June 24, 2010

Yes She Can

'We live in fickle and disposal times'. This was just one of the political tweets I read today describing the extraordinary series of events that brought down a first term Prime Minister and sent a deputy Prime Minister hurtling through the glass ceiling and into the history books as Australia's first female leader. 

Today, Kevin Rudd appeared genuinely shocked and mystified by what had just occurred, as though nobody had bothered to explain to him that his political demise was imminent. Surely he had been warned that this shit-storm was brewing. 
Surely his own cabinet members or the faceless advisors had explained to him that his party was unravelling at the speed of light and that it was his head on the chopping block. Or perhaps the coup was staged entirely without his knowledge; masterminded in secret by a hit squad comprising of right wingers Bill Shorten, Don Farrell, David Feeney and Mark Abib in a  series of strategic and complex moves designed to minimise Labor's collateral damage. 

Either way, such is the nature of politics - one day you are in and the next you are out and as we have seen today, the rise of the party is often more important than the person who stands before it . Right now Julia Gillard is undoubtedly the most high profile woman in Australian politics and she has been promoted thanks to a bunch of right wing men. 
But who is Julia Gillard and how will this working class lefty atheist with immigrant parents fair on the big stage with the big boys from the right? From what I can tell the media savages are already trying to paint Gillard into their nasty little corners with negative stereotypes emerging of her as the unwed, barren woman etc etc.  
Neither of these things should have any bearing on Gillard's role as leader of the nation and Gillard's decision to choose career over motherhood is really none of our damn business. As a role model for young Australian women and young girls it is actually refreshing to have a strong, independent woman at the helm for a change. 
As time moves on we will no doubt begin to learn more about Julia Gillard. My hope is that regardless of her performance we can reserve our gender bias and base our judgements purely on her political abilities rather than the state of her womb or the colour of her hair. 

My hope is that she is afforded the same level playing field as her male contemporaries. In the end, we must not lose sight of the goal for the next election, and that is to elect a strong, just, honest and fair Prime Minister to the table, although preferably one who does not think that global warming is a fad. 

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