Reading commentators from Australia’s right wing biased, News Corp, newspapers, one would think that PM Julia Gillard had been handed a dream run when accepting the opportunity to topple Kevin Rudd, back in 2010. But these commentators readily forget how “on the nose” Rudd was by this time, after an extended honeymoon period at the top.
It is a brief but rich tradition, within the ALP, to hand-over power from the blokes to the sheilas, only when the farm has totally gone to shit and the bankers are moving in. Just ask Carmen Lawrence in WA, premier after the Royal Commission put Brian Burke out to lobbying pasture, or Joan Kirner in Victoria, premier briefly, after the melt-down of their economy under John Cain.
Australian’s are not world leaders when it comes to recognising mum, as the deserved leader, over dad – just ask Dad and Dave. We may all know that mum really runs the show, but most of us fellas would rather die, than admit it in public. So the unspoken ruse, shared by journalists and their multiplicity of paid “opinion only” commentators, that PM Julia Gillard has received a fair go is of course a joke, in the true sense of the word.
Australians as world leaders of multi-racial policies, like multiculturalism? Give it a rest – this inner-city reality policy imposed upon the majority of suburbanites and regional residents of white bread Australia – was never going to stick beyond PM Keating’s time in office. Our positive attitude toward indigenous Australians in the post Mabo era, when many of us had been brought up to think of our black brethren, as “lazy good for nothings,” was never going to last. Australia, as the “clever country,” in forty seven years of my time here, I have yet to encounter it.
We are not the best or the worst of humanity, we are a pretty general representation of it, but we have evolved on an isolated island for much of our existence, both white and indigenous Australia. This creates a parochial paranoia and we have fear based policies on both sides of the race divide. When it comes to gender, this tends to favour masculine attitudes toward aliens, aggressively rejecting their suits and braying out loudly against them.
So when male Aussies pass over the baton of government to their female counterparts it is not in a spirit of idealistic generosity but rather in a desperate mood of surrender in the face of overwhelming odds. PM Julia Gillard may have seized her opportunity but the chalice passed to her by those back room boys was poisoned enough to appear to be as the ALP’s “only way out”.
Politics, in this country, is performed in a “dog eat dog” environment and is riddled with lawyers, professionally trained adversarial operatives, so it is no surprise that base gender attitudes prevail. Public perceptions of how a woman should behave within this cauldron of egos and phony political correctness is very much an inchoate science. Political reporting, and journalism itself, in this country remains a very masculine world, the women who enter the field tend to take-on the macho attitudes of their male colleagues in getting the story.