to the fact that being PM is quite some responsibility and you have to be very careful how you behave.

    On RN on Sunday Jack Waterford said that while Rudd was popular with people who didn’t know him, those who came to know him came to detest him; while with Julia it was the opposite – those who came to know her found a warm, funny person. Which caused Jonathon Green to reply that it was a pity then that she was in public life!

  42. paul burns

    Before Gillard became PM in a way that permanently lost her the respect of at least 50% of the electorate, I don’t recall many misogynist comments. There were some murmurs about her taking on too many portfolios but not too much criticism of the way she was doing her job, some negative comments on her accent, and a lot of praise of her wit and the way she was dishing out to the Libs. The misogyny came after she ambushed Rudd and stole the prime-ministership.
    She is a very disturbingly conservative Labor leader – didn’t want to increase pensions because pensioners don’t vote Labor; persuaded Rudd to drop the climate change CRPS (with Swan) and that now looks like a very treacherous attempt to undermine Rudd; is in thrall to the Xtan Conservatives over gay marriage; sold out to the mining corporations over the super-profits tax; her disgusting refugee policy where she even manages to get Pauline Hanson as a supporter; her persecution of single mothers; etc, etc.
    Of course, the saddest thing about all this is that its going to be a very, very long time before a woman in either the Coalition or Labor will get elevated to the PM-ship, regardless of how talented she is.

  43. Terry

    Casey @ 44, people often vote Labor when they can’t stand the leader. I am sure Stephen Conroy voted Labor in 2004, Paul Howes voted Labor in 2007, and Kevin Rudd voted Labor in 2010. I’d be presuming Rob McClelland, Trish Crossin and Martin Ferguson will do the same in 2013. Its about solidarity with the party, rather than waxing and waning around particular leadership cliques.

    Not sure how Mark Latham votes these day, however

  44. Jacques Chester

    Paul;

    In certain left-wing political circles I moved in back in the day, the prevalence of the notion that “the right person” would fix all the problems of an organisation was seen as a prime symptom of how bad the organisation’s problems really were.

    If I ever move up from capitalist running dog to capitalist, I am pinching this useful little insight.

  45. Helen

    Maybe there’s an identification with the leader because for once it isn’t the default human, a white bloke?

    Well, still one out of two, but still it’s a first. And many of us can identify with her WHILE STILL training a beady eye on her policy failures. Really, those of you who say we “ignore” them can go and take a running jump.

    To take Anne Summers’ latest article as an example: She clearly states her thesis at the outset, that she is not claiming any kind of perfection or superiority for Gillard, but comparing her treatment in the press and elsewhere with other similarly flawed male politicians.

    That’s the issue.

    It’s no more magical thinking than my dentist looking at my teeth instead of the lines on my palm.

  46. mindy

    Stole the PM ship? Oh come on Paul Burns really? Can we get over this shit already? Rudd is not the Messiah. He has had three chances to come back and failed them all. No one stole anything from him. He.fucked.it.up.royally and has been blaming everyone else since.

  47. Chris

    Oddly, I find myself repeating this question a lot lately. Once we’ve confronted it, what is it we are supposed to do? Exactly? Continue to support Labor, handing out how to votes, whilst hacking into its leader?

    Call on Gillard to voluntarily step down for the good of the party. Not for Rudd but for a third candidate whose sole purpose is to minimise the losses at the next election (realistically I don’t see how this can be about winning the next election, just about not losing by too much and not losing the senate). Pretty much anyone else would have significantly less negative baggage to the general electorate compared to Rudd or Gillard. And it would allow the Rudd/Gillard camps to plausibly (at least publicly) unite behind a leader – because I don’t think anyone really believes that’s happened now.

  48. Helen

    @59 my explanation was incomplete – we can “identify with her” because we have experienced hazing, exclusion, sexualisation and all the rest of the toolkit. And that is important, even as we side-eye her abysmal pandering to perceived Western Sydney aspirationals on “foreign” workers.

  49. Sam

    its going to be a very, very long time before a woman in either the Coalition or Labor will get elevated to the PM-ship, regardless of how talented she is

    It’s not impossible Tanya Plibersek will emerge from September’s wreckage as Labor leader. Of course Shorten will take it from her when the moment is ripe.

  50. Kim

    Going to sharpen the question.

    I get the misogyny.

    Is feminism now about defence of one powerful woman at all costs? Even when she enables power structures that attack vulnerable women? Are we all to line up behind her and open not our mouths? Even if we are lambs about to be electorally slaughtered?

    Please think about it. Please try to forget Kevin Rudd. Please think about it.

  51. mindy

    We are still 6 months out from the election, polls always tighten closer to the election, today’s polls show no shift either up or down so things aren’t worse as predicted last week. So why are we all swallowing this ‘it’s going to be a disaster Gillard must go!’ meme? Isn’t six months time enough for something interesting to happen?

    @Chris – even if the Labor party knows it is going to lose, why should someone sacrifice their career beyond 2014? Didn’t Paul Keating say to Beazley not to overestimate the value of being in the chair when you know you are going down? Is it better to have a fresh line up in Opposition than to throw someone to the wolves now? Remember Tony Abbott is still the other option, I think a lot less people are keen for him to be PM than you might think. Now if it were Malcolm I would say get rid of both Rudd and Gillard install someone new and get on with it. The relative unpopularity of Abbott will still work in Labors favour.

  52. Helen

    Kim,
    You’re assuming no one has noticed or written about the negatives of the Gillard government.
    Plenty of people have.
    This is just a non argument.

  53. Lefty E

    I agree there’s a leadership fetish nowadays, but it hasnt come from nowhere: suspect leader-identification what wins critical wedges of the floating vote in an era of declining party affilation and increased policy convergence.

    Amplified this time by the QLD factor, where loads of seats are in play at low pro-ALP swings. This couldnt help but add to the personalisation. No one’s making that one up – QLDers are parochial!

    Where Shrike falls down, imho, is the acknowledgment that whilst Rudd may be unencumbered (relatively) by factional interests, in this respect the alternative he represents (the “strong personalities” alternative) is ultimately no more sustainable as it’s subject to the capricious whims and personality of the strong leader.

    Yep, and Shrike is about as good as it gets in terms of explaining the “Crean WTF!”: an ill-planned and rash attempt to wed a popular leader back more firmly to a party structure and its disciplines (with a tiny bit of “I wouldnt mind having Deputy PM on my retirement CV” to boot, if you ask me 🙂 )

  54. Casey

    Call on Gillard to voluntarily step down for the good of the party.

    Give me one Federal leader who has done that whilst heading towards an election in the history of the nation? Are people dreaming?

    How about this instead?

    Labor’s best hope in this year’s election may just be to lose with some dignity and honour. Like a footy team deep in the fourth quarter looking at a heavy loss, it may just have to continue doing its best to make the margin respectable. Good teams don’t abandon discipline in some deluded belief they can still win when they can’t. They know when they have to be content with winning back some respect. So it is, now, with Labor. The grand old party of Australian politics is losing not just the respect of the electorate, it is quickly losing its self-respect. Coming back from here will not be easy

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/how-chicken-kev-has-left-labor-on-its-knees-20130324-2gnrm.html#ixzz2OV2uorTN

  55. Peter Murphy

    How are Labor supposed to get any good news stories out there when the media isn’t interested. The media lost interest in what Labor was doing well before Gillard became leader so she can’t be blamed for that.

    Mindy: “it wuz the media that done it” is a sort of magical thinking as well. Since most people trust the media less than they do politicians, and the Murdoch media least of all, I find this reasoning implausible.

  56. Chris

    Mindy @ 65 – sacrifice someone who doesn’t really have a career beyond 2013 anyway. The relative unpopularity of Abbott will work in favor the ALP, moreso I think if they find someone who isn’t themselves unpopular (no I still don’t think they can win).

    Give me one Federal leader who has done that whilst heading towards an election in the history of the nation? Are people dreaming?

    Well prior to Rudd, name one PM who was challenged in their first term? No reason to stop making precedents! 🙂

    Going down with respect is a reasonable strategy. I don’t think they’re actually doing that at the moment though.

  57. patrickg

    “The Labor party needs to earn my loyalty, and the first bit of that is to support the PM you have, or if they can’t do that bite their tongues and move to the back bench – no more leaks no matter who they came from. “

    In another comment: “We are still 6 months out from the election, polls always tighten closer to the election, today’s polls show no shift either up or down so things aren’t worse as predicted last week. So why are we all swallowing this ‘it’s going to be a disaster Gillard must go!’ meme? Isn’t six months time enough for something interesting to happen?”

    This seems quite ironic given Gillard’s method of assumption – which was publicly based on infinitely dodgier polling that the sustained low ratings we have seen for 2 1/2 years now.

    Mindy, I appreciate your argument re: the flaws of polling, and I too believe (hope?) the result will be closer than currently. However I think your faith in “something interesting” is almost religious. One thing the steadily-low polling demonstrates – and a contention supported by many here – is that the public/media has tuned out the Gillard government on anything excepting leadership speculation. It sucks but there it is.

    Further, if one takes a historical view, a comeback from these kind of numbers in six months is literally unprecedented in Australian politics – on the contrary we have a host of examples that dire polls lead to electoral wipeouts, the most recent one being the last QLD election (which I think, aside from depending on QLD votes, bears much in common with the upcoming federal election and where the parties are at more generally).

    Gillard’s numbers suck really badly, and if one accepts the baldly untrue raison d’etre about Rudd’s removal, than Gillard’s continued leadership should be baffling and infuriating.

    But of course, the Labor party would patently rather destroy itself for several terms and preserve its moribund power structures, than actually pursue what the majority of its constituents would like and have a some kind of hope of recovery. The worst thing is, it’s only postponing the reckoning.

  58. Casey

    I think it’s time to define ‘magical thinking’, so that Pavlov’s Cat’s comment above can be unpacked, and you know, with a little probing, can be revealed for what it actually was:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magical_thinking

  59. Lefty E

    In the past, leaders allowed three or four days for lobbying and considered decision when challenged. So weak is Julia Gillard’s position, and so authoritarian her leadership style, she orchestrated things precisely to cut short deliberation.

    This is a good point Kim, and one Ive been thinking about since last week. Both Gillard’s challenges were strongly tactical, in the sense that they left no time for those not firmly rusted onto either camp in caucus to really think about and have an full debate. Second happened within 4 hours of being brought on by someone allied with the Rudd camp, but with a poorly launched third agenda.

    If anyone wonders why leadershit has continued so long, you cant discount this factor. In part I blame Rudd for crap organisation, yes, but do you really “deal” with these issue by catching the contender on the hop? Is that what really establishes internal authority?

    I dont think so.

  60. Russell

    Kim – I think to make your argument you need to point to some feminists who are discounting the PMs policies in order to defend her, because she’s a woman. If there are such commentators, are they typical of feminism? Do they have any influence?

    Peter Murphy, we don’t trust the media, but they set the agenda: they leave out all sorts of interesting things you hear if you listen to Parliament, they put in all sorts of insider gossip we can never verify and they crowd out alternative analysis. They have degraded journalism to the point where people have become cynical about absolutely everything.

  61. monkeytypist

    @mindy 52.

    The Labor party needs to earn my loyalty, and the first bit of that is to support the PM you have, or if they can’t do that bite their tongues and move to the back bench – no more leaks no matter who they came from. They need to prove that they can unite behind a woman for the good of the party. Then I will stay.

    What if, for the sake of argument, Sarah Palin was leader of the ALP and had a loyal backbench? Would you vote for the ALP then?

    @martin 29.

    There is one thing that I will vehemently agree with – I deplore the renewed emphasis on the culture of ‘strong leadership’ within the ALP that the recent spat has brought. Again, I don’t think this is a point that is to the credit of either side in this dispute.

    I think we could go further with our assertions of unalloyed truth, and say that if there was no leadership change, there would not be voter hostility that arose as a result of that leadership change. Kevin Rudd might well have continued to irritate us all, but the Coalition’s most potent line it has at the moment is that the ALP simply doesn’t know what it’s doing with the leadership.

    Given that there is no possibility realistically that any party will move away from the “strong leadership” culture this, in my view, sharpens the important point that giving a wider circle of people than just the parliamentary party a vote on who becomes leader an urgent necessity.

  62. mindy
  63. monkeytypist

    @ 75. Russel

    Anne Summers has specifically been cited as an example already.

  64. mindy

    if one accepts the baldly untrue raison d’etre about Rudd’s removal, than Gillard’s continued leadership should be baffling and infuriating.

    As I have argued myself blue in the face as to why I don’t accept this elsewhere I won’t do it here. It wasn’t bad polls that brought an end to Rudd.

    @Monkeytypist – Sarah Palin? Unless you can find me someone in the current Labor party who is like Sarah Palin then this analogy doesn’t work. If someone like Sarah Palin became leader of Labor then I would have been long gone before it came to voting for them.

  65. Russell

    Yes, Anne Summers is one, but does she stand for feminism? Kim also quotes Eva Cox for the other side.

  66. Pavlov's Cat

    Okay, Kim, here you go.

    Why do I support Julia Gillard as leader?

    1) I admire her. I admire her brains, her guts, her resilience, her presence (especially when riled), her refusal to be upset or hurt even by the most grotesque forms of attack, her negotiating skills, her debating skills, her total commitment to education, and her apparent willingness to tackle multiple steep learning curves. I have admired her more since last Thursday, when in spite of what was happening she gave a terrific speech of formal apology to the victims of forced adoption (and what was that if not a feminist moment?), stared down the events of Thursday afternoon, talked to the press, and then rocked up in Bangalow the next day to talk to the people working on the Pacific Highway project. These are all qualities one likes to have in a national leader. Think how few of those things Abbott has, and what a buffoon he is going to look internationally because of it.

    2) She has, against enormous odds and many different kinds of opposition, held a fragile minority government together for the best part of three years. This is an amazing achievement. She has done it largely through her exceptional negotiating skills, and in the process she has earned and retained the support of the honest, fearless and principled Tony Windsor, among others. She has not done this by being inept or dishonest, nor could she ever have done it if she ever said or done anything to incur general dislike or distrust among her colleagues.

    3) Under her leadership, and under enormous difficulty, the government has got an enormous amount of legislation passed. Of course some of it has been stuff I don’t like, but why would I like everything? Of course she is largely stuck with masculinist power structures, but the whole Westminster system is a masculinist power structure, and you have to work with what you have. Look at the history of the Labor Party and its values. It is not, nor has it ever been, particularly feminist in its orientation, nor do I expect it to magically become so simply because its leader is a woman; I have always thought such expectations were profoundly unrealistic and could only be held by people who knew nothing about the history of the ALP. The comparatively short history of the Liberal Party, as anyone who has read the work of Judith Brett will know, is considerably more female-oriented, much as it pains me to say it. NOT feminist, but not so violently masculinist as the Labor movement, either.

    4) Insofar as my support of her has anything at all to do with the sexist and misogynist mud thrown at her over the years, which is not far, it’s partly about wanting to defend someone being viciously attacked but mainly about my admiration for the way she has dealt with that. Personally I wouldn’t last two minutes before I started trying to inflict grievous bodily harm. But otherwise, this really is a straw argument. Where are the names of and quotations from all these alleged people allegedly supporting her because the sexist porkers have been nasty, which seems to be the phantom position you’re objecting to so violently?

    5) Yes, as a feminist, of course I am glad to see a female Prime Minister. But to claim that this is the only or even one of the main reasons why women support her is to fail to explain why women are not defecting to the Greens in droves. It is also to suggest that the strawfeminists you are deriding would just as soon support Julie Bishop if she were PM. Is there a barf emoticon, and if not, why not?

    And if you say ‘Nope, bad analogy’ again, I will have to assume that you’ve acquired a job marking first-year essays and it’s had its way with you. All this ‘I want people to think’ and ‘I want people to read’ and ‘I want people to consider’, phrases you have repeated over and over in this conversation, suggests that you assume that, because we disagree with you, we cannot possibly have thought, read or considered yet. And people are calling me condescending.

  67. Casey

    Yes, I see. I must remember not to personalise. Lovely photo of Gillard with the faceless man, by the way.

  68. Peter Murphy

    Peter Murphy, we don’t trust the media, but they set the agenda…

    That sounds like defeatist thinking, Russell. Influencing the agenda is one thing, but you make it sounds like the news people are in charge of drafting the bleedin’ minutes. But that should never be true. Unfortunately, too many staffers and politicians believe it is true, and now you have a self-reinforcing process.

    Remember when people made jokes about “The Government Gazette” – and later the “The Opposition Orifice”? 2007 to 2010. Haven’t heard those in a long time. Maybe it’s time they came back in fashion.

  69. Legal Eagle

    The thing that got to me this morning was the PM grinning with Kyle Sandilands in an Easter Bunny costume on the front of The Australian. My heart just sank. Doesn’t do much for the PM’s feminist credentials, given what a vile misogynist prat Sandilands is.

    P.S. I’m not a fan of Rudd either. I’m not a fan of anyone particularly right now. I’m in despair.

  70. mindy

    Peter surely you aren’t living under a rock at the moment and are aware of the the spin being put on everything by the Murdoch media?

  71. Martin B

    Given that there is no possibility realistically that any party will move away from the “strong leadership” culture this, in my view, sharpens the important point that giving a wider circle of people than just the parliamentary party a vote on who becomes leader an urgent necessity.

    I said in another thread that I certainly support such an idea, although I have no illusions that it would produce better, more consultative leaders per se.

  72. Chris

    As I have argued myself blue in the face as to why I don’t accept this elsewhere I won’t do it here. It wasn’t bad polls that brought an end to Rudd.

    As long as the polls were good they were willing to put up with him. He had enough history that many of the caucus would have known what he was like before they even elected him to opposition leader.

  73. Martin B

    we don’t trust the media, but they set the agenda

    The media are certainly influential. Amongst other things they frame issues, crystallise ideas and reinforce beliefs. But the all-too-prevalent model that “people believe things because the Tele tells them too” is too simplistic by more-than-a-half.

  74. desipis

    Why personalise it so much? “things the Prime Minister has done”… it’s as if the Labor party was an empty vessel into which she has somehow injected things, bills, whatnot. I am refusing this paradigm. See?

    I think you’ve got a good idealogical case to reject the ‘leader is everything’ paradigm. However, I’m curious if you have a strategy for how the Labor party is supposed to shift the public and more importantly the media from it. I think the mantra of ‘disunity is death’ is founded more in political pragmatism than political idealism.

    The media love over dramatising things and personalising the politics with a few or a single well known individual(s) makes this much easier to do so. It’s quite a challenge to communicate or understand a rational analysis of a party or policy. So there’ll always be a preference towards communicating emotive views and hence constructing a (falsified) personal responsibility for any particular outcome.

  75. Martin B

    Second happened within 4 hours of being brought on by someone allied with the Rudd camp, but with a poorly launched third agenda.

    If anyone wonders why leadershit has continued so long, you cant discount this factor.

    Because the issue was entirely hypothetical and no-one had even thought about it for the last 12 months…

    The Feb 2012 challenge, of course, had 5 full days between Rudd’s midnight “I’ve changed” press conference and the ballot, which seems like plenty of time.

  76. mindy

    @Chris – nope not true. The polls were good when he was rolled. The polling was never the problem. He has three chances to come back and his colleagues didn’t support him to do so. Think about it.

  77. Miss Directed

    Well said Kim. Women should not support a poor leader just because she is a woman. In fact to do so misses the point and it sends a very wrong message. By the same token, criticism of her should not be mired in her gender/appearance, but this has widely been the case, as they are easy targets for people who lack the intelligence to articulate their dislike appropriately. This should be about nothing but asking the party to provide a leader who is able to adequately represent the people and inspires voting confidence. It is extremely troubling to consider the options being presented for the upcoming election. Queenslanders only have to cast their minds back to the landslide in the last state election. What is a voter to do?

  78. Martin B

    The fact that the government has done some good things does not prevent a calculation that on balance (and the balance of probabilities in a political party not a Leader Cult has to include electoral prospects) it should have another leader.

    Ye-es, but likewise, as I see it, one can accept your broader argument – and I think I do – and make the calculation that on balance the electoral prospects are better (not good but better) with keeping her as leader here and now, even if one accepts that in principle there is a better personal leader and better leadership style around.

  79. Jacques de Molay

    Spot on, Kim excellent post.

    I see Don Farrell got a promtion today, yay.

    The media aren’t half as influential as the political classes like to think they are, Labor won comfortably in 2007 and frankly didn’t deserve to win in 2010.

  80. Martin B

    In 2013 – and arguably 2010 – neither major party “deserves” to win, but one of them is going to.

  81. Russell

    Mindy – please look at your links again – 1 & 2 are the same, 4 is ‘service unavailable’ and 3 is a nice profile of Gillard. None of them support Kim’s argument that feminists are supporting the PM because she is a woman, despite her policies.

  82. monkeytypist

    @80. Russell

    Yes, Anne Summers is one, but does she stand for feminism? Kim also quotes Eva Cox for the other side.

    No one person “is” or “represents” feminism; of course. It would be silly to assume that Anne Summers has no influence or that there is nobody in the feminist movement who argues along similar lines. Pavlov’s Cat is doing basically that in this very thread.

    @79. mindy

    Unless you can find me someone in the current Labor party who is like Sarah Palin then this analogy doesn’t work. If someone like Sarah Palin became leader of Labor then I would have been long gone before it came to voting for them.

    The reason I asked the question is because I wanted to establish that it’s at least a theoretical possibility that a woman could be so bad on women’s issues that you would not support her as leader of the ALP in preference to another candidate. If that’s the case, well and good, but there is, imo a very respectable argument that Gillard is bad on women’s issues and that an alternate candidate would be better.

  83. Liz

    Look, Pav, Casey, Mindy and Helen have pretty much said the sort of things I’d want to say about this post. I’d add that if you opened up a dictionary and looked up the definition of ‘straw feminist’, there’s be a screenshot of it.

    I’d also add that I really wish the condescending admonitions to ‘reflect’ would just stop. It really does imply we’re incapable of doing so unless instructed. I’d also say you’d judge that we’d been reflecting very astutely if we agreed with you.

    I’d also like to see a matching article on the damage that Rudd has done to the government by years of whiteanting, but he always seems to be the poor put upon bloke here. Only given four hours to prepare for his challenge? What, you mean he hadn’t been shit-stirring for weeks? But, no we’re never going to see anything with this level of vitriol directed to Rudd. And who on earth thought that Gillard was going to somehow break free from Labor’s masculinist culture to some more open, gentle model? Not this deluded, magical thinking feminist, for one. I also find myself very much in agreement with Casey & 23. What exactly do you want to have happen?

  84. Nick Caldwell

    The misogyny came after she ambushed Rudd and stole the prime-ministership.

    Well, yes. A fairly standard tactic for leadership changes instantly becomes an unholy crime against the fundamental fabric of, uh, mateship etc just because a woman did it.

  85. Katz

    Unfortunately, until 14 Sept 2013, adherents of the broad left have little choice but to give their effective 2PP vote to the party led by Julia Gillard. This choice isn’t a quixotic act. It is an act of self preservation in hopes of minimising the size of the shit sandwich we will all have to eat.

    Right now, instead of raking through the embers in search of the questionable qualities of Julia Gillard, we’d be better employed debating the qualities of a leftist party that both represents leftist ambitions and has some chance of electoral success.

    For sure, such a party will not be controlled by the forces that enabled the rise of Gillard to its leadership.

  86. Helen

    Anne Summers writes here:

    While I was watching the ugly events of Thursday afternoon unfold, I was trying to remember the last time Australia had a perfect prime minister. Or even one who was universally popular.

    Maybe our wartime leaders, John Curtin and the sainted Ben Chifley, deserve the mantle but it was before my time, so I can’t say. Certainly those men who have ruled us since have all been divisive figures whose popularity waxed and waned and whose competence was continually questioned – by their own side as much as by their opponents. But our memories of them become more benign the further away they are from having been in power…

    Read the whole thing. It’s a hell of a lot more complex and nuanced than “wah wah woman I support her utterly”. It also brings up the small matter of a hung parliament, a common enough situation in Europe but something with which the Australian media seem unable to cope.

  87. Russell

    monkeytypist – I don’t think PC is doing that at all, but that’s for her to say. I still think Kim has to make her case with some more evidence.

    I’m wondering ….. about our expectations. People as old as I am saw feminism as a strand of progressive thought. We imagined that when these various battles for justice were won, that when women were elected as PM, for example, naturally those women would be progressive too, in all things. When Indigenous people were elected, they would of course embody the progressive aspects of the struggle that helped get them there. Are we a little disappointed to find that it ain’t necessarily so. A woman, Thatcher, Gillard, can now become PM and she may not reflect all the progressive values that we hold and agitated for. Does history then work against women in this way?

  88. Peter Murphy

    Mindy: most ‘undecided’ voters get their news from TV, not newspapers, and Foxtel aside, Murdoch ownership of Australian TV is minimal (something something Seven? I can’t recall).

    Rupert’s influence on Australia is overstated. One could reason about the amount of influence the bastard has, or one could use him as an excuse to not examine Gillard’s failings and self-inflicted damage. I’d prefer everybody do the former. But I say the latter is less a subject for political science than cognitive behavioral therapy.

  89. Pavlov's Cat

    It would be silly to assume that Anne Summers has no influence or that there is nobody in the feminist movement who argues along similar lines. Pavlov’s Cat is doing basically that in this very thread.

    Not really. What I have been doing is asking for examples and quotations, so far unforthcoming.

  90. faustusnotes

    I have many problems with this post.

    First, if Gillard is such a bad politician and the system of her appointment so free from openness and transparency, why did the party choose her? They presumably could have anointed someone better than her. Why her? I can’t see an answer to this question that doesn’t buy into at least a couple of conspiracy theories, most misogynist.

    The reality, on the other hand, is that she has achieved a lot, and a lot of it has been good policy, but to debate this demands a full and frank assessment of Rudd’s putative leftism – a leftism that would have delivered the mining companies a windfall in government transfers (they would be receiving money this year) and would have produced a largely useless CPRS. Would Rudd’s leftism have saved women on welfare from being kicked in the teeth by the surplus fairy, or led to even so much as a conscience vote on gay marriage (perhaps mandated from the pulpit of his local anglican church)?

    Also the reason that she is perceived as a liar is straight out media deception, and her political effectiveness cannot be assessed without considering the blatant dishonesty of every media outlet in claiming she lied about the CPRS when she did not. This “carbon tax” lie is the single foundation on which her reputation for dishonesty is built: without it there is nothing, but not a single media organization, outlet or journalist has dealt with it honestly. This is a huge problem not of her or the ALP’s making.

    Finally, whatever problems you have with ALP decision-making processes, why should you make it the responsibility of this woman to change them? Does she have to clean house behind the boys, as well as doing damage control for them?

  91. Liz

    Yes, it’s a good article Helen. Do women really need to above approach before they receive any credit for the work they’ve done?

  92. Liz

    Jacques de Molay, I also noticed three women got a promotion today. But, let’s not mention that. If you’re implying that Gillard has rewarded a supporter; I’m shocked, truly shocked that a politician should behave in such an unseemly way.

  93. Casey

    Is feminism now about defence of one powerful woman at all costs? Even when she enables power structures that attack vulnerable women? Are we all to line up behind her and open not our mouths? Even if we are lambs about to be electorally slaughtered?

    And yet, there is not one feminist on this thread who has not critiqued Gillard for her failures in this regard. You say people here are being manichean, either/or and worshipping at the personality of the Gillard altar, and yet this bears no reality at all to the evidence on this thread. I’m still not sure what you want from all this. People agree that, yes, very socially conservative and the single mother pensions changes were terrible, the position on refugees is very bad, what else would you like, apart from this? What else is there to say that you would like said?

  94. Russell

    “most ‘undecided’ voters get their news from TV, not newspapers”

    Peter, isn’t it a truism that TV takes its cue from the newspapers?

  95. Helen

    And do women have to be “better” than equivalent men before they have the right to hold a position? That was the old way.

  96. Casey

    Finally, whatever problems you have with ALP decision-making processes, why should you make it the responsibility of this woman to change them? Does she have to clean house behind the boys, as well as doing damage control for them?

    Clever observation FN.

  97. mindy

    Russell @96 – 2nd link fixed, 4th link works for me

    “None of them support Kim’s argument that feminists are supporting the PM because she is a woman”

    That’s the point, I don’t agree feminists are supporting the PM simply because she is a woman.

    @monkeytypist – I don’t support any leader simply because of their gender. Sarah Palin gave me the shivers, I don’t want Julie Bishop holding the reigns of power either, unless she were to wrest them from Tony Abbott at which point I would admire her for doing so but still revile her party and policies and what they stand for.

  98. Casey

    You don’t wish to be reminded of the people who put Julia Gillard in as PM and ensure she remains there, Casey?

    You sound like a Liberal spinmeister. The faceless men, the faceless men. Of course, putting that picture up reduces the woman to a puppet, with no will of her own, manipulated by the evil forces of the empire. Can’t you see what you bought into when you chose that pic?

  99. Russell

    “why should you make it the responsibility of this woman to change them?”

    The ALP has done various reviews recommending reform of those processes, so, if Gillard is a powerful player in the party, then she, and others, have a responsibility to get on with that reform. If she only has the power that others let her have …… then she isn’t in a good position to be ‘the leader’. There’s a perception of dishonesty in that situation.

    Howard was a leader in his party, as Barnett clearly is, here in W.A., but with Gillard, she’s sort of leading on behalf of others, and then what with the hung parliament, she’s seen as endlessly compromising, with a result that produces ineffective outcomes like the mining tax. Her broken deal with Wilkie re gambling also made her look untrustworthy.

  100. patrickg

    Finally, whatever problems you have with ALP decision-making processes, why should you make it the responsibility of this woman to change them? Does she have to clean house behind the boys, as well as doing damage control for them?

    Just speaking for myself, FN, I guess I want a leadership that takes responsibility for these things, and tries to change them (however fanciful this notion is). I was plenty hard on Rudd for CPRS cop-out and piss-weakening of mining tax, too.

    Likewise, I want a leader that a) is representative, and b) does what’s best for the party and its constituents. The hair-splitting about whose worse – Rudd or Gillard and how much of it is sexist seems to elide the critical point to me: Labor is irrefutably headed for a record thumping, the public is strongly against the current leader, and wants the former leader back (esp in areas Labor needs to retain like QLD). A better PM would acknowledge that and do the necessary, but – as with so much Labor have done since assuming office, it’s all about what’s right for Labor.

    I criticised Rudd’s slavish devotion to polls and PR (though now, of course, I understand why, given his lack of institutional support), but at least he was looking outward. Gillard and cabinet are essentially playing another encore while the boat sinks. Depressing all round, really.

  101. Hoa Minh Truong

    In the democratic country, people don’t mind who are the national leader, even skin doesn’t matter, if they do good job. So Julia Gillard becomes a first female prime minister that is the equal opportunity for everyone. In the most communist country with the racial discrimination, they have never deserved the top jobs for female as Secretary General, Prime Minister, chairperson…despite female contribute so much for communist party growth and fighting in war.
    PM Julia Gillard is proud for female, unfortunately she lost the people credit by the broken promises ( inside party into the leadership challenge with Kevin Rudd) and Carbon tax. She also has tried to protect MP Craig Thomson who used the HSU fund for private enjoyments and herself with Slater & Gordon scandal. PM julia Gillard is good for inside rival fighting, she eliminated and disable the Kevin Rudd wing, although they have no success many times the coup, but she couldn’t convince people trust as a good leader.

  102. mindy

    How is any of that going to be different under another leader?

  103. Liz

    Hallelujah Sister, if we only opened out eyes to the dreadfulness of corrupt Juliar, we’d see the truth. Thank you Kim. You, only you can show us the way to enlightenment.

  104. Jacques de Molay

    But, listen, the point is that people are in denial about the fact that she rests for her support on the most misogynist and unaccountable factions and structures in the Labor Party, and that her continued project is to reinforce their power. That is what is obscured by the personalities!

    Thanks Kim, the point I was trying to make with Don Farrell above.

  105. The White Mouse

    [redacted] Please don’t accuse someone of making something personal and then make a personal comment about them. You are welcome to comment here but please stay on topic. [Mod]

  106. Casey

    Oh, I wilfully blind myself now. Nice. Listen, in many ways I wish my eyes had not been opened quite so widely in these past few days. I’m out of here, the patronisation is a little to much for me.

  107. faustusnotes

    Every single leader of the ALP since Latham (included) has tried to fix these power processes, and failed. Why expect differently of Gillard? And furthermore, maybe for people steeped in union culture they don’t see them as bad, or have a more nuanced view than you. These are the same leadership processes that brought Hawke, Keating and Beazley to the top. Are they really so bad? Are the alternatives better? In both short and medium term, how is a leader under pressure (as Gillard has been since the beginning) going to make responsible decisions while playing fast and loose with governance structures?

    I’m not exactly crying rivers of tears over the fact that Rudd was unable to get a proper democratic hearing from a process that he consistently failed to improve, despite repeated empty speeches on the matter while he was leader. That he couldn’t manage those processes better than Gillard is his problem, not hers: she knows how to play well with others, and he doesn’t.

  108. Pavlov's Cat

    But, listen, the point is that people are in denial about the fact that she rests for her support on the most misogynist and unaccountable factions and structures in the Labor Party

    Well, I’m not; your implication that that’s the only support she has is nonsense, but alas she does indeed need it. I wish that weren’t the case, and I’m sure so does she, but I’m not in denial about it.

    , and that her continued project is to reinforce their power.

    I’m not in denial about that either, I just think it is total BS, which is not the same thing.

    I could have always posted a pic of her with Kyle Sandilands on the weekend, I suppose.

    Just like The Australian, you mean?

    she won’t be there after S14

    What’s this “S14” business? Who’s calling it that? Or is it an artefact of yours, Kim, with overtones of 9/11, suggesting disaster? What country are we in again?

    Yet, I really feel that many are arguing or at least implying on this thread that:

    (a) the belief that another leader would be better for women is disloyal and anti-feminist;
    (b) the corollary – that Gillard must be supported because she has been the subject of misogynist attacks.

    Where? Who? What comment number?

    Wake up, people!

    Open your eyes.

    … and there you go again.

  109. mindy

    Gillard is now responsible for the factions and structures of the Labor party? She should stop depending on them and do what? Worked well for Rudd, not. FFS she is a politician.

  110. faustusnotes

    Don’t go Casey.

    patrickg, while I agree wiht your third paragraph, the ending of your comment is disappointing:

    Gillard and cabinet are essentially playing another encore while the boat sinks.

    The NDIS is not just “another encore,” it’s an essential piece of policy. Which fact gets lost in all of this: the Gillard cabinet is far from perfect but it has made and is making good policy. The difference between Gillard’s cabinet’s performance and Rudd’s has very little to do with the leader or the cabinet and is not being assessed fairly, because the media are hell-bent on destroying her.

  111. The White Mouse

    Ok then.

    Kim makes a comment that she is “angry”.
    This then shows that the article is biased based on a personal gripe of some sort.

    What is the personal gripe?

    Because the article is not commenting on behalf of the Labor party as a whole and is heavily weighted against the PM., which is very much akin to the white-anting tactics used by Ruddites themselves.

  112. Liz

    Kim, with all these imprecations to face reality and open our eyes; do you really think you’re the only person here with a handle on reality? Do you actually think anyone here who disagrees with you is deluded?

    And yes, Casey the patronisation here is gobsmacking. But, please don’t nick off.

  113. Russell

    “These are the same leadership processes that brought Hawke, Keating and Beazley to the top.”

    Well, we might wish Beazley hadn’t got there, but Hawke and Keating would have gotten to the top in any situation – the ambition and ability was like a force of nature. Whitlam, Fraser, Hawke, Keating, and Howard – all seem destined to have taken the top position. Rudd, Gillard and Abbott …. well, not so much.

  114. Peter Murphy

    In the democratic country, people don’t mind who are the national leader, even skin doesn’t matter, if they do good job.

    It’s a nice ideal, but I doubt that’s ever been true. It wasn’t true of the early US, where politicians like Adams, Jefferson and Hamilton regularly made up defamatory shit about each other. It wasn’t true in 1945 UK, where voters got rid of Churchill in favour of Attlee. And I really doubt it’s ever been true of Australia.

  115. Peter Murphy

    Oh, and if anyone needs cheering up: remember that whatever the faults of Rudd, Abbott, Gillard or Turnbull: none of them are Boris Johnson.

  116. Paul Norton

    Taking a wide angle view of things, from the 1980s onwards thoughtful people inside and outside the Labor Party (look up Lindsay Tanner’s articles in back copies of Australian Left Review) have identified tendencies in the Party and in Labor governments that, if allowed to progressed unchecked, would eventually lead to a potentially terminal crisis of Labor. These people have written and spoken extensively on these matters, and contributed to efforts to improve the situation, but with far less success than they would have liked. Beneath the surface of the Rudd-Gillard conflict is the fact that these two individuals came into the leading positions in the Federal Labor just as the crisis was reaching a critical phase.

    One comment I have read – and which is attributed to one of Gillard’s supporters, is that she “understands” and “respects” the party and its culture, unlike Rudd, and that this is a reason to prefer her as leader. It is certainly true, from what we know of both individuals, that Gillard is much more a product of the party than Rudd, and regrettably I think it is eqully true that throughout her political life Gillard has been as much a producer as a product of the modern Labor Party.

    In short, Rudd could not and cannot reform Labor’s dysfunctional structures because he lacks the clout and the connections and, as I think he showed on the question of who should appoint Cabinet Ministers, the tactical nous. Gillard, on the other hand, has little desire to reform those structures.

  117. faustusnotes

    Did you watch the election coverage in 2007, Russell? Gillard was very popular and obviously also ambitious. Judgements about “seemed destined” are meaningless, imo, representing more personal bias than fact.

    Hawke and Keating didn’t get to the top through personal will alone – they manipulated and worked within a specific structure to get where they were going (with a lot of help from Richo). I find it intriguing that everyone is willing to accept their agency in achieving the top position but then make out that Gillard was “placed” there (a rhetorical technique Kim is continuing), as if she hasn’t been manoeuvring for this for years. Also, this insistence that she has to think first of all of the good of the party and the people, and not try to align this with her own power ambitions, is either staggeringly naive about the way people like Hawke and Keating acted, or is a very strong double standard.

    Why can’t Gillard show the same arrogant desire to grab and hold power that Hawke and Keating did? Why does she have to the self-effacing, self-sacrificing one? Why, we even have demands that she step down from power and hand it back to Mr. Popular, even though he’s a confirmed bully and a policy-making shambles.

    It’s like a kind of federal politics version of Harry Potter, where Hermione does all the work but her born-to-rule male buddy gets all the cred.

  118. Paul Norton

    Peter Murphy @134, I think there was more to the 1945 UK election than whether or not Winston Churchill had “done a good job” as PM. Plenty of people admired Churchill’s wartime leadership but wanted a reforming government of the left to tackle the tasks of peacetime.

  119. Liz

    [email protected] Of course, you know the answer to all your questions.

  120. Peter Murphy

    Paul @138: you’re quite correct. I’m aware of the Beveridge Report, one reason why Labour won in 1945, but I’m not certain whether Mr. Hoa is.

  121. MarkWW

    This article is a crock. The same old garbage that made me decide to give up on visiting LP a long while ago. I followed a link from Twitter in because it was RT’d by Greg Jericho (a rare lapse on his part methinks). Alas, its acceptance of so many LNP and News Ltd memes is what strikes me as most disturbing. Significant chunks of this rant could have been written by Albrechtsen or Devine (whom I usually avoid like the plague). So thanks for that.

    FWIW – The PM is no saint and she’s not the messiah. She isn’t PJK or Gough or any other incarnation of past glorious leaders whose flaws are now forgotten. She may be too conservative for your liking (and mine) but she’s not a reactionary populist s–tstain in the model of Howard, Downer or Abbott; and she isn’t a shallow poseur like Costello, Turnbull or Rudd (going to water was his MO).

    None of the aforementioned PMs or wannabe’s could have done a better job of managing a minority government – especially while being undermined by malign forces within the cabinet. It is fair enough to criticise her for not implementing perfect policy, or implementing policies imperfectly, but it is unreasonable to ignore or belittle what her government has achieved.

  122. monkeytypist

    @ mindy 113.

    How does “I don’t support any leader simply because of their gender” marry up with ” They need to prove that they can unite behind a woman for the good of the party” (at 52)? You yourself have said that Kevin Rudd was rolled, not for bad polling, but because the party didn’t like him. But you appear to be also saying that the party must always support the leader, regardless of whether the leader is a woman or not? What about “earned loyalty” then?

    It seems there are some propositions that can be agreed upon.

    A. Julia Gillard receives unfair criticism motivated by misogyny.
    B. Julia Gillard has enacted policies that have hurt and disadvantaged women.

    Is it just a matter of how we weight their relative importance then? Because I think we can agree that Anne Summers loves spending time on (A) and spends comparatively little or no time on proposition (B). Here is an example of what I mean.

    Is that an uncontentious observation?

  123. Russell

    “Why can’t Gillard show the same arrogant desire to grab and hold power that Hawke and Keating did?”

    Because they had demonstrated their prodigious abilities in front of the electorate for many years before they became leader. If I even knew anyone who had access to the NBN, if the Gonski recommendations were in force and working, Henry tax reforms in place etc etc then maybe Gillard could get away with arrogant desire. As it is, I think she’ll be taking a government to the electorate that people will think has achieved little since 2010.

    Telling people how many Bills have gone through Parliament isn’t going to be a vote winner. I would say their biggest achievement (thanks to the Greens?) has been the carbon price, but Gillard hasn’t been very successful in persuading the country that that was much of an achievement.

  124. monkeytypist

    Anyway, so if anyone else wants to argue that “nobody even believes what Kim is arguing against” you could use comment number 141 as a nice example.

  125. mindy

    @monkeytypist – they need to prove that they can overcome the internal misogynists in the party and unite behind a good female leader – whoever she may be. They must be able to unite behind a leader who is good for the party male or female. I don’t believe Rudd was, I think Gillard is an effective leader in a minority government and could be a good leader in a majority government. I could be wrong.

    I agree vis Anne Summers. Not sure if that is uncontentious for everyone 🙂

  126. mindy

    @Russell 143 – go to Twitter and ask @firstdogonmoon how good the NBN is. He seems pretty happy.

  127. Chris

    mindy @ 91 – then why were Gillard supporters using bad internal poll numbers to support their case just before she challenged him? Or do you not believe that occured?

    And whilst Gillard has managed the relationship with the independents and the Greens as well as can be expected (the Green/ALP breakup near the election was inevitable IMO), that may not have even been required at all if Rudd had taken them to the election instead.

    , I think Gillard is an effective leader in a minority government

    Given the support she has in the caucus its pretty clear that she hasn’t been able to keep the confidence of a significant number or her own MPs. Whether it be for fair reasons or not, its kind of a core requirement for a parliamentary leader.

  128. Russell

    “@Russell 143 – go to Twitter and

    Mindy I have never gone to Twitter, I don’t even know where it is.

  129. Paul Norton

    I think it must also be said that (a) people who want/ed to replace Julia Gillard with Kevin Rudd do/did so from a range of motives, some nobler than others; and (b) amongst the less noble motives, whilst misogyny and a venal lust for the feel of green leather upholstery can coexist in the same person, in most such people the latter would prevail over the former if those motives were pushing in different directions.

  130. monkeytypist

    @mindy you are adding qualifications to your previous absolute statements. I guess you have more or less admitted the inconsistency that Kim is pointing out, so if you’re OK with it then there is not much more to be said.

    Gillard WAS the leader of a majority government – from 24 June 2010 to 24 September 2010. But Summers’ article over the weekend completely elided this fact and made it appear she “stepped into” minority government, which is blatantly false.

  131. The White Mouse

    I would say that a Governement that has raised the tax-free threshold from $6000 to $18200, is VERY sympathetic to single parents on the “dole”. It gives incentive to work part-time and earn more income than staying at home and struggling. I think that’s an issue that’s been overlooked, the incentive to work and the viability under a reformed taxation system.

    And remember, this is a Government made up of MP’s and it’s not a dictatorship. The comment that “She’s not sympathetic to women..” is biased and demonizing towards the individual, and neglects to reflect on the reality that this is indeed a Government which also relies on the minor parties and independents for passing of bills.

    Show me some credible commentary please.

  132. Sam

    Much of the feminist defence of Gillard is reminiscent of what Franklin Roosevelt (supposedly) said about the Nicaraguan dictator Somoza (not the one overthrown by the Sandinistas; this was his father)

    “Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.”

    (No, Julia (no r) is not a dictator; yes, she gets attacked because of her gender; apologies for the b word, but that’s the quote.)

  133. mindy

    I don’t know what the Gillardites in the Labor party would have done. I wouldn’t have, but I have very personal reasons for that that others don’t share so I can’t speak for them.

    If there are those in the Labor party who don’t think Gillard is good for the party they should have challenged and/or moved to the back bench. Some of them had the courage of their convictions and went, but no one put themselves up for the top job. The situation is as it now stands. Can you support Labor without supporting the PM?

  134. Lefty E

    As I have argued myself blue in the face as to why I don’t accept this elsewhere I won’t do it here. It wasn’t bad polls that brought an end to Rudd

    Well, agreed, but that *was* the original argument presented to the public, complete with dubious internal polls, and other +ve ones that were kept from caucus.

    Accepting your point (which I do, since there was no poll-based reason) then the argument becomes: ” because of internal ALP stuff the public never saw, never knew about, didnt care about then, still dont now, are vaguely suspicious of”

    Its really no wonder it has never played well with the public.

    For my money, this insider/ outsider disconneect just keeps on playing for the LNP, and will until poll day.

    Hope Im wrong.

  135. Link

    Gee I shoulda got in at number two when I was going to say: Great Post Kim.

    No, Casey, you wilfully blind yourself to the closed male and misogynist structures on which Gillard built her Prime Ministership. Open your eyes. There is no such implication. The implication is the truth that she is complicit in the corrupt manner in which what are effectively gangs of thugs maintain control over the Labor Party. That doesn’t mean she is a puppet. That means she is actually standing in the road of the democratisation of the powerbrokers, and that she enables them.

    Exactamundo girl.

    Personally though I think she is a bit of a puppet of the obsequious variety. She is not a leader she is ‘head prefect’ and she is governed by fear not vision. As for the ALP? Pffft.

    She was wearing the most enormous pearls today. What an idiot. She did however plan the election date from an astrological perspective to her advantage… true. So I’m in two minds. But I stand by my PM-pearl-wearing, loathing, anti-feminist Julia opinion. I think she sucks. It was stupid to continue with a ballot for leadership with no actual contender. What a masochist. It’s all about blame and power in Julia’s cabinet and of course fear.

    Smiling Tone, may find himself a war PM and not so smiley.

  136. Pavlov's Cat

    She was wearing the most enormous pearls today. What an idiot.

    Please tell me this is satire.

  137. Sam

    She was wearing the most enormous pearls today

    Were they mikimoto?

  138. Terry

    Martin Ferguson is very pleased with how this thread has developed, and he can avoid any further pummelling

  139. Liz

    Kim, someone knocks Gillard for wearing pearls and you thank them! You’re not engaging with any of the criticisms of your article. And yes you’re being incredibly condescending.

    You say she does nothing for poor women? Changing the conditions of the single mothers’ pension was shockingly bad policy. Bit, raising the tax free threshold certainly benefits the most vulnerable of people, as does introducing the NDIS. But, you seem to find it impossible to find anything good to say about Gillard. And you still insist that women who do are deluded.

  140. Liz

    And yes, if Rudd had won last week I would have argued that Labor people had to unite behind him, because if would have been the best shot to stay in government.

  141. Russell

    “exempted in all practical senses from accountability”

    Kim, she did come in for criticism over moving those mothers to Newstart, and she has certainly been criticised for the refugee policy. Perhaps we should have a post where people can list the Gillard government’s achievements, failures and matters pending. What kind of weight we give to each of those may generate some discussion, but it would be good to have some ‘facts’ to balance up.

  142. faustusnotes

    Chris presents another example of the same kind of strange magical thinking that afflicts critics of Gillard, at 147:

    And whilst Gillard has managed the relationship with the independents and the Greens as well as can be expected

    “As well as can be expected” is a strange phrase here. No one knew what to expect but Abbott’s behavior certainly suggested he would have failed to manage that relationship in about 3 seconds. Could PJK?

    This kind of phrasing makes something almost unheard of in Australian politics sound like a routine achievement, as if it were just the same thing as organizing a piss-up in a brewery. Why do critics of Gillard start from the assumption that they can just dismiss all her significant achievements as if anyone else could have done them?

  143. Lefty E

    Im not interested in Rudd v GIllard anymore either, Kim. Not since last Thursday. Its over.

    However, some of that goes strongly to the issues discussed here: if Gillard’s unpopularity is not just about gender, then there will be other causes. E.g. an insider/ outsider disconnect about the need to replace him.

    Id like to isolate that from the R-word, but meh… fat chance of that. :p

  144. Sam

    Martin Ferguson is very pleased with how this thread has developed

    Well, clearly there is a lot of angst around the place. Gillard, the first woman to be PM, is going to be really badly beaten by, all over people, Tony Abbott.

    Can you imagine? Tony fucking Abbott.

    This will be trumpeted as the triumph of conservative social values over everything women have strived for in the past 50 years, at least. And that’s just the perception part. Abbott really will try to turn the clock back decades, and everyone knows it. There’s a lot at stake here.

    If it was urbane, modern Malcolm Turnbull who was about to hand Gillard’s arse to her, far fewer shits would be given.

  145. adrian

    Unfortunately I think it’s hard to defend Gillard’s record, and the fact that she’s going to deliver an Abbott government in September is just very sour icing on the cake.

    She started with a swing to the right and has basically continued in the same way ever since because she’s beholden to the factional zombies that got her there in the first place.
    Gay marriage for example? Who in their right mind thinks she believes the ALP’s crap policy in this regard?

    It’s hard to argue with Kim’s contention because were she a male leader, the very same people that are defending her now, would be on the attack.

  146. lvlld

    Pavlov’s Cat @128

    I’m not; your implication that that’s the only support she has is nonsense, but alas she does indeed need it. I wish that weren’t the case, and I’m sure so does she, but I’m not in denial about it.

    Does she, though?

    Julia Gillard’s political career has been marked by a strong pragmatic streak. This forms one of her strengths, negotiation and alliance building, but gives her terrible political instincts, no less conservative for being non-doctrinaire. These characteristics have always put her in the comfortable company of the ALP Right, regardless of notional factional allegiance, so when I look at the Single Parent decision and her ideologically retrograde and politically inept handling of the marriage equality debate I begin to wonder how much of that is really the influence of the Shoppies.

  147. Liz

    Except so many people are arguing against it so successfully, adrian.

  148. Russell

    “Who in their right mind thinks she believes the ALP’s crap policy in this regard?”

    I think gay marriage is ALP policy, isn’t it?

  149. faustusnotes

    and again:

    She started with a swing to the right

    She started by undoing a mining tax that would have delivered billions of dollars of subsidies to the mining industry this year.

    Has no one commenting on this noticed this small fact? Rudd’s mining “tax” would have delivered subsidies to the mining companies.

    If you want to talk about how crap Gillard is, you need to address the reality of the policies her main internal opponents favoured – not the fantasy you imagine they delivered.

  150. Link

    Yeah Ms PC I think the pearls were satire. It’s a visual thing. Big white globules of oyster shell worn around the neck traditionally/historically stand for something. True.

    How do you feel when you wear your pearls Pav? Like a progressive leader of a liberal government? No, I didn’t think so. You probably think twice and don’t wear them at all because of the ‘message’ they give. Can’t escape the symbolism especially when they are so obvious.

    Kim was thanking me because I appreciate and in large part agree with her post. She was no endorsing my comment. Numbskull.

  151. SJH

    I agree that Julia Gillard has been given a free pass by many of those who would usually come to the defence of “soft targets” like single mothers and asylum seekers. The misogynist and nut jobs were never going to vote for her anyway and their attacks on her have generated a “with her or against her” mentality that has served her interests.

  152. Anna Winter

    Calling Dr Cat numbskull says nothing about her and only makes you look bad, Link. On a number of levels.

  153. Liz

    Actually Link I really like pearls and sometimes wear them. I dress them down in a slightly ironic way. Or I wear them sometimes to more formal occasions. I must be a very bad feminist.

  154. leinad

    @171, @174

    Gay marriage is ALP policy because Rainbow Labor forced it into the party platform, all-but-overruling Gillard, whose opposition to it was so public and strenuous that it was necessary that a compromise in the form of a conscience vote had to made to avert what would have been another destabilising reversal. That, to my mind really made me wonder whether Gillard’s opposition was more than simple political necessity, as if there was any issue on which she could have forced the Farrell and the SA Right to face reality, that was probably it.

  155. monkeytypist

    @lvlld

    Good point. At a certain point it really doesn’t matter who is manipulating whom, whether the co-option was enthusiastic or non-enthusiastic. The point is that it happened, and the ALP’s electability was seriously hurt in the process (contra the right’s normal argument that they are focused on electability).

    People admired Anna Bligh for forcing privatisation through an unwilling Labor party and union movement. It took guts and determination no doubt. Delivered Queensland to Campbell Newman on a platter, but I’m sure all the women in Queensland who have now lost their jobs and social services were really admiring of such gutsy determination.

  156. Lefty E

    Because the issue was entirely hypothetical and no-one had even thought about it for the last 12 months…

    Except nearly half of caucus. Why pretend that isnt real? Polls were consistently terrible. Consequently, many in the ALP never ceased thinking about it. Blogs never stopped talking about it. It wasnt just the media. Thats just wishing away bitter realities.

    Only a decent run of polls would have put it to bed. There wasnt one. Hence the leadership talk continued. This game is about winning, and its especially so when a new leader goes early: that says your criteria are pragmatic and unsentimental.

    Well, fair enough: but youll be judged on performance. The attempt to then resurrect a convincing loyalty/ traitor narrative that the ALP is so found of from that utter mess was doomed from the start.

    likewise the attempt to ‘leave it behind’ when it had created such a massive rift in the ALP was likewise pure fantasy. The rift is still there.

    Hope Rudd’s final words ‘under no circumsntances’ will make it dormant now. But witness blogs all over the land: it was never just the media.

  157. Sam

    A lot of people assume that Gillard is against gay marriage on pragmatic, electoral grounds. I’m not so sure. To the extent that she was ever Left, it was old industrial Left and a lot of these people (Martin Ferguson, for example) are socially conservative.

    We know Gillard’s values are of the ‘set the alarm clock early and do a hard day’s work’ variety. When she said that, no one was in any doubt that she meant it. Defending traditional social institutions like heterosexual-only marriage is entirely consistent with those values.

  158. Pavlov's Cat

    Anna, I don’t mind being called a numbskull by people for whose judgment I have no respect, but I do think it’s a pity Link didn’t notice that it was actually somebody else who said the thing about Kim saying Thanks.

    Apparently I need to spell out the hideous irony of using this thread to abuse the Prime Minister on the basis of her clothes. *spells out hideous irony*

  159. patriciawa

    Thanks, mindy. It’s astonishing how little mention has been made here of the role of the media, and News Ltd in particular. Rupert Murdoch is determined that Tony Abbott and the Coalition will win government, the sooner the better. Julia Gillard’s character has been trashed continuously since she was elected party leader, just as Rudd had been undermined. So I don’t think gender was the issue here, though misogyny here has made the task of Australian commentators somewhat easier.

    Thanks too, Casey. ‘Patronising’ more politely describes this piece than some of the words I was considering.

    I recently met the Prime Minister at a Community Cabinet here and was impressed by her warmth. I already had respect for her qualities as head of a government which had survived against all odds while at the same time achieving amazing things for as many of us as was possible and fair. I was also impressed by the real affection expressed for her by women like Tanya Plibersek, Nicola Roxon and Penny Wong.


    Women in Labor

    These women in Labor are feeling no pain,
    Find running the country’s no stress and no strain,
    All were up-beat and their spirits were high
    When at a Party event they explained to me why.

    Working conditions have improved much of late
    With their new boss who is efficient and straight.
    Labor’s productive. It’s not at all hard
    Conceiving new laws with PM Gillard.

    Not just these women, but ALP men
    Work well with her, and if ever again
    Rudd were to challenge and push came to shove
    They’d vote for Julia. Working with her is a Labor of love!

    (And they would have too, wouldn’t they, had it been necessary?)

    http://polliepomes.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/women-in-labor-2/

  160. Deborah

    Waves hello from across the Tasman.

    I’ve been struck by the similarities between the treatment of Helen Clark, who was our PM for 9 years, and the treatment of Julia Gillard. We were living in Australia when Ms Gillard struck Kevin Rudd from the front, and my daughters were thrilled. My eldest and her best friend went running around the oval at their Adelaide school, shouting with delight, “We’ve got a woman for Prime Minister!”

    I felt much the same way when first Jenny Shipley took power here, rolling the incumbent Prime Minister to become NZ’s first female PM (and she really did knife him in the back, waiting until he was away overseas to launch a party room coup), and then Helen Clark was elected PM some months later.

    Helen Clark faced incredible misogyny. There was some vile stuff in doing the rounds, and an on-going narrative about her marriage, and her friendships with other women. I can’t recall any male PM being subject to anything similar. It was astonishing. And it was incredibly hard to get any mainstream recognition that the treatment handed out to her was misogynist.

    But over this side of the Tasman, our politics is not nearly as, well, shall we say, robust, as Australian politics. It is absurd to think that Gillard has not been subject to an outrageous level of attack for the crime of daring to be a woman in public.

    And yet everytime I have seen an Australian feminist defending her, I have also seen them worrying about her policies, and particularly those that seemed to be anti-women. They have been entirely able to think the complicated thought that feminists have applied to Sarah Palin: we will defend her against attacks which arise because she is a woman, even though we loathe her policies.

    Dr Cat’s challenge to the OP still stands: exactly where are these feminists who support Gillard no matter what, just because she is a woman.

  161. Paul Norton

    Sam @183, I don’t know whether your comment was intended to draw this sort of response from me, but if so it’s succeeded. 🙂

    From what I and Julia’s other contemporaries saw and heard of her in AUS, she did not demur from supporting, or at least going along with, the panoply of same-sex policies that AUS had during her years as Education Vice-President and President. When AUS declared 1983 “International Year of the Lesbian” (as well as Julia’s presidential year) I don’t recall that she squibbed the defence of this policy when questioned on it, nor do I recall others criticising her on this score.

    Of course, the politics and culture of AUS were such that it would have been impolitic for an aspiring president to take an overt stand on traditional family values, and she almost certainly believed that some of the policies in question were “loopy” in terms of what the membership was prepared to wear in those days, but she never showed many overt signs of socially conservative conviction.

  162. Pavlov's Cat

    Julie Collins updates her Facebook page: ‘Today’s reshuffle brings the number of women in the ministry to 10 – a new record and the highest proportion ever at 33 per cent. Proud to be part of a team committed to gender equality.’

  163. grace pettigrew

    For those who need to know.

    Gillard’s huge pearl necklace is not real. The pearls are superb fakes made of glass and pearl lustre. Chinese. Probably cost her a couple of hundred dollars. JBishop and BBishop wear same large glass pearls.

    Their very perfection gives them away. The pearls that is.

  164. Sam

    Paul, that’s all very interesting, but she was in her 20s then and she is in her 50s now. People do get more conservative as they age (not everyone, I know, I know).

    And how much did she just ‘go along’ with the policies, as distinct from really believing them?

  165. mediatracker

    Running through this thread appears to be a firmly held belief that a Prime Minister must govern not only for those who voted for that party but more specifically for some of the views espoused by some of those voters. The notion that a Prime Minister governs for ALL the country and of necessity must make difficult choices doesn’t seem to enter the equation or that there are choices a PM must make which differ from privately held opinions.
    Whether I personally like or dislike a P.M. has nothing to do with why I vote or the way I vote.
    The most dispiriting thing I can draw from this thread is what appears to be the wholesale acceptance of the media view of the PM and that all leaks are apparently “gospel truth” and not devious methods used by plotters within the Government or the vicious-minded in the Opposition.
    Thank goodness for stout hearted people like Pav, Faustus Notes and a few others who can assess the situation without bringing their own baggage into the discussion.

  166. Casey

    I’ve been googling for the appropriate mood music.

    And so, a rousing song to accompany this post, for as Kim has revealed, under Julia Voldemort, we are all Fantine, idiots, let’s open our eyes, and we will see that unfortunately it so happens that Kev was indeed gone when Autumn came. No, do not thank me.

  167. thewetmale

    I could have always posted a pic of her with Kyle Sandilands on the weekend, I suppose.

    Just like The Australian, you mean?

    I’d love to understand how transferring Godwin rights to The Australian makes sense. Consider also this hypothetical:

    I still think Gillard has a chance of winning, we all know that polls narrow close to an election.

    You know who else experienced magical thinking about polling prior to an election?

  168. Sam

    Grace @ 190: if you can tell that the pearls are fakes, then they are not superb fakes, by definition.

    A good (not great) string of real pearls would set her back only a couple of thousand dollars. Julia (no r) can afford it. She’s the PM FFS. What is she doing slumming it with the Bishops?

  169. Sam

    I still think Gillard has a chance of winning, we all know that polls narrow close to an election.

    Just like they did for Kristina Keneally and Anna Bligh.

    Though, to be fair, Gillard does have a chance of winning … her own seat. More than that, not so much.

  170. Pavlov's Cat

    Thewetmale @#194: the point, and I can’t believe I have to spell this out any more than I could believe I needed to spell out the whole pearl thingy, is that sites hostile to Gillard (or anyone else) are prone to cherry-picking graphics that make Gillard (or anyone else) look bad. It’s a cheap trick and a Media Studies 101 point. Children of eight are awake to it in these enlightened times. Kim could just as easily have posted a pic of the PM in companionable conversation with Obama, or laughing herself silly about something. The Australian, as a site long hostile to GIllard, is a persistent offender, and did not fail to plaster the shot of her with Sandilands all over the place today. The occasion was, as I understand it, a children’s charity fundraiser.

    Cherry-picking graphics to sway your audience is a crude (but effective) tactic to which I would not have expected anyone at this site to stoop, although Kim has at least chosen a photo that actually has something to do with the substantive content of her post, which is more than the Oz can usually manage.

  171. patrickg

    The difference between Gillard’s cabinet’s performance and Rudd’s has very little to do with the leader or the cabinet and is not being assessed fairly, because the media are hell-bent on destroying her.

    I agree with you on both counts – but much like Lefty E, it’s kinda academic, whereas Tony Abbott PM definitely won’t be.

    Why can’t Gillard show the same arrogant desire to grab and hold power that Hawke and Keating did?

    I think she can and she is, but like all the arrogant leaders Labor has had over the years, she’s hurting the party doing it, and – more but not wholly – uniquely, there is absolutely no ambiguity about her popularity.

    She started by undoing a mining tax that would have delivered billions of dollars of subsidies to the mining industry this year.

    That was Rudd’s first version, not second. She also re-initiated off-shore protesting, sent Tamils back to Sri Lanka and Afghanis back to Afghanistan to die, immediately pledged to back off a carbon tax, and swore black and blue that there would be no gay marriage. From a purely leftist perspective, the record is mixed, at best.

  172. Liz

    One wonders why Kim didn’t post a photo of Gillard at the apology to relinquishing mothers. May not have suited her argument, I suppose. But, now apparently Gillard must only be seen in the company of appropriate people. A strange role to put the PM in.

  173. Sam

    Fair point PC, but still, Kyle Sandilands …

  174. monkeytypist

    @Pavlov’s Cat

    This wasn’t a matter of “cherry picking graphics”. Gillard or someone in her office thought this photo op was a good way to “connect” with the plebs. Kyle didn’t ambush her. it was a stunt. Something that Gillard ~wanted~ to get media attention. I normally despise Caroline Overington but it’s entirely reasonable to ask why 2GB’a audience share trumps the vileness of its host.

  175. Lefty E

    Anyway, Im looking forward to the new look front bench with upcoming talent like … David Feeney. 🙂

    FWIW, I can understand progressive women wanting to fall behind Gillard, while acknowledging some of her failings. Its a solidarity thing, and hey, she may not be perfect, but she sure aint Abbott.

    OTOH, I can see that sticking the boot into single mums took it all too far for some others.

    I submit that either of these two positions, or indeed both, can be held by feminists.

    I also contend that a thoroughgoing critique of Gillard – who is, in the end, the ALP leader and PM – is not necessarily an attack a coded attack on feminism (though I concede it frequently has been in some quarters).

    My point is pretty simply: I think she been good on some policy fronts, poor on others, excellent on managing the minoroty parliament, and utterly inept at selling the government’s message to the public.

    Im increasngly impressed with the way she projects strength and resolve, and this could yet play ok – but she cant phrase a pitch to punters for quids. Media schmedia – she just cant do it. She needs some tips. She needs to work on it – a lot. Do people around her have influence over this, or does she imagine she’s good at it, and wont bear such criticism?

    These are critical Qs as we head to September.

  176. mindy

    I had to google to find out that the charity Gillard hosted is for terminally ill children. Not unreasonable that the PM give up some of her time to host them. Not that you would know it, given how it has been reported in the media. But of course the fault is the PM’s for allowing Sandilands to come near her, no one wonders what a charity is doing having him there.

  177. Russell

    I heard Gillard’s press conference this morning and she said this Sandilands person was in a rabbit suit. An important point.

  178. monkeytypist

    @Liz hang on aren’t you meant to be arguing that nobody ever defends the PM unfairly? It is not some Tory trick or Murdoch setup. Gillard palled around with Sandilands to win votes.

  179. mediatracker

    To add one small point to my previous post, many of my clients listen to and like Kyle Sandilands – never my choice but there you go. Why should they not have their “pin-up boy” not work with the PM? Are we all supposed to be into censorship now? Grow up you lot.

  180. faustusnotes

    patrickg, the original mining tax would have cost money. It was also retrospective, which is nasty. Gillard backed off of a carbon tax because cap-and-trade is a better way to reduce carbon emissions. It’s not necessarily teh case that every policy decision she made is to the right of Abbott just cause you don’t agree with it.

    I’m also very happy that we are discussing Gillard’s choice of pearls. We never get enough chances to talk about the clothing choices of women in the public eye, and I for one am glad that Link et al have decided to do their part to rebalance that inequality…

  181. Jacques de Molay

    And how much did she just ‘go along’ with the policies, as distinct from really believing them?

    Lindsay Tanner privately described Julia Gillard as a “conservative careerist who could not be trusted”.

  182. thewetmale

    PC @ 197

    I would agree with you that the photo had been selectively chosen if it wasn’t for the fact that that was the one photo from the event that was published on the Prime Minister’s twitter account. You can only blame the media for so long when it’s the government that makes the mistakes in the first place.

    I really struggle to think of a good reason why Julia Gillard would allow herself to be associated with Kyle Sandilands. The only explanation I can think of is if the charity had an ongoing relationship with the Kyle and Jackie O show and the fundraiser could only go ahead with the 2DayFM hype machine in tow. Even then I’d want an Australian Prime Minister to show some leadership around who they consider to be worthy of their respect and attention.

  183. mindy

    Right and if she had said no the media line would have been all about how Gillard refused a charity for terminally ill children and Sandilands would never have been mentioned. She can’t win no matter what she does.

  184. Liz

    It’s interesting to me that people are focussing on David Feeney entering Cabinet, yet resolutely ignoring the promotion of Catherine Bird, Jan McLucas and Catherine King. Women are made invisible again. But, yay for gender equality.

    Congratulations to Andrew Leigh, as well. I wonder why some people here only want to focus on the negative?

  185. Anna Winter

    Mindy, she really could have used a pic with her and some kids looking for Easter Eggs instead of sucking up to Kyle fucking Sandilands. I mean, she’s spent the last year running on an anti-misogynist platform, and without expecting perfection, I do expect some attempt at making the point that Tony Abbott isn’t her only target.

  186. Liz

    Monkey typist, I never argued that no-one ever defended the PM unfairly.

  187. mindy

    Anna I would much have preferred that she steered well clear of the vile man but for some unfathomable reason he is popular with a certain segment of the population and some of them vote too.

  188. leinad

    [email protected]

    Bit of a curate’s egg, no? I’d even say the egg is more than 50% rotten when you consider Farrell and Feeney are powerbrokers being elevated for their support in the recent incivility and nothing else.

  189. Martin B

    Because the issue was entirely hypothetical and no-one had even thought about it for the last 12 months…

    Except nearly half of caucus. Why pretend that isnt real? Polls were consistently terrible. Consequently, many in the ALP never ceased thinking about it. Blogs never stopped talking about it. It wasnt just the media. Thats just wishing away bitter realities.

    Um, check the irony detector. My point was that any ALP MP that needed more than 4 hours to work out where they stood on the issue should get off the pot.

  190. thewetmale

    for some unfathomable reason he is popular with a certain segment of the population

    A) Ray Hadley, Alan Jones, and Tony Abbott are all popular with certain segments of the population.
    B) I don’t know if i’d want to equate high radio ratings with the kind of popularity that a Prime Minister is looking for. Especially given that, when on the judging panels for TV talent shows, he often seems to play the role of the guy-you-love-to-hate. It’s the Kyle and Jackie O show after all.
    C) Even if he was a vote winner, is there no other way the Prime Minister could win the votes that he represents? Perhaps a way that wouldn’t involve losing the votes of some other people?

  191. Helen

    Back in 2010, I wrote this…

    http://www.castironbalcony.com/2010/01/28/education-revolution-a-complete-360/

    At first, I was a fan of Julia Gillard, a funny, combatative ranga who could reduce the baying saurians in the Liberal seats to a humiliated near-silence (assuming they’re capable of understanding and feeling humiliation, that is). She’s fun to listen to in question time, but she broke my heart with the part she played in the 2004 election. OK, so she shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near environmental policy, but surely she’d come good on the social justice issues…?

    OK, now my heart is thoroughly broken and trampled on. I’ve become the voter who cannot love. The infamous My School database/website has been released today…

    So I oppose her on environmental grounds, and agree she’s a rust-belt industrial leftie, and I don’t think she was any good on education either. Hardly a slavish, sheepish inclination to defend.

    WHAT WE ARE SAYING is that given her undeniable flaws, she has been treated differently to a hypothetical male PM with the exact same flaws, policies, outlook, verbal delivery et cetera. And this *has implications* for other girls and women. Kim characterises it as mere personality politics; it’s not. It’s gender power politics. It’s breaking down the exclusion of women from power networks, and noting the way in which those power networks resist and defend themselves from a woman who’s still, in this day and age, an interloper to many people.

    So I can pat my head and rub my tummy at the same time, metaphorically speaking. I can deplore the sexual politics and the PM. In drumming parlance that is called “independence”.

  192. Peter Murphy

    [email protected]: word.

    Mindy: If you’re going to get done, get done doing the right thing rather than the wrong thing.

    As far as I’m concered, Kyle (and Jackie O!) put themself close to crossing the moral event horizon when they forced a 14 year old rape victim to confess on air some years ago. They should not be encouraged.

  193. Martin B

    since there was no poll-based reason

    Well that’s just nonsense, innit? In less than 6 months the government had seen a poll lead 10 points ahead in December go to behind in May.

    Yes, the polls had recovered a few points and the government was leading 52-48 when Rudd was removed. So there’s a credible argument that the poll-based reasons weren’t good enough. But to say they didn’t exist is denial.

  194. Martin B

    if Gillard’s unpopularity is not just about gender, then there will be other causes

    I think I listed about 15 on the other thread, and most of them were aggregations anyway. Does anyone say it’s just about misogyny?

  195. Anna Winter

    Anna I would much have preferred that she steered well clear of the vile man but for some unfathomable reason he is popular with a certain segment of the population and some of them vote too.

    And the ALP’s willingness to sell out its principles so easily is one of the reasons they are in trouble now. A leader who hates misogynists unless they have a good audience share is not much of a leader, sadly.

    I don’t love Gillard and I don’t hate her either. She’s tough and smart and great at consensus. She also has very few Labor principles that she’s willing to sacrifice herself for. The problems with the government are also much bigger than can be pinned solely on her.

    But her choice not only to appear alongside Sandlilands, but to promote and suck up to him on Twitter and on his show is indefensible, and makes one of the few principles that she stood up for, and which gained her support from the electorate, look hollow and self-serving.

  196. Helen

    Jeez. When we spoke out about Kyle and Jackie O back then of course we were hysterical women™ Looking to be Offended™ Professionally Outraged™ and the list goes on. Now that JG has been wedged into a photo opportunity with him (it’s perfectly true that if she’d refused the press would have portrayed her as Heartless to Cancer Kids) we’re not vocal enough. Bugger me.

  197. mindy

    It’s the wrong thing for some, for others it’s a non-event and they don’t know what the issue is. Should Gillard ignore them and go for the ‘people who don’t like Kyle Sandilands’ vote exclusively? If people choose not to vote for her solely because she was seen with Kyle Sandilands then I guess that’s a risk she’s decided to take. Given that he is still on radio and every second freaking TV show then the number of people who won’t vote for her just because of that is likely to be pretty low.

  198. Mark Bahnisch

    How is deciding to give an interview to Sandilands and Jackie O “being wedged”, Helen? I’m curious. It wasn’t just the photo-op.

  199. Martin B

    I want people to focus on the basic fact that Julia Gillard’s Prime Ministership has seen appalling electoral prospects for the Labor Party (and thus a very good chance that Tony Abbott will be PM)

    I’m not sure that anyone is unaware of this fact or treats it lightly.

    policy that most people on the left would regard as reactionary.

    JG has been an intense disappointment, but not the first leader of the ALP to be so described and not the last. I support the ALP over the Liberals nonetheless.

    Hence I am surprised, and saddened, that she is exempted in all practical senses from accountability – both excused for the xenophobia and welfare-bashing

    I disagree that this is happening. JG is being subjected to much deserved criticism.

    Should anyone wish to make an argument that the sanction for such failures must be removal from the leadership, I would say that that is quite different and – on balance – I disagree with that at this time. ,

    her failures attributed solely to “undermining” and “the media”.

    Personally I got up to about 15 factors the other night, some of which were external to JG and the ALP but many of which were internal. Anyone that says that these two are the only factors isn’t credible. Fortunately I haven’t seen much of that here.

  200. Liz

    [email protected] Undoubtedly a curate’s egg.; a delightfully old-fashioned expression. But, I don’t expect purity from a government.

  201. Anna Winter

    She wasn’t wedged into anything. She went on his show, then tweeted about it for a few days, then chose, out of all the people who were at the event, to share a pic of her and Sandilands together. Because he’s popular.

    An issue – misogyny – on which she was gaining support from a large number of voters, and she’s willing to cast it aside for very little gain. When she could have made the point by having him there and deliberately posting photos of herself with other people who aren’t him. I’m not saying she should have refused to let him come to the event. But no one forced her to post the pic on Twitter, and no one would have attacked her if she didn’t.

    But by all means, lump me in with all the people who apparently called you a hysterical woman, because I am clearly one of those people who did that.

  202. Andrew Elder

    Kim, I want to explore your idea of Manichean thinking in your own post.

    First, a disclosure. I am far from convinced that Gillard will lead Labor to defeat on 14 September. I agree with Pavlov’s Cat @ 81 above, particularly her point 3), and with Katz @ 100.

    This country has a female PM and many consider it likely she will be replaced by Abbott, whose front bench contains a number of women (a number higher than the one rationed by John Howard), and who by inference would lead Australian women in such a way that would compound all the bad things about Gillard and make them irretrievably worse. That’s pretty damn manichean in itself: the idea that we are helpless against the replacement of an imperfect government with an inadequate one, and that the feminist credentials of an Abbott government simply aren’t worth considering lest we conclude that the incumbents aren’t so bad by comparison.

    Julia Gillard is Australia’s 27th Prime Minister. All of her 26 predecessors in that office have been accused of being liars, often fairly. So will the next 26, regardless of their party or gender (and in whose number, I repeat, Tony Abbott will not be included).

    It is idle to dismiss Gillard’s achievement in becoming Prime Minister, and holding the office under circumstances that would have broken many others. Considering who might be likely to replace her – within the ALP or without – it is fair to assume that the next Prime Minister will not be a woman (I scorn the very idea that either Bishop could lead the Liberal Party as it is currently configured at all, let alone to an election victory).

    There is not enough information to assert that any serious alternative PM would introduce policies that better served women, particularly disadvantaged women, than the incumbent.

    I accept your point at 119, but it’s a mistake to think Farrell would openly shirtfront the PM by, say, kyboshing stem-cell research.

    Gillard’s time as PM has seen a fracturing of power structures that were quite stable/rigid ten or twenty years ago. The once formidable NSW Right, an organisation where women were few and largely absent from decision-making processes, has become the very sort of rabble that is ripe for replacement. The same is true of the Ferguson Left and every other blokey bloc it seems. This does not mean that the feminist hour is at hand, but it does mean that you can stop claiming that Gillard is some sort of irrelevant frontispiece for a stable/rigid patriarchal structure.

    All of that, however, assumes the very liberalism that so appals Kim. At the risk of doing a Crean, I’d like to smoke out the illiberal alternative and have a look at it, check it out. Down with Big Man/Woman Theory, but who’s going to muck in and get things done? If the current system is so buggered, what then is the order of battle for doing away with it and what would the new order look like once the hurly-burly’s done? If your critique isn’t strong enough to imagine that it probably isn’t strong enough to wish away the status quo – or the virtue (dare I use that word? Bugger it, leave it there, push on) of working within it to do what you can with what’s available. Can a power structure include men without being patriarchal? As Delia Smith cries out at Norwich City matches: Let’s be havin’ yer, then.

  203. Peter Murphy

    Mindy: Let’s look at the figures for Sydney. Kyle and Jackie O do morning radio on 2DAY. The Nielsen figures for that timeslot are 10.3%, a drop of 1.8% from the last survey. There are more listeners on ABC702 and 2GB, and not that much less on something like NOVA. Kyle listeners – all fucking 97,000 of them – are not an essential demographic to court.

    I’m not saying Gillard should go out of her way to disrespect Sandilands. But neither should she encourage the man.

  204. Martin B

    It seems there are some propositions that can be agreed upon.

    A. Julia Gillard receives unfair criticism motivated by misogyny.
    B. Julia Gillard has enacted policies that have hurt and disadvantaged women.

    Is it just a matter of how we weight their relative importance then?
    [snip]
    Is that an uncontentious observation?

    Actually, for me, these two points operate at different levels of the argument.

    The question of the value of ALP policy – and the marginal impact of a particular leader on their development – goes to the question of a leftist (or for that matter other ideological position) critique of a government ie how ‘good’ they are in my perspective. Of course this is not simply tied to electoral behaviour as above: vote for them Saturday, fight them on Monday etc.

    The question of the impact of misogyny for me goes more to the issue of how the government has been assessed in an affective sense by the electorate as a whole, including the key institutions ie how likely the government is to be reelected.

    There’s clearly crossover between these, so it’s not quite so neat and tidy but it’s almost an ought/is distinction.

  205. Helen

    The wedge was that if she hadn’t appeared the story would have appeared as Julia (minus surname) Snubs Cancer Kids.

    Please note that I tweeted Julia directly this afternoon saying it was disastrous to be seen with KS (despite the wedge factor). You can check my twitter stream.

  206. mindy

    Probably not Peter Murphy but are there likely to be 97 000 people who won’t vote Labor now because she was seen with Sandilands?

    @Anna – I haven’t been following this story and I turn off his radio show on principle so I wasn’t aware of the interview and I missed the tweets. It does sully her wonderful speech to be hobnobbing with Vile Kyle.

  207. Helen

    I can only reiterate that I tweeted directly to her this afternoon, that is, hours before you started making it some kind of gotcha thing, to express my disapproval. So to make out that we are giving Sandilands a free pass is disingenuous to say the least.

  208. Anna Winter

    It does sully her wonderful speech to be hobnobbing with Vile Kyle.

    Indeed, it’s bad politics on both levels: in endorsing a vile sexist man, and in undermining one of the few vote-winning things she has going for her.

    This is what frustrates me about Gillard the most. That she, and the current federal caucus as a whole, seem to be really keen on selling out in order to increase their chance of winning, but being really, really lousy at selling out successfully.

  209. Liz

    Kim, people are reading you carefully. They just disagree with you. Part of your patronising tone is your inability to acknowledge that difference of opinion as legitimate.

  210. ood; up here the local

    Kim: very good analysis especially the third last para which sums it up. Pleased you raised the vexed issue as I’m no fan of JG or Hilary or Condoleezza Rice precisely for the same reason which is that power must be used for purposes of aiding the powerless. It doesn’t matter what your reproductive organs are – you either use power for good or not and it sure as shit looks to me as if JG et al are not enrolled with the forces of light. All that JG has proven so far is that women can be as manipulative, power oriented and capable of bending the knee to big money as as men; well, who didn’t know that? Sorry to say it but JG’s PMship is no feminist project; it’s been a dud for working women and men (ie, ordinary taxpayers and working stiffs), reffos, unmarried mothers on pensions and, no the least, the environment in general.

    Bring on Abbott, I say. Let ‘er rip! Better to have a fight with the enemy than Quislings in drag.

  211. patrickg

    This is what frustrates me about Gillard the most. That she, and the current federal caucus as a whole, seem to be really keen on selling out in order to increase their chance of winning, but being really, really lousy at selling out successfully.

    Yeah, that’s exactly how I feel. It’s very frustrating – would be frustrating even if Turnbull was the opposition, is infuriating when it’s Abbott.

  212. Liz

    Of course, I’m criticising your tone. You may notice Pav and Casey are doing the same thing. Ya think there might be a reason for it? I made it quite clear that people understand your argument, they just don’t agree with it. (Not everyone, obviously). So, please stop telling people to read more carefully, open their eyes etc.

  213. Anna Winter

    Bring on Abbott, I say. Let ‘er rip! Better to have a fight with the enemy than Quislings in drag

    Spoken like someone who won’t bear the brunt of the real enemy’s decisions.

    Politics might be an enjoyable sport at times, but wishing for a worse government to make the fight more enjoyable for you is just gross. Ugh.

  214. Russell

    I’m fairly sure that the fact that the PM spoke to Sandilands will not rank in pretty much anyone’s top 50 reasons for not voting ALP in September ….. from a W.A. perspective at least, it won’t concern voters too much. How about in the other states? More important issues?

  215. Anna Winter

    I don’t recall this blog being dedicated to only discussing things that swinging voters care about, Russell. There are very few issues which swing elections all on their own, so we might as well all shut up, I guess?

  216. Pavlov's Cat

    Kim, people have been responding to your arguments all down this long thread. (And here’s another response: When you say

    It would be nice if people read what I wrote carefully, but it appears that this issue is inimical to careful reading and thought?

    you may well be right, but perhaps it applies quite as much to you as it does to the people you are accusing of not being grown-up enough to read or think for ourselves. Some of us, for example, are still waiting to read the names of, and some quotations from, these armies of faux-feminists who think that the Prime Minister can do no wrong, since the existence of said armies is the basic premise from which you are arguing. Several of us have asked you for said examples, so far in vain.

  217. jumpy

    Is it too early to discuss the female representation in a Tony Abbott Government cabinet ?

  218. Liz

    Kim, as I stated way up thread Pav, Helen and Casey pretty much sum up my views and my arguments.

    I also think Andrew Elder is making a pretty interesting argument.

  219. mindy

    Probably best on the Overflow thread Jumpy.

  220. mindy

    Kim have any of those views on FB been replicated here?

  221. mindy

    she must be defended no matter what she does to actual vulnerable women

    I’ve cherrypicked this bit, but I’m just not seeing this happening. There is a lot of defending going on, but also a lot of ‘but I wish she…’

  222. Pavlov's Cat

    Kim, so are you saying that if someone posts on Facebook (as I freely acknowledge I have often done) that they think the media has a lot to answer for, or that they think Kevin Rudd has been less than heroic in all this, then it is somehow incumbent upon them to also say that BTW they deplore some aspect or other of the PM?

    And that if we don’t do that, then it must somehow mean that we are uncritical and mindlessly supportive of her?

    And if you’re not saying that, then in which aspect do I have it wrong?

  223. Casey

    “And while we’re discussing tone – the people you are accusing of not being grown-up enough to read or think for ourselves”. No, I don’t accept I’ve used language which can be equated to accusing people of that.

    You told to me to open my eyes and that I was being wilfully blind. Wilfully. What am I, 12? Do you seriously think that is not being patronising and condescending? I take great offense to being spoken to in those terms. Perhaps you should take time to reflect on that.

  224. Russell

    Anna – just asking for perspective, about what is going to affect the vote in September.

    In W.A., as you probably know, we have been entertained by articles in the newspaper about the bargaining going on in the ALP over Senate pre-selections. A very grubby tale emerges. Which ties in nicely with the pall cast over the ALP everywhere by its NSW branch. I think the Gillard government is going to be punished by voters who want to reject all that. I quite often hear people remark that “they just need to be cleaned out” and Gillard is seen to be part of it. So this is not something they can fight on a policy level. It might help if Gillard were seen to be arguing for reform, but she isn’t.

  225. Liz

    Kim, your words. “Magical thinking”, “please take a step back and think”, “if you opened your eyes the narrative about Julia would start to fracture”, “confront reality”, “wake up people”, “please read, think, reflect”.

    If you don’t think we’re not grown up enough to read and think for ourselves, why do you keep instructioning us to do so?

  226. Lefty E

    My point was that any ALP MP that needed more than 4 hours to work out where they stood on the issue should get off the pot.

    And to reflect on Crean WTF? We mere mortals needed 4 days. As Kim says, no time for deliberation. I dont blame Gillard for adopting the put up or shut up today tactic – but to hope anything gets ‘resolved’ by snap votes like this is another matter. They wont challenge again, but nothings actually been worked through. Pretty stacked backbench. Never good.

    Yes, the polls had recovered a few points and the government was leading 52-48 when Rudd was removed. So there’s a credible argument that the poll-based reasons weren’t good enough. But to say they didn’t exist is denial.

    yes, from stellar to normal. Nothing to see here. Dont forget the dodgy internal polling, and withholding others – evidently none too confident in their case. I think we’re all agreed it wasnt really about polls.

    FWIW, Im not finding anyone condescending here. Heated, yes. But its a big issue.

    Tone can be in the eye of the beholder.

    Yeah, and probably will be for 3 years come September. I pray Andrew E. is right.

    By the way, does anyone else suspect Rudd would again be PM but for Shorten’s post-September LOTO career plan? Its not a bad bet actually: how much Tone can the punters bear?

    Latest Essential: GRNs up 2 to 11%

  227. Liz

    And it would be extremely helpful if you stopped telling people to read and think when they’re already doing so.

  228. Martin B

    Nothing to see here.

    A 12 point turnaround in the polls in 5 months was not “nothing to see here”.

    But yes it wasn’t just about the polls.

  229. Martin B

    As far as substantive matters go, I can only repeat myself from above: making an on-balance judgement that keeping Gillard is the best course at this stage is very different from saying that she has done no wrong and should be immune from criticism. I see little evidence that the latter positions are strongly manifested here, although certainly there are some people in some other places that do so.

  230. Katz

    Martin B @268 is correct in his observation that those who have decided that JG is the most appropriate person to lead The ALP to the next general election is not the same as asserting that she ought to be immune from criticism for her leadership.

    But the more nuanced question is whether she ought to be cut more slack because of her sex.

    That is a normative question. To me the more interesting historical question, raised in the Eva Cox quote in the OP, is whether or not JG has already been cut more slack because of her sex.

    Eva Cox states that JG has been cut more slack because of her sex.

    Is that true?

  231. jane

    She was wearing the most enormous pearls today. What an idiot

    And I bet she was wearing glasses, too. Obviously a moron.

    And then there’s that hair. OMG! Honestly dahling, as if anyone has red hair.

    And don’t forget the size of her bum.

    And you forgot to talk about leadershit.

    As intelligent a critique as you’d get from the Murdoch press any day.

  232. furious balancing

    The changes to the tax free threshold arent really significant because the low income tax offset has been removed. i think its good that the system was simplified, but i dont think it made a significant ‘take home’ difference. However, it was recently announced that child care workers can expect a pay increase soon. In early 2012 community sector workers received a pay increase. The government made changes to superannuation to make the scheme less punitive for low income earners (the changes dont go far enough, but this government under Gillard is the only one to look at some of the problems for the poor of within our compulsory super scheme). All of these things address the economic disadvantage of many low paid workers (the majority of them are women).

  233. Mark Bahnisch

    On the point about electoral realities in the OP, I think John Quiggin is right:

    Discussion over the Labor leadership, and the government in general, is now academic, in the pejorative sense of the term. Barring a shock on a larger scale than that of 2001, Abbott is going to win the election, whenever it is held, and win it easily. Nothing Labor does or doesn’t do can make any real difference now.

    http://johnquiggin.com/2013/03/25/saving-the-senate/

  234. Mark Bahnisch

    Essential today:

    After a week of leadership instability, culminating in Thursday’s leadership farce and the departure of several senior ministers, Labor’s primary vote has fallen two points to 33%. However, the beneficiary is not the Coalition, which stayed level on 47%, but the Greens, whose vote has returned to double figures for the first time in months, rising two points to 11%.

    This may suggest the leadership farce has sent Labor supporters to the Left rather than to the Right, as happened in 2010 when the Greens achieved a record vote off the back of the Rudd-Gillard feud and disenchantment with both major parties.

    Not surprising.

  235. Terry

    NEWSPOLL: ALP 30% LNP50% Greens 10% Others 10% = 58/42 2PP LNP

    MORGAN POLL: 57/43 2PP LNP

    From Morgan: “Most of the drop in support for the ALP was amongst men — the ALP primary vote for men dropped 4.5% to 27% while for women the ALP primary vote dropped by only 0.5% to 34%.”

  236. Aaron

    She hanged out with Kyle “fat slag” Sandilands. I mean, really. Surely, that’s it?! I mean, aside from all the other reasons (of which, there are plenty – foremost taking money off single mothers while she delivers her brilliantly written smoke-screen monologue). How can there ever be a “feminist” discussion around her, ever again? Kyle Sandilands. KYLE. I mean, hello.

  237. Link

    I respect you Kerryn– not very much admittedly, but you are human after all. Fine was correct it was she I was calling a numbskull. (There are worse insults in the world but I should have kept that one under my breath, and I do regret typing it). My apologies for calling you a numbskull Fine. As to how this makes me look Anna? 0 efs given.

    After reading through most of the comments I saw that Kim seemed to be taking a complete caning that seemed quite unfair, (nothing unusual about that I suppose), but I thought I’d offer some appreciation and encouragement to her, especially as I had earlier read and enjoyed this piece. She is one of the better writers I’ve read at LP and clearly puts a lot of time effort into her pieces and I happen to like and probably share many of her views–like this one on Julia Gillard.

    The pearl crack was a crack Kerryn, but you had to take it up as if it was a serious comment and be quite the bitch about it. Fine I have been commenting here on LP for many, many, years under the moniker of Link, so being referred to as ‘some person’ is a tad insulting wouldn’t you agree? But hey.

    I don’t know Kerryn exactly why you have no respect for me I don’t recall ever having done or said anything to you personally. I did send you a funny cat video once I remember that. But not everybody can like everybody, granted and I respect your judgement of me because it would be entirely true to say I find you extremely annoying. Mean huh Helen? Wow. You girls really ought take a look at yourselves.

    Fine you made a wrong assumption and then used it as further reason to continue attacking Kim. Clearly Kim was thanking me for my encouragement, not for my comment. I should have been more specific as to who I was addressing.

    Some things never change.

  238. Mark Bahnisch

    A 50% primary vote for the Coalition is the key news, I think, Terry.

  239. Mark Bahnisch

    I’m not sure we’ve ever seen that high a primary vote.

  240. Mark Bahnisch

    The Piping Shrike tells me on Twitter that Labor was at 51% once in 2008 under Rudd, and the Coalition at 50% just after 9/11 in 2001.

  241. leinad

    But the good news it retains a handy 7 pt lead over NSW Labor on primaries.

  242. Mark Bahnisch

    I doubt that the Labor federal vote in NSW is much higher than the state one, though.

  243. Lefty E

    That’s losing control of the Senate level of bad.

    Couple more of these and it it might get a bit…..drafty in Canberra.

    *ducks*

  244. faustusnotes

    A primary vote of 50% won’t last, especially not with Mr. Rabbit in charge.

  245. Russell

    FN – let’s see what the budget does to it. It’s their last chance.

  246. patrickg

    Lefty – Antony Green has addressed this on his blog. Basically, it doesn’t look good. Worse, it will be Scott Ludlam who goes, one of the most hard-working and knowledgeable senators, imho.

  247. leinad

    [email protected]

    That’s true, 42-58 is not a huge improvement on 37-63.

    disclaimer: leinad is engaging in black humour in this midnight hour and isn’t in anyway suggesting either result would be replicated at a Federal election six months away. But still, farrrrrrrrrk.

  248. faustusnotes

    russell, I am with Andrew Elder on this – I think their last chance is the neat little package called “Tony Abbott.” People are going to be rethinking those poll answers as the election gets closer and they start to think about Mr. Rabbit.

    Just as an aside on this thread, although I disagree vehemently with Kim’s post I can’t quite get the level of nastiness being shown by some here. In particular, Link’s comments are well out of line with reasonable discourse: that’s not debate, it’s working out your personal issues in public. It’s nice that within a week of getting back together LP has managed to stir up a right royal stoush, but I think everyone should ease down a little …

  249. tigtog

    It’s nice that within a week of getting back together LP has managed to stir up a right royal stoush, but I think everyone should ease down a little …

    Yes. It’s taken me ages to read all this thread after my late-night login, and I’m a bit shell-shocked by it all.

  250. Peter Murphy

    Damn. And people don’t like Abbott that much. 42-58 for Turnbull perhaps, but Abbott?

  251. paul burns

    I was just sitting here reading and munching on the popcorn. Then I clicked on the link to Anthony Green. Severely depressing stuff. I just hope Andrew Elder is right about people rejecting Abbott closer to the election.. (Nice post on your blog, Andrew.) Otherwise, whatever the arguments for and against JG, what she and her right wing Labor cronies have done because of their political assassination of Rudd, and what Rudd has done in destabilising his successor verges on the unforgivable.
    Personal lust for ambition delivers Oz its most dangerous RWDB government ever, with control of the Senate. Unbelieveable!

  252. Lefty E

    Depressing, Patrickg. Ludlum is the best of the GRN senators, for my money.

    I think we can take a step back and agree that between them, Rudd and Gillard have royally screwed the pooch of power, with a lot of help from NSW and VIC right.

    Yes, Im sure it’ll come back to 53.5-46.5 on the day, or something equally execrable. Whatevs.

    Im considering a Save the Senate campaign. Take out some insurance, punteros!

  253. faustusnotes

    Another thing that needs to be remembered, is that Australians in general are whingeing conservative middle-class welfare junkies (witness, e.g. 10 years of howard) and will vote for whoever promises them everything will be okay and they can have another private health rebate. It’s entirely possible that this dive in the polls is reflective of a broader movement into self-satisfied molly-coddled petty conservatism, and would have afflicted Rudd too. After all, after the mining tax (if he had passed it and survived the miner’s onslaught) what did Rudd have to offer?

    The ALP is the party of vision; the liberals are the party of selfishness. What is it Keating said about how they know in their black hearts that they have no purpose? What can the ALP offer?

  254. Aaron

    Abbot may not be as popular as he “should” be – but aside from what he “is” being enough to clearly get him over the line, I have to say I feel there is a real disconnect I keep seeing in discussions by politically minded and left-leaning circles. It’s a growing disconnect to public mindset and sentiment that I suspect is simply because the mainstream in this country has continued to lean right. And that while it is logical that this also means the more left “in the know” left circles become forever different to the mainstream, not everyone seems to be really grasping the extent of that difference. Here, we can attack Gilard’s visa rubbish because it is morally reprehensible; but the public don’t mind the IDEA, they just know she is selling it to them like a desperate saleswoman. Tony Abbot, let’s not forget, is the “real deal”. The real right deal. Any logic would suggest the next few months will play out no differently in that way – Rudd or no Rudd, the feud narrative has little involvement with her “Hey everyone, I’m right wing, too!” campaign. The fact remains that Australians will still have a choice between her or (even though he may not be as popular as most winners) him. They will choose him, of course. And the misogyny debate is the biggest irony in all this of all, because it’s one of the biggest reasons why she sank all chances of winning the public over with her right-wing stuff. She tried to please both camps, by pulling the misogyny card (a left position – and one seen, rightly or wrongly, as fairly extreme by most people) to please the left while she… um… told moron mainstream Australia not to worry, because she’d protect them from those nasty migrants?! It’s ridiculous. Of course, the mainstream public won’t swallow it while she’s crying feminism. She’s basically adopted a traditionally masculine Patriarchal stance (the Great White Self-Protecting Hard Assed Male) whilst simultaneously anointing herself as the Quintessential Female Victim. Now don’t jump down my throat there, I’m not projecting that as my own values, I’m talking about Mainstream Australia – the people who, I’m sorry to say, decide elections.

    The Rudd thing made it worse for the public, sure, because she then also gets cast as the Villainous Bitch who f*cks over the Wronged Underdog Hero (as laughable as that may be to see of Rudd!). But take that away, and you’ve still got Juliar. Juliar is very real to most Australians, it doesn’t matter what intellectual know-how we deconstruct it with. She is JULIAR! The woman who cries Right when she needs to, and then cries Misogyny when she needs to. It’s all lies to the Australian people. And… you know… they’re the right. That’s the cruelest irony of all. She actually is Juliar. And she is about to lose. All so bizarre.

  255. Pavlov's Cat

    by pulling the misogyny card

    She did not ‘pull the misogyny card’. Abbott himself in Question Time, immediately before the famous Gillard speech, had used the words ‘misogyny’ and ‘sexism’, going after Gillard for making an ally of Slipper (one of her really terrible mistakes: please note, I am CRITICISING GILLARD HERE), and the PM was quite rightly throwing those words back in Abbott’s face and mocking his hypocrisy in using them. That is the context of that speech. And the phrase ‘pulling the misogyny card’ suggests that it is a trivial issue, which it is not.

  256. Zombia Poh Calypso

    293 comments in 12 hours.

  257. A. Swan

    [Snipped – surreptitiously morphed nyms breach the comments policy. ~ Mod Team]

  258. Helen

    Kim you still haven’t given any real life examples of feminists giving Gillard a free pass to enact policies which hurt women.

    https://www.facebook.com/audreyapple/posts/155502204614872

  259. Paul Norton

    Lefty E @291, the silver lining (of sorts) is that there is evidence that the WA Greens substantially underperformed in the State election and beforehand and so that vote doesn’t represent the upper limit of what a competent and principled Greens Senate election campaign could achieve.

    I’m wondering what graphics could be employed in a Save Our Senate campaign – a once-green landscape eaten away to the bedrock by Mr Rabbits?

  260. Paul Norton

    Marilyn Lake gets into the mix. Guess what she doesn’t mention?

  261. Martin B

    [email protected]:

    I think it would be hard to maintain that criticism of Gillard in the wider community has been reduced because of her gneder. I think rather the opposite.

    Whether leftists have muted (but not silenced) their criticisms is a fair question. It would not surprise me if that were the case in reaction to obvious unfair criticism from elsewhere. Since IMO (as above) this is based on a level confusion it is an analytical error and hence something that could be reasonably discussed. If this were the intent of the post I think it would be less objectionable. Unfortunately it seems to have come across in far more all-or-nothing terms than that.

  262. Casey

    Unfortunately it seems to have come across in far more all-or-nothing terms than that.

    That’s the point. This post is in itself manichean. It’s all or nothing in its implicit demands, yet Kim harangues, yes harangues anyone who tries to point out that it is missing certain essential elements to make it a more balanced piece. It posits that feminists (who?) have given Gillard a free pass (when?). These feminists have been making comments on Facebook, we are told. The comments cannot be quoted because its a “public/private space” (why I used this term for Facebook in conversation with a friend just the other day, it’s uncanny). So we go no where.

    At least on this thread, no one disputes the mistakes made by the Gillard government. What do you want, Kim? Every feminist on this thread agrees with you that Gillard is a socially conservative prime minister who has aggrieved her supporters with her policy decisions. Now, what next? Oh yes, you want to blame her for the Abbott ascendency. These polls, they prove your point? This is a grudge piece, Kim, there is nothing more to it. Those poll results only reveal that the Rudd destabilisation campaign worked a treat. .

  263. Pavlov's Cat

    [Editorial note: between writing this comment and posting it, I have read Casey’s post above, which makes the main point that follows far more succinctly and directly than I. Shorter Pav: what do you want, Kim?]

    I am just extremely frustrated at the way this debate has been conducted.

    I am really really sorry, but I don’t understand why. With some exceptions, most of those disagreeing with you (and there are many who don’t) have mostly been both fairly polite and pretty reasonable. I have tried at #81 to answer your main question in good faith and you have acknowledged my answer but then dismissed it in one line; I am glad that Andrew Elder, at least, seems to have read it and thought about it. Your claim that most of my reasons for supporting Gillard are ‘about her personal qualities’ and that may be so, but what I thought I was doing was articulating the ways in which personal qualities cannot be disentangled from political practice, not with Gillard or with any other politician who has ever been born or thought of.

    I do take your point about the structural issues. I think they are endemic to the Labor Party; I also believe that the hour of Labor as we know it has passed, and that the hour of Labor as we post-60s lefties thought we knew it has never existed. It is based on 19th century ideas and societal structures that no longer exist; it has always been a fundamentally patriarchal and masculinist institution; and it will not change without massive inner upheaval that may well destroy it. (Have you read The Strange Death of Liberal England? Feminism was implicated there, too. Perhaps it has a lesson for us and we should all go and read it again.)

    I don’t think Gillard fully understands this, or if she does she is being extremely canny about it. (I worried about the way her voice cracked yesterday as she declared her love for the party; that kind of tribalism can do nothing but harm, even if only by exposing a weakness.) One person who I think does understand it, and has chosen to work from within it anyway for pragmatic reasons, is Penny Wong.

    Other people have addressed the other things in your post. The impression your post and comments give, at least to me, is that you would find ‘extremely frustrating’ anything short of total renunciation and denunciation of the Prime Minister and all her works. Tell me if I’m wrong, and, if so, what it is that you do want from the debate.

  264. Casey

    Before last Thursday, I was quite neutral on the matter of Gillard. I thought she was deeply socially conservative and that frustrated me. I also could clearly see her strengths. As for Kevin Rudd, I thought his flaws were huge but acknowledged, from a pragmatic point of view, that he would be the far better choice to present to the electorate on election day. Since then, the leadership spill happened and things got divisive. People started speaking in these sorts of manichean terms, driven no doubt, but their deep disappointment that Rudd just didn’t have the nerve to finish what he started. But all these posts which lament about how liberal feminists are doin it rong only radicalise the people that are getting preached to. These posts only drive people into defensive mode, because they are, in themselves, defensive and unbalanced.

  265. Katz

    Martin B @302.

    It is true that political figures often suffer criticism directed at what is perceived by members of the wider community to be their identifiable characteristics. Femaleness is, regrettably, an identifiable characteristic in the popular mind in ways that maleness isn’t.

    The possibility that ALP political insiders have cut JG some slack because of her sex is an interesting one because it raises the question of how far a party ought to go to advocate certain attitudes and values at the expense of prospects of electoral success. I admit to being loath to pandering to popular prejudice. But waddayagunnado?

    Moreover, Eva Cox’s comment implies that the sex card was a powerful one in JG’s struggle with KR.

  266. grace pettigrew

    [email protected]: “At least on this thread, no one disputes the mistakes made by the Gillard government.”

    Can someone please itemise them? I get the single mother issue, but is this the same as the “Australia Day riots”? Was Gillard personally responsible for the mining tax, or did cabinet colleagues like Marn Fern persuade her to go easy.

    And what particular “mistakes” are sheeted back to Gillard’s personal “wrong” preferences, and to those of her cabinet, or the caucus, where she is just the front person for their factional preferences (like gay marriage, for example).

    It is in the nature of politic commentary to make any PM the sole source of all mistakes, and all successes, but sometimes it just looks lazy and shallow, particularly in discounting the malign circle-jerk of weekly opinion polling and a hostile press gallery, the daily horse-trading required with minority government, and a chronically disloyal section of the caucus (now put to the sword).

    Another reading might suggest that her “mistakes” have been no more or less than any other recent PM, and that in the circumstances, she is a superb political player and has been highly successful in “getting on with the job”.

    With six months to go, Gillard can still win the election, if her government can deliver on Gonski and the rest in the budget. Google is your friend if you want to see how previous PMs managed to win with poor polling this far out.

    Like Andrew Elder, I’m looking forward to a second term for our first female PM…

  267. Casey

    Can someone please itemise them?

    For me, her Government’s shift to the right of Howard regarding refugees is shocking. Her government’s failure (like Rudd’s) to dismantle the Intervention is wrong. And, as you say, the single mother’s pension changes. Her 457 Visa stance is dangerous, playing into the hands of xenophobes. These are the things that bother me. Doesn’t change the good stuff – see Marilyn Lake’s article which provides the sorely needed balance in a piece which seems intent to cast her as the Mistress of the Dark Armies of the Patriarchy.

  268. akn

    Anna Winter @ 244: I fully expect to bear significant brunt of an Abbott government due to material insecurity, age, living in the bush etc; I also fully expect that the environment generally will be worse served by the Libs who always exhibit more of a ‘let ‘er rip’ mentality than the ALP.

    What is at stake here goes beyond mere electoral cycles and goes to the absolute irrelevance of the industrial age philosophy of the ALP. It is a dinosaur whose irrelevance derives from a widely unacknowledged historical shift in which the Australian working classes have been offshored; the ALP is floundering because the working classes, as they once existed in Australia, are no longer. The historic mission of the ALP, to represent the working classes, has fallen into abeyance because the working classes, under the powerful ideological and material sway of neo-liberalism, don’t give a stuff anymore and are alright, Jack.

    Abbott, a genuine reactionary, may create the cultural climate for broad front alliances from which the ALP could benefit if only it wanted to liberalise itself. On which point Rudd’s essay on neo-liberalism would be a good starting point.

  269. Chris

    Grace – to Caseys list I would add breaking her agreement with Wilkie over pokies. Not only did it result in an independent coming out publicly basically reinforcing the liar line for the LNP but it threw away the opportunity for reform that can only happen during a minority government, now lost for th forseable future. No majority liberal or ALP government is willing to tackle it.

    Also, has Howard found mid way through is reign, “superb political player” can also result in a public perception of mean and tricky. It hasnt quite gone that way for Gillard but the Slipper/Wilkie deal has ended up being a big public negative even though at the time it looked like a very clever political strategy

  270. mindy

    I would add continuing with the ‘Intervention’ to the list of negatives.

  271. Peter Murphy

    John Birmingham:

    It could have been worse. Julia Gillard could have invited Hitler around to her place for an Easter Egg Hunt. Hitler dressed as the Easter Bunny.

  272. paul burns

    GODWINED !!!! It had to happen sooner or later, even if it is only a quote. 🙂

  273. Martin B

    Political: Accepting use of term Carbon Tax; Slipper deal; Gambling reform reversal; Promise of surplus; Announcing East Timor proposal without properly negotiating; Failing to get credit for economic performance, maternity leave scheme

    Policy: Offshore processing; Intervention; Mining Tax design; Single parent changes and other welfare tightening

    I do take the point that just as all of the positive achievements of the government can’t be attributed to Gillard nor can all of the negatives, but there you go.

  274. Martin B

    I believe that there is a technical dispute as to whether a deliberate Godwin counts, or only if it comes off below the knee.

  275. paul burns

    No worries, Martin B. 🙂
    I just couldn’t resist.

  276. Pavlov's Cat

    Godwin’s Law: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.”

    So at 300+ comments it was inevitable — although, as Martin B observes, there may be some technical difficulty about the fact that it is a quotation and not, as it were, a Godwin in the wild. A domesticated Godwin, if you will.

  277. Katz

    The Easter Bunny suit has to be acknowledged a mitigating factor.

  278. Mark Bahnisch

    Now, what next? Oh yes, you want to blame her for the Abbott ascendency. These polls, they prove your point? This is a grudge piece, Kim, there is nothing more to it. Those poll results only reveal that the Rudd destabilisation campaign worked a treat.

    Casey, that, surely is the point.

    Julia Gillard and her supporters have consistently sought to minimise her responsibility. “Clear air”, and “an end to destabilisation” were all that was needed for her to succeed. Well, those conditions are met. Yet the continued steep decline of the Labor Party in public esteem and in electoral terms will, it would seem, continue to be blamed on the “Rudd Camp”.

    Can you see how that might frustrate people? Simon Crean was right in one thing – Julia Gillard needs to accept her own share of responsibility for what has gone wrong. And, in terms of the debate about what she may and may not have influenced, it remains true that as PM the final responsibility is hers, and must be assumed.

    And, yes, my main concern is that it is absolutely the ruin of the ALP under her leadership which will lead to the election of a deeply unpopular Opposition Leader whose reign will be thoroughly destructive.

    There isn’t any “unity behind the leader” – this thread, and others elsewhere, demonstrates that. There continues to be division in the absence of any challenger. Surely, therefore, there is some force to the charge of ‘magical thinking’.

  279. Martin B

    I think it is more than reasonable to suggest that the latest poll reflects a great deal of dissatisfaction with the events of last week and whether one chooses to blame those events on Gillard, Rudd, Crean, Murdoch or all of the above it might be prudent to wait for a few weeks before assessing the longer term influence on the polls.

    I don’t think it can be demonstrated any more clearly than in the last few posts that there are plenty of people here who are quite comfortable in criticizing Gillard yet can still make an on-balance judgement that replacing her now would be foolish. That’s not magical thinking, it’s standard political calculus.

    How these things are played out internally to the PLP I have no idea but I don’t see any reason to suspect that it’s other than politics as usual there either. Perhaps there’s an element of magical thinking inherent in the practice.

    Certainly I see it as much as anywhere in the seeming insistence that it is Gillard and Gillard alone who is causing the likelihood of Abbott PM.

  280. monkeytypist

    @307. Grace Pettigrew

    In addition to everything that has been stated already, to my mind one of the worst things was when Gillard and Swan convinced Rudd that the most sensible course of action was to dump the ETS rather than call a double dissolution on it.

    That effectively began Rudd’s fall in popularity; Gillard and Swan then capitalised on that fall, and caucus resentment of the “Gang of Four” of which they comprised 50%, to knife Rudd, institute an utterly atrocious climate “policy” in the 2010 election which they promptly dumped not because it was a bad policy but because the Greens demanded that they did, and in the process gave Tony Abbott his single strongest and most lasting issue.

    So yeah, I think this whole sequence of events is IMO a pretty terrible mistake.

  281. Peter Murphy

    It might be prudent to wait for a few weeks before assessing the longer term influence on the polls.

    Excellent advice, Martin B. But would a month be long enough? Six weeks? After the budget? This is one of those cases where “drawing a line in the sand” is a very good idea.

  282. faustusnotes

    Martin B @314: wasn’t the offshoring somewhat forced on her by the refusal of the Greens and the libs to negotiate? I put up a link above arguing that the current mining tax is better than Rudd’s little resources zaibatsu.

    I agree about carbon tax but I don’t think the Slipper deal counts as a fail – in fact it could be a very useful back pocket rhetorical card if the court challenge falls through before hte election – she can have an inquiry into what Abbot knew!

  283. Mark Bahnisch

    Martin, it’s difficult to see how Abbott survives as Opposition Leader. That requires explanation. I don’t have the figures to hand, but I believe that there’s no other instance of a leader with such negative polls surviving.

    I actually think we need to look much deeper for explanations. I think the personality conflicts mask real structural reasons for Labor’s collapse in government.

  284. Martin B

    Peter: I think 4-6 weeks is the time you would expect transient events to wash out of the polls. Certainly that would seem borne out by the polls in late 2001.

    Faustus: I wish I shared your optimism. My judgement is that using the Speakership as a bargaining chip in a pragmatic political exercise with a known grub like Slipper was a tactical error. As ever in this thread Iconcede my judgement is not infallible and that others may reach different judgements. 😉

  285. Mark Bahnisch

    It’s hard to disagree with your judgement on that one, Martin!

    A temporary tactical advantage reinforcing strategic disarray. There’s been too much of that.

  286. faustusnotes

    I don’t think you should read strategic disarray into specific decisions made tactically in response to minority government. Nobody has experience in minority government, so it’s easy to see why such decisions would be made regardless of the strategic vision – mistakes abound when politicians are in a new political environment.

  287. Katz

    The coming budget will be a shocker. The Gillard government has to find a way to fill the black hole left by the failure of the mining tax.

    Crean hinted this morning that Swan has superannuation in his sights. A tax on contributions, the lump sum, or withdrawals immediately make resentful voters.

    The alternatives are playing with GST and/or marginal income tax rates.

    These aren’t friendly ads for a government touting for votes.

  288. Golly Gosh

    Mindy:

    “Wow there is some great magical thinking going on in comments too. The leaks against Gillard weren’t damaging, the constant leadership speculation hasn’t been damaging, people just don’t like Gillard because …”

    Gillard had a high approval rating b4 she was PM. Raising the spectre of misogyny is in this case misplaced.

  289. adrian

    The budget problems are of course compounded by yet another politically inept masterstroke – promising a budget surplus for so long for no apparent reason.

    Progressive voters have every right to be totally pissed of with the Labor Party in general, and Julia Gillard in particular. Their collective incompetence and venality will deliver an Abbott government, and likely control of the Senate.

  290. Peter Murphy

    Four to six weeks is good enough for me, Martin B. Now what would be the poll results (and I cannot think of a better metric than amalgating them) that would justify the ALP doing their best Brutus and Cassius act?

    The magic number is 57.1428571429%. That’s the percentage that the LNP have to achieve in a state to get four quotas full of senators.

  291. monkeytypist

    Yes, adrian, yes. Deliberate decisions (‘well outflank them on refugees to the right! We’ll deliver a budget surplus!’) made by well-meaning ALP figures that are on any objective measure are a dumb idea have lead to this crisis, not just vague ‘circumstances’. And the problem is bigger than just Gillard, although she is culpable.

  292. Lefty E

    We’ll see the worst of this wash out in a month or two. But barring an Abbott implosion (which cant be ruled out, the 1 in 10 shot) there’s virtually no chance of coming back to victory from here.

    Effort would therefore be well expended on Saving Our Senate. As Quiggan explains, this means no funny buggers between the ALP and GRN on senate prefs.

    None – anywhere!

  293. Lefty E

    I go back to my question above, which I dont pose to give anyone the shits, I would really like to know if anyone is aware of the answer:

    Im increasngly impressed with the way she projects strength and resolve, and this could yet play ok – but she cant phrase a pitch to punters for quids. Media schmedia – she just cant do it. She needs some tips. She needs to work on it – a lot. Do people around her have influence over this, or does she imagine she’s good at it, and wont bear such criticism?

  294. Mark Bahnisch

    I’m still not convinced the show won’t fall in a heap during the Budget session. I don’t know that the government will survive until September.

  295. Mark Bahnisch

    Im increasngly impressed with the way she projects strength and resolve, and this could yet play ok – but she cant phrase a pitch to punters for quids. Media schmedia – she just cant do it. She needs some tips. She needs to work on it – a lot. Do people around her have influence over this, or does she imagine she’s good at it, and wont bear such criticism?

    Think Paul Keating. When all else fails, you have to resort to ‘Leadership’. It’s a last gasp strategy – the last positive shot in the locker before a party goes negative on the opposition. The latter didn’t work in 96 federally, or in the NSW and Qld state elections more recently. I think Labor will do very well if there are 30 MPs left after the election.

  296. Katz

    What may be the trigger for an early election, Mark?

  297. Peter Murphy

    I don’t know the answer, Lefty E, but it’s an excellent question.

  298. Mark Bahnisch

    Keating also had the advantage that he had a relatively coherent narrative to tell. Of course, it was one that reinforced his negatives in the eyes of the electorate – Indigenous reconciliation, arts, opening to Asia, etc. I don’t think contemporary Labor has anything other than wild gyrations. The criticism from Julie Bishop, for instance, that the “Save Aussie Jobs” posture is at striking odds with the Asian engagement is correct. There seems to be a slide back to the awful “Western Sydney” strategy as soon as there’s any actual policy that might be inspiring released. I think they’re thrashing around, and it’s probably driven by “sand bagging”. There can’t be anyone in the Government who actually thinks they can win, because the political strategy is clearly driven by avoidance of a smashing defeat.

    From my perspective, having had some involvement in the 2012 Labor campaign in Queensland, I’ve seen all this before. At this stage, it would be wiser to turn attention to ensuring that a reasonable position is maintained in the Senate and that there is some talent left standing in the House, and to working out what the ALP might stand for in opposition.

  299. mindy

    Gillard had a high approval rating b4 she was PM. Raising the spectre of misogyny is in this case misplaced.

    @Golly Gosh – I say that this is because she has stepped out of her ‘allowed’ role as loyal deputy ala Julie Bishop and into the PM role. So the spectre of misogyny is not at all misplaced. People think she got too big for her boots. The constant barrage of sexist hate she has put up with “Ditch the Witch”, “Bob Brown’s Bitch” etc supports that.

  300. Mark Bahnisch

    Katz, are they going to be able to assemble sufficient numbers for all the budget measures, particularly if there’s incoherence in the fiscal strategy? It would also make sense, in some ways, for Oakeshott and Windsor to peel off. They’ve lost Willkie, probably Katter. Who knows what Slipper and Thomson might do? I also imagine that there may be another leadership putsch on. Almost half of caucus were prepared to vote for Rudd. Simon Crean has obviously destroyed himself as a “safe pair of hands”. Shorten won’t take it. Stephen Smith might. Who knows? It is just untrue to say that Julia Gillard has real support in caucus sufficient to survive. Really, it’s whether people decide to go down with the ship or not.

  301. Katz

    ALP senators may also want an early election.

    The question is how proponents of an early election may engineer one without looking like they engineered it.

  302. Lefty E

    [At this stage, it would be wiser to turn attention to ensuring that a reasonable position is maintained in the Senate and that there is some talent left standing in the House, and to working out what the ALP might stand for in opposition.]

    Tend to agree Mark. Obviously, trying to plug a hole in the 2PP boat *is* itself a Senate strategy, but any hack coming up with a ‘clever’ senate deal with some right-wing fringe group wants sacking forthwith.

    ALP -> GRN
    GRN-> ALP

    No exceptions. Aside from that, I think this maybe one of the rare elections where its worth encouraging people to take out insurance in the Senate against an Abbott double majority. Go out there and say it.

    Maybe its too defeatist for a major party to say this, but a Getup style public campaign could do it.

  303. Mark Bahnisch

    Well, Lefty E, again, in the Queensland campaign the last week was “don’t give them too big a majority”. It’s been tried before. I don’t think it ever works. So, yes, I think a campaign to deny Abbott control of the Senate would be more plausible and have a better chance of success run from outside the ALP.

    The Greens need to get their rhetoric sorted, too. Their stance at the moment with regard to the government and Gillard is pretty confused.

  304. Golly Gosh

    I suspect many of the same men (and women) who held “ditch the witch” signs re Gillard were among the two million Australians who voted for Pauline Hanson.

    Feminists play the misogyny card the way Marxists play the capitalism card. I’m sorry but everything in the universe is not reducible to one sinister elixir of embodied evil. Crikey, talk about essentialism.

    Gillard, as I recall, had one of the highest approval ratings of any politician b4 the leadership coup. Gillard was elected leader by the (mostly male) caucus in a virtually unprecedented coup against a first team leader. Misogyny is real and often a powerful force, but it is not the major reason why Gillard and her Government’s current unpopularity.

  305. Lefty E

    Agree Mark – no chance of that working in the lower house, and it cant be run by the ALP.

    I’d definitely get involved. The GRNs can suggest such things, but it would be preferable coming from a movement.

    I must confess I havent been following the GRNs that closely of late, for obvs reasons: whats the issue? Last I heard they had formally parted ways, which I tend to think is a good idea for the election, for both.
    Do you mean the media reform package?

  306. patriciawa

    As Casey observes above, two negatives ‘don’t change the good stuff’ among which I list in a quote below from http://vote4julia2013.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/getting-over-the-shock/

    National Broadband Network (NBN)
    National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
    Education funding review (Gonski)
    Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT)
    Clean Energy Future (CEF)
    Murray Darling Basin Plan (MDBP)

    The second list I’ll call ‘Social & Economic Achievements’ …it is a useful list to remind voters of what has already been achieved by this Govt …I’ve split them into sub categories:

    Economy:

    Lowest debt in OECD
    Low unemployment
    Increased productivity
    Wealthiest country per capita in the world
    Housing market coming back
    Share market back to levels pre-GFC
    Amongst the world leaders in low sovereign risk
    21 years of sustained national growth
    11 successive years of wages growth greater than inflation
    13% national growth since the GFC
    3 AAA credit ratings for the first time.
    Lower tax to GDP than Howard
    Record investment
    Record terms of trade
    Record Infrastructure spend
    over 900,000 jobs created
    Support for Manufacturing

    Employment:

    Paid parental leave
    Flexible Child Care
    FWA
    Equal pay

    Personal Finances:

    Record increase to Pensions
    Tax-free threshold up from $6,000 to $18,200 and going to $24,000
    Superannuation to 12%
    Lower interest rates saving the average household 5k p/yr

    Health & Ageing:

    Plain (Cigarette) Packaging
    50% more on Health
    More doctors, more surgeons, more nurses and more beds
    Better Aged Care
    Better Mental Health

    Education:

    School kids bonus
    Record spending on Education
    My School
    National curriculum

    Environment:

    $10b Green Energy fund
    World’s largest marine parks
    First Murray Darling water plan in a hundred years
    CSG environmental protection

    Miscellaneous:

    National Sorry Day
    National Apology to The Stolen Generations
    National Apology for Forced Adoptions
    Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse
    Seat at the UN
    400+ Bills passed

  307. Mark Bahnisch

    Lefty E, they’re running a strange line at the moment to justify continued support of the government – it’s conditional on “progressive reforms” which are an increase in the dole, a national network of marine parks and something else (I forget). Milne has also come out strongly in support of Gillard personally, which is electorally not all that useful – given that disillusioned Labor voters moving to the Greens are probably not Gillardites. I think a lot of it has to do with preserving Bandt’s position. They certainly won’t get the “progressive reforms” they are pushing for in the Budget, so I wonder whether or not there’s some cover being established for withdrawing confidence.

    Anyway, I gotta go, but you could check out Milne’s recent press statements.

  308. mindy

    @Golly Gosh – misogyny is not a ‘card’ it’s a real thing. Obviously you read different media to me.

  309. Lefty E

    Thanks Mark, I’d be most surprised to see the GRNs withdraw support, precisely because it would doom Bandt. Sounds to me like cover for maintaining confidence beyond the agreement.

    Mind you, Banst’s only real chance will be the ALP coming 3rd in Melbourne this time. Which frankly, one cant rule out, though it isnt likely.

  310. Liz

    “It is just untrue to say that Julia Gillard has real support sufficient in Caucus to survive”. Really, Mark? And yet she survived just last week when you were convinced Rudd had the numbers.

    Yes, the current Newspoll is shocking. But, is that any surprise given the non-spill last week? It’s dipped down hugely from the previous one in which Labor’s figures were improving.

    Destabilise, destabilise. Then when you’ve done your worst, claim that Gillard must go. That’s been the tactic of the Rudd faction. And never, ever give her credit for any positives. I’m so over it, as are many other people.

  311. FDB

    Kim:

    I am just extremely frustrated at the way this debate has been conducted.

    Hate to say I told you so. So I won’t.

    Look, I’ve read things on FB and Twitter and IRL that bear out what you’re saying. Not just Dr Cat’s “failure to denounce” stuff, but an apparently genuine inability to see (or more charitably, unwillingness to discuss) flaws. None so blind, yada yada…

    But is here the right place to take those people to task? For instance, I do it directly to those people, in the process risking my own feminist credentials, shaky as they are.

    Shorter me: no doubt some Gillardistas see it as their duty not to criticise her, but to be honest I don’t see many around these parts. If your call is for us to try elsewhere to engage such people’s critical faculties when we see them lapse, I’m way ahead of you.

  312. Mark Bahnisch

    I’m sorry, Liz, are you referring to me? That’s quite bizarre. I’m not “destabilising”, I’m commenting on my reading of the political situation. I can see the sense of the OP – are you saying I am somehow showing disloyalty or something? I’m not “the Rudd faction”. I’m blogging.

    What is the implication of your comment? I can’t say what I want to say lest it be “destabilising”? Kim obviously picked up on something, then, would you not agree?

  313. Mark Bahnisch
  314. Pavlov's Cat

    Lefty E @ #334– I’m sure I responded to this question at some length on another thread a few days ago, to the effect that you can’t get your message out if no journalist will report it or even ask you questions about it because they all just keep on yapping about the leadershit.

  315. Pavlov's Cat

    Oh I see, LE, sorry — if you think ‘media schmedia’ then I guess that tidies that up.

  316. Chris

    Patriciawa – NDIS and Gonski are great in theory but they haven’t actually found real funding for them. And the MDBP is woefully inadequate – they gave in to a lobby group that is not going to vote for them anyway! And now state governments even ALP run ones are with withdrawing money from the Murray basin authority so they can’t do the work they need to.

    I agree with the tax free threshold but the stock ALP line of saying they increased it from 6000 to 18000 just reinforces their image of lying because with they also reduced the LITO at the same time so it has in effect only increased from 16000 to 18000. It’s a good improvement, just not what they advertise.

    The plain packet legislation I think is one of the outstanding achievements of the Gillard government and I was rather sad to see Roxon to go, even though I disagreed with her approach on other matters such as Assange.

    Things like the school kids bonus I see as overall bad policy because the means test threshold is so high. They’re basically vote buying policies Howard style and the money would be much better spent direct on school funding or at least much narrowly targeted.

    And a lot of other achievements they’ve been having trouble selling because they happened under Rudd. And they have truly toasted him now.

    I liked the ALP policies much better when they were in opposition. Perhaps when they’re back in opposition again they’ll find the courage to oppose things like offshore processing rather than facilitating them.

  317. mindy

    Anyway, since we seemed to have argued ourselves to a standstill without actually moving from our original positions, can someone please advise the best way to ensure that the Libs don’t get a majority in the Senate?

    Is voting Green 1 Labor 2 going to cut it? 1 Green above the line, 1 Labor above the line?

    Glad to hear you are not the Rudd faction all by yourself Mark, otherwise I would have been very upset with you and all that destabilising 😉 One thing I do have to admit is that Gillard is quite capable of shooting herself in the foot without anyone’s help. 🙁

  318. Lefty E

    I do think “media schmedia” Pav, when Im staring straight at the PM giving an presser or interview, at that moment unmediated by the press , and feeling a nation switch off to the mechanical unvarying didactic mode of delivery.

    Or leaving it to her Ministers to sell critical reforms like media reform, with no pitch at all to voters about why they need it. None!

    Saying nothing, pretty much ever, that captures that delicate balance in political communication between simplifying an issue in a catchy way, and making the audience feel flattered by the assumption that they are smart enough to understand complex issues (think Bill Clinton).

    In short, yes, media interference and leadershit are real enough, and I read your response and largely agreed with it, but that does not mean she’s a good political communicator. Its not evidence to the point.

    She can be though (mysogyny speech) but almost never it as a doorstop. Im asking why, and Im asking whether she is open to feedback from her staff, open to improvement, or rejects the criticism. Because I wouldnt see that as a positive.

    Good ones go over the top of the media. Can be interfered with, sure, but cant be stopped.

  319. David Irving (no relation)

    Apropos leadershit, Dr Cat, Our Fran had some minor politician on RN Breakfast the other morning. (Well, maybe not minor, but I’d never heard of him.)

    After about three questions (which she almost let him answer) about whatever it was he came on to discuss (I remember it was important but cna’t remember what it was, for reasons which will become obvious), it was straight into the leadershit. He tried valiantly to get Kelly back on topic, but her response was, essentially, “Yeah, yeah, I’ve already asked you questions about that. Now, what about the leadershit?”

    My neighbours probably wonder why I spend so much time shouting at the radio …

  320. Chris

    Mindy @ 358 – as mentioned previously I think it’s really up to the ALP machinery. Convince them not to do any stupid preference deals to try to get ahead of the Greens. I suspect that not enough people vote below the line for an appeal on those lines to make much difference.

    Though as I’ve said before I think a senate where some right wing crazies have BOP would be worse than Abbot having control of both houses. With the former he’ll get pulled into policies that he normally wouldn’t dare to do.

  321. Mark Bahnisch

    “It is just untrue to say that Julia Gillard has real support sufficient in Caucus to survive”. Really, Mark? And yet she survived just last week when you were convinced Rudd had the numbers.

    Yes, the current Newspoll is shocking. But, is that any surprise given the non-spill last week? It’s dipped down hugely from the previous one in which Labor’s figures were improving.

    Destabilise, destabilise. Then when you’ve done your worst, claim that Gillard must go. That’s been the tactic of the Rudd faction. And never, ever give her credit for any positives. I’m so over it, as are many other people.

    @351, Liz –

    (a) I thought last week it was likely that Rudd did have the numbers. I suspect that had he run, he would either have just fallen short or just over the line. Certainly, Simon Crean’s expectation was that he could deliver votes, which turned out not to be the case. I don’t know why it’s a sin or a crime for me to give my reading of the political situation. At that time, I was still hearing from Gillard supporters that the whole thing was a figment of the media’s imagination, which is clearly wrong, and which was wrong at the time.

    (b) I don’t care much about Julia Gillard’s survival one way or the other. What motivates me is maximising the chance for good policy on one hand, and Labor’s electoral success on the other. That’s what motivates me. I’m not in “the Rudd Camp” or “the Rudd faction”.

    (c) Everything you are saying really does go to proving Kim’s point. It’s been stated – accurately – on this thread that there’s been a turnaround for the worse in Labor’s polling this year. That’s true. It cannot all be about “the media” or “undermining”. To say that is just to put your head in the sand, and to precisely do what Kim is rightly saying some do – ie ascribe all defects of Julia Gillard’s political leadership to some factor other than her own skills, capacity and approach as a politician.

    (d) You need to clarify whether you are really saying that no one should criticise JG now lest it be construed as “undermining”, because that is what Kim critiques in the OP. Yet you say the critique is somehow unfair. I am unable to agree with you on that, because it does not cohere with the reality of your own response.

  322. Brian

    Like tigtog @ 288, I was a bit shell-shocked by the thread.

    Kim, I don’t do twitter, but hear the results all the time quoted on radio and scrolling across the screen on Q & A and such. In terms of Facebook, I’ve never posted anything on my page, never even completed the profile, but follow a few close rellies who have been kind enough to let me in.

    I loathe trading one-liners masquerading as conversation. Much of what they say is prejudiced, superficial and/or just plain wrong. Facebook doesn’t go all that much further. I’m not writing off their usefulness, but neither are deliberative mediums and I’m not sure what conclusions can be drawn from the communication that takes place there. I appreciated your insights about the structural paternalism in the ALP, the need for party reform and the unlikelihood that Gillard will take any interest in change for the better.

    But I don’t think now is the time to right off the election. If there is a 1 in 10 chance of pulling it off we need to try IMHO, such are the implications of a LNP victory.

  323. Mark Bahnisch

    I am also convinced that had there been a credible candidate who wasn’t Rudd she would have been gone last week. Everyone knows that many members of caucus are unwilling to return to Kevin. Everyone can also see that her leadership is terminal in an electoral sense. These are just facts. No party with such poor polls has ever gone on to win. The position for Labor is disastrous.

  324. Paul Norton

    I agree with the Lefty E/Mark convergence on Save the Senate.

    Assuming that the Liberals will preference Labor in Melbourne, I can still see scenarios in which Bandt retains Melbourne, but unfortunately I can’t see how such scenarios won’t also entail a massive Coalition majority nationally and a right-wing Senate majority.

  325. Mark Bahnisch

    @350 – Lefty E, I think Bandt is in a difficult position. It’s not clear to me how he can get himself out of it. His current strategy is to try to co-opt the Labor base vote. Essentially, he’s running more as an independent Labor left candidate than a Green, in many ways.

  326. Mark Bahnisch

    Paul, I think we really need to think about how such a “Save the Senate” strategy might be actualised, with our citizen hats on.

  327. akn

    Denis Altman at The Conversation, today, on ‘What Class War? searching for Labor values in the Labor Party’

    http://theconversation.com/what-class-war-searching-for-labor-values-in-the-labor-party-13047

  328. Pavlov's Cat

    Saying nothing, pretty much ever, that captures that delicate balance in political communication between simplifying an issue in a catchy way, and making the audience feel flattered by the assumption that they are smart enough to understand complex issues.

    She obviously needs a new speechwriter.
    *puts up hand*
    *takes hand down again*

  329. Paul Norton

    Mark @366, here we come back to the elephant in the narrow inner city terrace house. The Labor/Greens contests in such seats will be decided by Liberal preferences, and Liberal preferences are fundamentally beyond the control of either Labor or the Greens. The vast amounts of blood and treasure expended by both parties in such contests also has an opportunity cost in terms of what both could do to improve their respective prospects in other seats and in the Senate.

  330. Martin B

    I am also convinced that had there been a credible candidate who wasn’t Rudd she would have been gone last week.

    If there was a credible candidate who wasn’t Rudd she would have been gone last year – which was the time for doing anything like that.

    You (rightly) say that “Don’t give them too big a majority” campaigning never works. Well, neither do last minute leadership changes – see 2010 for about as good as it gets!

  331. Paul Norton

    Mindy @358, an answer in two parts.

    Part one is for flaky derelicts like me who vote below the line.

    What I will be doing, and what I think is the surest way in most states, is to cast a below-the-line vote, beginning with a 1 for the Labor or Green candidate of your choice, ensuring that your highest preferences go to the Labor and Greens candidates in some combination, then directing your preferences after that to other candidates who, to the best of your knowledge, are solidly anti-Coalition and non-conservative.

    If you are in a state where there is a Socialist Alliance Senate ticket you should also include them in some way in your highest preferences along with Greens and Labor.

    In South Australia the situation is complicated by the presence of Xenophon, but again the important thing is to ensure that Greens and Labor (and SA if available) get your highest preferences, and that Xenophon is preferenced ahead of all right-wing and dodgy candidates.

    Part two is for people who vote above the line, or want to know what to tell other people who do.

    If the Greens and Labor (and SA) all do the right thing with their official preferencing, a 1 vote above the line for one’s party of choice.

    If one of Greens and Labor does the right thing with their preference ordering and the other doesn’t, a 1 vote above the line for the party that does the right thing with preferences, even if it isn’t your party of choice. (Fit the SA into this as well if they are the party, or one of the parties, that does the right thing with preferences.]

  332. Brian

    monkeytypist @ 321, you said:

    to my mind one of the worst things was when Gillard and Swan convinced Rudd that the most sensible course of action was to dump the ETS rather than call a double dissolution on it.

    That’s just not an accurate description of what happened, paul burns please also note. Go to my post of June 2011. There were at least a dozen at the meeting. Swan isn’t mantioned. Gillard was for achieving bi-partisanship with the LNP (probably naive at the time), Rudd came with the idea of leaving it until there was “broad international agreement”, and that’s what he decided in the end. His call.

  333. Pavlov's Cat

    You (rightly) say that “Don’t give them too big a majority” campaigning never works. Well, neither do last minute leadership changes – see 2010 for about as good as it gets!

    On the other hand, there was 1983. Unless you were referring only to the incumbents.

  334. Martin B

    I was thinking about governments. Oppositions I would say can leave it a little closer, but even amongst them 1983 was a special case.

    Stephen Smith is no Bob Hawke…

    (I am tempted to echo the OP so I will. Stephen Smith. Really? I mean, really?)

  335. leinad

    @375

    I know, the Nightwatchman idea seems to have just flown across from the cricket world without any evidence that it would work in politics. Stephen Smith is a hobbyhorse of Peter Brent’s, every time he runs it in his column I find myself wondering if I should be agreeing with the other stuff writes.

  336. Brian

    Mark @ 319 you said:

    Julia Gillard and her supporters have consistently sought to minimise her responsibility. “Clear air”, and “an end to destabilisation” were all that was needed for her to succeed. Well, those conditions are met. Yet the continued steep decline of the Labor Party in public esteem and in electoral terms will, it would seem, continue to be blamed on the “Rudd Camp”.

    I think she deserved a bit of clear air at least from the beginning of parliament this year. I thought last year the polls were improving nicely and it was clear that during the last parliamentary session the Govt had a strategy of demonstrating good government, releasing some plans, reminding people of their record, easing smoothly into the festive season. What they got was buckets of shite tipped on Gillard directly by Julie Bishop in one of the most cynical personal smear campaigns you could imagine.

    Coming back this year, perhaps not everything Gillard did was optimal, but the three big things against her were Craig Thompson being arrested, Obeid and ICAC blowing up and a destabilisation campaign from within. So her three big calls, Nova Peris Kneebone for the Senate, nominating the election day and announcing the retirement and replacement of a couple of ministers were being represented as stuff-ups and shambolic administration by caucus members, and, it seems, a minister or three.

    Contrast this with Turnbull being cut down by a move from Andrew Robb that Hockey nominated as the biggest act of political bastardry in 25 years. Now Hockey and Robb are thick as thieves.

    I think it’s appropriate and necessary, as Kim is doing, to reflect on the state of play, criticise Gillard here to our hearts content. But the race for the treasury benches is a two-horse race and caucus members need to recognise who their friends and enemies are.

    What we’ve had is not just people inside the tent pissing out and those outside pissing in, we’ve had people inside the tent pissing right where they are, and some of them ministers. I’d go further than that and say that they have been flicking matches rather than pissing. Unfortunately they’ve burnt the tent down.

    Now that, contra paul b @ 290, is actually unforgivable. So may be what happened in June 2010, but we have to go on from where we are.

    If Gillard and Labor go down in September, she’s history. If perchance they win, the disaster of Abbott and an LNP will have been averted.

    I’m not against a “save the senate” campaign, BTW, but my big beef is that caucus members really do need to decide who’s side they are on. There are only two in the immediate matter of an election contest.

  337. mindy

    Thank you Paul Norton. Much appreciated.

  338. Pavlov's Cat

    Martin B @ #375 and leinad @ #376: I’m not advocating him because I don’t know anywhere near enough about him, but could I get you to explain why the idea of Stephen Smith is so outrageous? What I have seen of him doesn’t gel with that. Now, if they were suggesting Jenny Macklin …*

    *Please note genuine non-blind-partisanship re Jenny Macklin, who is a woman.

  339. Mark Bahnisch

    Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m not endorsing the suggestion. Luckily, my sins are not weighty enough to have made me a member of caucus.

    Jenny Macklin, of course, is responsible for the continuation of the Intervention and new horrors such as income management. To my mind, from day 1, she’s been one of the Labor Ministers whose policy has been most reactionary and completely blind to evidence.

  340. Mark Bahnisch

    Brian, I’m a bit over caucus members. I think it’s time citizens took matters into their own hands!

  341. Mark Bahnisch

    By the way, and I’m just noting it, there was an article in the dead tree version of the Oz quoting various of the bloggers Julia Gillard has been cultivating defending her appearances on Sandilands’ show. One said that he wasn’t in the John Laws or Alan Jones league. It’s pretty revealing, sadly. There is a bit of nuance there, but still depressing to read:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/pms-egg-on-face-hunt-divides-women-poor-judgment-or-harmless-fun/story-fn59niix-1226605828988

  342. Martin B

    could I get you to explain why the idea of Stephen Smith is so outrageous?

    As a friend of mine says, “personality of a brick”. I don’t really see the point of replacing one overly wooden performer with an even more wooden performer with less passion…

  343. Mark Bahnisch

    Here’s a thread on the Save Our Senate idea. I think it deserves one of its own:

    http://larvatusprodeo.net/archives/2013/03/sos13-saving-our-senate/

  344. Martin B

    I don’t have anything especially against him as such, but I really don’t see him projecting successfully as a leader.

  345. Casey

    Julia Gillard and her supporters have consistently sought to minimise her responsibility. “Clear air”, and “an end to destabilisation” were all that was needed for her to succeed. Well, those conditions are met.

    Yeah I know. In Bizarro World. Here in the real world they are talking June now – the leakers, the rumours, the whiff of a maybe is already in the air – June for the next tilt. It’s never over with Ruddy, never.

    What this post should have been called was “Why Feminists are Wrong to Support Julia Gillard”. Then it would have made sense. What also makes sense when you make that assertion, is to then not support Julia Gillard. Which you don’t. So far so good. However, the way not to support Julia Gillard is not to vote Labor. Now that would have made sense too. Then I could have understood the post. But no, none of that. Instead we get Van Helsing warnings about the forces of darkness concentrating themselves in the figure of La Gillarda, gathering in the caucus and in the very lacuna in the faces in the men. Together they are about to plunge Australia into the Abyss of the Abbott, and a class war the likes of which Marx could never have imagined. Well this would be the moment to gourd oneself with stakes and whip out the holy water, no?

    No.

    Your advice, as far as I can ascertain, is that we vote Labor, just blame Gillard in loud righteous indignation when the slaughter, it happens, cause it’s totally her fault. Because she enables this faceless man culture. We are not aloud to mention Rudd because all that destabilisation has stopped for 5 days now and she can’t blame him now for that 30% in the polls.

    Kim, Mark: I’m a little bit not convinced by this post.

  346. David Irving (no relation)

    Paul @ 372, I found that at the last two elections the preferences deals the Greens had stitched up in SA assigned preferences pretty much the way I would’ve (2010 not as much as 2007, but close enough).

    As I was handing out how-to-vote cards and was short of time, I voted above the line.

  347. Martin B

    I see Jenny Macklin as a symbol of the tragedy that is the current ALP. She strikes me as a fundamentally decent person who has entered politics for the best of reasons but has been a poor performer who has ended up residing, as you say, over some of the most regressive policy shortcomings of this government. It’s a bit sad really.

    At least she will be able to remember the NDIS (I truly hope.)

  348. Pavlov's Cat

    Martin B, thanks; that is particularly enlightening in the face of some of the discussion of personalities and their importance or lack thereof thus far in this thread. I wondered if there were anything substantive against him; leinad might know of something. FWIW I watched him on the teeve on election night 2010 and he did not look at all bricklike to me. A gentle creature, certainly, but that is not the same thing at all, nor did it get in the way of his facing down the army here a while back.

  349. Golly Gosh

    Casey:

    ” It’s never over with Ruddy, never.”

    The funny thing is that if a bloke said the same thing about Gillard (who I used to admire btw), a feminist would pop up like a whack-a-mole puppet and squawk “Misogyny!”

    Rudd has said he doesn’t want the leadership. He might be experiencing a little schadenfreude but he is not Damien Thorn from The Omen ™. Julia will not have her eyes pecked out by a malevolent crow.

    Also, if Abbott gets both Houses there is every chance that he will try to take the country too far to the right (a revamped WorkChoices, perhaps) and the electorate will punish him.

  350. Pavlov's Cat

    an even more wooden performer with less passion…

    You think Gillard is passionless then? I dunno, what I saw lurking not far beneath yesterday’s very tightly controlled performance was enough rage to keep all the lights and heating on in Parliament House for at least a year. She is monumentally pissed off and I do not blame her.

  351. akn

    Kim wrote:

    “Because Julia Gillard has been on the receiving end of misogynist characterisations and attacks, her own very problematic record on the substance as opposed to the rhetoric of feminism has not just escaped scrutiny, but actively been ignored.”

    Exactly. How else could anyone describe attacks on the single parent’s benefit and the despicable asylum seeker policy. The two most recent drownings, yesterday, of boat people included included a four year old and a woman. Pretty effing strange form of feminism that allows that to continue.

  352. leinad

    Oh, I don’t hold anything against Smith, I’m just dubious that 1) Nightwatchman ploys have any merit and 2) he’d be a good candidate for same.

  353. akn

    Moreover, I’ll add, a pretty debased form of feminism that doesn’t howl in protest, long, hard, irresistibly, about Australia rejecting Afghan women of any ethnic origin and that supports Gillard because it agrees that it is all just too hard and we all know how decent policy might upset the apple cart and the rump of morons and racists to whom she must kowtow. Then there’s the s 457 dogwhistling. Disgraceful. I suppose, though, the argument might be made that women too must be political realists. I think that Nadezhda Alliluyeva might have agreed with that sentiment.

  354. Kim

    It is over for Rudd.

  355. Brian

    akn @ 392, the single parents move to Newstart was awful policy. Gillard has to take the rap but I’m particularly disappointed in Swan for proposing it.

    I don’t want to derail the thread, but how do you propose to stop the boats?

  356. Helen

    AKN we (the self identified feminists on here) have criticised JG roundly for all the things you have enumerated. OK we missed the latest one. Heaven forbid we should have missed the opportunity to use deaths at sea to show how much on the correct side we are.

  357. Russell

    Tantalisingly close to 400 comments …

    Mark, when you wrote: “my main concern is that it is absolutely the ruin of the ALP under her leadership which will lead to …” I thought maybe she can’t be blamed for all that has gone wrong with the ALP!, but then you later wrote: “I actually think we need to look much deeper for explanations. I think the personality conflicts mask real structural reasons for Labor’s collapse in government.” which sounds better.

    I have one further gripe with the Gillard government and that was giving the U.S. such a base in the Northern Territory.

  358. Chris

    Brian @ 396 – how about a focus on harm minimisation? Eg stop seizing and burning boats that arrive so the people running the system stop using one-off-about-to-sink-anyway-boats. And stop prosecuting crew who arrive so they leave experienced sailors on board rather than encouraging them to find a random sucker who doesn’t know anything about boats to stay on board for the bulk of the trip.

  359. Martin B

    @391: No, no I don’t. I think Gillard is a surprisingly poor communicator but I think she can at least draw on what looks to be real emotion. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that from Smith.

    I don’t want a strong leader that will arrogate to themselves all decision-making but I do want a leader that can communicate well a sense of vision.

  360. GregM

    Rudd has said he doesn’t want the leadership. He might be experiencing a little schadenfreude but he is not Damien Thorn from The Omen ™. Julia will not have her eyes pecked out by a malevolent crow.

    Quite right Golly Gosh. He’s nothing like Damien from the Omen.

    But his resemblance to Chucky from Child’s Play (and its many sequels) is uncanny. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKVVWGX4a3Q

    Julia has a lot more to worry about than having her eyes pecked out by a malevolent crow.

  361. Mark Bahnisch

    @386 –

    Here in the real world they are talking June now – the leakers, the rumours, the whiff of a maybe is already in the air – June for the next tilt. It’s never over with Ruddy, never.

    Kim’s right, Casey. It is over for Kevin. He couldn’t have been more emphatic, and as I’ve previously said, he wasn’t the one doing the “undermining”. One reason why Gillard has restricted Cabinet and her ministry is to stop leaks. If there are still some, we will know that not all her “supporters” can be trusted. But that’s not Rudd’s problem, or fault. The only person I’ve seen claiming that Kevin will try again is Christopher Pyne. He’s mischief making. But I’m afraid your comment seems to mirror the “blame Kevin for everything” discourse which is the sort of Manichean stuff the OP was talking about.

    Similarly, the desire that he leave Parliament (always something the Gillardites hoped) makes no sense for anyone. Labor needs to hold his seat.

    She does have her “clear air” now. If there’s any lingering suspicion, I can only put it down to the effects of this discursive frame we’re discussing. She will stand or fall on her own performance, and that’s as it ought to be.

  362. Mark Bahnisch

    Again @386 –

    Your advice, as far as I can ascertain, is that we vote Labor, just blame Gillard in loud righteous indignation when the slaughter, it happens, cause it’s totally her fault. Because she enables this faceless man culture. We are not aloud to mention Rudd because all that destabilisation has stopped for 5 days now and she can’t blame him now for that 30% in the polls.

    No, Casey, that’s not my advice. Perhaps you are being tongue in cheek.

    Obviously the 30% in the polls is partly related to the leadership kerfuffle. But the point is that since almost the beginning of the year, Labor’s recovery has stalled, then gone backwards. Not all of that is attributable to “destabilisation” by any means.

    I don’t care to give anyone any advice, but this is what I intend to do:

    (a) Be critical of the Labor party where I think it is warranted, and encourage the party where I think that is warranted. I am really puzzled that people would expect otherwise. Look back at this blog in the lead up to the 2007 election. I, and many other commenters and posters, were hardly blind in loyalty to Kevin Rudd and the ALP. That’s the whole point of this place. I can’t understand the claim that you cannot support a party for re-election unless you do so uncritically, if that is the claim. Liz seems to say that any criticism is “undermining”, which is the syndrome the OP diagnosed. I don’t know if you agree? I am actually really confused by this notion that we should not be critical.

    (b) Campaign for Fiona McNamara’s election as Labor candidate in Brisbane, where I live.

    (c) Lend my support to non-party efforts to highlight the dangers of a Rabbit government, and to discuss and disseminate a political narrative and message of the left.

    (d) Continue to participate in efforts to reform the Labor Party and enhance the political capacities of the left and work towards transparency, openness and democracy in government and public institutions.

    None of this is any different to what I would normally do, with the exception of (c), whose urgency arises because of the government’s dire electoral prospects.

    I wouldn’t have acted any differently had Kevin become PM again. I want to resist framing politics in terms of personalities.

    I hope that sufficiently clarifies my position. I can’t really see how you made the assumptions you made, unless they’re coloured by the sorts of either/or thinking that the post critiques. I say all this with respect, but I am really surprised at some of the ways my position has been mischaracterised, particularly because it’s based on inference and over-writing of this narrative on what I actually want to do and what I have said.

    I would have hoped for a better understanding of my position. I would be happy if it’s now clear to you, and to everyone else.

  363. grace pettigrew

    What the Gillard Govt did, presumably under pressure from the MPs most affected by refugee settlement in their electorates, was to take Tony Abbott’s advice, adopt his policy, and open up the punishing island gulags, at a billion dollar cost.

    Despite this concession, a deliberate move towards bipartisanship, Abbott would not support the government’s proposed Malaysia Solution, so here we are (4000 Burmese refugees lighter), with a hung parliament and nowhere to go.

    Nobody is happy, and people are suffering, but its a political stalemate, and that is the way it will stay until the election in September. Then we either move on to even more delusional cruelty, or we gradually work our way back to sanity.

  364. Pavlov's Cat

    How else could anyone describe attacks on the single parent’s benefit

    On the other side of that ledger, are you aware of the higher pay for childcare workers or the higher tax threshold for low-income earners, or do those things irritatingly not fit your thesis?

    The two most recent drownings, yesterday, of boat people included included a four year old and a woman. Pretty effing strange form of feminism that allows that to continue.

    Oh, please.

  365. Pavlov's Cat

    I am actually really confused by this notion that we should not be critical.

    So would I be, if I could see anyone saying it anywhere. Where did Liz say or imply that? You are just repeating Kim’s points over and over as if you hadn’t read any of the comments in which so many of us say, repeatedly, that that is not what we think.

  366. faustusnotes

    Once again: Gillard’s asylum-seeker policy is at least partially dictated by the minority government. Her original proposal was much better, but the Libs and Greens wouldn’t support it. So it’s a little unreasonable to blame her for the drownings.

    Or is it the case now that Abbot is a saint on asylum policy, and all that “stop the boats” stuff and his trenchant refusal to negotiate in any way is entirely in my imagination?

  367. Mark Bahnisch

    Perhaps you missed Liz’ comment and my response, Pav:

    http://larvatusprodeo.net/archives/2013/03/feminism-julia-gillard-and-magical-thinking/#comment-397364

    http://larvatusprodeo.net/archives/2013/03/feminism-julia-gillard-and-magical-thinking/#comment-397367

    Casey wrote:

    What also makes sense when you make that assertion, is to then not support Julia Gillard. Which you don’t. So far so good. However, the way not to support Julia Gillard is not to vote Labor. Now that would have made sense too.

    Now, I can only read that as implying that if I don’t support Julia Gillard, I shouldn’t be voting Labor. The corollary is surely that if I do, I can’t be critical because apparently “support” is incompatible with criticism.

    Please let me know if there’s another way of reading this that I’m not seeing.

  368. Mark Bahnisch

    Note, also, please, that Liz addresses me as if I embody or am part of “the Rudd faction” and accuses me of “destabilising”.

    Again, that seems to me to be the most plausible reading. I’ve asked for clarification, and received none. Perhaps you read it differently.

  369. Mark Bahnisch

    For the record, I am not a member of any faction in the Labor Party and have never actually met Kevin Rudd.

  370. Pavlov's Cat

    Ah.

    You mean this bit from Liz @ #351, obviously:

    Destabilise, destabilise. Then when you’ve done your worst, claim that Gillard must go. That’s been the tactic of the Rudd faction.

    Of coure I can’t speak for Liz, but I’ll tell you how (as a literary critic) I initially read that: the first sentence is Liz’s version of ‘the tactic of the Rudd faction’ and the ‘you’ refers not to you-as-in-Mark, but to you-as-in-One: then when one has done one’s worst. (Comp: ‘Misrepresent, misrepresent. Then when you’ve done your worst, claim that black is white. That’s been the tactic of News Ltd.’)

    That is how I read Liz’s comment, although when you responded I could see where you were coming from. And, as I say, I could be wrong.

  371. Mark Bahnisch

    Well, it would be nice to have some clarification from Liz, Pav. It reads to me as if I’m being addressed. Particularly since the first para refers to me saying stuff.

  372. Liz

    Mark, I think you misunderstand my comment and I think that is largely my fault, because it was written with haste and a great deal of irritation in a snatched moment from work. I haven’t replied before because I’ve been too busy today.

    My comment was referring to the Rudd faction in Caucus which plainly has been destabilising Gillard, as Rudd obviously has as well. My annoyance is that this is one of the key factors destroying the government’s credibility. I also get very annoyed that such unethical behaviour is rewarded.

    My argument to unite behind Gillard is not an argument never to criticise her. It’s an argument to stop the never-ending and counterproductive search for a new leader. I’m sick of the retailing of gossip as fact; ‘My sources told me etc’. I don’t know how that benefits anyone.

    My argument is that it would also useful to recognise the progressive policies that Gillard has put in place, as well as the negative.

    And has she lost the confidence of Caucus? That’s your opinion. Fair enough. It’s certainly not an unarguable fact. She spilled both positions and no-one put themselves forward. And from you draw the conclusion that she’s lost the support of most of Caucus. I find that an odd conclusion.

  373. Liz

    In short, Pav’s interpretation is correct. But, as I wrote above, it’s badly written and easy to see how you could have read it in another way, Mark. So, I’m sorry about that.

  374. Mark Bahnisch

    Thanks, Liz.

  375. Brian

    Liz @ 413, I think there is a difference between what Rudd has done and what the Ruddistas have done on his behalf. There was great frustration on the part of his supporters on Thursday because he wouldn’t pick up the phone and lobby on his own behalf. That’s because of the promises he made.

    The guy who does the ABC online religion stuff (too tired to think of his name) said tonight that Rudd takes his promises very seriously indeed.

    I’ve always thought he had nothing, absolutely nothing to do with the leaks to Oakes during the 2010 election campaign. He had no motive other than revenge, which he doesn’t do. The people who did those leaks were seeking an Abbott victory, I think, on the ‘balance of probabilities’ but not ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.

  376. Russell

    “there is a difference between what Rudd has done and what the Ruddistas have done on his behalf”

    Brian, wasn’t it because of his known ambition to be leader, again, that his followers did those things. And he knew they were doing them and he didn’t stop them. I think, ethically, he shares the responsibility.

  377. Liz

    Brian, I think the bloke who does the ABC’s religious stuff is a prize plonker. I don’t believe for a moment that Rudd backed off because of a promise he made. That’s just him saving face. He simply knew he didn’t have the numbers so he came up with an excuse. If he thought he could have won, that promise would have been completely forgotten.

    Instead, after destabilising for months he left his mates high and dry. Read what Crean had to say about him. I think Crean was trying to do the right thing, as he saw it, and Rudd shafted him.

    Cabinet members made it very clear in Feb 2012 that Rudd had been the leaker. Doesn’t do revenge? What makes you think that?

  378. Golly Gosh

    Liz:

    “I don’t believe for a moment that Rudd backed off because of a promise he made. ”

    Rudd is a man so he must be a liar. We get it Liz, we really do get it.

  379. Brian

    Russell @ 417, yes, Rudd knew what they were doing. The strategy was to make the government look shambolic and cause Gillard to step down. Crean was to be the one who tapped her on the shoulder. Yes, Rudd could have called the dogs off, which he carefully avoided doing.

    Liz @ 418, the “prize plonker” is Scott Stephens, who has written an interesting piece where he takes a long tour through politics as seen by Max Weber. Then he quotes A Man for All Seasons which he says has been a fave of Rudd’s since he was a boy:

    “When a man takes an oath … he’s holding his own self in his own hands. Like water. And if he opens his fingers then – he needn’t hope to find himself again.”

    I think you’re entitled to be cynical about whether he would have settled for a clear margin, say 55/45, rather than an overwhelming majority, but the fact is that he didn’t pick up the phone and lobby for himself.

    I can’t find it in myself to be as generous about it as Scott Stephens is, but Stephens makes his point and isn’t a dill.

  380. Brian

    Liz, further to the leaking, Rudd’s cabinet colleagues had no more direct evidence than had anyone in the press. I was informed that it was most likely “cultural warlords in the public service”, which I’m inclined to believe. There would have been public servants who had knowledge of what was said at times in cabinet.

    I think it’s likely that Gillard reminded cabinet that a pension increase was not a vote-buying exercise – simply a fact. These leaks can be de-contextualised and words changed here and there. What we ended up with was a very negative story and a photoshopped picture of ‘old Julia’.

    We know that Rudd can get angry, but it is said that he isn’t a hater and doesn’t bear grudges long term. I’m sure he means it when he talks of using all his strength to stop Abbott becoming PM.

    In the end we are all speculating about the leakers and their motives. What I object to is the certainty with which people say it was Rudd when they don’t in fact know.

  381. akn

    Kim’s complaint appears to me to be legitimate:

    “Here we have a perversion of liberal feminism. Once one woman gets to the top (never mind how, and never mind how inconsistent the attack on “underminers” is with her own path to power), she is to be defended up hill and down dale with no regard for why she is there and what interests and purpose her continuance in power serves.”

    Except I’m not so sure that it is a perversion of liberal feminism so much as it is the routine ideological outcome of liberal feminism; liberal feminism shares with specific forms of liberalism an emphasis on individual effort and outcome and a refusal to actually perceive that classes of people are formed out of common experience and a common interest. This is in stark contrast to other feminist forms which develop a constituency to whom women in public life were (once) responsible.

    Liberal feminists have come to identify their own institutional career success with the totality of the feminist project such that getting there, occupying the seat and pushing back to stay there constitute the limits of the project.

    This is why the feminist criticisms of Gillard are so faint, except from Cox, and why indeed feminism is at the moment incapable of generating a sustained critique of politics – because liberal feminism is only capable advancing the interests of women one by one.

    As to those who take exception to me raising the refugee issue – oh please indeed – it will rot forever around Gillard’s neck and the neck of every other member of this parliament. Make no mistake, however, that the failure to resolve this issue and establish clear humanitarian responses will resonate for generations in this country especially when global ecological conditions send wave after wave of floating refugees our way. As it is Abbott’s racism and Gillard’s incompetence and ambivalence on the issue have established the preconditions for a renaissance of ‘white australia’ the like of which was never imagined by the drafters of our constitution.

  382. Helen

    If women abandon the project to share the various power networks in society, qui bono? Oh that’s right. The Blokes. Again. Like you AKN. Quite convenient, really, you get to occupy the moral high ground and get the positions in cabinet.

    I’m familiar with the argument that feminists shouldn’t just reproduce existing power structures. But which of the communist or other alternative governments of the last century have resulted in 50% women in power? Like, none of them. (THis wishy-washy liberal feminist would be happy working towards a wishy-washy scandinavian style social democracy.)

  383. Casey

    Hey Kim, I’m not sure whereabouts in the States you are right now, but what I was particularly interested in was to know if these leadership woes in Australia are getting any coverage there and if the are, what do the Americans make of all this? I’ve seen commentary in the uk papers but was wondering how it looks from another internationalist perspective?

  384. Casey

    Oh hey Mark, sorry I was being tongue on cheek! We have been discussing this for five days now!! And my brain it hurts . You have no idea the pain in my brain. Apologies.

  385. Casey

    I am typing in an iPhone with autocorrect. I have no idea how to get my tongue all the way onto my cheek so don’t hassle me. It’s the phone.

  386. Mark Bahnisch

    Sorry, Casey, I thought you were but I wasn’t sure!

    Yes, makes heads hurt 😉

  387. Pavlov's Cat

    As to those who take exception to me raising the refugee issue – oh please indeed

    akn, are you a man? Helen seems to think you are; I can’t remember from LP’s last incarnation. If so, thank you so much for the mansplanation.

    I find it interesting that your own main concern seems to be bashing liberalism (in the traditional sense), using both feminists and asylum seekers as grist.

    I was not, as I think you know, saying ‘Oh please’ about the asylum seeker situation, which I too deplore. I was, rather, responding to the fact that you seemed to think it was the personal responsibility of Teh Feminists to do something about it. Yes indeed, Afghanistan will listen to women, why didn’t we think of that?

  388. Paul Norton

    Brian @416:

    I’ve always thought he had nothing, absolutely nothing to do with the leaks to Oakes during the 2010 election campaign.

    Yes, I never thought it was Rudd either. My guess at the time (and it was only that) was that some smart young thing from Rudd’s office, smarting at their loss of status and having consumed more than their usual ration of Ribena, had one of those flashes of superficial inspiration that such souls are prone to and acted on it before Kevin could clip them over the ear.

  389. Paul Norton

    Helen @423:

    I’m familiar with the argument that feminists shouldn’t just reproduce existing power structures. But which of the communist or other alternative governments of the last century have resulted in 50% women in power? Like, none of them. (THis wishy-washy liberal feminist would be happy working towards a wishy-washy scandinavian style social democracy.)

    Helen, come the Revolution the newly ascendant Stupid Cult of Cuba will march you off to a little camp in the You Yangs to be re-educated.

  390. Paul Norton

    It’s far from clear to me how the disgraceful situation regarding asylum-seekers feeds into a critique of liberal feminism. Sarah Hanson-Young and Marise Payne, for example, have hardly been remiss on asylum seekers at the level of principle, even if there may be room for criticism of one or other of them at the level of tactics.

  391. Helen

    Paul,
    I know. But I’m kind of partial to the You Yangs 🙂

  392. faustusnotes

    I guess it doesn’t fit akn’s narrative so it’s not important, but once again: Gillard’s original proposed solution to the asylum seeker “problem” could not get past minority government, so she had to go for the Liberal party’s solution. Can we please stop pretending she cooked up the secret tactic to drown Afghan women from her own recipe?

  393. Brian

    Paul Norton @ 429, yes it could have been someone in Rudd’s office who acted out of emotion rather than rationality. I had a strong tip it was as I said, but that could be wrong.

    Pav, I’m confident AKN is a man. I think he is gesturing to a collective or communitarian conception of the self as contrasted with rampant individualism. It’s an important consideration IMO.

    I think Gillard’s beliefs and values are limited and shallow in the sense that she lacks the conceptual tools to consider how her values work out in society.

    Problem is I don’t know of any alternatives in the caucus who are any better, although there are a lot of younger ones I don’t know much about.

  394. Chris

    faustusnotes @ 433 – that’s not true, she did have a choice. She could have negotiated a solution with the Greens and independents. Perhaps closer to the truth is that her support base within the ALP are themselves not that far away from the Liberals when it comes to asylum seeker policy – at the very least a lot closer to the Liberals than the Greens. I also had problems with Rudd’s approach to asylum seekers, especially the demonising of the “people smugglers”. But one thing he did explicitly warn about when Gillard became PM was that the ALP would veer sharply to the right regarding asylum seeker policy. And he was correct about that.

    Taking the liberal party proposal was always a poisoned chalice because they did not take it all and were always going to get further criticised by Abbott when it didn’t work. In the public eye the ALP still own the problem so they’ve really gained nothing.

  395. Helen

    Pav, I’m confident AKN is a man. I think he is gesturing to a collective or communitarian conception of the self as contrasted with rampant individualism. It’s an important consideration IMO.

    It’s certainly important to work towards collective or communitarian concepts of society (which is, I think, what you meant rathr than the self, unless you really do contain multitudes), but to apply that responsibility to “feminists” as opposed to the whole of the left, particularly the white males who have benefited the most from all polititical setups hitherto, should set off the bullshit detector.

    I think Gillard’s beliefs and values are limited and shallow in the sense that she lacks the conceptual tools to consider how her values work out in society.

    Do you mean in the sense that she doesn’t have a religion?

  396. Pavlov's Cat

    but to apply that responsibility to “feminists” as opposed to the whole of the left, particularly the white males who have benefited the most from all polititical setups hitherto, should set off the bullshit detector.

    Yes. And it duly did. Brian, my point, or at least my main point, is that feminists are very, very tired of being told by mansplainers that we are Doin It Rong. You may remember that this very behaviour was the trigger for the Prime Minister’s so-called ‘misogyny speech’.

  397. adrian

    I was not, as I think you know, saying ‘Oh please’ about the asylum seeker situation, which I too deplore. I was, rather, responding to the fact that you seemed to think it was the personal responsibility of Teh Feminists to do something about it. Yes indeed, Afghanistan will listen to women, why didn’t we think of that?

    Maybe he (or she) was saying that it is everyone’s responsibility and if a woman is in a position to do something about it and doesn’t (or makes it worse), then she should not be given a ‘free pass’ by virtue of the fact that she is a woman.

  398. Paul Norton

    Helen @432, does this mean that you were an anarchist from Anakie in your youth? 🙂

    Brian @434, thinking about it the idea of mischief by “cultural warlords” in the senior public service is an intriguing possibility.

  399. Paul Norton

    Which raises a question I’ll put to Brian: did your sources say what specific objectives the cultural warlords in the bureaucracy hoped to achieve by the leak?

  400. Chris

    Brian @434, thinking about it the idea of mischief by “cultural warlords” in the senior public service is an intriguing possibility.

    Talking about magical thinking there seems to be a widespread assumption that public servants are apolitical and won’t attempt to do things that advantage the political parties they support if they think they can get away with it.

  401. Pavlov's Cat

    Maybe he (or she) was saying that it is everyone’s responsibility and if a woman is in a position to do something about it and doesn’t (or makes it worse), then she should not be given a ‘free pass’ by virtue of the fact that she is a woman.

    Quite probably. But, as a number of female commenters have been pointing out repeatedly for over 400 comments now, nobody here thinks or has said that anyone should get a free pass by virtue of being a woman.

    Then again, it has been my experience ever since I first discovered LP in 2004 that many of the men who comment here don’t actually read the comments by women, so perhaps both you and akn have missed that.

  402. Brian

    Helen @ 436, no I meant “self”. It’s a strange concept.

    I changed my view in 2002 after reading a draft chapter in Mark’s thesis which never appeared in the final. It started with Descartes’ I think therefore I am and ended with a new appreciation of Merleau-Ponty’s thought.

    To come at another angle we are fundamentally social beings. We achieve maturity and personhood within a social setting. We learn and take strength from each other.

    A neat expression of what I mean came in an interview with Ajume Wingo on radio, who quoted a dictum from John Mbiti:

    ‘I am, because we are, and since we are, therefore I am.’

    That comes out of traditional communal life in Ghana where survival depends on co-operation. This, I think, has been fundamental to our species for more than 98% of our time on earth and is in our DNA, that is, a part of our essential nature which has been distorted by modern ideologies.

    The other day AKN linked to this site, where the concept of the self is considered in metaphysical and ontological terms within the frame of communitarianism. I haven’t had time to read it yet, but it indicated the direction of AKNs thinking.

  403. Brian

    Pav, I’m familiar with the problem of mansplations, which is why I prefer not to engage on feminism unless I can see the body language of my interlocutors.

  404. Brian

    Paul Norton @ 440,

    Which raises a question I’ll put to Brian: did your sources say what specific objectives the cultural warlords in the bureaucracy hoped to achieve by the leak?

    No, unfortunately. Actually reflecting on it this morning, the first leak was about the meeting with Gillard and Rudd on the fateful night. Gillard was said to have accepted that Rudd could have a couple more months. Then Gillard’s staff tried to get a message to her that she had the numbers. Rudd’s staff tried to block them. Eventually they got a note to her upon which she changed her mind.

    This was characterised by Laurie Oakes as breaking a promise, but effectively it all happened before the meeting was concluded.

    That one probably came from a Rudd staffer, who inserted into the story a ‘break’ in the meeting which never happened.

    That looks like a Rudd staffer leaking.

    The other was the comment Gillard was said to have made in cabinet the pension and pensioners voting habits. I think that one could have come from the PS.

    In any event, I’m fairly confident that neither came from Rudd or with his connivance.

  405. Helen

    Brian, I’m absolutely all for a move away from the individualistic and towards the communitarian – that’s why I write/comment here and not, for instance, Catallaxy. But forgive me for giving a side-eye to commenters who bring out the condemnations of rampant individualism as soon as they see a woman in a position of power or authority, whereas the besuited white males in the Labor party don’t seem to attract such criticism.

    We could go quite a long way down the path of social democracy and triple-bottom-line sustainability before we found ourself in a place with no hierarchy whatsoever. In fact, as I’ve said, it’s hard to find such a place anywhere in the world in recent history. So it doesn’t exactly make me an authoritarian or a schmibertarian to point to female exclusion from power networks in society as a problem.

  406. Brian

    Helen, I’m coming to the view that anyone who is not co-operative, collaborative and inclusive really has no place on the left. The first person I’d finger at the moment is Stephen Conroy.

    On hierachies, they are problematic always. But one I came upon recently was the Five Nations native American ’empire’ in the NE of the US and nearby Canada. They had a council of 50 what we would call “chiefs”, all male. But they were selected and answerable to the clan heads, who were all women.

    The Cherokee further south had similar gender equality. White observers reported that rape and domestic violence were pretty much unknown. Also in war they didn’t generally kill women and children, which the whites certainly did.

    This is entirely different from the Aztecs and the Incas and is significant because social/political organisation was such that you could speak of a ‘civilisation’ rather than tribal societies. That is, they appear to have constructed a civilised civilisation, which is rare, surely.

    Gotta go.

  407. Jacques de Molay

    Brian,

    As much as I hope it isn’t true as I have a lot of respect for him but I heard from a few people the leaker during the 2010 election campaign was Lindsay Tanner.

  408. faustusnotes

    Chris, the Greens were refusing any policy that involved offshore processing; Gillard was explicitly seeking offshore processing for what I consider to be legitimate safety reasons (to try and stop people making very long and dangerous journeys). There was no compromise that could be found between those positions. So the only alternative to stop the dangerous journeys was to cave in to Abbott on Temporary Protection Visas. She literally had no options.

    This isn’t to say she couldn’t have done better but akn’s tale of Gillard setting out to make a policy that kills Afghan women, when in fact she was looking for a policy that would stop people making dangerous journeys, is just completely off in fantasy land.

  409. Peter Murphy

    faustusnotes: there seems to be two types of offshore processing. The first is one where refugees arrive in a country like Indonesia and are processed there rather that doing dangerous boat trips to Australia. And there’s a second sort where refugees already in Australia are deported to detention centres in Malaysia or Nauru. One can be in favor of the first and against the second.

  410. faustusnotes

    I agree Peter and I remember Gillard’s original policy suggestion was an attempt to discourage people from making the journey here, by processing them in Malaysia (or was it East Timor first of all?) It was not designed with the intention of being “to the right of Abbott.”

  411. Nabakov

    Gee, over 450 comments in and we’re still no the wiser about whether Missy Higgins staged 9/11.

  412. faustusnotes

    But on a slight tangent … I think a lot of people viewing Gillard’s ascension to the PM-ship were taking a kind of essentialist view (I recall it may even have been bandied about a bit in articles at the time) that women in power will behave better than men or (more specifically to the left) that a leftist woman in power will behave better than leftist men.

    I think this essentialism explains a lot of the anger about her so-called conservatism, the unwillingness to recognize her better policy moves, and the extra vitriole she gets for being too far to the right.

    But I think it’s just another version of expecting a woman to clean up behind the men, alloyed with a nice dose of virgin/whore dichotomy.

  413. Liz

    Faustusnotes, I think that’s a lot to do with it. There’s an interesting link in an interview with a blogger called Eden Riley. Gillard talks about the belief that women would create a kinder, gentler politics and that she never thought that for a moment. It is a form of essentialism, I think.

  414. Helen

    (Liz @454) Yes, of course it is. It’s a remnant of the Victorian “angel in the house” (or House), civilising influence et cetera.
    I think it’s really common and it’s a misinterpretation of feminism to imagine that we should only be “allowed” to share power and resources with the “default humans” provided we demonstrate that we are better in some way.

  415. Paul Norton

    Nabakov @452, you’re lying you commo f*cking c*nt. And Fyodor is too.

  416. faustusnotes

    My understanding of this kind of essentialism though is that it’s not native to liberal feminism – more of a radical feminist perspective. Certainly I can’t imagine it having much place in the political theory that Gillard would place herself in.

    It doesn’t come as a surprise to me: socially conservative industrial worker organization with slightly dodgy racial politics produces conservative worker-focused leader with slightly dodgy racial politics. Who happens to be a woman. Shock! At least she’s not a conservative christian like Rudd or Garrett! Fortunately I don’t view the ALP as the salvation of the modern world, I just think it’s an imperfect vehicle for realizing some political goals…

  417. Paul Norton

    And Missy Higgins didn’t do 9/11 because she was otherwise engaged at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

  418. Liz

    Yes, FN. you’re kicking goals here. Rudd’s conservative Christianity never gets a serve at LP. Gillard is a product of the ALP. I never expected her to transcend it.

  419. Chris

    faustusnotes @ 451 – Gillard’s offshore processing solution was always about shipping asylum seekers who arrived here back overseas again. It was a core requirement of accepting more refugees directly. About the only difference between the LNP and ALP policy was the countries they selected to ship the asylum seekers back to with the ALP choosing different ones to save a bit of pride about not reverting back to Howard’s Pacific solution and the LNP complaining because it wasn’t exactly the same.

    And I really have no faith that either party’s primary concern is about saving lives, its just the convenient excuse given to justify poor treatment of asylum seekers. If they were concerned about saving lives then they would address issues around making the journeys, that it will inevitably occur under any policy, safer.

    But on a slight tangent … I think a lot of people viewing Gillard’s ascension to the PM-ship were taking a kind of essentialist view (I recall it may even have been bandied about a bit in articles at the time) that women in power will behave better than men or (more specifically to the left) that a leftist woman in power will behave better than leftist men.

    I agree with you there. Its a significant reason behind unrealistic expectations as well as increasing her popularity – a belief that she will be a better PM because she is a woman. I think there’s little doubt that she has copped extra criticism from some parts because she is a woman – and certainly a lot of sexist criticism. But at the same time I wonder if a man had replaced Rudd had similar polling whether he would have been replaced already. Yes there’s a lot inbetween to discuss about how much of the unfair criticism has affected the polls.

  420. faustusnotes

    Sorry Paul, I have it on good authority that Big Bird was responsible for Hiroshima. You’re going to have to do better than that if you want to get Missy Higgins off the hook for her heinous crimes.

    Chris, I don’t think you should start from an assumption of bad faith about Gillard’s policies on asylum seekers. Offshore processing was not the first policy choice of the ALP, she was trying to cook up a scheme to prevent ocean transits after some hideous accidents, and the Libs were being absolutely shockingly partisan about it. It’s perfectly possible to admit that Gillard’s behavior on asylum seekers has been poor and her natural instincts are not particularly left wing, without constructing a fantasy that she always wanted to enact the Pacific Solution. Modern ALP policy on asylum seekers has had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the Pacific Solution, and though it wouldn’t have gotten there at all if it weren’t for the aforementioned slightly dodgy racial politics, it’s simply not the case that they have been trying to out-do the libs on this.

  421. akn

    Dear heavens, and all was doing was citing Kim. Really.

    Yes, I’m a man more enthused by the sort of feminism that informs the women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) [http://www.wilpfinternational.org/about-us/history/] or the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)[http://www.rawa.org/index.php] than I am by liberal feminism that pursues power apparently for its own sake rather than for any common purpose. For if there is any common purpose to Gillard’s PMship it escapes me entirely notwithstanding the comments here.

    Finally, my preference is for communitarian liberalism rather than the rotting corpse of social democracy which has gone the same way as socialism since the ascendancy of neo-liberalism; my favourite feminist is Alexandra Kollontai (http://www.marxists.org/archive/kollonta/)

  422. Casey

    Oh and we are nearing 500. I would do some magicks about now but it is quite impossible for me to be a witch without my gravatar. Come fly with me gravatar ….

  423. faustusnotes

    I don’t believe for even one second that Gillard is pursuing power for its own sake. She is pursuing power for the betterment of the working class whose rights she has spent most of her adult life working to defend.

    This kind of malicious misreading of her character and intentions is exactly what I was thinking of when I wrote my comment about leftists resenting her for not cleaning up after the boys. Just because she’s not as radical as you, doesn’t mean she’s only in it for herself… and the characterization of liberals’ pursuit of power as not being for a community or shared good is also a little weak.

  424. Chris

    Chris, I don’t think you should start from an assumption of bad faith about Gillard’s policies on asylum seekers. Offshore processing was not the first policy choice of the ALP, she was trying to cook up a scheme to prevent ocean transits after some hideous accidents, and the Libs were being absolutely shockingly partisan about it.

    Right, the Libs were being shockingly partisan about it and still are! Gillard decided to basically adopt the LNP policy for political reasons. Because she was either unwilling or unable to make the argument to the public for a much more reasonable approach. I don’t believe that she wanted to reinstate the Pacific solution, but I do think she was willing to do so because she thought it would fix the political bind that the ALP were (and still are) in.

    And in the end I don’t think they’ve gained anything at all politically by adopting the LNP policy except making it much harder for them to argue against further restrictions when Abbott is PM. They would have been much better off sticking to their principles and attempting to reduce the risk of the boat journeys which do occur.

  425. Russell

    “my favourite feminist is …” very brave words Anthony – worth at least another 500 comments/disections.

    Laurie Penny’s columns for the NS are worth reading – suspect she would have a few harsh words for Julia, despite the gender.

  426. jules

    Julia Gillard has enabled racists. Remember this goodness:

    I’d like to sweep away any sense that people should close down any debate, including this debate, through a sense of self-censorship or political correctness. People should feel free to say what they feel. For people to say they’re anxious about border security doesn’t make them intolerant, it certainly doesn’t make them a racist. It means that they’re expressing a genuine view that they’re anxious about border security.”

    ”By the same token, people who express concern about children being in detention, that doesn’t mean they’re soft on border protection: that just means that they’re expressing a real human concern.

    That comment is utter crap, and the ALPs border protection policy is too. The Gillard government is a authoritarian as any – suggesting the federal AG should have the right to outlaw organisations because of their alleged criminality is insane, worse than anti terrorism laws. What Roxon did with plain packaging of durries may be commendable, but the agreements she signed with her US counterpart (that received sweet FA publicity) that afaict allow US legal jurisdiction over Australia wrt IP and criminal/terror issues is the opposite.

    There’a page of stuff I could type about the good things the Gillard govt has done, but since this thread is obviously not about them we’ll pretend they don’t exist.

    The gillard govt has copped lots of nasty sexist drivel, (even from Lindsay Tanner) however calling them out on their gutless pandering to both US state power and assorted racist scum is not part of it.

  427. Dianne

    I don’t think one needs to engage in endless arguments about whether Julia Gillard’s harsh treatment by the mainstream media has been powered by misogyny. One thing is undeniable. She has been subjected to the most sustained vitriolic, unbalanced and unfair campaign by some journalists and their editors. It may have happened if she had been a man. Who knows. Not only is the treatment dished out to her on an hourly basis extremely cruel at times and brutal but the standard of commentary is boring, banal, repetitive and condescending. When I see a headline I know immediately what the writer has in store for me. What crashing bores. No wit, no charm, nothing produced that illuminates or challenges.

  428. Casey

    Indeed, Dianne.

  429. Liz

    That sums up so many contemporary journalists for me, Dianne.

  430. akn

    FN:

    “She is pursuing power for the betterment of the working class whose rights she has spent most of her adult life working to defend.”

    What’s the working class, mate?

  431. akn

    Thanks Russell @ 466. To make things worse my second favourite feminist is Seyla Benhabib followed closely by Carole Pateman; my least favourite feminist is Raewyn Connell.

  432. faustusnotes

    It’s so nice that you’ve taken the time to form a ranking of all those chicks, akn.

    I think you should ask Gillard what the working class is. She’s the industrial lawyer who has spent her life working for the rights of workers, I suspect she’s fairly familiar with such issues. Maybe once she’s answered you you can slot her into your femmo-ranking…

  433. Robbo

    Well said, Diane.

  434. Golly Gosh

    AKN: ““my favourite feminist is …” ” “my second favourite feminist ..” “my least favourite feminist is ..”

    I think I’m finally beginning to understand why the word “mansplain” was invented. Get off that soap box, there’s a good lad.

  435. Martin Spalding

    Glad this site is up & running again because it has some good stuff, but no one could doubt that it, like its previous incarnation, is a bit of a redoubt for Rudd fans.

    Kim, you call for people to open their eyes & get away from magical thinking – how about reading the two James Button articles from Feb 2012 and recently (SMH). Rudd’s governing style was chaotic, he was impossible to work with, key decision papers piled up in his office, & he put off big chunks of policy work just to get another quick media opp, according to a consistent & diverse line of critics. All this matters – the practicalities of running Govt are not a second-order issue. All of the critics of Gillard here ignore this & must think governing is solely about taking philosophical positions.

    A key assertion here is that leaders other than Gillard would have been more progressive. There is simply no evidence for this. None. What from the Rudd era suggests he would have acted differently?

    I feel a number of posters here are criticising actions by Gillard by imposing a v unrealistic ‘high bar’ that dies not account for the realities of Govt.

    Lastly, the general thrust here that “it’s not just the media” is fanciful – if the media are relentlessly biased & vindictive, & perpetuate the toxicity theme, what else can the average punter believe? To suggest that the unpopularity is not due to the media coverage is I think buying into the News Ltd meme. They hate Labor & would try & make the next leader just as unpopular.

  436. Martin Spalding

    To answer some of Kim’s specific points, the ‘feminist’ stuff is a red herring. People support Julia Gillard because she is a competent leader, not because she is a woman.

    To mock the criticism of Rudd leakers is to completely play down the destructive force they played in leaking to known backers in the media.

    ‘lack of truthfulness’ – a perception as you rightly point out, not fact. A perception based on the carbon tax stuff which has been proven to be way overblown time and time again. This ‘liar’ meme is straight out of the Murdoch playbook.

    ‘The reason why the farce was played out on Thursday was that there is no fair and democratic process to resolve such disputes…’ – nonsense. There was a caucus vote. Everyone knew about it. Rudd did not even contest. The reason it played out?  Crean went on a kamikaze mission, blinking in the face of all the media & polls rubbish, when he shd have just been working on governing.

  437. leinad

    Laura Tingle goes all Piping Shrike:

    Scales observes that despite voters’ stated voting intentions, “53 per cent in total would like to see some form of Labor victory at the next election; 20 per cent would like to see Julia Gillard lead Labor to victory; 21 per cent would like to see a Kevin Rudd-led win (this includes 15 per cent of Coalition primary voters); and 12 per cent don’t mind who leads Labor as long as the Liberal-National Coalition don’t win”.

    “By contrast, 29 per cent would like to see Tony Abbott lead the Coalition to victory and 14 per cent don’t mind who leads the Coalition as long as Labor don’t win – indicating that there are many people intending to vote for the Coalition even though it is not their preferred outcome.”

    The message is clear: even with these terrible polling numbers, the election might still be winnable if Labor had made a decision about its leadership based on the interests of the party rather than the self-interest of the small cabal that now runs it.

  438. Peter Murphy

    To suggest that the unpopularity is not due to the media coverage is I think buying into the News Ltd meme.

    Nobody said that, Martin. Not even me. To quote myself:

    [M]ost ‘undecided’ voters get their news from TV, not newspapers, and Foxtel aside, Murdoch ownership of Australian TV is minimal (something something Seven? I can’t recall).

    Rupert’s influence on Australia is overstated. One could reason about the amount of influence the bastard has, or one could use him as an excuse to not examine Gillard’s failings and self-inflicted damage.

  439. Helen

    But it ‘s not as if Fairfax and the ABC are providing a counterpoint to Murdoch. All of them are obsessed with Leadershit over issues and determined to paint the government as permanently “in chaos”.

  440. Lefty E

    The message is clear: even with these terrible polling numbers, the election might still be winnable if Labor had made a decision about its leadership based on the interests of the party rather than the self-interest of the small cabal that now runs it.

    This suggests the media is not all-powerful. influential, sure.

    Remember Rupert wants Abbott: not Rudd or Gillard. Both the latter have a public NBN model which undermines Foxtel’s business model.

  441. akn

    No faustnotes, why don’t you explain your understanding of the working class. Coz I don’t think you’ve got a clue and I know that the subject is complex enough with so many revisions and reconsiderations that even a quick and dirty wikilook would leave you google eyed with incomprehension.

    Knowing theories of class is the difference between informed opinion and being a wind bag.

    As to Gillard and the ALP I doubt that there would be all that many members these days who’ve kept abreast of class theory. In fact, the absence of theoretical understanding is a problem within the ALP where big balls blokiness often masquerades as blue collar masculinity but they’re usually only bullies wearing working class drag. One encounter with Doug Cameron comes to mind in particular.

    Golly Gosh: you’ve read any of these authors? All? Please enlighten me. Oh, good of you to call Raewyn Connell a chick; she’d appreciate the joke.

    My favourite male philosopher is Axel Honneth, BTW, closely followed by Alasdair MacIntyre and then Zygmunt Bauman and the latter because of a brilliant book, ‘Modernity and the Holocaust’, that rewrote all scholarship around the Nazi genocide.

    On reconsideration I reckon that Kim has upset the applecart by citing and linking to Eva Cox’s column in which she derisively speaks of ‘mummy bloggers’ as Gillard’s cheer squad; my gender right or wrong, you know?

  442. Liz

    Peter Murphy, something to be aware of is that ‘The Australian’ sets the agenda for many television and radio outlets. Helen is right as well. The ABC and Fairfax rarely provides an alternate view.

  443. Liz

    Yes, Lefty E. But, Murdoch also knows that helping to foment trouble in the ALP is going to help out Abbott. Disunity is death, and all that.

  444. Pavlov's Cat

    akn, unlike either Patricia Karvalas, (apparently) Eva Cox or (apparently) you (you get a bit incoherent at the end of your comment there), I have for years been a semi-regular reader of many of the women dissed as ‘mummy bloggers’, a term invented by resentful male geeks irritated by the vast numbers of readers and followers these women have attracted. Otherwise the term is used only by those who don’t spend a lot of time online or who do but rarely read anything there by women. Neither group would have the foggiest clue about what those women and their work and their readers are really like or what they really write and care about, and anyone from Graham Richardson down (no, make that ‘up’; it’s hard to go lower than Richo) who uses it as a cheap shot at Gillard is simply revealing their own ignorance.

  445. akn

    So, you mean Eva Cox is taking a cheap shot?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eva_Cox

    I’ll admit to not hearing the term before but there appears to be smoke so I’m guessing there’s fire somewhere.

  446. Martin Spalding

    The media may not be all-powerful but it sure is powerful. Without it, how do people know what is going on in politics? For years the mainstream media has given almost blanket negative coverage of the Federal Labor Govt, focusing on whatever cooked-up leadership rubbish is around rather than policy. With that in mind, what are people meant to think?

    And yes, much of radio & TV news is driven by what’s in the papers.

  447. Pavlov's Cat

    Thank you, akn, no call for Wikipedia: I know who Eva Cox is. I have been a feminist for 40 years and I taught feminist theory at the University of Melbourne for the best part of two decades.

    As to your question about whether she is taking a cheap shot, well, I don’t actually subscribe to ‘My gender right or wrong’, so I would definitely say that Cox was taking a cheap shot if she had actually used the term ‘mummy bloggers’ herself. But if you read the article more carefully than you apparently have so far, you will see that she is not directly quoted as having used it at any point. In contrasting her views with those of other feminists, the journalist has put the phrase in quotation marks, but is carefully mashing up the ‘mummy bloggers’ meme with Cox’s own views to make it look as if it comes from her. Because that is what the Oz does, and there’s nothing it loves more than an opportunity to make it look, however spuriously, as though a feminist has turned on other feminists.

  448. faustusnotes

    I think there should be a new internet law, or perhaps a localization of Godwin: as any thread on LP becomes longer, the probability that akn will start waving his working class willy about tends to 1.

    akn, do you really think that when a pieceworker from the garment industry approached Gillard for pro bono legal advice, what she actually most needed was a deep grounding in working class theory? Do you think she cared?

    Feel free to prove me wrong, but I have a strong suspicion that Gillard has done more to help working class people in the first year of her working life than you will in a millenium of updating your theories.

    And, if you’re looking for a comeback to my original point, I think you may have missed something. I was rebutting your claim that she is in office for naked power only. If your response to my rebuttal is so weak that it can’t even address its question to the right object (hint: you should be asking Gillard what working class is, not me), then you really are floundering. But I guess that’s inevitable when you are trying to defend as empty and groundless a claim as you started from.

  449. Helen

    My favourite paddle pop flavour is banana. My second favourite is chocolate.
    My least favourite is that rather scary rainbow one.
    I’m having a think about male vocal artists now, will get back to you.

  450. Chris

    x or (apparently) you (you get a bit incoherent at the end of your comment there), I have for years been a semi-regular reader of many of the women dissed as ‘mummy bloggers’, a term invented by resentful male geeks irritated by the vast numbers of readers and followers these women have attracted

    I think that’s rewriting history a bit. I think the term is overused in that has been used to describe woman bloggers who wouldn’t traditionally be considered mummy bloggers – just because someone is a woman and has kids doesn’t make them a mummy blogger. But there are also a number of woman bloggers out there who quite proudly self identify as mummy bloggers. Eg. Lori Dwyer is quite a high profile and popular blogger, who’s blog’s tag line is: “Random Ramblings of a Stay at Home Mum”

    http://www.rrsahm.com/

  451. Lefty E

    Latham in Quarterly Essay 49, ‘the preservation of power internally is regarded as a higher priority than satisfying the organisation’s external goals.’

    Yeah, that about sums it up.

  452. akn

    PC: you’re right about the mummy bloggers quote and Cox not saying it. The article was pay walled and it has taken me a little time to find a copy.

    Cox says, in part:

    ‘‘Today when she was defending her record she came across with limited vision, which doesn’t include disadvantaged groups like single parents. She’s not sympathetic to women who have been forced on to the dole and maybe a change in leadership would have led to someone who would have listened to the evidence.’’

    Nice display of credentials there; I’ve been reading feminism since Greer’s ‘female eunuch’ and have taught courses in which feminist philosophy was central to the teaching at the University of Sydney, UTS and Macquarie University.

    So, how do you rate Gillard: is she a feminist or a female PM? The clear evidence after the misogyny speech would say that she is a feminist but how about in policy terms? It appears the policy shift that penalises sole working parents is pretty crook from a feminist perspective. But you, as a professional feminist, may have a different view. Or how about the failure to withdraw Australian troops from Afghanistan at the first opportunity? Does feminism even have a view on that, or war, any more? Of course, as well, we should note the policy disaster of refugee processing. Does feminism have specific, feminist view of that?

  453. Lefty E

    [The most devastating result of the marginal seat analysis is that it shows a majority of voters in those seats would actually like to see Labor win the election, yet only a third can stomach actually voting for the government.]

    What a shambles. For this outcome one primarily has to blame the ALP itself.

  454. Lefty E

    Kelty doesnt think its about all about leadershit either:

    [ A Labor Party that cultivates division, or taxes superannuation retrospectively, or cannot justify deficits, or makes regional tours presidential visitations, or reinvents class warfare, or steals the rhetoric of Pauline Hanson on migrants, or embraces the Pacific refugee solution of John Howard, or attacks single mothers and narrows its base to a mythical group of blue-collar workers, cannot win an election. ]

    Yep! There’s never been *any* evidence that the type of poliicies that worked for Howard can work for the ALP.

    http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/a-new-script-needed-for-labor-and-the-nation-20130327-2gufy.html#ixzz2OnAWxXl9

  455. Chris

    LeftyE @ 494 – sometimes the best approach is just to hit the big reset button. But I suspect they’ve tried that publicly too many times already and people get cynical after a while.

  456. alfred venison

    my favourite feminist is my modern german history lecturer, dr carol adams, because she taught me the origins & development of working class feminism & middle class feminism in the wilhelmian empire, and about clara zetkin & rosa luxemburg, who i admire very much because she lived her philosophy and died in action. –a.v.

  457. Martin B

    There’s a lot to like about that Kelty article but more that a few things that are dubious. I don’t think Mar’n can be defended just because he was in the H/K government, and Crean had obviously made his own position untenable – he said so himself.

  458. Casey

    I favourite feminist used to be Viggo Mortensen but after he cut his hair and stopped being Jesus Christ in LOR, I decided that the most cutting edge feminism came out of Mark Wahlberg’s contributions, especially with Tina Fey in Date Night. You could say that I used to like the feminism of Johnny Depp but then he went all Naomie Wolf on me and started dating Amber Heard.

  459. Pavlov's Cat

    Nice display of credentials there; I’ve been reading feminism since Greer’s ‘female eunuch’ and have taught courses in which feminist philosophy was central to the teaching at the University of Sydney, UTS and Macquarie University.

    Well in that case you should know better than to recommend Wikipedia to anyone at all. My ‘display of credentials’ was strictly in response to your assumptions, and you really shouldn’t’ve displayed your own if you were then going to sneer at the notion of a ‘professional feminist’.

    Regarding your ‘Is she or is she not’ question, feminister-than-thou is not a game that I play, so you may place your gotchas where the sun don’t shine.

    My favourite feminist is Ignaz Semmelweis.

    (Helen, NO, NO, NOT BANANA!)

  460. Liz

    I think as an article, it’s a mixed bag. Are we really mourning the loss of Ferguson? Is the government really dividing the nation? If so, through what?

    Kelty lists education, health and fair wages as some of his criteria for a good Kabor government. Well, this Labor government has been pretty good at that stuff. The environment, not so much, I’d argue.

  461. Casey

    Other feminists that have inspired me include Javier Bardem whose haircut in No Country for Old Men was a defining moment in the feminist struggle against ….. you like banana icecream? eeeeew. Give me hazelnut gelato any day.

  462. Liz

    Johnny Depp us dating Amber Heard!? But, he’s my boyfriend. I guess I’ll just have to move onto George Clooney. Sigh.

  463. Pavlov's Cat

    I think the term is overused in that has been used to describe woman bloggers who wouldn’t traditionally be considered mummy bloggers – just because someone is a woman and has kids doesn’t make them a mummy blogger. But there are also a number of woman bloggers out there who quite proudly self identify as mummy bloggers.

    Chris, yes, that’s quite right, and I should have factored it in. I wasn’t so much rewriting history as not writing it properly. (Underwriting it?)

  464. Casey

    PAVLOV gotz the 500. It should have been me, but there you go, it wasn’t. My powers are obviously not yet returned.

  465. Liz

    I don’t like Paddle Pops at all. Pleaz can haz Golden Gaytime?

  466. Pavlov's Cat

    Casey, yes, lovely staying on topic there, as per Nabs. Did you read what Josh Brolin said to Javier Bardem the first time he saw that haircut? Told him (and I quote) that he wouldn’t get laid for three months.

  467. Casey

    I bet that didn’t happen. But then I like Bluebeard, don’t listen to me.

  468. faustusnotes

    My favourite form of posturing is more-working-class-than-thou posturing. My second favourite is more-feminist-than-thou, and my least favourite is holier-than-thou.

    My favourite feminist is Daniel Day Lewis in Last of the Mohicans. When Madeleine Stowe asks him what he’s looking at and he replies, “You, miss,” we can see all of women’s and workers’ struggle perfectly crystallized into two simple words. Beat that Casey, ya lapsed witch!

  469. Liz

    Javier Bardem is now married to Penelope Cruz. Are they hottest couple, or what?

  470. mindy

    Wouldn’t get laid for 3 months because he looked scary as fuck! Ahem.

    Mummy blogger is an attempt to turn female blogging into a pursuit of ‘mummies’ who should be tending their children i.e. are bad mothers for taking time out on the internet, claiming that what they are writing isn’t really important because they are women, claiming that mostly they write about their own children which many do but also talk about politics, feminism, history just about everything under the sun. It is just the latest iteration of people sneering at knitting blogs and trying to pretend what they talk about is ‘women’s issues’ and therefore unimportant. Eva Cox knows better than to sneer at Mummy bloggers I would think.

    The furore when a ‘Mummy blogger’ got to interview the PM. I think there were quite a few noses out of joint that a blogger got to sit down one on one and have a nice cuppa and chat.

  471. Zoe

    My favourite troll is still Evil Pundit. This new guy’s a freakin’ amateur. #bringbackevilpundit

  472. Pavlov's Cat

    Zoe!! *blows kisses like a mummy blogger*

  473. Casey
  474. Casey

    Yes Liz, those Spaniards with their excess of feminism, out of this world.

  475. faustusnotes

    Just getting back on track for a moment here, if I can drag you mummy bloggers away from your ladies talk, I note that all the people who lined up behind Rudd last week are getting a trashing today for resisting super changes for high income earners, resisting “class war” and claiming 250k is struggle street.

    But it’s Gillard who represents the reactionary forces within Labor…

  476. Liz

    My favourite feminist is still Black Caviar.

    FN. Amazing stuff isn’t it? Gillard is now fighting a class war whilst simultaneously an enemy of the working class.

  477. FDB

    Favourite feminist?

    Favourite frozen treat?

    Two Count Choculas please.

  478. Peter Murphy

    My least favorite feminist would be Camille Paglia; my most favorite would be Molly Ivins.

    What would be a nice Javier Bardem film where he plays a good guy? Any recommendations?

  479. faustusnotes

    such cognitive dissonance is easily handled if you just remember at all times that she is a witch, Liz.

  480. alfred venison

    my least favorite erstwhile feminist would have to be michelle shocked, eh? -a.v.

  481. Liz

    Peter Murphy, I’d recommend ‘Biutiful’. Not exactly a good guy. But a really interesting, compelling guy. ‘The Sea Inside’ and ‘Before Night Falls’. Both interesting good guys. ‘Jamon Jamon’ for pure gobsmacking sexiness.

  482. Liz

    Got the memo, FN.

  483. Pavlov's Cat

    Amazing stuff isn’t it? Gillard is now fighting a class war whilst simultaneously an enemy of the working class.

    She is also ‘surrounding herself with loyalists’ while simultaneously promoting Albanese. But then, she’s a witch, as you say.

  484. Russell

    This favourites game is much nicer than that nasty condemning business we used to have on LP ……

  485. Russell

    Peter Murphy – agree, Molly Ivins was a fantastic writer, I used to read her in The Nation. Katha Pollitt is still going strong there.

  486. Chris

    PC @ 504 – agreed. I think “Mummy blogger” is becoming a derogatory term, but I don’t think thats it’s origin. And that’s rather unfortunate for the original mummy bloggers.

    Mindy @ 511 – I think there’s several reasons mummy bloggers are becoming a target. Yes in some cases as I mentioned before its being used to trivialise what women are writing about – and the term has been applied to women who I don’t think fall into that category to write them off by association. Some of it is just disrespect for people who aren’t professional writers or journalists – bloggers in general get this.

    And some of it is plain jealously from other parts of the blogger community because the higher profile ones are able to get a pretty decent revenue stream from advertisers. People envious that a blog called something like “WoogsWorld” is actually really popular and can bring in a lot more money as well as in the end perhaps more influential (meetings with PM etc) than blogs with more “serious” content.

  487. Chris

    FN. Amazing stuff isn’t it? Gillard is now fighting a class war whilst simultaneously an enemy of the working class.

    Actually I think you’ve hit on one of the problems with the ALP (and its not restricted to just Gillard, but she is in charge). When you have such clear contradictions the public starts to see you as just supporting whatever it takes to get votes. And they begin to question what the party actually stands for.

  488. Liz

    Except, Chris it’s hard to see how she is an enemy of the working class. It’s just a whinge.

  489. Liz

    Still waiting for that list of feminists who uncritically support Gillard…

  490. Paul Norton

    My favourite feminist (at the moment I write) is Carole Patemen, but it’s so hard to name just one.

    My least favourite is Rosi Braidotti.

  491. mindy

    @Liz, has anyone actually asked Black Caviar?

  492. Pavlov's Cat

    My least favourite is Rosi Braidotti.

    Word.

  493. Golly Gosh

    Is Bettina Arndt a feminist Missy Higgins a lesbian?

    Hey, it’s almost Friday.

  494. Liz

    Mindy, she says ‘Naaaaay’.

  495. mindy

    @ Liz I walked straight into that one!

  496. Liz

    I was being very unoriginal, Mindy.

  497. codger

    Awesome Kim
    save for that other myth the grate nee gauche he hater…
    Paddle pop: ludwig on a stick…

  498. FDB

    My serious answers:

    Mags Atwood and Golden Gaytime.

  499. Casey

    The haircut that Javier Bardem wore in No Country for Old Bacon was an Aztec haircut. That’s why the hair is my favourite feminist. You gotsta remember that he was the vengeful Indigenous spirit, something something, someone told me over graduate drinks, I don’t remember. In Sydney, FDB at Messina Gelateria in Surry Hills, you can get the gelato “Formally known as Gaytime”. Legal issues, or something but it’s good.

  500. FDB

    “Formally”?

    I really hope that’s what it’s really called. I’m pretty sure I’ma have to check when I’m nearby in May.

    I also really hope they have free wi-fi…

    “Log-ins and Messina”

  501. FDB

    *ahem*

    Sorry, the link.

  502. Casey

    That link, it don’t work.

    But in May go here:

    http://www.gelatomessina.com/

  503. FDB

    Thanks, will do. Although the Lady Friend eats no dessert.

    None.

    Anyhoo, the link worked for me. Here’s a different one, just in case.

  504. paul walter

    I think the one thing the thread starter doesn’t quite take into account is the under the radar corroding of the constitutional and institutional structures in place for a long time, with the advent of neolib Globalisation.
    This not only the case in Australia, but places like the US and Canada, where community interest is usurped by (patriarchal?) big money buying out political parties and then enhancing or implementing things like FreeTrade agreements, competition policy, privatisations, de-unionisation and de industrialisation, that constrain the actions of governments, making them seem impotent.
    Since party funding is dependent on outside influences, only politicians compliant with new rules imposed from outside will be preselected and then lionised by msm. Social reform parties are not adapted to the go-get mentality, they operate on a different imperative and the money goes elsewhere; at best Labor can only initiate a holding operation against full-on market economics, but eventual capitulations bitterly antagonise the public, if Queensland and NSW are any example to go on.
    The system is in decline, but the western democracies just haven’t encountered decline previously. We didn’t immediately guess, with all the msm bunkum about outside threats, that the real threat would come from within- we just haven’t experienced losing before, so we are like frogs undergoing the interesting new experience of being in a slowly heating pot of water, realising too late this wasn’t the place to be, like the Trojans after the siege.

  505. akn

    Pavlov’s Cat @ 500:

    I wasn’t sneering when I called you a professional feminist because if as you claim you’ve been teaching feminism for two decades then it seems that’s what you are.

    “Regarding your ‘Is she or is she not’ question, feminister-than-thou is not a game that I play, so you may place your gotchas where the sun don’t shine. ”

    Piked it, big time.

    Anyway, apparently Australian feminism doesn’t have a critique of the Afghan war? Nor of war itself or of current policy failures to do with refugees. Can we conclude then that Australian feminism, under the ideological leadership of liberal feminists, appears to have knocked itself unconscious on the glass ceiling. Never mind. It’ll wake up again, some day.

  506. akn

    Faustnotes @ 489 + 509:

    Start with the relationship to the means of production when it comes down to knowing who the working classes are. That’s square one and you’re off and running. Don’t neglect Gramsci.

    You could expand your horizons by reading Jean Curthoys’ Feminist Amnesia:

    Feminist Amnesia is an important challenge to contemporary academic feminism. Jean Curthoys argues that the intellectual decline of university arts education and the loss of a deep moral commitment in feminism are related phenomena. The contradiction set up by the radical ideas of the 1960s, and institutionalised life of many of its protagonists in the academy has produced a special kind of intellectual distortion.

    This book criticises current trends in feminist theory from the perspective of forgotten and allegedly outdated feminist ideas. Jean Curthroys show that much contemporary feminist theory, like much of today’s radical thought, is muddled. The ‘forgotten’ theory of Women’s Liberation was, she argues, deeply oppositional and moral. The repression of this theory has led to distortions, most notably in the preoccupation with binary oppositions.

    Jean Curthoys argues that where Women’s Liberation was once radical, much of contemporary feminist thought hides behind obscurantism, and has become conservative and orthodox. These controversial ideas will be keenly debated by all those involved in women’s studies, feminist theory and moral philosophy.

  507. tigtog

    akn, when we get around to electing the Australian Feminist pope, then she’ll be able to tell you the One True Position of Australian Feminism on anything you like. Until then, you’ll just have to cope with the multiplicity of Australian feminists and their multiplicity of opinions.

  508. Pavlov's Cat

    I didn’t pike it, akn, I just thought it was a stupid and meaningless question.

  509. Pavlov's Cat

    Also, akn, since you appear to feel that you’re carrying the banner for feminism all on your own, perhaps you’d like to try at some point to adhere to one of its basic tenets — that women’s ideas and opinions should be accorded equal attention in public life — and attempt to get faustusnotes’ name right. It is sitting there right in front of you, after all.

  510. Liz

    I’m loving this. akn has decided to teach everyone about feminism. *Gets pop corn and watches fascinated*.

  511. akn

    The ANC had fewer problems having white fellas on the central executive than you (three) women do with a man expressing a critical view of the state of feminism in Australia. Now, who among you have actually read Curthoys? Talk about living in an intellectual ghetto … or the back of the cave.

  512. tigtog

    akn, you’ve moved well into Overflow Thread territory now.

  513. Casey

    The ANC had fewer problems having white fellas on the central executive than you (three) women do with a man expressing a critical view of the state of feminism in Australia. Now, who among you have actually read Curthoys? Talk about living in an intellectual ghetto … or the back of the cave.

    Four women, four. Probably more, as they happen to pass by. Grabs popcorn off Liz, waits for the kill.

  514. Helen

    I don’t like popcorn, so I’ll get some maltesers. Although I am still in a sugar rush from the paddle pops.

  515. paul burns

    Magnum’s have a pink champagne flavoured ice-cream. A friend bought/brought me one for Easter. Luv ’em.

  516. Pavlov's Cat

    I’m still boggling at the reading list, Miss. The Classics 101 reference to the back of the cave indicates to me that akn sees himself as the true philosopher who is freed from the shackles in the shadows (unlike the rest of us) and can see the world as it truly is. Which would explain a lot.

  517. mindy

    Nope haven’t read Curthoys, don’t care for your armchair academia because I privilege my lived experience over your book learnin’ akn.

    With apologies to David Bowie:

    And these [women] that you spit on
    As they try to change their worlds
    Are immune to your consultations
    They’re quite aware of what they’re going through

  518. faustusnotes

    I’m going to shift this enlightening conversation from the back of the cave to the overflow thread … this thread was entering the Missy Higgins zone anyway …

  519. Paul Norton

    akn, if your expertise in these matters was as great as you conceive it to be, you would know why there is not a feminist position or the feminist position on the Afghan war, asylum seekers, etc.

    Also, the last time I looked feminists in a range of political spaces weren’t exactly silent on these issues.

  520. Paul Norton

    akn @552:

    The ANC had fewer problems having white fellas on the central executive than you (three) women do with a man expressing a critical view of the state of feminism in Australia.

    Faulty analogy. The ANC was always a democratic movement of all races rather than a black movement.

  521. akn
  522. Casey

    Ah yes, a link to another mansplainer, to mansplain the mansplaining. Riveting. Finishes Liz’s popcorn. Aside to another passing woman “That’s not metal on his head is it? It’s tin foil”. Takes Helen’s maltesers.

  523. Pavlov's Cat

    Ah yes, that well-known authority on feminism and all-round reliable, objective and well-informed observer, John Pilger. Pass the maltesers.

  524. akn

    Oh, Pilger has the wrong reproductive set to be taken seriously. How about bell hooks:

    Visionary feminism is a wise and loving politics. It is rooted in the love of male and female being, refusing to privilege one over the other. The soul of feminist politics is the commitment to ending patriarchal domination of women and men, girls and boys.

    And again here as a feminist meditator

  525. faustusnotes

    Poor Pilger, I bet he gets that problem every day. However did he manage to secure those newspaper gigs when he was cursed by that particular set of bits?

  526. Pavlov's Cat

    Oh, Pilger has the wrong reproductive set to be taken seriously.

    Not at all; Pilger has the wrong kind of ego to be taken seriously. There are some men I take very seriously on the subject of feminism. I particularly like the ones who understand what mansplaining is and why it’s Rong.

  527. Paul Norton

    I’ve just realised that fn @520 seems to be saying that Black Caviar is a witch. That adds several new layers of significance to the Brisbane Sunday Mail caption under a photo that it said depicted “the owners and wives of Black Caviar”.

  528. tigtog

    Oh, Pilger has the wrong reproductive set to be taken seriously.

    No, the argument that any feminist here views Julia Gillard as a feminist hero is not to be taken seriously.

    That doesn’t mean that any feminist here views JG as a feminist villain, either.

    There’s a lot more nuance to be had than that.

  529. faustusnotes

    Maybe Black Caviar is secretly controlling the cabal of Faceless Men who made Julia Gillard the anti-feminist, anti-working class class warrior who is currently destroying the ALP?

    Evil destrier!

  530. Pavlov's Cat

    Faustusnotes: it goes all the way to the top. Here is the proof.

  531. Pavlov's Cat
  532. faustusnotes

    Definite mind-meld going on there. Also clear evidence that a CIA representative has been photoshopped out. There’s no way the Queen’s hat was really that small. Conspiracy!

  533. mindy

    *Squirrels around in the bag* Jaffas? Who bought the bloody Jaffas. Only good for rolling down the aisle in movie theatres of old. Hang on, I’ve found a bag of fantales, I’ll be over here sticking my teeth together. As you were. Willing to swap a fantale for a malteser.

  534. Liz

    Well, Julia Gillard is a number cruncher and Black Caviar is a hay muncher, so there’s obviously a weird, witchy connection going on.

  535. mindy

    I bet Julia likes Jaffas.

  536. Katz

    Excerpt from that Pilger piece:

    Her [Gillard’s] views on aggressive war might be described as neanderthal if they were not Victorian; referring to the dispatch of Australian colonial troops to Sudan in 1885 to avenge a popular uprising against the British, she described the forgotten bloody farce as “not only a test of wartime courage, but a test of character that has helped define our nation and create the sense of who we are.”

    Did JG really say that about a parcel of New South Welshmen volunteering to teach the Mahdi a stern lesson?

    Gosh. Whose Aussie martial heart fails to pound an extra patriotic beat at the mere mention of Omdurman?

    Who does JG think we are? Then again, maybe she doesn’t really believe it.

  537. faustusnotes

    It’s a deliberate misreading, Katz. Here’s what Gillard actually said at the opening of the Chinese-Australian war memorial:

    From those early colonial engagements in the Sudan and South Africa, through the two most terrible world wars in history and 60 years of peace-keeping and regional conflicts, the Australian defence force has stood the test.

    Not only a test of wartime courage.

    But a test of character, that has helped define our nation and create the sense of who we are.

    We call it the Anzac story – and proudly rank it as our nation’s most enduring narrative.

    She’s clearly not referring to Sudan specifically.

  538. Katz

    So I see.

    She merely subsumes Sudan within the liturgy of the great tradition of Australian military engagement.

    Naughty old Pilgers.

  539. faustusnotes

    especially considering it took me 3 seconds to check it with google. I’d never heard of that speech or the Sudan campaign, but funnily enough it struck me that a modern ALP leader wouldn’t single out a colonial campaign from 150 years ago as their prime example of Australian spirit …

  540. alfred venison

    whatever one thinks of the merits of that colonial intervention, sudan 1885 was the first expedition involving colonial forces (canada, nsw) in an overseas british imperial conflict.

    i don’t think its an inappropriate historical association to make, especially if one is a prime minister extolling the venerable age of national martial virtue, and i doubt the present prime minister is the first to make it.

    but it will strike some today as an ironically dubious association to reach back for, especially if they’re opposed to overseas interventions in the present. -a.v.

  541. Katz

    I think JG’s speech writer must’ve looked up Australian Military History on Wikipedia, added the weasel words and voilà! A shake’n’bake speech.

    That process is one of the reasons she languishes in the polls.

  542. Pavlov's Cat

    Naughty old Pilgers.

    I would have put it slightly differently, but that’ll do to be going on with. The idea of citing anyone capable of being so fundamentally dishonest as an authority on anything is laughable.

    I’m starting to get quite interested in who the PM’s speechwriter actually is, though. That’s a shocker.

  543. Dianne

    This conversation is like the chatter which takes place at the end of a long dinner party when everyone is too tired and soaked to get up. Time to wind up I suspect. How to do it? Maybe like Marianne Faithful who wrote an entertaining autobiography and wondered in print how she would finish it without any pithy insight to offer or weighty profundity. So she gave us her recipe for garlic chicken.

  544. tigtog
  545. Dianne

    Thankyou Tigtog. What goes well with the Blaster?

  546. tigtog

    Well-oiled litter bearers.

  547. Dianne

    The End

  548. Shingle

    There was a feminist case for supporting Wilkie’s pokies legislation. According to Tim Costello, before pokies women made up 14 % of problem gamblers; since then the stat has grown to more than half. That’s the kind of ‘equality’ we could do without, and for me, this is one of the many disappointments I have had with JG’s leadership. Contrary to what some might think, I can personally say that I spent a period after the initial shock and bewilderment trying to get over and adjust to the situation, I did want to find all the positives in what Gillard offered. But there have been too many examples of her support for the things I don’t believe in… Things that explain why I could never vote conservative. On too many issues the line between conservative and Labor as it now is has become so very thin. There are of course some positives, such as the NDIS. I am a feminist. But I am not a reductionist in that regard… My disappointment is deeply felt, and I feel much closer to Christine Milne and others in the Greens with regard to treatment of asylum seekers and single mothers. Obviously, Abbott is so much worse but two wrongs don’t make a right, except in this case, they make a shift to the right.

  549. Brian

    Shingle, on pokies, call me gullible, call me a fool, but the problem in the end was not with Gillard it was with the other indies. The numbers weren’t there for what Wilkie wanted. It was a bridge too far politically for Windsor and Oakeshott, even though they have often been principled rather than politically expedient on other matters.

    Jacques @ 448, I’d heard that the leaks had come from Tanner but not with any claim of evidence to back it up. If your informants were correct it would indeed be a shame.

  550. Mindy

    I have heard that Tanner had no time for Gillard at all. He may have felt that at the end of his career he had nothing to lose?

  551. Brian

    Mindy, I believe Tanner thought Gillard was a political opportunist, so no, probably he didn’t like her.

    Shingle, on the difference between Labor and the Tories, Gillard identifies as centre-left. I think Abbott and the LNP are are fair stretch further right. We are about to find out just how far.

  552. akn

    I linked to ‘Gonads’ Pilger’s article about Gillard because, in large part, he has it about right, for mine. His quoting of Gillard’s speech wasn’t so selective as to make it improper. In fact, he has it about right.

    Gillard said in that speech:

    ” Friends, Australia’s journey is a story of nation-building against incredible odds, creating a land of fairness and opportunity renowned across the world.

    That achievement has not come without a price.

    We live in a free country – and in a largely free world – only because the Australian people answered the call when the time of decision came.”

    Now, faustnotes and p.c. in particular, it is open to both of you to explain exactly how the NSW contingent to the Sudan War (1885) aided the development of a ‘free world’. Or is the left now so enfeebled that it buys into kahki nationalism with less critical thinking now than even at the time of the NSW expedition:

    The contingent, an infantry battalion of 522 men and 24 officers and an artillery battery of 212 men, was ready to sail on 3 March 1885. It left Sydney amid much public fanfare, generated in part by the holiday declared to farewell the troops; the send-off was described as the most festive occasion in the colony’s history. Support was not, however, universal, and many viewed the proceedings with indifference or even hostility. The nationalist Bulletin ridiculed the contingent both before and after its return. Meetings intended to launch a patriotic fund and endorse the government’s action were poorly attended in many working-class suburbs, and many of those who turned up voted against the fund. In some country centres there was a significant anti-war response, while miners in rural districts were said to be in “fierce opposition.

    Even the Australian War Memorial is more aware of the anti-war movement than you two.

    Pilger’s comment about Gillard talking ‘guff’ has wider application.