Tomorrow is the anniversary of the day Julia Gillard became Prime Minister after seizing power in a coup against Kevin Rudd.
Do you remember where you were when you heard it was happening? What you thought? I was out to dinner with friends. Not journo friends or media friends who care deeply about such things. Normal friends. Friends who are doctors actually. We’d just sat down and were looking forward to a lovely Italian meal with much catching up to do when I snuck a peak at my Twitter.
Holy shit. I follow a LOT of journalists and political journos and Twitter was going off with the news that a leadership change could be imminent. My first self-absorbed thought was this: “I’m sooo getting dropped from Q&A”. I’d been booked to appear the following Monday on a ‘light’ show with people like Magda Szubanski, Harold Mitchell and a few others. Host Tony Jones was away and they were going to touch on issues like body image with Virginia Trioli in the chair.
As the story began to unfold, all I wanted to do was jump up from the table and bolt home to sit in front of the TV with my phone and laptop but that would have been rude. So I stayed. Until I got a call from The Today Show who were scrambling to put together rolling coverage as hundreds of journalists and camera crews hit the airport and jumped in their cars to race to Canberra.
“Mia, it looks like Julia is going to be PM by the morning. Can you come in as early as possible? Not sure exactly what we’ll get you to do but we want you there.” Sure thing.
I excused myself from dinner before dessert, apologising to our friends and leaving Jason there to finish the meal. Then I went home, sat up in front of the TV until all hours, got up at 5 and headed in to the Today Show where I sat on set for hours, giving the occasional social media update live on air but mostly just watching it all unfold.
What an extraordinary moment it was – the first female Prime Minister was a powerful moment but so was the heart-wrenching speech from Kevin Rudd, surrounded by his beautiful family.