Now that another night of the long knives is over it is clear that Julia Gillard was undermined as much, if not more, by the seething spite of the deposed Rudd, as she was by the misogyny of the Murdoch Media with its shock jock cohorts, and the endless, repetitive negativity from the opposition. Labor seems to have divided itself into so many factions that the right hand doesn’t know who it is stabbing with the left. From what I understand, it was ever thus.
At least the Coalition has the sense to unite behind its leader. Although how anyone could see sense in rallying behind a man who seems to hate women, homosexuals and immigrants in equal measure, is beyond my comprehension. Although maybe he doesn’t hate women per se (after all he loves Gina Rhinehart, his wife and daughters) - just the one who cost him the top job because the Independents saw more chance of pragmatic politics with Julia Gillard, than they did with him.
How would Abbott and Obama ever work together when Abbott is an avowed member of the climate change denying ‘Flat Earth Society’ Obama doesn’t have time for. Obama also tweeted his support for the Texas abortion filibuster, another women’s issue Abbott wants to meddle with. In fact, Abbott is a Conservative with capital C who seems to have difficulty with many of the modern day issues us ordinary folks are proud to embrace or reconcile ourselves with – marriage equality, a woman’s right to choose, the challenge of Climate Change and creating a welcoming, all inclusive, non racist society for our children to grow up in.
Do we simply blame Karma that Julia Gillard got her come-uppance this week and choose not to look at the twisted, tortured shenanigans of the battle for the big office in Parliament House? No one explained at the first ousting what was so terrible about Kevin, and Julia just looked like the ultimate scheming bitch. Much of the electorate has never changed their opinion from that first blood letting, no matter how much good she has done for the country since. By the time the truth came out about Rudd’s control freak tendencies (as if anyone could have expected anything else from a man as stiff, wooden and robotic as Rudd) it was too late. No one was listening. Minds had been made up and the Aussie male’s deep distrust and fear of a strong, articulate, opinionated woman was at the fore.
If Rudd was so bad first time round what makes anyone think the leopard might have changed his spots while brewing on the backbench? Or is this groundhog day just a last ditch attempt to circumvent the inevitable - who is next as the ALP seek to appease the pollsters?
One thing is certain – the electorate is sick and tired of the bullying, bitchiness and infantile tantrums and behaviour we have had the misfortune to witness over the last few years. Informal straw polls of friends and family indicate up to 50% are prepared to cast ‘informal’ votes or pay the fine rather than have anything to do with what purports to be politics in this great country. I’m not surprised.
As we endeavour to create workplaces and societies which respect individuals of all colours, creeds, abilities and sexual orientation, the antics in the highest house of the land are execrable. How can we expect to be taken seriously on the world stage when our politicians indulge in the sort of dysfunctional behaviour that we train our toddlers to tame?
What the Julia Gillard Prime Ministership has revealed in all its unpleasantness is the ingrained sexism in Australian society – witness the ongoing revelations from the Australian Defence Force, the appalling behaviour of our sporting elite, and the impossibility of a rational debate about anything while that dark underbelly is still alive and well and kicking out at women viscerally, physically and psychologically as we seek to attain equality.
The men in suits and that bloody Aussie ‘mateship’ that we are supposedly so proud of, has won out again. But shouldn’t that anachronistic bastion of male bonding be relegated to the annals of history as we seek less to be ‘mates’ and more to treat all peoples with humanity and respect. We had the wit in Parliament to pass legislation in 2011 which increase penalties to detect and prevent workplace bullying and harassment and yet the supposed giants of Canberra believe themselves to be above the law.
We ordinary Aussie battlers might not possess law degrees or be Rhodes scholars but we can clearly see the paradox between the political culture and our ordinary working lives and we are sick of it. Grow up, shape up, start acting like adults and focus your minds not on your own petty vendettas and wranglings but on the greater good of this amazing country with so much potential to lead the world into a sustainable, secure future.
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