Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Rudd Redux: Julia Gillard gone after 3 years

Three years ago on the night when Julia Gillard challenged Kevin Rudd I wrote:

On the QT: The ALP: How to completely screw it up

… But its all irrelevant, because this evening it was reported that moves were underway to oust Kevin Rudd as PM and replace him with Julia Gillard. The word is that the Victoria and SA rightwing factions are behind the move…

But that doesn’t matter, the story has taken hold, and Julia might as well take over now – what the hell, due to this, the election is pretty much gone now anyway, she might as well have 5 months as PM.

And those people behind it in the ALP should be taken out back and gently slapped around the head with a 4x2 plank of wood. And I volunteer to be the one wielding the first slap.

What idiots. What utter brainless, dullards. The latest Newspoll shows the ALP up 52-48. As Possum pointed out, of the 24 polls since the start of May only 3 have had the ALP behind. No Government has lost an election when holding such a position this close to an election. There is no desire in the electorate to make Abbott the PM, and even with the decline in the ALP vote, very little of that has resulted in an increase in Liberal Party vote - in fact Rudd still leads as preferred PM! (so Rudd is doing better now than Howard did against Latham in 2004!!)

But I also wrote:

I think Julia Gillard will be an excellent PM, I have long wanted her to be PM. But I am not convinced that this move is a good one for the ALP in terms of wining the election.031044-25page1[4].jpg (image)

Within a couple days I changed my view on the stuffing up aspect. I placed rather far too much store in dodgy “internal polling” which was likely something pulled out of someone’s bum and printed up as though it was real. Perhaps it was the South Australian parochialism (as shown by the front page of The Advertiser) that changed my view.

But it was mostly that I was a fan of Julia Gillard as Deputy PM.

I remained confident of Gillard doing well in the election until Day 7 when she gave her speech on climate change, in which she put forward the idea of a “citizen’s assembly”.

On that day I wrote:

Do you know how bad this policy is Julia? It is so bad that Nick Minchin is criticising you for delaying action. Nick fucking Minchin. Nick Minchin: a person whose imbecility on this subject is almost without compare. A guy who seriously thinks climate change is a left wing conspiracy! Just think how bat-shit dumb you have to be to think that! And yet he is attacking you for delaying! He is saying the Liberal Party are the ones who will be doing direct action now!

But for mine Julia, this was your worst day, and you’ll get my vote because the Libs are putrid and Abbott as PM would be a national embarrassment.

But geez. Lift your game. Stop worrying about wining the election and go out and win the people.

And in the end that is something she was never able to do. She never won the people.

I remained a fan, but one who died a little with each shite policy position. Sometimes the policy framework was OK, but the delivery was awful. Take asylum seekers. I truly believe a regional framework is the best way to go, but the Malaysia setup was poorly done, failing to tick off the basics – like how would they be treated – until after the issues had been raised.

I wrote today in The Drum that “whenever a government dies the policy failures that they do live after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” And the same goes for a PM. For a while at least.

Many of those on the progressive side while focus on asylums seekers and the single parents onto Newstart policy, and maybe the recent attempt to cut higher education.

They’ll downplay that she put a price on carbon (anyone apparently can do that if you’re forced to); they’ll ignore the NDIS (that’s a bipartisan thing ain’t it); they’ll dismiss the school funding (oh it’s really a right-wing type policy). They’ll remember that she played the gender card and like the worthless hypocrites they are they will say she demeaned the office of Prime Minister by posing for the Women’s Weekly.

I despaired at some of her policies, and many things she didn’t do I hated that she didn’t do them. But I’ll pause now while you go off and find that government which you liked everything that it did.

Heck, I’m old enough to remember ALP types who hated Hawke and Keating for destroying the ALP. I also remember many left-wing friends telling how much they couldn’t stand Rudd (and this was about 5 months into 2008).

I admired the amazing resilience she has. The crap she had to put up with for the past 2-3 years would have rendered me a small crumpled shivering figure. No one will ever say she was weak. Christ she stared down so many pathetic little pissants in a number of amazing press conferences. Question after question she would take; never shirking, never running off.

Watch her final speech.

It’s not a one off, she had many press conferences like this, so don’t say “if only…” she did and after each one the media would write “if only…”. And then they carried on.

Geez, if she did press conferences like Abbott did, the press would crucify her… oh right they did anyway.

And she was great at getting deals done. The problem perhaps is that in getting the deal done she often came up with a policy that was not worth the deal – such as the mining tax.

But all of that doesn’t matter now, the reality is Gillard never won the people. You can say it was because of the media, and I sure as heck think there were those in the media who really hated her – you only have to look at the front page of the Daily Telegraph on Monday to see it. But good leaders can speak to the people and render the media less potent (if not entirely). 

But the voters hated her. Sure some men hated her because she was a women – if you want to pretend that was not an issue, enjoy your fantasy world – some people hated her because they think she lied to them, others hated her because they thought she was mean to Rudd. But when it gets down to winning an election it really doesn’t matter why they did, they just did.

You can’t go to an election with a leader who has a 62% of the voters disapproving of the way she is doing the job. That’s just asking to be slaughtered. The way it was looking, there was not going to be an ALP MP other than Rudd north of Sydney Harbour. Think on that

Now there is one party with a leader with a net dissatisfaction rating – and that is the Liberal Party. No other opposition leader in history has lasted so long with such poor personal polling. Abbott was able to because people hated Gillard more.

The was no way for the ALP to focus the electorates’ minds on Abbott; now they can.

You can say that Rudd’s forces helped that happen, and you’d be right. I am on the record as not being a fan of Rudd, but I also never understood Howard’s ongoing popularity with the voters. Both Howard and Rudd were not politicians for political tragics but for those who largely hate politics.

Will this result in a win for the ALP? I’ve been wrong so often in the past that I won’t bother with any predictionBNsDZf5CEAMNkgPs their that it was obvious the ALP would have been routed under Gillard; now at the very least there is a chance that won’t happen.

Tony Abbott’s press conference tonight looked pretty tired and old. Boats, carbon tax… blah blah.

I also don’t think most voters will give a stuff about Swan, Conroy, Emerson, Ludwig etc resigning. Most people might know who the treasurer is but beyond that have little idea and less care.

I also think the Liberal Party adverts showing ALP ministers criticising Rudd won’t be as effective as they hope, mostly because the voters don’t agree with them – much like ALP adverts targeting Howard never really worked. 

But we’ll see. At least now things seem up for grabs rather than being a pretty predictable path towards an iceberg.

And just to show how parochial is politics here’s the font page of the Courier Mail:


Anonymous said...

Sad but true, Greg, every word of it. Historians will judge Gillard's policies and reform agenda positively but unfortunately they are not voting in the coming election.
I agree that the LNP ads will have little or no traction with the voters- there is nothing in them the voters haven't already heard and yet they still like him, and they don't like Abbott and, more than any previous Australian election, this one is going to be presidential in nature. This one will not be about voting for policies, it will be about voting for a person, for which I hope the media is satisfied.
And Rudd hasn't yet turned his gaze towards Abbott, who is about to have his feet put to the fire - and may they burn.
I don't know (nobody really does) how the election will turn out but I do know how it was going to turn out and, in the words of one of one of the great men of the 20th century, "you have nothing to fear but fear itself".
Today was a day for "all good men to come to the aid of the party", with the emphasis on party.
For all his faults, Rudd can communicate and connect.

Jan Dobson said...

Responsibility for ALP's parlous position lies not with Julia Gillard's personal popularity or with Kevin Rudd's petulant behaviour, during and after his tenure as PM. It is the total lack of team cohesiveness that infuriated and annoyed.
If the members of the government had clearly stated their support and refrained from internal navel gazing, the media may have covered some of the many achievements of this minority government. Instead all we heard was leadership, leadership, leadership. If every ALP MP and Senator had refrained, publicly and privately from this divisiveness, public confidence would have not been undermined thus ensuring a second term. I'm not a sports fan, but I think the term is 'own goal'.

Anonymous said...

Well said Greg, I thought Abbott looked more than tired, he looked rattled. Finally some scrutiny!

Anonymous said...

Politicians for those who hate politics - love this!

I don't see how the Libs can run a campaign on the basis that the ALP dislikes Rudd and showing all those criticisms. Because the Libs have spent the last three years saying 'the ALP are liars'. To turn around now and say 'well, except when they were talking about Rudd' requires some very fancy footwork.

As a Canberran I have heard all the horror stories of Rudd, and the ABC were laughing last night as Rudd was 1/2hr late for his first press conference ... but while I think the Libs will still win, its going to be close and the Libs will not have 2 or 3 unopposed terms any more. Whether or not I can put up with Rudd for that long (check out the cartoon on p3 of today's SMH)

Anonymous said...

It's like the Day of the Triffids - we can analyse policies and the political tactics of the leaders all we like, but it will be for nothing because the great unwashed will vote for who they think (mistakenly) is a nice guy.

Michael said...

Federer gets beaten in the second round at Wimbledon and you blog about politics!?!

Catherine White said...

Rudd prevailed - and former PM Julia Gillard has become a footnote.

Ultimately, Julia Gillard was not the victim of sexism, though it played a role, but her own incompetence.

The elevation of Peter Slipper, and her betrayal of Andrew Wilkie are two glaring examples.

Julia Gillard couldn't succeed outside the walls of her own factional back-room.

Brett Haydon said...

Fair piece Greg. I remain a huge Julia fan, but right from the get go I wanted to throw things at the screen/radio whenever her or Wayne tried to sell their work. Every government has it's failures, but it 's how you sell it that makes to difference between being perceived as incompetent or just flawed.

Florence nee Fed up said...

Not good at blowing her own trumpet. Believe results was enough. In mormal times that would be so.

I believe she had the measure of Abbott and the media.

How does one fight an opponent, one cannot see? One willing to bring the party, government and country down, in wreaking his revenge,

Hels said...

Thank you Greg.

My nephew, not an insensitive young man at all, said women should just get over the Labour leadership vote. There was no gender issue; just a party trying to win the next election. I shall send him a copy of Nikki Gemmell’s column in the Weekend Australian Magazine (29/6/13). Nikki’s key issue was as follows.

Becoming prime minister, aiming for it, was the holy grail for my generation of women, the daughters of the tide of feminist euphoria that swept the western world 40 years ago. (Me too, Nikki. My critical years as a feminist were 1963-1972). You can be anything, we were repeatedly told – political leader, soldier, captain of industry, crusader, whatever you want. Blaze the trail.

But now with the insidious destruction of Julia Gillard’s prime ministership, do we want our shining girls to be harangued, ridiculed, mocked in sustained verbal stoning; reduced to nothing but their body parts, their genitalia openly discussed in public; to be treated so shockingly differently?

A lot of women felt grubbied after that ignominious week.

Art and Architecture, mainly

Anonymous said...