What Gillard is up against

GillardIf I were the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, I’d get to the point quite often where I would feel the need to vent about the number of hurdles I would need to jump just to get anything done. When you keep in mind that Gillard is rather good at getting things done, I think she deserves a lot more credit, especially since we know how many people are opposed to everything and anything she does. I wonder if she does rant sometimes, maybe to Tim in the evenings, because if it was me, I would explode without some outlet. Here’s a summary of who and what the Gillard Labor government is up against in the lead up to the election in September:

Other Labor MPs

I put this first, because this stuff shouldn’t happen. With king of white-anters, Kevin Rudd, leaking like a sieve, and the likes of Robert McClelland talking about resigning before September and possibly causing a bi-election, Gillard must often wonder why she gets out of bed in the morning, let alone tries to run a government. I was a huge Rudd supporter back when we all thought he was a visionary, a progressive and a great leader. But now I think he didn’t deserve the Labor leadership in the first place if he’s going to be a megalomaniac and undermine every successful policy that the Labor government has implemented. We all know people like Rudd – he loves to talk about doing things, loves to take all the credit, but is also hugely ineffective in actually making anything happen. Yes, Rudd delivered the apology and his government’s response to the GFC was excellent. He also proposed some great policies – the original mining tax and the emissions trading scheme. But he didn’t manage to get these policies delivered and he quite clearly wasn’t a team player if his behavior since Gillard took over as leader is anything to go by. The other MPs who still support Rudd, and still leak rumours of leadership tension to the press, without having the guts to have themselves named – well – shame on you all.

The Liberal National Coalition

Gillard must expect the opposition to oppose, but this is ridiculous. Under Tony Abbott’s leadership, the LNP is the most right wing, negative, abusive, dishonorable and downright nasty Opposition that any government has had to deal with in, well, forever. When Gillard successfully formed a minority Labor government in 2010, this apparently cemented her in Abbott’s mind as she who must be destroyed. Looking for bi-partisan support? Don’t expect any from Abbott. Looking for a fair and reasonable debate about policy, using facts, community interest and responsible governing as the cornerstones of your argument? You won’t get this from Abbott or anyone in his team. The wrecking ball approach, the media stunts and the constant and repetitive abuse of government is all they know. The promises made by ‘positive Tony’ are another broken promise from a man who doesn’t have a vision. Nor does he have anywhere near the amount of government revenue he will need to have any hope of delivering the brain farts that he calls policy, so he is either totally cynical or plain stupid. Interestingly, his attitude and modus operandi seems to have been happily adopted by those in the electorate who support him. No longer is a policy discussion on Twitter about who has the best evidence to support their argument – now Abbott supporters only provide abuse, ridicule and nonsensical conspiracy theories and smear. If Abbott has achieved anything in his time as leader of the Liberal Party it is only to alienate Liberal moderates (who I suppose will still vote for him anyway) and to build an army of fundamentalist right wing nasties who inhabitant Bullshit Mountain. This army does his bidding for him on social media, independent blog comments, in the mainstream press (think Jones, Bolt, Ackerman and Reith) and in café’s and workplaces near you. There’s no doubt that Australia will be a meaner and more selfish place under an Abbott led government. And this is what Gillard is fighting against.

The Greens

I have a lot of respect for Greens supporters. They’re passionate, they’re committed and they are true to themselves when it comes to policies they support. I just wish that more of this passion and commitment was directed at the end goal of a progressive government, rather than the end goal of destroying a progressive government. Without trying to start a fight with Greens supporters on Twitter (which by the way is really not fun), I can’t help but think that someone needs to remind some Greens who the real enemy is. Sure, you might not like Gillard’s asylum seeker or gay marriage policy. But are these two policies really enough to turn you into a Labor hating, venom spitting, abusive person who can’t stomach anything the government does? What about all the progressive reform that Gillard’s government has implemented? Ever considered giving credit where credit’s due? Sometimes it’s hard to tell if the comments on my posts abusing Gillard are coming from the left or the right. As a supporter of progressive policy myself, I can see that many Greens perceive Labor as having shifted too far to the right, but surely it’s obvious that when you compare Labor to Abbott’s LNP, Gillard’s policies are out in left field? That’s the important thing though – comparison. What will you get from Gillard that you wouldn’t get from Abbott? If you are a Greens supporter and you haven’t stopped reading yet, can I ask you to do one thing? Think about an Abbott government, who is promising to turn back the boats and would never in a million years even mention gay marriage, let alone consider supporting it. So who are you really fighting against?

The Mainstream Media

It’s not surprising that readership figures for mainstream news continue to decline. The mainstream media are, generally, really crap at their jobs. Fact is no longer an important journalist tool. Hysteria and scandal are the only channel that journalists seem to tune into. The ‘narrative’ is so set in stone that no amount of rational analysis can shift it. And when the ABC is following Fairfax and News Ltd down into a quagmire of Fox News-like exaggeration and misrepresentation, where are media consumers meant to turn to find out what’s really going on? It’s been clear for a long time now that Gillard can’t do anything to improve her relationship with the media. When she speaks, they don’t listen, or worse, they mock. On the other hand, when Abbott speaks, they lap it up. Even when he won’t answer their questions. Even when he walks away, they still support his campaign to be Prime Minister of Australia. It’s great that we now have an independent media, and I also can’t wait for the Guardian to arrive. But alas, the unengaged voter still believes everything they read/see in the biased mainstream media. And if people don’t think this is going to influence how the masses vote in September, they’re naïve to the point of delusional. 

Big Business

The other day I heard a journalist on the ABC say ‘Gillard has lost the business vote’. Really? Labor didn’t have the ‘big business’ vote in the first place, and that is what the ‘business vote’ has come to mean. Fair wages and job security aren’t in big business’s interests. Nor is ‘red tape’ and now ‘green tape’ (ie any sort of inconvenient regulation that is there to protect society and workers from unconstrained greed). This ‘business vote’ has always had a loud voice, has always lobbied, and threatened Labor governments. There are of course other ‘business’ interests that benefit from Labor initiatives, such as the renewables sector, but we rarely get to hear from them.

But now we are seeing a new phenomenon – special interests within the business sector spending millions of dollars on advertising campaigns in their own interests. The campaigns against the mining tax, the carbon price, pokies reform and plain cigarette packaging are obvious examples. Gillard now has to ‘negotiate’ with these people when she wants to implement a policy that will affect them. Somehow we seem to have got to the point where it is acceptable for special business interests to try to determine government tax policy, and where if they don’t like something, it should be ‘watered down’ until they do. But this is reality. And this is what Gillard is up against.

When you consider all of the above, it’s even more impressive that the Gillard government have achieved what they have within the apparent instability of a minority government. But the battle for this year’s election is only just starting. And all I can say at this point is you go girl.

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22 Comments on “What Gillard is up against”

  1. Iain Hall says:

    Victoria
    I have read your essay a couple of times over my lunch and I can’t help noticing a few of things, well firstly you are missing out the very biggest hurdle that Gillard faces, namely her own failings as a leader and an administrator.Her government has mad some really bad decisions or they have taken so long to make the right decisions that they then get no credit. Now I know you are a TRUE BELIEVER in the AGW theory but don’t you think that had the guts to say no to the Greens , Oakshott and Windsor instead offering to get a mandate at the next election for their carbon tax that she would not be considered so untrustworthy?
    Then there was her massive missteps over Asylum seekers you could not script a political farce with that plot and be called believable yet Gillard has given us a litany truly bad misreadings of the situation, policy brain farts and bad deals only to finally admit, at the cost of her dignity, that the coalition have been right all along.
    The next thing that she has to contend with is the absolute incompetence of her treasurer Wayne Swan if you don’t mind I’ll quote myself here:

    But Gillard is not the only member of her team who is prone to making “Own goals” Wayne Swan has scored more than his fair share it starts with the simple fact that not one of his five budgets have ever turned out even close to his predictions , well I suspect that has been the case for many treasurers but few have been made to look as much a fool as Wayne Swan has over his instance that the promised surplus would be delivered even though this claim was widely denounced by our most knowledgeable financial commentators. When it could not be denied any longer Swan did finally admit the obvious but by this time he was well over his own goal line and the touchdown was just a formality.

    In essence your essay seems to be trying to play a hand that is full of victim cards sadly the truth is that we should never select our government out of pity or sympathy we should choose it because we believe that it will provide good governance and stability neither of which seem to be in the ALP DNA>

    • goodrumo says:

      An excellent essay summarising just what PM Gillard has had to contend with. The previous commentor associates ‘playing victim card’ with ‘contending’. That’s his error. It is quite possible we have never, nor will ever have another PM as adept as mobilising government, policy, reforms, legislation. The ‘facts’ -(remember what those things are) support this. Hundreds of pieces of legislation have been passed, it is not even necessary to like these nor even think they good, bad or indifferent, it is generally impossible to ‘please everyone’. The fact is she is doing her job with her own temperament and character strengths she possesses. In a minority government and facing the most incredible hate speech, vilification and misogyny any female leader this country has ever experienced. Encouraged and condoned by Tony Abbott who has been on the longest dummy spit since not being chosen to power. The real victims here are those who have filled themselves with so much hate and aggrieved sense of entitlement. When really all they need to do is grow up and get over themselves and act as people who may have something to contribute to this great country. Well written again Victoria, thankyou, summed up very well.

      PM Gillad is now proving herself to be a leader of leaders. Under incredible adversary (not even intelligent opposition or policies, but lowest of low muckracking and personal character attacks upon her and all females for that matter-her gender). PM Gillard has remained the cool, rational and voice of reason amid this, dealt with everything in a professional manner and with incredible integrity. “Taking Care of Business” while the Opposition has been playing every card they can muster from the gutter. An Opposition of the Gutter.

      Prime Minister Gillard and her team have not lowered themselves to any of this and Australian people do, in the main recognise gutter politics when they see it.

      The issue is not about victimology but gutter politics and an Opposition with little to offer Australians anything but this. Meanwhile labor do what they are meant to be doing, governing. And governing very well for that matter.

      That was fun. 🙂

  2. Catching up says:

    Victoria, you have made it. You now have the attention of Hall.

    Agree with all you have written.

    No, The PM is not a victim. Victims give in and fall over. The PM is victorious and a great survivor, as they say, if it does not kill you, it makes you stronger.

    I am looking forwarded to the next election campaign. Most seem to believe that it will be a rerun of 2010.

    Well it will be as far as Mr. Abbott is concerned. His has changed nothing since 2010.

    The PM has grown in stature, is more confident. The PM will well and truly have Mr. Abbott’s were she wants him, by the time August comes around.

    Yesterday she made him come out from under the rock he has been hiding. Yes, even named some of the cuts. Yes, being forced past the motherhood statements. Yes, those discussion papers where beauties.

    I care less about costings. We can work them out for ourselves. He says he will not sack PS, but not replace them as they leave. How does one closed down full departments, under CEFC for a starters, and not sack the personnel.

  3. dariancase says:

    You often find when people are scrapping the barrel of intellect they pull the ‘you are playing a victim card’. Says far more about them then anyone else. I have reblogged this excellent essay of our Prime Minister Gillard’s achievements despite ineffectual intellect capable opposition. The opposition like any other squealing, ignorant group/organisation have some followers and ideaologue groups that babble same nonsense as their emperor with no clothes Abbott. Great stuff VR!

  4. dariancase says:

    THIS is CLASSIC:

    //Under Tony Abbott’s leadership, the LNP is the most right wing, negative, abusive, dishonorable and downright nasty Opposition that any government has had to deal with in, well, forever. When Gillard successfully formed a minority Labor government in 2010, this apparently cemented her in Abbott’s mind as she who must be destroyed. Looking for bi-partisan support? Don’t expect any from Abbott. Looking for a fair and reasonable debate about policy, using facts, community interest and responsible governing as the cornerstones of your argument? You won’t get this from Abbott or anyone in his team. The wrecking ball approach, the media stunts and the constant and repetitive abuse of government is all they know. The promises made by ‘positive Tony’ are another broken promise from a man who doesn’t have a vision. Nor does he have anywhere near the amount of government revenue he will need to have any hope of delivering the brain farts that he calls policy, so he is either totally cynical or plain stupid. Interestingly, his attitude and modus operandi seems to have been happily adopted by those in the electorate who support him. No longer is a policy discussion on Twitter about who has the best evidence to support their argument – now Abbott supporters only provide abuse, ridicule and nonsensical conspiracy theories and smear. If Abbott has achieved anything in his time as leader of the Liberal Party it is only to alienate Liberal moderates (who I suppose will still vote for him anyway) and to build an army of fundamentalist right wing nasties who inhabitant Bullshit Mountain.//—-Australians deserve better than Tony Abbott as an opposition leader. Spot on.

  5. wooster87 says:

    Reblogged this on woosterlang87 and commented:
    Excellent essay by Victoria Rollison ‘What Gillard is up Against’

  6. wooster87 says:

    Great blog Victoria, summed up beautifully. Another reblogger here. Keep up excellent wordsmith work.

  7. I talked to Laurie Ferguson this week and he kept repeating “treachery” , and this sadly is what has overtaken the Labour party at the moment.They need to sort this out first before the can even think about drawing peoples attention away from personality distraction…the public is in “wag the dog mode” and cant see the “moving forward “

  8. Chris Grealy says:

    Poor old Kevvy, getting kicked in the guts once again. Even if I accepted your premise that he’s bitter and twisred, you might take the time to ask, “I wonder if he has good reason?”

  9. JamesH says:

    Yes!!! All the Media can do ever since the last election, is stick the boots into Julia, all day all night Marianne. Then there is that Rudd the Dudd fella, what a loser he has turned out to be and I thought this alterboy was going to be good for Australia. When I first heard that Rudd had the audacity to rip it up an RAAF female flight attendant for not having his special ordered meal on board a flight. I thought what is this bloke on about. I couldn’t care less if he was PM or not! He had no authority to address any person in military uniform in that way. This is when this bloke started to loose me, then he backed down on climate change and didn’t have the guts to bring those Green Eyed monsters back in-line. Should have sent them on a field trip to Malaysia with a message: Terrorists incognito.

  10. JamesH says:

    Victoria another great masterpiece on the truth.

  11. Gorgeous Dunny says:

    You’re a star of clarity and rational thinking, Victoria. I agree 100% with your analysis. It is an Orwellian world. According to the MSM Gillard is a disaster, about to implode any minute now. Yet she continues to govern and get things done.

  12. Bilko says:

    Victoria
    Julia is one hell of a women,(our own Linda Carter alias Wonder Woman) most blokes would have sunk without a trace by now. So the rest of you so call blokes in the caucus / cactus (lots of pricks but few balls) support her or perish. If I new how to link a song to my post it would be “I will Survive” by Gloria Gayner I think

  13. […] following up on Victoria’s recent post on what Gillard is up against. Two pieces on the Drum on Thursday 21 February nicely illustrate a couple more of the sorts of […]

  14. […] Gillard wasn’t an excellent Prime Minister who is doing the very best she possibly can under terribly difficult circumstances. Yesterday, a friend who isn’t usually particularly political texted me: ‘if they get rid of […]

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