Okay, I’ve finished my exams. I have no job. Therefore, I see it as apt that I take a little time out of my packed schedule to write about the latest happenings in politics, sport, and whatever else I feel like mentioning. Firstly: As I hope and pray all of you know, Julia Gillard has been installed as our new Prime Minister, defeating Kevin Rudd in an election decided by Labour’s caucus (or something like that- I’m horribly informed on the nuances of politics, which I don’t necessarily see as a bad thing). I was watching the TV last night, waiting for Margaret and David to pop on screen, when I first heard about Gillard’s decision to challenge. The ABC then unbelievably chose to cut to K-Rudd (this is quite possibly the only instance where a white guy can pull off a black athlete-style nickname) giving a press conference, where he quite rightly reminded us that he had been selected by the public to serve the public. This is one of the parts that I can’t really comprehend about this whole situation: the government is selected to serve the entire population, but once they’re elected, they become insufferably self-serving. I have no way to tangibly prove this, but I can tell you that Gillard wasn’t elected by the party members purely because they believed she is a more capable leader than Rudd. Preferential deals would have been cut, especially with the now-Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan.
I will be honest here. I did not know that Julia Gillard had the power to just challenge Rudd’s leadership like that. I know that the same thing happened with Turnbull/Abbott a few months ago, but in that situation, the Liberals aren’t in power, so a leadership change will have no measurable effect on anyone in the general population. But for Gillard to use this ability- well, this makes what happened today the second most randomly awesome act of power-wielding in Australian political history. Of course, the number one is undeniably Gough Whitlam’s dismissal, which I still remain flabbergasted by, not because of the dismissal in and of itself, but because it was the Governor General who did the deed. The Governor General! This is the highest of all figurehead appointments, a role that essentially requires you to attend government functions and the likes, but yet you inexplicably have the capacity to dismiss the most powerful (wo)man in the nation? The mind is baffled.
There is also a couple of other unusual things, in my opinion, about Gillard’s ascendance. One of these is that she has an absolutely horrible voice. It is a thing that elicits bogan pride, a lazy drawl which gets inside your head and doesn’t ever lead. I know that the PM position is a bit more hands on than, say, the American Presidency, but I think that, first and foremost, you want a person who can communicate ideas clearly and effectively. When the person in charge of doing that has a voice that makes Dave Hughes seem like a viable alternative, I think there’s cause for concern.
Another thing: she has red hair. There, I said it. Kerry O’Brien is overjoyed.
Also, wasn’t K-Rudd a genuinely popular PM? I know that he had his haters, but there was definitely no general sense of antipathy surrounding him, unlike a certain bald-headed fellow who managed to stay in office for the previous ten years or so. And when can Tony Abbott call an early election? Tomorrow? If I were him, I’d look to do it as soon as possible.
One last thing: on News.com.au, the six most widely read stories today all concern Gillard becoming PM. In seventh place is “Monster croc wins battle with shark”. People, I don’t ask much, but please, do whatever needs to be done to move this up to first place. A crocodile fought a shark? Holy crap!
All in all, it was easily the most exciting day of politics I have ever been privy to, and it’s good to see a female PM, even if *we* didn’t elect her. I think I’ll leave this as a single post, and write some more about sports in a separate one which should be up later tonight.