Was it just over a month ago
Fremantle for me was all aglow
With brave red poppies on the street?
Now everywhere I go I meet
Sunflowers, big leaved and tall,
Bold yellow against sky and wall.
From whence they came who can tell?
Untended and not watered well,
Under the glaring sun they stand,
Smiling, proclaiming, ”Ain’t life grand!”

PS  And here’s a picture from Fremantle where sunflowers  grow!”



I have to thank a real estate agent, Paul Donnelly, for lifting me out of my writer’s block and thinking about versifying again.   About sunflowers though, certainly not politics!  Not yet, anyway.   He has sent me, and I imagine every other householder in Freo,  a pack of ‘Sunbird’ sunflower seeds and suggested we plant them on our verges and in our gardens, photograph their progress and send them in to his photo competition.  Which I shall do, but that has sent me back to my polliepomes site to pull up a draft of a Sunflowers poem from a post I did for Cafe Whispers back in 2010.  Wow!  How time flies!

A natural extension of the poppies story came to me on my daily walks here in Fremantle. I have  always been impressed by the sunflowers growing wild on our streets every spring. as I leave the house for my morning walk with Tacker. They seem to be everywhere – on nature strips, alongside stone walls and fences and in quite a few gardens too where some people are happy to leave them wherever they’ve sprung up.

Back home, I grab the secateurs and cut some so that I can enjoy them indoors, just as Vincent Van Gogh did so famously more than a century ago.

Vincent van Gogh, Sunflowers

Sorry, I haven’t got the right jug or background to really recapture his mood! And I don’t yet know how to cut out the extraneous bits! Still, being very new to a digital camera and transferring these pictures to my computer I am beside myself with amazement at what I see before me! Inevitably though a poem emerged. So, in my own small way, I too have been inspired to create by sunflowers and write…….


Sadly though, this year 2014, there are far fewer sunflowers than in previous years.  My initially healthy little seedlings from Paul’s seeds have not not survived.   Surely those two very hot days shouldn’t have killed them off?   As far as I could see even before Christmas there were fewer young flowers on the street…….some…….but not as many as in previous years.   And that pre-dated our heat wave last week.     Does anyone know about sunflowers and their growth patterns?

POST SCRIPT, 12/12/15.    Had to make a note here of my discovery only today (or is it re-discovery?) of the Chinese dissident artist Ai Wei Wei. I was drawn to his work ‘Sunflower Seeds’ once before, I think.  Anyway after his arrest in 2011 he was conditionally released in late 2015 and now recently  given his passport back and freedom to travel abroad.  Was this what I saw,  or has there been more recent news of him?  He seems to have been imprisoned and recently released in China since his days of international fame in assisting with the design of the Beijing Olympic Stadium.   Ostensibly his crime is not for his outspokenness but s0-called ‘economic’  crimes, or tax evasion.   After all, he did make millions out of his international fame, and particularly his ‘Sunflower Seeds’ which employed hundreds of ceramic craftsmen in the handmaking of millions of sunflower seeds.

Anyway today is a good day, at the  end of Spring and the start of Summer, 2015,  here in Western Australia to write about Sunflowers again since I have been garnering Sunflower seedlings from our suburban sidewalks  here.  Well not so much ‘garnering‘ as rescuing them since they were already wilting in the  early morning sun as Tacker and I walked down to the coffee strip for breakfast.  I’ll keep them alive and thriving as well as I can in my own front yard, aware, as each precious day passes in this my 80th year, that we all  live on borrowed, or is that gifted time?  Meantime we must,  Carpe Diem!


Patriciawa,  01/02/15,    Found the first few comments below on an old site when I was cleaning up and dumping stuff this morning.   Had second thoughts about trashing these, the first compliments I’d ever had on my writing!  Seems like yesterday Miglo (Michael Taylor) was encouraging me to write.  He published the Sunflowers poem there and I copied it all with the comments to my own site, not knowing then that I could just link it.   Amazing place, the Internet, isn’t it.

Cheryl Rourke,  30/12/10,    Wonderful sunflowers!

Mobius Ecko,    30/12/10.    Agree with the others Patricia, good effort!

Miglo,   30/12/10,   Thank you for this lovely post, Patricia

Lyn Sherwood,  30/12/10,   Great poem, and great photo (it could almost be Greece!).

Gillian,  30/12/10,   Lovely Mum.  The photos look fantastic too.  Well done.

nasking,   01/01/11,    Lovely Patricia. Poem & pics. Luv a positive thread. Thnx.

 Michael Taylor,     16/01/14,

……but that has sent me back to my polliepomes site to pull up a draft of a Sunflowers poem from a post I did for Cafe Whispers back in 2010….

Wow! How time flies!   Has it really been that long, Patricia? Incredible.     Or should I say – have I been around that long.   (Great to see you posting again though.)

Sarah Stapleton,  15/12/14.    Your poem makes me nostalgic for poppies! Lovely picture of the sunflowers on my boundary. Van Gogh is not bad either.

Patriciawa,  03/01/15.   Yes, Sarah, it is your boundary wall with its sunflowers. Lovely, isn’t it?

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J is for Julia and the Joy she gave.
U is for Us, so Useless to save
Labor while staying Loyal to her,
In spite of our Instinct that never
Again could we Australians be so proud of our name.

NOTES:   I thought I wouldn’t write another pome or post for this site, but I’ve just been struck by this paragraph and the above picture in the  accompanying article by Chloe Hooper  in  The Monthly.

Why was this intelligent, dedicated, conscientious, patriotic woman, loved by her staff, glowingly admired by the independent MPs who’d just helped her minority government pass the highest rate of legislation of any prime minister, why was she being killed off? One would have thought from the frenzied, almost primitive calls for her head that she’d brought the government or the country to its knees, not just proven herself to be the most capable person in the Labor party.

POST SCRIPT  I’ve just (29/07/13) been commenting over at the Political Sword about why I still think that this may possibly be my last effort in verse at polliepomes.  Hard to explain why that might be, even to myself much less put it in writing.   Of course, one should never say never, so I won’t. At first I thought my reluctance to comment on events of the coup was partly because I have not wanted to put time and effort into arguing the case for (or even against!) the Krudd!   I do, however, admire the stalwart determination of people like Lyn and Ad Astra to maintain the fight against the Coalition.  I go there every day to read what he has to say and to follow up Lyn’s invaluable links.  In the same way I visit Cafe Whispers and read Miglo’s other work at AIMN.     BK over at the PUB also helps keep me in touch with mainstream events and commentary on the struggle which many good people on the left are maintaining, and at last with success it seems.  So KRudd has his uses. I haven’t however wanted to become involved in discussions as passionately as I have in the past few years.  Not just because the joy has gone with Julia.  Initially I thought it was that and that as grief passed I would be commenting again.   But I think that may not be. These past three years with Julia,  those sturdy Independents,  the hung Parliament  and her government,  along with the comedy of Tony Abbott and his inept Opposition,  have been a wonderful distraction from the task I had set myself to organize all my old journals and writings.  I am increasingly aware of time passing and my memory fading.  So if I’m not going to leave a mess for someone else to tidy up or simply dump in the bin I’d better get back on task! If I can find a pome already written relevant to any pressing issues or some particularly dramatic event occurs no doubt I’ll have my say! Ad Astra at The Political Sword responded to this with………

Ad astra

Patriciawa It would be so sad were you to retire completely from commenting on political blog sites, and of course on TPS.  So please return from time to time to leave us a brief comment, or one of your delightful pomes.

I have noticed that the volume of comments on TPS has lessened since the departure of Julia Gillard.  Suddenly our beloved PM has gone – from being in the news many times a day to scarcely ever being mentioned at all.  It’s sad and disheartening, all the more so because the current PM and his ‘Team Rudd’ spent three years undermining her and making life so much more difficult that it need have been.  Internal sabotage is much more corrosive that external aggression. The ‘zing’ has gone out of political discourse, and the enthusiasm to comment is diminished. For my part, Kevin Rudd, the mastermind behind the erosion of Julia Gillard, owes Labor supporters big time.  His only hope for redemption among many Julia Gillard supporters would be for him to win the election and keep Abbott’s destructive, ultra-conservative hands off the levers of power. I understand your situation, and empathize with your feelings. Take a rest, but please come back once in a while to say hello.

We’ll see, I guess!

27/02/14,   Well, here is some news of former PM Julia Gillard

Julia Gillard has told a global audience that the sexism she endured as prime minister, while taking a toll on her, will make it easier for the next woman who gets the job. But she also said that sexist attitudes to women leaders were not just ”something Australian” but that ”many of the things that happened to me as prime minister happened to other women leaders”.

26/07/14 ,  And here’s an interesting comment from Greg Combet,   who said in an interview about his own memoirs in the Guardian that ……….Being inside the Labor government during the leadership rivalry between Rudd and Gillard was like being trapped inside a political and moral dilemma. It was not possible to have honest conversations with your colleagues in the caucus, apart from trusted friends, because the risk was that such conversations would themselves be leaked. I found the destabilisation of Gillard’s leadership vicious and extreme.

Latest news?    But where’s the link?  So far only as below!

Steven,     02//08/13,     What on earth is a “pome”? There is no such word. I think that if you want to write a POEM, you should first learn how to spell the word.

Patriciawa,   If you look above you’ll see an explanation  for that odd spelling for the ‘pomes’ or funny verses I write about politicians.   It’s satire and generally the name is understood by people who like to read these semi-humorous, or wry observations on current political issues.  You can also see from the the acknowledgement on every page here that the National Library is storing this blog in its archives.  So everyone does accept that the ‘pomes’ are very different from proper poems, as I’ve repeated again when more recently  I have begun trying to write Proper Poetry.

gigilene,    02/08/13,     patriciawa,    Julia Gillard has left a strong mark. Deep down I still consider her to be our PM. The other one is illegitimate as he was placed there by the media, the Coalition and some Labor traitors. KR will need to surpass himself to earn my forgiveness and respect. Which should be relatively easy to achieve providing the entire team continues to toe the line, the media becomes more compliant, and the LOTO continues his metooism. All these factors were non-existant with PMJG.

richo,    02/08/13,     All that maybe true and rightly or wrongly her fate was sealed the day she did Kevin in.  Now having said that I concur she was a Prime Minister who got things done. I suspect what she failed to do was to sell her many achievements. In the end if you can’t communicate it clearly you are kind of stuffed.

my say,     02/08/13,     julia never had a chance,she was hounded out of office by a coalition government ,who never got over loosing in 2010 to a woman, by the murdoch media, who believe their man abbott was born to rule,and by some in her own party, although i don’t agree with everything rudd has done i will still vote labor as to not let julia down for all the good policies that she had got passed in the parlament. we have a lot to thank her for

Gilly,     02/08/13,     Another lie about Julia. “Julia did Kevin in”, absolute rubbish, the Labour caucus voted out a man who is not a leader but someone who could never function as a leader. A leader leads others, to do this others need to be trusted, respected and taken into consideration. Kevin was too full of himself to ever have any responsibility for others. As for a communicator, it takes two for communication, someone to listen. Nobody wanted to listen about Government, all the focus was on politics. One of the greatest PMs the country has had was not a politician, she was too honest and focused on what she was elected to do, an adult who was not trapped into playing the immature game of politics.

Patricia Bensted,     02/08/13,       Julia did Kevin In.  What a load of rubbish. Rudd went into Julias office and abused her for not being loyal to him and this is after she REFUSED to go against him. She wasmade a scapegoat for the likes of Shorten etc: so get all your facts straight. I for one will miss the kind, compassionate lady. What she has done for the women ofAustralia and the World for that matter is remarkable. I will always voteLabor because I am aLabor person not like some of the friends of Rudd who even gave up their Membership of the Labor Party, so one must ask did they resign from the Party because Rudd was ousted or was it because a woman took his place. Methinks the latter.

Sandra,     02/08/13,     Gilly, Patricia couldn’t agree more. We will never know just what went down at either of the deposings. All I know is that I miss that wonderful courageous lady’s smile, her compassion etc. Don’t think that the new team is as good as hers, they have a slightly different agenda. Hope Bowen is as good at managing the books as Swanny was. Hope that Gonski doesn’t get watered down either. Julia got so many good things through didn’t she. Miss her heaps.

freedomsmoker,    02/08/13,   My only feeling was relief when Gillard got killed off. She definitely evoked polarized opinions. Worst prime minister in Australian history in my opinion.

Mobius Ecko,    02/08/13,     ……….can you tell us why she was the worst PM using something like facts. Oh and it wasn’t Gillard who polarised opinions, that would be Abbott and the MSM lies and deceptions putting Gillard into a no win situation no matter what she did or said. My opinion she was the best PM we’ve had, and the runs are on the board to prove it.

richo,   02/08/13,    Whatever the reality is……………..the perception out there is that she did Kevin in. Whether she did or didn’t she was part of it………

bilko,    02/08/13,    PatriciaWA,   Well said, now you have brought out the mists in my old tired eyes once again. Sad that Julia has vanished from the airwaves but not forgotten in our hearts.

Now it is all Kevin, our household either switch off or change channels. I will still vote labor to keep out Abbort not to put in Kevin. I have heard that in cabinet, Kevin is still acting the same old same old, a leopard never loses its spots. However almost anything is better than a Lieberal government wallowing in Howards hasbeens, who without him, never had an original thought amongst them. The proof is in the policies they have/not created over the last six years…………..PatriciaWa do not give up on the poems they light up the darkness.

Ragnvald,    02/08/13,    Julia Gillard carved her place among the greatest of Australia’s Prime Ministers.    I remain among her many admirers for her achievements, although there were some of her policies with which I strongly disagreed. But she rescued Australia from the ignominy of the Rudd years whilst he plotted and conspired his return. I cannot believe how many people have been so deceived by him and have ignored his spectacular failings……………..

Min,    02/08/13,    Ultimately it’s not about the person but the greater good and in this respect, whether people be Julia “supporters” or Rudd supporters, both persons having been elected by the Labor Party to be leader indicate that BOTH and I do mean both in some way embody what is right for Australia and most especially what is right for the Australian working class………………………………

Pamela Williams,   24/09/13,   Links at TPS filling out the JGPM story.

Talk Turkey,     26/o9/13,    Julia Gillard’s Achievements,

Casablanca’s Cache,     27/09/13,    A link to an article headlined “Julia Gillard offers no ‘hard insights’,

happy to fly under the radar in New York  by Ellen Connolly. Our former prime minister Julia Gillard appears to have found her public voice again, speaking up at the annual general meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York on  Wednesday to call on nations to introduce a carbon tax.–happy-to-fly-under-the-radar-in-new-york-20130926-2uf7a.html

Sue     20/12/13    Dear Patriciawa,  after all this time I’ve only now come to have a peek at one of my favorite sites. Thank you for all your lovely pomes.

Patriciawa   21/12/13,   Thank you too, Sue.   It’s so heartening to get feedback like yours!

Patriciawa    26/12/13,     Another great post referred by David Ewart of the Pub And another one found there 28/12/13

Julia Gillard, Australia’s 1st Female Prime Minister – YouTube – Inagist

Patriciawa     25/11/15,     Meeting old leftie friends for coffee, I still find huge regret for what happened to Julia Gillard, a fine leader with so much to offer to her Party and Australia.  I was asked today if we caught this tribute back then?

Song accompanying that is “No Regrets!”  and seems to have been more the message of  her gracious acceptance of the ALP reinstatement of the treacherous Rudd.   More than two years on there are the regrets of increasing numbers of us who now understand what we lost.  They make it hard for Bill Shorten to lead a united Labor party, once Rudd had so soon shewn his lack of staying power to lead in Opposition.   Images of FPMJG like this below now abound on the internet

Image result for images for Julia Gillard

Hundreds of other pictures of Julia are available, but I liked this one particularly.   How sad we don’t now have her strengths to help us with the upcoming struggle against the NLP Coalition, newly revived by the pretty-boy popularity of Malcolm Turnbull.


Patriciawa    03/02/16   Still more great postings of articles and comments about Julia who  still greatly missed amongst we lefties writing out there in the blogosphere.  This about FPMJG  is crying out for a new pome, I think.

Report: Julia Gillard One Of The Best Prime Ministers In Australian History

Patriciawa   02/03/2017     Thanks to David Foote for another great image of Julia!



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Last Post for PM Julia Gillard

Photograph by Grant Matthews Australian Women’s Weekly July 1, 2013

This was the picture I planned to use this week for a pome and post about our lovely PM, Julia Gillard, or should I now say former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard?   I had intended to write a satirical comment on the never ending criticism she gets from some sections of the media, typified by a pompous Business Review Weekly  article  about an upcoming photoshoot in the AWW featuring her hobby of  knitting.    I thought too much had been made of it by the Australian newspaper and now the BRW writer was questioning the wisdom of it too.

Perhaps there is nothing that Gillard can do to save her prime ministership, a prime ministership conducted in the most toxic political climate experienced since the rancour of the Whitlam years. One suspects that history will remember Gillard and her achievements more kindly than current-day pundits and voters. And perhaps, when that time of kinder and more considered judgment comes, the photo of Julia Gillard knitting a toy for a new royal will be seen in an entirely different and more loving light.

Sadly that paragraph has proved shockingly prophetic.  By the end of the following day Kevin Rudd who had solemnly given his oath that he would not challenge her leadership  had done so and replaced her as Prime Minister.   I don’t propose to comment on any of that here.   For the past forty eight hours I have been lost for words, unlike hundreds of others who have poured out their grief in tributes to a woman they recognise as a great Labor leader.   We have not had to wait for history to cast a kinder judgement than that of shock jocks and gossip writers.

There are many thousands of compliments being paid to her and the achievements of her government in the face of overwhelming difficulties  both in mainstream media, on blogsites like Cafe Whispers and The Political Sword.  Even on little sites like mine here.

I leave you with this from Dedalus, writing at The Pub where tributes poured in throughout yesterday and today to “The Glory That Was Gillard.”

Julia, you are a diamond in the flotsam and jetsam of politics. You showed many people how it can be done with integrity and dignity and humour. You never went on about the bad treatment you received from every quarter, you just got on with the job. I’m so proud of you and so sad for the country. You are a legend. And I think history will prove this.

POSCRIPTS worth mentioning have been appearing all weekend.  I was very impressed with the view of Andrew Elder, a very fair and reliable analyst of our political scene,  in his overview of events since of events since Wednesday night –

I miss Julia Gillard and I still think she could have turned it around and beaten Abbott…….

We haven’t seen a policy wonk like her in the Prime Ministership since Deakin. Australian Labor is still playing catch-up since it failed to rethink its purpose to the extent that other social-democrat governments did in the 1930s and ’40s, but Julia Gillard has brought them almost up to date. I’m fairly unsentimental when it comes to Labor as a delivery mechanism for policy outcomes, but I stand in awe of the sheer love in this piece, and with it the notion that progress is meant to be made, set back, reassessed and moved forward again, whether at the general political and policy level or at the lives of particular little girls and their family.

I too had been moved by the love which so awed him in the video tribute  prepared by Nancy Cato as were hundreds of others like Lyn and Ad Astra at the P0litical Sword.   In a post today not intended as a tribute to Julia Gillard but rather an attack on opinion polls and the undue weight given to these ‘killing machines’ by politicians I thought Ad Astra’s  summing up of her character and performance was one many of us would agree with wholeheartedly.

Those of us who have supported Julia Gillard so fervently are appalled at the way she has been treated, and lament her fate. We have lost an outstanding politician, and a strong and steadfast female warrior. We commiserate her untimely exit from public life and hope she will reappear in another influential role that will engage her outstanding talent and her strength of character. We shall miss her bubbling personality, her strength, her courage, her resoluteness, her devotion, her graciousness, her capacity to get things done against the odds and bring about much needed traditional Labor reforms, and her determination to stand up for women’s rights.

Some testimonials that have since appeared in print  media and on the web………………….

Why was this intelligent, dedicated, conscientious, patriotic woman, loved by her staff, glowingly admired by the independent MPs who’d just helped her minority government pass the highest rate of legislation of any prime minister, why was she being killed off? One would have thought from the frenzied, almost primitive calls for her head that she’d brought the government or the country to its knees, not just proven herself to be the most capable person in the Labor party.

POST POST SCRIPT by Mary Delahunty

POST POST POST SCRIPT  by jaycee, over at the Pub, May 26, 2014 at 8:31 AM.

I thought this expressed so well how many of us still feel about FPM Julia Gillard.  Her constructive conduct in the months since K Rudd’s return last June and then ricochet back into retirement a poor loser after the election, is surely a great example to both boys and girls, men and women,  in how to live the political life if we want to make a contribution to our great Labor movement here downunder.

Patriciawa…I just visited your page on the web…and yes…I agree very much with your sadness and feeling of loss….as do we all…but loss may not be the correct word, for Julia Gillard still works for the principles she stood, as we have seen of her appointments of late…she still resides locally and her partner, Tim, is not shy about “mixing it” with the clowns in the govt’ side……so while we may still grieve on the blatant injustice and harbour an ache of sadness for the empty place in our parliament….I am holding that sadness in my heart NOT as a heart-breaking sadness, but as a beautiful sadness…..a beautiful reality of a beautiful and (still) inspiring Prime Minister.

Why was this intelligent, dedicated, conscientious, patriotic woman, loved by her staff, glowingly admired by the independent MPs who’d just helped her minority government pass the highest rate of legislation of any prime minister, why was she being killed off? One would have thought from the frenzied, almost primitive calls for her head that she’d brought the government or the country to its knees, not just proven herself to be the most capable person in the Labor party.
Why was this intelligent, dedicated, conscientious, patriotic woman, loved by her staff, glowingly admired by the independent MPs who’d just helped her minority government pass the highest rate of legislation of any prime minister, why was she being killed off? One would have thought from the frenzied, almost primitive calls for her head that she’d brought the government or the country to its knees, not just proven herself to be the most capable person in the Labor party.
Why was this intelligent, dedicated, conscientious, patriotic woman, loved by her staff, glowingly admired by the independent MPs who’d just helped her minority government pass the highest rate of legislation of any prime minister, why was she being killed off? One would have thought from the frenzied, almost primitive calls for her head that she’d brought the government or the country to its knees, not just proven herself to be the most capable person in the Labor party.
Why was this intelligent, dedicated, conscientious, patriotic woman, loved by her staff, glowingly admired by the independent MPs who’d just helped her minority government pass the highest rate of legislation of any prime minister, why was she being killed off? One would have thought from the frenzied, almost primitive calls for her head that she’d brought the government or the country to its knees, not just proven herself to be the most capable person in the Labor party.
Why was this intelligent, dedicated, conscientious, patriotic woman, loved by her staff, glowingly admired by the independent MPs who’d just helped her minority government pass the highest rate of legislation of any prime minister, why was she being killed off? One would have thought from the frenzied, almost primitive calls for her head that she’d brought the government or the country to its knees, not just proven herself to be the most capable person in the Labor party.

Patriciawa, September 9, 2014. Julia Gillard’s appearance at the Royal Commission today was another reminder of what Australia has lost. I look forward to the launch of her memoirs in two weeks time. Meantime I’ve just revisited my last few posts on Julia, and Ive been re-reading all those lovely comments about her from commentatotrs I respect like Andrew Elder and bloggers like Gravel and other internet friends, particularly the one about her still standing!

I don’t think that giving Julia Gillard the opportunity to again show her mettle was what Tony Abbott had in mind when he set up this Royal Commission. Old friends and lovers from way back came out to support her too! Did Tony Abbott really hope to nail her this time!

This Pope cartoon from last month was almost prescient!

POST POST POST POST SCRIPT!   Patriciawa, June 16,2015.    Julia being interviewed on the BBC today  about her upcoming memoir.   Getting in there before tonight’s second program,  in The Killing Fields,

A p0me coming up here?   “I didn’t  crack!”    Made it clear she won’t be back!

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Julia Gillard Is Still Standing!

gillard smiling

“Gillard Has Guts!”

One paper told the truth today
No matter what the others have to say.
You know, about the PM being dead,
Politically I mean. How often has that been said!

But here she is alive and well,
And with plenty of good news to tell.
This picture says it all dear reader.
We couldn’t have a better leader.

While leakers and gossip writers go to town,
Character assassins bring her down,
And Abbott does his stunts and struts,
She keeps smiling. Yes! Gillard has guts!


This is a pome from two years back when Murdoch and media mates were doing their usual thing in backing Tony Abbott to be in the Lodge tomorrow, or at least next week.   A c0nversation with Jane at Cafe Whispers about sunflowers somehow put these lines in front of me again and it struck me how even more appropriate they are today.   And then I read this beautiful letter which I’ve copied in full below to the Prime Minister which said everything I would want to say  to her today too.    I have highlighted it as well as quoted.   I don’t know the writer,  Ian’s full name, but he is one of the many great bloggers at The Pub and this contribution today to a telling post about the witch hunt which has been in full cry every day since Julia Gillard became our Prime Minister deserves wide coverage.

Thursday 06/06/2013

The Prime Minister of Australia

Dear Ms Gillard.

Khalil Gibran, a Lebanese poet once wrote:

“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.”

I understand that at the present time you are perceived to be in a, politically speaking, very dark place indeed. In fact, if one were to pay credence to the media and pundits the whole idea of elections and a free people exercising their right to walk, unencumbered by fear, into a ballot box is an unneccessary impost. A change of Government is a foregone conclusion. They, the media and their political champions, have deemed it so. I am here to tell you different.

I could bang on about unfair reporting, blatant lies, misleading headlines and all the rest. I wont. That would both a waste of your time and mine. What I would like to talk about is courage.

Too many of us have been conditioned to accept an act of bravado as an act of courage.  It’s not.  Never has been, never will be.  We accept that the blatherings on a radio station are the telling of truth to power. It’s not. Never has been.  Never will be.  Journalists with bylines and column inches shining the impartial light of truth and reason saving society from the excesses of Government.  They don’t.  They never will.  They never have. None of this is courage.  It’s not even bravery.  It would be more akin to a rank, ingrained cowardice. An unfortunate irony of life is that cowards are notoriously hard to pin down to fight.  It really is pointless expending energy on them, other than on occasion, like when one is confronted with any yapping cur, a solid kick in the guts doesn’t go astray.

Courage, unlike cowardice, is borne of an empathy deep in the soul.  It radiates out to those in need. It strengthens those who falter and shines a harsh brightness on the treacherous. The strength, the character, the conviction of a courageous soul will always prevail.  As will you and your Government.

Those who disparage the achievements, the strengths, the courage and, importantly, the honest, decent and all too human empathy of you and your Government believe they have weakened you.  They haven’t.  They wont.  They never will….nor us.

Many millions of Australians admire, trust, respect and believe in you and what you wish to achieve. They have looked into their hearts and minds and they agree.

Kindest regards     Ian

Patriciawa,      Saturday 08/06/13    Just came across this by Andrew Elder, wonderful author of the Politically Homeless  which underlines Ian’s faith in our Prime Minister and my own conviction that she can and will win this  coming election.  Needs highlighting!

The Murdoch journos can’t believe the Labor leadership thing really is over. The basic facts of Australian politics are clearly different to what they told us, what they demanded we pay them to tell us: Julia Gillard was Prime Minister was Prime Minister in June 2010, she was Prime Minister was Prime Minister in June 2011, she was Prime Minister was Prime Minister in June 2012, she is Prime Minister was Prime Minister in June 2013, and no amount of increasingly strident Narrative is convincing that she won’t be Prime Minister was Prime Minister in June 2014, or ’15.

Another encouraging post today was all about The CaseFor Keeping Julia Gillard  by Robert Macklin who lists the achievements of what he thinks is excellent government run by a Prime Minister who has never been given a fair go.

It seems I’m the only columnist left in Australia who thinks Julia Gillard and her excellent government have a reasonable chance of winning the September 14 election.

Call me quixotic if you like, but I just can’t believe that my fellow Australians would toss out a government that has done us such sterling service for an opposition led by Tony Abbott who threatens to undo so much of what we’ve achieved these last five years; and who wants to set us on a path to “austerity” that has done such appalling damage in Europe and the US.

I found this article at AIMN site while reading there a deliciously  feisty defence of our democracy and challenge to Rupert Murdoch  which has now been re-posted by Michael Taylor at Cafe Whispers, my favorite blog site of all.     We Won’t Back Down!

I’m sure we’re going to see a lot more fight and  feistiness like this  from Julia Gillard supporters from here on until September 14th.   She deserves it.   After all – 

Citizen Journalism has an astonishing  listing of the many times Gillard’s demise has been confidently and wrongly predicted.

Cafe Whispers also ran this pome with more extensive notes under the title of Julia Gillard Has Guts, But you already knew that didn’t you?

Patriciawa,   13/06/13,   MORE NOTES,  after watching PMJG’s interview with Ben Eltham in Fremantl Town Hall, 12/06/13.

Isn’t it odd how the Canberra Press Gallery and commentariat has painted such a distorted picture of Prime Minister Julia Gillard?   One can forgive cartoonists up to a point, they are often as relentless in their portrayal of Tony Abbott.  But interviewers and reporters of press interviews leave him and his pronouncements largely unquestioned.

My immediate impression on seeing the PM mingling informally at last night’s fundraiser in Fremantle, was how small she is.  So much has been made of her derriere, that I wondered if she had lost weight recently. Even so that shouldn’t affect her overall proportions.  She came across as a slightly built woman, modestly dressed in a black trouser suit and sensible shoes, with immaculately groomed hair and stylish glasses which added character to her face, but left it open to scrutiny.

As she always is of course, unlike the Opposition Leader who walks away from awkward questions.  Of course the event was not a press conference, it was a fund raiser billed as ‘The PM in Conversation With Ben Elton.’ Even so, there was some searching questioning along with the light hearted banter, particularly about asylum seekers.

I haven’t got my thoughts about last night together yet.  I woke up this morning to Joe Hockey’s comment about the Prime Minister never having had respect which is laughable. She received a standing ovation on arrival and departure and our local member, Melissa Parkes told me her office receives calls and emails daily reflecting the same feelings of admiration and respect and urging her and other Caucus members to stay loyal.

I’n fact feelings about the PM in that audience were if anything more firmly behind her than at Community Cabinets held here in WA last year.

More later.  It was great to meet fellow Political Swordsters, Gordon and Rosemary,  last night and to share our impressions of the event in person.  We should do more of it.  Any other sandgropers up to joining us in the beachside coffee we plan for next week?

I’m very proud of this picture organised for me there by Melissa Park, our local Member.


kate ahearne      19/06/13,     Hi Patricia. I just wanted to let you know how nice it is to see your ‘likes’ in my Inbox. So I came across to see what you’re up to. Thanks very much for this – a couple of great quotes that I hope you won’t mind if I recycle – properly accredited, of course.      Anyway, you’ve been fighting the good fight for some time, and I wish I had the leisure right now to read all your posts, but alas! – Perhaps when the race has been run and won, I can follow up some of these wonderful sites, like yours.    Meanwhile, keep at it, Patricia.

2gravel,  01/02/14, Patricia….Don’t know how I missed this post of yours, what a wonderful photo of you and Julia, you will have that to treasure forever.

Patriciawa, 11/09/14, How did Tony Abbott ever imagine that his Royal Commission into Trade Unions would bring her down? This Pope cartoon from last month is almost prescient.

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Has Julie Bishop Missed Her Vocation?


Julie Bishop’s glare, it is said,
Could knock any man dead.
We know that this power
Was used to devour
Two Liberal leaders.
So, do avid news readers
Believe it’s her eyes
Or her super trim thighs
Which convinced Indonesians
There could be good reasons
To help her win votes
By taking back boats?

She says she wasn’t misled.
Yes, there were things unsaid
But their meaning was clear,
As we’ll all see next year.
Perhaps Julie’s born to be
A latter day Mata Hari.
She could put on a burqa,
Be an undercover worker.
Even without a disguise
She can still mesmerize.
She just has to stare.
Not turn back boats?   They wouldn’t dare!


This article in today’s Guardian by Lenore Taylor says it all, particularly this contradiction of Julie Bishop’s latest denials of her Indonesian gaffe.

Paraphrased plainly, we think Bishop said that notwithstanding what Indonesian officials may say in public, on the basis of private discussions with Indonesian officials she was convinced that the Coalition could work in co-operation with Indonesia to achieve the Coalition’s policy aim.

There’s an even stronger and more detailed confirmation of the above paraphrase of our aspirant Foreign Minister’s statement in today’s Guardian (06/06/13) by Lenore Taylor in her story on our current Foreign Minister, Bob Carr’s response to Julie Bishop’s confidence in a Coalition governments ability to work with the Indonesian government to turn back boats.

“In the interview published on Monday, Bishop was asked
whether Indonesia would take boats back. She replied: “I am confident we would be able to achieve what we did in the past. The fact is they are Indonesian boats with Indonesian crew and I am sure we can work co-operatively with them and … one thing you understand about diplomacy and others do as well is the professional diplomats are paid to present particular views but what goes on behind the scenes can be quite different. What people say privately can be different to what they say publicly, that’s why I am devoting my time to quiet consistent diplomatic messaging and relationships.”

And her conviction seems sincerely held.  If indeed she has succeeded in persuading the Indonesians to cooperate with an incoming LNP government on this she will have had more success than Tony Abbott  whose boat plan is not only unpopular with the Indonesian government.   Not much seems to have changed in the eighteen months since he had to

defend his party’s renewed policy of turning back all asylum boats at sea as the approach was attacked by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Indonesian authorities and a former (Australian) naval chief as dangerous and breaching international law.

So, is Bob Carr right to be highly critical of Julie Bishop’s comments to Guardian Australia about her belief that Indonesia would co-operate with the Coalition’s border protection policy?  Could Bishop’s saying that diplomats often said different things in private than they did in public – despite that country’s stated opposition to turning back boats – cause a diplomatic incident? Or does Julie Bishop have hitherto unappreciated skills in the area of under cover negotiation? Has she missed her vocation in that Canberra location?


Fiona,     29/08/13,     Patricia,    As always, lovely to see you – and you have email with, I hope, the link you want.     Great poem.

puffytmd,     29/08/13,     Love, the pome.    puffytmd

Patriciawa,     03/03/14,    Looking back on this pome now that Julie Bishop has been  our Foreign Secretary for coming up to a  year I ask myself how did I ever imagine her as a ‘latter day Mata Hari’ – even satyrically?

Small Stygian_Priestess_by_Thadeoradicarlous

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Joe Hockey, Less Weighty, But Still Cocky!

Joe Hockey delivers his post Budget address. Photo: Andrew Meares

Responding to Treasurer Swan’s Budget
To journalists in Parliament’s Great Hall
He seemed so anxious not to fudge it
He forgot – pride comes before a fall!

He spoke at length of his sadness
For a cousin who’d hit the wall,
Weighed down by Government madness,
Rules and red tape. (Not that tax after all?)

Not that he was offering tax cuts,
Like Labor to later recall.
The Liberal Party has guts.
They’ll audit, any false hopes forestall.

No dodgy Treasury statistics;
His own will be true, line ball,
Straight shooting like Tony’s ballistics
With Aussies again walking tall.

From reports in that evening’s news
His oratory failed to enthral.
Next day’s media collective views
Seemed to be he’d said bugger all.


This was almost out of date when written for Cafe Whispers, and definitely so as I copy it here on site for the record.  I almost didn’t bother at all with posting any impressions of Joe Hockey’s BIR speech, so unimpressed was I but as the week wore on I realised I was in good company. No economist myself it was encouraging to read that economists I respect shared my view. By now you will all have read people like Greg Jericho, Stephen Koukoulas et alia who although perhaps not as scathing or funny as Bob Ellis would probably agree with him that we shouldn’t buy a used economy from the man pictured above my pome.

The expression, or lack of it, on the faces of his audience in Parliament’s Great Hall must have told Joe that what he was saying was going down like a lead balloon. Partisan as I am I wondered if they also shared my distaste, so insulting did it seem to Treasurer, Wayne Swan, to Prime Minister Gillard and her government, and to all of us who live in Australia and are proud of the achievements of our country at a time when most of the developed world is doing less than well. But then Joe, Tony Abbott and Co, supported by the might of Rupert Murdoch’s money and his News media minions, have been insulting the intelligence of all us for three years now, so what more did I expect?

This weekend I was encouraged to see that Ross Gittins thinks that Australia’s underlying structural deficit which can lead to debit difficulties for us during times of depression such as the world has been experiencing recently was actually caused by Peter Costello’s lack of foresight and over commitment to tax cuts during the mineral boom years of Coalition ascendancy. So Joe is not only lying about the mess he says Australia is in right now, but also not taking responsibility for his own government’s share in generating some of the problems Treasurer Wayne Swan has been dealing with so effectively. I hope our top star Treasurer knows that in spite of News Ltd and others trying to give a spurious credibility to Abbott and Hockey, there are many people like me and bloggers such as Judd and Frank at Bob Ellis’s site who can see how well he has done in producing a

“Strong economy. AAA credit rating by all three agencies. Low interest rates. Low unemployment. Low inflation. Building lots of things (NBN, NDIS, hospitals, schools, ports and roads all at record levels of invesment – and it is investment, not ‘spending’ because it sets the place up for another generation of prosperity).”

And if that doesn’t do it for you, how about this from John Howard, former Prime Minister of Australia?

“When the current prime minister and the treasurer and others tell you that the Australian economy is doing better than most – they are right,” he said.

“We are still fortunate that we have an unemployment rate with a five in front of it. I wouldn’t have thought that was going to be possible a couple of years ago, and I don’t think many people would have. Our unemployment has remained pleasingly quite low.

“And our debt to GDP ratio, the amount of money we owe to the strength of our economy, is still a lot better than most other countries.”

POST SCRIPT – 22 October, 2015.   I have been reluctant to write about Joe Hockey, Treasurer in the Abbott Coalition government.  It’s cold  comfort to mention here his downfall along with PM Tony Abbott when the Liberals finally came sufficiently to their senses to replace their leader mid-term with Malcolm Turnbull.  Hockey, replaced by Scott Morrison, bowed out of the political scene altogether.    His resignation saved face all round, and the obligatory valedictory speeches were delivered in the last sitting week of the House of Reps.   I could not bother to read beyond a few them.  Similarly print media articles gave lip service at best to any attempt at an honest critique of his contribution to our national well being.   One shining exception was Greg Jericho’s contribution

PPS I wrote too soon!   Here’s another damning critique of Hockey’s contribution!  Alan Austin sheets home the blame for “the collapse of Australia’s economy be slated home to Joe’s cluster cock-ups or (perhaps) it’s a failure of the Coalition’s neo-liberal ideology?”,8289

And they keep rolling in!

09/12/2015 – And this very recent cartoon by Alan Moir showing a very  cocky and smug Joe Hockey packed with his bags and ready to go to Washington, DC says it all for me.

So Joe had nothing to be cocky about with Tony Abbott’s political demise and replacement as PM by Malcolm Turnbull???  Moir seems to think his ‘diplomatic appointment’ was the price Turnbull paid for Hockey’s going quietly.  In other words Turnbull sold out??    And to Joe??  Did he need to?


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Mr Rabbit Takes Centre Stage.


Mr. Rabbit of Downunderland

Thought that he was in Wonderland.

For one moment it felt truly

As if he, with White Queen Julie,

Were already restored to power,

As he stood acclaimed, man of the hour.

Applause and cheers were long and loud.

His budget speech had moved the crowd.

Up on to their feet as it ended

They seemed to share his vision splendid

Of himself rescuing from failure

This ‘Triple A rated Australia!’


His oratory had been inspired!

Yes, the Gallery audience was hired,

There to test his election theme,

They’d adored his parents leave scheme,

Freely joined his denunciation

Of Labor’s burdensome taxation.

Confirming Newspoll and Morgan

They didn’t want a price on carbon!

Nor tax on mines! These men were workers

Not malingerers or shirkers.

All loathed Julia, despised red Queen!

Then reality intervened…..


Because there she sat. And glared,

As if to say, how had he dared!

A stunt like this? In this Chamber?

A dress rehearsal for September?

In a theatre where centre stage

Was hers?   And……..he’d put her in a rage…..

NOTES: This is a copy of a post I wrote for Cafe Whispers after reading what I thought was the best critique I’d seen of Tony Abbott’s Budget in Reply speech by Bushfire Bill at The Pub. You should read it in its entirety, you’ll appreciate it, but his title alone was enough to get me going on this pome at a tangent of my own. As I’d  watched the speech myself I did wonder how Abbott could have been so foolish as to try to use that particular convention as an opportunity for a presidential style address, breaking all Parliamentary rules as he addressed, not the Speaker as he should have, but the ‘renta-crowd’ in the Gallery as if they were the ‘people of Australia!’ I was initially surprised that Madame Speaker did not rule him out of order, or rebuke his applauding visitors in the Gallery. Nor was there a single objection from the Government side, which I at first thought was because of shock at Abbott’s ‘chutzpa.’ Now, however, I see it as remarkable restraint and even forward planning on the Government side, anticipating his antics. Because that’s all it was, histrionics, pure theatrics and with nothing much new in the way of policy. Antics/theatrics……..Gillard/on guard. Too many rhymes here I thought………. particularly once I had him facing ‘the Prime Minister there’ and had to choose between with ‘her steely glare’ and ‘blazing red hair’ when he should have been ‘well aware’ of ‘her rage’ as he took ‘centre stage’. But there wasn’t enough substance to the speech itself to put meat into a pome. ‘ Then I thought maybe something new by way of policy in ‘changes to superannuation’ had potential with the ‘seeds of his annihilation.’ That was new ground that Bill Shorten and the Government could fight on…… Here was when I realized that lack of reaction alone from the benches facing him should have put Abbott ‘on his guard’……… he faced ‘the enemy Gillard.’ They were giving him plenty of rope. They wanted him to go for broke here, to make a fool of himself, showing his ignorance of Parliamentary conventions and a lack of gravitas. More than anything they wanted him to give them some new bad policy lines to use on the hustings. Arguing the niceties of Parliamentary tradition wasn’t going to achieve any of that. As a rusted on leftie I think he did a pretty good job of making a fool of himself. Others may disagree. Like Barry Cassidy for whom the BIR held the ‘Sweet Smell of Success.’ For me it was a pretty poor performance in terms of replying to Wayne Swan’s budget presentation. He didn’t give out much in the way of new policy either, as was perhaps hoped, but that wasn’t so much the result of cunning, as his and his party’s laziness and total incapacity for policy development. There was the superannuation, of course, but as these things so often go I didn’t use that in the pome. As I read Bushfire Bill’s article about Abbott’s fear, I agreed that Abbott was indeed afraid to face Prime Minister Gillard without a prepared speech and an audience also prepared to applaud on cue. But even with those props and well rehearsed lines there is still fear there. I have chosen an enlarged image deliberately so that we can see his face more clearly. I like to think that after the speech he realized he had an even more cogent cause to fear. How could he, or his advisors, have forgotten this? when Julia Gillard, enraged by a ‘shamefully’ crass comment from Abbott had given the most powerful extempore speech of her Parliamentary career and drawn admiring comment from all over the world. What heights of eloquence will this outrageous defiance of Parliamentary convention by Abbott assist her to achieve? 485820-121020-inquirer-gillard Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech is the first example of the digital age where an expression of passion from a politician was rewarded with numbers that a free press can’t compete with. Picture: Kym Smith Source: The Australian

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