Archive for June 24th, 2010

Thoughts on Julia Gillard

An email to 2GB’s Jason Morrison who is presenting his show live from Parliament House today.

G’day Jason,

My immediate reaction to Julia Gillard is that we finally have two parties which have clearly defined and different ideological standpoints. Apart from the point of illegal immigrants, it is clear that Labor is left and Liberal is right…it’s been ages since we’ve been able to truly say that. People actually have a choice now.

Julia may have been appointed by the right-wing, but only because Kevin Rudd was sinking the ship…it is still the same team, but one which will now run with clear left-wing policies on things like global warming and workplace relations.

I say bring it on. This type of clear difference is what this country should have more of.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart

June 24th, 2010 at 03:25pm

Geraldine Nordfeldt now working for Seven News

Well now that’s a surprise. Geraldine Nordfeldt (ex-WIN Canberra and then Canberra Times) is working for Seven News now, and filed a report today on the Gillard ascendancy to the leadership.

Geraldine was a great journalist at WIN, covering the local political rounds in a way which was so good, that the government pressured (and sadly succeeded) WIN management to get rid of her before the last election. I wasn’t as enamoured with her work at The Canberra Communist Daily Times, but it’s good to see her back in broadcast journalism. Hopefully she will do her best to keep The House On The Hill honest.


June 24th, 2010 at 02:35pm

Julia Gillard is PM

The word out of Parliament House is that Kevin Rudd has stood down to avoid the ballot. Julia Gillard is the new PM, Wayne Swan is the Deputy PM. More to come.

9:30: Looks like the whole media has this now. Waiting for the press conference.

9:33: Unconfirmed report that Lindsay Tanner will be Treasurer. I can’t see this happening myself, I’d suggest that Swan will keep the job.

9:36: ALP Returning Officer says Julia Gillard is officially confirmed as new PM. Wayne Swan as deputy. No contest, no vote. Rudd stood down.

9:41: Nobody facing the media just yet. It will be interesting to see Rudd and Gillard’s individual press conferences, if they ever happen. I’d love to see how Rudd reacts to this considering that just last night he said he intended on being the leader forever (or words to that effect).

9:46: This is weird. Gillard is of the left, but was pushed to do all of this by the right-wing of the Labor party. Can anybody say Puppet Prime Minister? I’ll predict it now…a quick boost to Labor’s poll numbers, then they’ll nose-dive. If last night’s leaked figures for Rudd weren’t bad enough, Gillard’s will be worse come election day.

9:50 Gillard/Swan press conference about to happen by the looks of it.

9:52: 2GB’s Jason Morrison saying that Rudd is putting on a brave face, smiling to the media. Not entirely sure that I heard him right, but it sounded like he said Penny Wong followed him to his office, which indicates to me that she could be out. I’m seeing vision of Swan and John Faulkner walking together. Another Defence Minister bites the dust?

9:57: I’ll need to check this but Gillard is apparently, apart from being the first female PM, she is the first foreign-born PM. I’ll have to check that out…

10:00: Gillard’s comment as she walked past the media earlier “I feel very honoured and I’ll be making a statement shortly”.

10:03: That stat about Gillard being the first foreign-born PM is wrong. We’ve had a few. (Thanks to George for correcting this while I did some research of my own on it).

10:14: The one bit of information that I want and can’t find is the time at which Julia will visit the Governor-General to be sworn in. If anybody knows, could you please let me know?

10:17: Gillard will address the media at 11am. Unless something exciting happens, I’m taking a break for a little while…back in 10-15 minutes.

10:31: Have a listen to this little ditty put together by a restaurant at Casino Canberra in 2006 about Kevin and Julia. Have truer words ever been sung?
Download MP3

10:39: 2CC’s Mark Parton on Facebook wonders what the future holds for Kevin Rudd. Will he do a “Turnbull” and fire pot shots from the back bench, turn up [as] a Chinese Interpreter in the UN, start a consultancy with Godwin Grech or accept the position of Australian Ambassador to Afghanistan

10:46: 2GB’s Jason Morrison on Channel Seven right now.

10:48: Morrison’s take is that the public don’t really care about the “first female” aspect as much as the policy, that the public have said to him that they see Gillard as representing the same brand and not as a different type of leader, and says that Gillard should acknowledge the many failures of the government and not palm them off on Rudd if she wants to be credible.

11:02: As we wait for Julia to appear at the lectern, Channel Seven report that the press conference is being pushed back to 11:40.

11:09: Rudd to address media at 11:15. Rudd will therefore be addressing the media before the new PM. It’s not what I’d want if I was the new PM. I’d be out there ad-libbing right now. It’s not like an “I’m your new PM” speech needs much work.

11:12: AAP are reporting that Julia Gillard will be sworn in as Prime Minister by the Governor-General at 12:30.

11:25: Rudd speaking now.

11:27: Rudd flanked by wife and son says he was elected by Australians to provide a “fair go”. Says he has given it his all and is proud of what he achieved as PM. Is currently rattling off what he considers to be his achievements. Another shopping list speech from Rudd.

11:29: The emotion is setting in now. He’s trying not to cry. I wish he’d stop the shopping list and just say what’s really on his mind. His wife just tried to make him stop the speech.

11:37: I might dislike Rudd and disagree with much of what he has done…but I will give him this. He clearly believes in what he has done, and is genuinely sad that he can’t carry on with his work. It’s sad that it’s only in moments like these that we get a glimpse of the real people under the politician’s protective coat and image.

11:46: Rudd says he will assist the Gillard government in being re-elected. He will be contesting Griffith in the upcoming federal election. Towards the end he started to lighten up, relax and joke around a bit about being PM but not Labor leader, and took a shot at his own convoluted way with words. Much thanks and praise was heaped on his wife before he disappeared with a smile on his face.

11:59: Julia speaking now.

12:04: Julia Gillard says she sought leadership with the “greatest humility, resolve and enthusiasm”. Says she is “utterly committed” to the job. Says she believes in a government which rewards “hard work, decency and effort”. Says leadership is about teamwork (huh??).
Sought leadership change because she thought a “good government was losing its way” and she didn’t want to see Tony Abbott take over on the back of that.
Julia has committed to:
*strong and responsible government
*fair work rights (strongly anti-work choices is her background and that’s what she means…very dark day indeed)

She says she takes her fair share of government’s good and bad deeds. Acknowledges her leadership is not at the mandate of the people, and will seek an election at some stage in the next few months so that she can ask Australians for their permission for her to govern.

Says she believes in man-made global warming and that she wants a price on carbon. If elected a prime minister she will push for an ETS as the economy improves.

Gillard says she will negotiate with the mining industry over the mining tax. She is cancelling all government advertising about the mining tax and requests the same of the mining industry.

Acknowledges sacrifice of the military.

Julia says she disagreed with Kevin Rudd about the direction of the government, however she says he was an historic prime minister and heaped a lot of praise on him, almost as if she received a short version of Rudd’s shopping list speech.

Julia says Rudd’s future in the Labor Party and the government is up for grabs. He can serve if he wants to, by the sounds of it.

It sounds like Wayne Swan will stay as Treasurer in addition to being Deputy PM. Further announcements on that will come at a later time.

Wayne Swan says it’s an “unexpected privilege” to be Deputy PM and that the government will now “move forward” with Julia Gillard, however today is not a day for celebration, but a day to get back to work.

Julia says she will be strong on border security/illegal immigrants, so it looks like the right-wing of the party supported her leadership on the proviso that she reverses the disastrous Rudd changes to border policies.

12:26: The presser is still going…Q & A time, not that the answers have said much that we didn’t already know.

Interestingly, The Daily Telegraph are printing an afternoon edition. They clearly want to be first to the press on this…but is there a market for an afternoon newspaper about this subject?

12:32: Gillard will not move in to The Lodge until the Australian public elects her and therefore gives her the right to use those keys. Either she is taking her role as PM extremely seriously, or she doesn’t want to move in, only to have to move out again in a couple months.

12:39: Press conference is finally over. Channel Seven are now running with a “panel of experts”. I’ve been informed that they have not taken a single ad break since 11am, about 100 minutes ago. (Clue time for y’all) So glad I’m not at work dealing with this.

12:43: Gillard is on her way to Government House to be sworn in as PM. I wonder if we’ll get live coverage of that on TV as well? Given the amount of continued talking heads, I’m starting to think that we might.

12:46: I was right! TV are taking the swearing in ceremony live. Tony Abbott also has a press conference scheduled for 1:10pm.

12:48: Watching this footage of the Government House driveway reminds me of the day that I was outside Government House waiting for John Howard to ask the Governor-General for the 2007 election.

12:55: Julia Gillard has arrived at Government House. We are moments away from officially having a new Prime Minister.

13:00 Julia has walked in and here comes the Governor-General. That’s two hours without an ad break for Channel Seven.

13:04: The GG’s statement has been made, the papers signed, and Julia has read the affirmation (???) and signed it, as has the GG. GG offers her “warmest” (incredibly cardboard if you ask me) congratulations. And it’s over…we have a new PM.

Abbott’s press conference to follow shortly.

13:08: Seven’s first ad break in two hours and eight minutes…and it looks like the 11am Prime news update just aired. “Good morning” you say? (no criticism from me on that…I wouldn’t be surprised if the newsroom stopped at the 11am update and waited for Seven’s block coverage to come to an end before making more updates. No point making hours of stuff which will never air.)

13:13: Abbott speaking now.

13:19: Abbott said Gillard does not represent any new policies, and that Labor simply represents “dud policies”. Abbott paid tribute to Rudd and seemed sorry that he was kicked out in this way.

Abbott congratulated Gillard on reaching the office of PM but took a swipe at her for being unelected, and then said that it is his job to ensure that she is never elected. He then went on with the shopping list of calamities overseen by the Rudd/Gillard leadership. Then he drew a long bow, claiming that pulling the mining tax ads without pulling their budget somehow means that she is not willing to do anything about the policy. He rightfully said that the tax needs to be dumped, but in the strangest way possible..I don’t think anyone will understand his message.

He then drew comparisons between federal Labor and the “NSW Labor Mafia” in an attempt to push some of the hatred of NSW Labor on to federal Labor. Might work, might not. I think people will draw their own conclusions.

13:22: Aparently Rio Tinto have pulled their ads opposing the mining tax, in response to Julia pulling the government’s ads. We have a cease fire.

13:27: Abbott calls an emissions trading scheme “Orwellian News-speak” for “big tax”

13:29: At a guess, I’d say Seven’s coverage with the “expert panel” will be padded out until the scheduled special before All Saints. If memory serves, it’s David Guetta today. (OK, so maybe not…looks like they’ll stay through Question Time just like Nine…another ad-free hour on commercial television!)

13:41: Well I think that’s it for the day. Julia will have her first Question Time as Prime Minister today at 2 o’clock and I dare say that the fireworks between her and Tony Abbott will be quite good, although I doubt that anything of consequence will come out of it today. I’m calling it a day on this. Any further updates will appear in new posts. I now need to organise the remainder of my day and go to work at 4pm, so I’ll probably look at organising my thoughts on all of this at some time tomorrow morning.


June 24th, 2010 at 09:28am

Labor Leadership

Ah the perils of being at work when stuff like this happens.

It was quite a night last night with the Labor leadership up in the air. I can’t say that I’m surprised that Kevin Rudd is forcing a vote and not simply standing aside for Julia Gillard…Kevin is in there to survive, not to hand over to anyone. Kevin, although portrayed as a nice and friendly man in the “Kevin 07” campaign, has shown his true colours a number of times since. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with him being less nice than he was portrayed (issues of honesty aside), merely that we now all know that he is not the sort of person who is likely to simply hand over power without a fight. In some ways that is admirable…although when your administration is in as much trouble as Kevin’s clearly is, the merits of staying and fighting, and the apparent arrogance of believing that you’ve overseen a wonderful administration is somewhat disturbing.

The one thing which Kevin Rudd said in his rather angrily delivered press conference last night which interested me is that he wants to push ahead with the emissions trading scheme…this is surely another backflip after he was forced to put it on the back-burner last year. In fact it sounded to me as if Kevin made that announcement publicly in an effort to win back some much-needed support from within Labor ranks, as otherwise he would have simply promised it in private and not brought it back to the public consciousness before a plan was formulated, as doing so simply allows the opposition to run the “great big tax” argument all over again.

In my mind, it really doesn’t matter who wins the leadership spill this morning as either way it will be bad news for them. If Kevin Rudd somehow manages to cling to the leadership, then the party will appear disunited and Kevin will need to get rid of many members of his cabinet in order to silence his critics…a move which would further antagonise his opponents and give him an even worse cabinet than the one he currently has. Alternatively he could keep his cabinet and risk more high-profile Labor politicians revolting again in the near future.

If Julia Gillard wins, well I don’t know how an angry-sounding former unionist, former secretary of a socialist group, with as much, if not more blame than Kevin Rudd for many of the fiascos of this government (the Building the Education Revolution scheme, for example) is going to be able to maintain popularity for any length of time, especially once she’s in charge and starts pushing her agenda rather compromising on the agenda of others. I also got the distinct impression from Kevin Rudd’s angry speech last night that, if he loses, he’s going to emulate Mark Latham and start spreading as much dirt as possible on Julia Gillard and all of the other people who he deems to be responsible for his downfall.

Having Julia Gillard as leader would allow Labor to market itself as a left-wing organisation rather than continuing to pretend that it’s a fiscally conservative party when we all know that not a single one of them actually understandings basic free-market economics. It would clarify the position of both the government and the opposition in people’s minds, however it would also have the side-effect of seeing many Australians, who have seen what a mess left-wing policies have made of many things in this country and abroad, finally decide that a return to conservative government is what they want.

Either way, for Labor it’s bad news. That said, one party doing a bad job isn’t necessarily enough to lose them an election as new leaders tend to have a honeymoon period. It will be up to Tony Abbott and the coalition to keep the pressure on Labor if they want to win. They’re generally doing a good job if it so far, however there are a few issues of unity which the Liberals and Nationals will need to work on if they want to truly bury Labor.

So, my predictions are that I expect Julia Gillard to defeat Kevin Rudd and become our first female Prime Minister today. I expect the federal election to be pushed back until at least December to give Julia enough time to settle in as leader…and I expect her relative popularity to disappear rapidly as Australians wake up to how much of a leftist she really is, and how much blame she actually deserves for many of the fiascos of this government. The continuation of the fiascos should help in this regard.

I therefore expect Labor to get absolutely hammered in the next federal election…although I think that will happen regardless of who is leading them.

I do have to say that, should Julia Gillard become leader, I think it will be a shame for our first female Prime Minister to be one which was not chosen by the public at a general election. Julia Gillard, whilst voted in to represent her electorate, was not voted for by the people of Australia as Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd was. It is an unfortunate anomaly in any electoral system that a deputy leader can assume the leadership without the direct approval of the public. I don’t see any sensible way around this anomaly, however it would be a shame to see an historic milestone reached in such a grubby way.


June 24th, 2010 at 05:56am


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