Is Our Prime Minister In Her Prime?

“Julia Gillard, in her prime, pulls a career-defining rabbit out of the hat…” said Peter Hartcher of the Sydney Morning Herald in November last year. My response to him then is below.

Julia Gillard now ‘in her prime?’
You just don’t know how high she’ll climb!
She’ll reach heights even more sublime.
Don’t judge until she’s done her time.

This moment ‘career defining?’
She’s long been Labor’s silver lining!
That’s why News is always whining,
‘Bring her down!’ ‘Get her resigning!’

Pulled ‘a rabbit out of the hat?’
I’m not sure I’d agree with that!
She’ll yet swat Mr. Rabbit ‘SPLAT!’
Put him back in his box, real flat!

NOTE: I wrote that last November and no matter what the polls say I haven’t changed my opinion one little bit, particularly not after watching her this morning on Insiders. I had already revived these few verses earlier this weekend at The Political Sword in the course of a discussion on sexist attitudes coloring the media coverage of Julia Gillard’s performance as Prime Minister. It was a carry-over from their previous thread on ‘What Julia Gillard DOES Stand For!’ which gave rise to my very recent and lighthearted pome about reincarnation and what Tony Abbott probably wouldn’t stand for!

D Mick Weir who often comments at the Political Sword had drawn our attention to an article written by Katherine Murphy on the recent Liberal Party conference who, in discussing the Prime Minister’s response to it, said that she was growing into the job of PM and showing a capacity and commitment for it, and that for Gillard, something changed last week.

My immediate response was that this suggestion by Katherine Murphy that the PM was somehow maturing and at last demonstrating commitment and capacity was one I had seen before and with which I don’t agree, since it suggests that previously she had lacked these qualities. In spite of back handed compliments like this I do think the perceptions of Julia Gillard are changing. There is beginning to be a reluctant admission from some in the media that she not only has the will, but also great capacity for the job of Prime Minister.

In my view both have long been there, but the timing of her achieving the top job was not of her choosing or her design. She had no option on 24/06/10 but to accept a fait accompli engineered by others. I imagine those hours of conversation between herself and Rudd while the world outside moved on was trying to convince him of the same, even an effort to negotiate some sort of face-saving formula, for both of them. I sensed no triumphalism in her first speech as PM and felt she would have preferred to have been making it in very different circumstances.

Since then there have been quite a few articles speculating on Julia Gillard’s character and performance as PM, but few give her the credit she deserves. There’s always a patronising note in there, as in the article by Peter Hartcher last November which gave rise to my indignant response in this pome which the Sydney Morning Herald chose not to publish. Our discussion at The Political Sword centred around the patronising and sexist tone I detect in much comment on our Prime Minister which surprised Mick Weir initially since he hadn’t particularly noticed that. He thought there were many like him now growing up with no experience or awareness of the kind of sexism that others like Gravel and Janice agreed was part of their experience. Mick thought that was an issue to discuss later.

A significant and prescient article about Gillard on the day after she first became Prime Minister which is really worth re-reading is by Julia Baird and confirms in retrospect as it were my own view that if Julia Gillard were a man there would be no doubt about her fitness for the job of Prime Minister.

Despite their success in bringing down Kevin Rudd, helped to an extent by his own shortcomings, I believe that the Coalition with the help of News Ltd. and others could never have succeeded in their campaign to denigrate and then destroy this Prime Minister had she been a man. That they’ve achieved the first, but not yet the second is a measure of her character. The picture above, taken on her fiftieth birthday, shows a woman in her prime. A few months on she is just as vibrant and strong. Her performance under extreme pressure and in the face of slights, insults and even hysterical mob hatred, suggests that she may be not only in her physical prime, who knows, but her will is indomitable and she sure has a lot still to give to this country in terms of courage, intellect and leadership.


Acerbic Conehead, 03/07/11 Thanks for sharing your verses on Julia Gillard “in her prime”. As well as having to put up with the usual vitriol directed against a PM, she also has to deal with the misogynist angle.

Ad Astra, 03/07/11/07 Patricia WA I enjoyed reading what you wrote. The Julia Baird article was sound and encouraging. I believe Julia Gillard is on the way to convincing open minded observers of her mettle and strength.

Gravel, 04/07/11 Patricia, Again I agree with you wholeheartedly. I really liked Kevin, but liked Julia more, she seemed to have some quality about her that showed what she could be like if she were given the ‘top’ job. I would have folded in five seconds under what she has had thrown at her by almost everyone in the MSM, the opposition and unfortunately in voter land. We still have two and a half years to get Labor’s program through and established and if the worst happens at least she will be respected by history.

Casablanca,    11/01/11,     government is] a task that never ends, and she [Gillard] takes it on with a proper degree of calm reason, empathy, intelligence and perspective.
Just had to repeat those words from the Alister Drysdale article at…/Abbott-Gillard-carbon-tax-CHOGM-Qantas-China-pokie-pd20111031-N5QPB

PWA, 11/01/11, they seem eminently suitable for your collection. Casablanca.


About patriciawa
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