Photo: Julia Gillard on HMAS Broome, The Age 8/7/10
It is two weeks since the ‘coup d’etat’ that removed Kevin Rudd from the office of Prime Minister of Australia and saw Julia Gillard sworn in as our first female PM. There was ‘rejoicing on the streets’ and women urged their daughters to aim high.
What has our first female PM achieved in this short time?
Her first week in office saw her calming down the mining multinationals and giving them what they want at a loss of at least 1.5 billion to the federal coffers -A real backdown and a victory for the miners surely.
This week Gillard has announced a new off shore processing area for asylum seekers. This time it isn’t Nauru but it is Timor. Don’t you think that Timor has had enough of Australia’s meddling? Weren’t our soldiers over there only a few years ago keeping the peace and making sure we got access to the Timor sea oil? Should we really be asking this poor nation to take asylum seekers while we are such a rich country. Why can’t they be processed here?
This is just another game of comeuppance that Gillard is playing with the leader of the opposition Tony Abbott. He is playing tough on the asylum seeker issue and Gillard has no choice but to play hard as well. She has to win the votes of those Australians who are frightened that we will be swamped by refugees, many of whom live in marginal seats and there are many of these obviously or Gillard and Abbott would not be playing this awful game.
It’s all about votes. So why does it matter if our PM is male or female? Is it possible in this age of rampant corporatization for anyone to lead differently? It seems not.