In most respects it’s difficult to feel much sympathy for deposed Aussie PM Julia Gillard. After all, she knifed Kevin Rudd in 2010, and now he’s returned the favour.
Above: opposition leader Abbott in front of semi-literate anti Gillard banners
It’s also true that, despite some minor progressive reforms on disability and education, her record was not one to inspire great enthusiasm from the radical left.
Nevertheless, her arrival as Australia’s first female prime minister was a milestone for gender equality, and it’s beyond doubt that sexism and misogyny played a big part in bringing her down. She was subjected to personal comments, jokes and cartoons about her appearance and private life that no male politician would have been subjected to.
In a dignified valedictory speech, Gillard probably got it right when she said negative reaction to her gender “doesn’t explain everything about my prime ministership, nor does it explain nothing.”
Unfortunately, the right wing neanderthal Tony Abbott of the so-called “Liberal” opposition is the gainer from Labour’s civil war, and looks like winning the September elections with ease. Look at that picture of him (above) and note the banners. that he seems happy to be pictured standing in front of.
Gillard was not a great prime minister and certainly no great socialist. But (despite the bleatings of poor, mad Pilger) she deserves to be remembered for That Speech if for nothing else. If you missed it at the time, or just want to see and hear it again, here is that virtuoso performance: