Like most Australians I watched the tumultuous years of Julia Gillard's reign with growing disquiet. I was dismayed that she had stolen Kevin Rudd's job on June 24, 2010, in a deal with the back room boys but was prepared to judge her on her deeds. In my opinion her deeds were not so bad, but they weren't so good either.
The relentless brain-dead attacks by Tony Abbott and his cronies did not help matters and in fact muddied the waters so much that it was difficult to see what was really happening. The constant reminder that Kevin Rudd was still there, lurking in the shadows, sharpening his knife, was an additional stress for her and I would have been sympathetic except for the fact that she had brought it on herself.
When it was finally all over on June 26, 2013, there were a variety of reactions around the country from glee to tears. Many feminists got behind Julia and praised her achievements and lashed out at the "misogynist" attacks that she had supposedly been unfairly subject to. At this point I began to wonder what these achievements were and what the terrible attacks were.
Barry Cassidy produced a list of her achievements but on analysis I found that many of them belonged to Rudd. I viewed a clip of "misogynist" attacks on Gillard as put up by feminists but most of them were of the execrable Alan Jones and ignorant talk show callers, hardly mistreatment by the parliament or respectable media.
I researched these matters as best I could and wrote the following poem to attempt to put the record straight. It is not intended as an attack on Julia Gillard but neither is it intended to gloss over the facts. Personally I was dissatisfied with her term but it could have been worse, it could have been John Howard...
Thanks and credit to Wikipedia for providing most of the detail in the footnotes.
In Barry in Glamorgan back in nineteen sixty one,
Was the life of the raddle-headed1 Julia begun.
In sixty six the Gillards immigrated to the sun,
And settled down in Adelaide to see what could be done.
She went to Melbourne Uni where she studied up on law,
Got involved with unions early2, perhaps her fatal flaw,
For they took her to the top but always kept her in their claw,
And she was Chief of Staff for Brumby3 in ten years if not before.
The Labour Party lured her as a dog might a flea.
She even ran the Carlton branch whilst taking her degree.
So highly did they think of her down at the ALP,
That they gave the seat of Lalor, as safe as it could be.
She rose up at a steady rate inside that ancient firm4,
And was in the shadow ministry upon her second term.
She took Industry and Health, her Union links to reaffirm,
And was deputy to Rudd after Beazley's5 final squirm.
The election in November at two thousand years and seven,
Suggested Rudd and Gillard was a marriage made in heaven,
The public's general weariness with Howard was the leaven,
Of the landslide cake of victory for Julia and Kevin.
Under Kevin, Gillard naturally got major ministry,
And to oversee the mission took responsibility,
"Work Choices" was replaced with "Fair Work"6 at her decree,
And a sixteen billion plan to avoid the GFC7.
It was clear from the beginning that the Ruddster was fanatic,
And he ruled the Labour Government in style autocratic,
Yet he was a man of vision with a touch of charismatic,
And he ushered in great changes in a manner quite emphatic.
It's a failing fact of politics that shiftiness survives,
And the "Faceless Men"8 of Labour calmly sharpened up their knives.
So when Kevin ran afoul of the western miners' drives9,
They tapped Gillard on the shoulder to add meaning to their lives.
Undoubtedly, a captain's spill has its time and place:
The principal should face the pack when he has lost the race.
But to cut down, still in his prime, the man that gave you face,
When all he did was tax the rich: Now that is a disgrace!
That signal act of treachery, as now she understands,
Would taint her and would haunt her like a ghost that e'er withstands,10
And despite her best endeavours with the pow'r that she commands,
Like Lady Mac11 could never wash the blood from off her hands.
The election that then followed this in August, twenty ten,
Saw Julia and Labour back in power once again,
Thanks to deals with the Greens and the Independent men12,
But a lower house minority was quite beyond their ken.
Rudd formed the NBN Co back in two thousand and nine,
And determined fibre optic to the home was the design,
It's true it didn't pass until well after his decline13,
But to chalk it up to Gillard is a little asinine.
"There will be no carbon tax..."14 she said before the vote,
But she went back on her words with a Green noose 'round her throat15,
And now she takes the credit when it's time to sit and gloat,
But it was Rudd and the Greens who built the plan and made it float16.
With noble Andrew Wilkie, Gillard signed a contract clean,
To bring in pre-commitment here for each poker machine,
But when the TV stations and the football made a scene,
She blithely broke the deal and changed the colour of her mien.17
It was the Mining Tax that really brought the Ruddster down,
For the notion sound was hated by the fat big end of town,
Yet Bob Brown still insisted that it not be left to drown,
So 'twas passed emasculated making Swan look like a clown.18
The Murray Darling Basin Plan is taken in her name,
But its birth goes back to Howard and to Rudd who lit the flame,
"Seven thousand giga-litres!" did Authority19 proclaim,
But less than 3 delivered and more bores to her great shame20.
Julia the greenie was a most distasteful part,
With a lifetime love of unions, an industrialist at heart21.
She demurred and delayed and reneged right from the start,
Til Christine Milne had had enough and took the deal apart22.
Each PM needs a legacy of pride which they can keep,
And National Disability Insurance made her weep,
To double your support for such people is not cheap,
But more that twenty billion every year seems far too steep23.
The Gonski plan is something else on which to hang her hat.
She thinks 'twill change the nation, but I have my doubts at that:
I don't accept that extra funds will make a smarter brat,
And stealing cash from tertiary is dumb as a fruit bat.
There are other minor items in her CV to let loose,
Like Cigarette Plain Packaging and the Flood Levy sluice.
She suspended cattle exports, better treatment to produce,
And the Royal Commission into Sexual Abuse24.
Each PM has her failures, sure as land must meet the sea,
Most obvious: her crap Asylum Seeker Policy25.
She slashed defensive spending by too much you may agree,
Down to one point six percent of Australia's GDP26.
The press just love a scandal and Julia had her store,
With a dodgy union slush fund while she practiced at the law27,
And the HSU's Craig Thomson with a penchant for a whore28,
And she bribed Peter Slipper to get numbers on the floor29.
Yes, she was treated roughly, but that's politics I say.
Her opponent a dense pitbull30, but that often is the way.
There was dumbness from public and the media making hay,
But full credit for the toughness that she showed in the affray.
I don't accept her treatment was misogyny so plain,
Cartoonists can be cruel for sure31, but that is their domain.
To laugh at people's bodies is bad taste we may maintain32,
But Abbott in his Speedos also copped his share of pain.
She is lionised by feminists as something clean and bright,
And ridiculed by Liberals as a bad egg and a blight.
But what she was is clear if you use objective sight:
A puppet of the unions and the Labour Party Right.
They set her up and taught her how to play the traitor's game,
And kept her numbers solid through the trouble and the blame,
But when it was their own seats under threat did her disclaim33,
They had made her and had kept her and they broke her just the same.
And that is the story of our first PM female,
A clever girl for whom the thrill of power was her grail.
Without a clear vision, she in policy did flail,
Til finally her backers came and dropped her like a nail.
Warren Mars - July 2013