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The Leadership Debate

Gillard.

Rudd.

Gillard.

Rudd.

Gill--

I don't need to finish. If you live in Australia, this is the national conversation.

It has been inevitable, really. When Julia Gillard did not send Kevin Rudd to the backbench, or to political obscurity, or simply remove him from the party, the question of him was always going to be around. I remember, a few days after Rudd had been removed, sitting in the apartment of an Asian family, teaching their daughter. The father and mother were telling me how much they had liked Rudd. He had spoken Mandarin, and seemed, they said, to care about the Asian community. Besides, the implication was, what had he done to deserve being toppled? Taking on mining companies? It appeared to many that Kevin Rudd had not lost the position of Prime Minister because he was a controlling ego maniac, as politicians said, but because had had dared to take on the mining companies, had dared suggest they pay the largest tax in the world, had dared suggest that they did not control the country. And when Julia Gillard signed what was clearly a watered down, big mining business friendly tax that allowed record profits to be revealed shortly after, well, it didn't help her. It especially didn't help her that the ex-Prime Minister was so visible, so easy to find, and to ask questions of.

A lot of Gillard's problems, at least from my point of view, come from not being hard enough, or straight enough with the media and those around her. Kevin Rudd? Fuck him off was the clear answer. The recent question about her victory speech prepared two weeks in advance? Yes. That's the answer. The answer was, 'Yes, it was planned. Next question.' Why the hell would she say anything else? She appeared weak from the start, and it allowed the media to run what has been a fairly negative and sexist campaign against her--hell, how else would the ABC find the stomach to run At Home With Julia, a blatantly sexist and anti-Gillard vehicle that hid behind satire? Whether she deserved it or not is not the question here. Personally, I think the Labor Party is eating itself alive, and Gillard has been no better or worse than Rudd or Howard or any other recent leader, though I will admit a certain admiration for the long, drawn out plan of shuffling the speaker of the house around so she could fuck over Andrew Wilkie and his pokie reform. I mean, you know, pokie reform would have been good--but the way she moved everything months in advance was pretty impressive. I wonder if Wilkie ever knew?

But the debate, the debate. The right of the Labor Party vs the slightly less right of the Labor Party. The idea that any of the are electable, now. I half expect the Labor Party to remove Gillard and turn to Rudd, who will laugh, and say, "Fuck you all," before moving to Tahiti.

The entire party is essentially unelectable now. That's the end product of this debate. Eventually, unless someone gets power hungry in the Coalition, Tony Abbott will be Prime Minister Abbott, and his archaic, terrible views on women will be able to given a voice.



Though I guess, in the end, the kindest thing you'll be able to say is that, still, nothing has really changed. Australia, the land of conservative, middle of the road politics, where economically and socially we're doing so fine, that we can allow our leaders to be deposed and reinstalled, or simply deposed, without one big business or monopoly losing a dollar.