lifestyle

Yet again, Julia Gillard handles herself with the utmost poise, grace and dignity.

Julia Gillard at the launch of former cabinet minister, Greg Combet's book today. (Photo: Brendon Thorne/Getty)
Julia Gillard at the launch of former cabinet minister, Greg Combet’s book today. (Photo: Brendon Thorne/Getty)

BY ALYS GAGNON

If I have, at any point in my life, even just a quarter of the grace under fire Julia Gillard has displayed again and again and again, I will be a very happy woman.

Yesterday, Julia Gillard spent the better part of a day under oath at a Royal Commission.

Our former Prime Minister has been subject to two decades of scrutiny over an incorporated association she set up when she was a practicing solicitor under instruction from a client.

As it happens, this association that was then allegedly mishandled, maladministrated and many have argued, corruptly abused, by the man she was romantically involved with at the time.

In addition, over course of their short relationship, Ms Gillard commissioned renovations on her house (after her, frankly, dodgy boyfriend demolished her bathroom while she was away on holiday) and some of that money has been linked back to the association.

Over the course of two decades of scrutiny, Ms Gillard has consistently answered questions and proven that her involvement in the creation of the association was professional and honest. Several times she has answered questions and proven that her home renovation was paid for by cheques traceable back to her, with her own money.

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She has done so in an exit interview conducted by the firm where she worked as a solicitor in the mid 90s. She has done so in at least two media conferences as Prime Minister. She has addressed openly the gossip and innuendo that has been maliciously set against her by political foes of every colour.

She has handled gossip and innuendo slapped alongside depraved and sick misogynistic commentary with poise and dignity. And she has now sat through hours of questioning in what is nothing short of a re-hashed pointless witch hunt, a consummate waste of tax payers dollars and a thinly veiled effort to distract from a shockingly mishandled Federal Budget and the joke that has become this Government’s communications strategy.

There are many many reasons I will never be Prime Minister, but chief amongst them is the fact that if I was Julia Gillard I suspect I would have thrown a chair through a window in frustration many many years ago.

There would not be many amongst us who don’t have a dodgy boyfriend from our past we’d probably prefer to forget. But there are not many amongst us who will be called to answer questions about that relationship and about intricate financial matters from 20 odd years ago.

The silver lining to yesterday’s proceedings was that we were once again reminded that Julia Gillard is a solid, stable, calm and serious person. She is a woman with an extraordinary intellect, an enviable memory, a dignified presence, a strong policy mind, and is a person with great care for the Australian community.

Julia Gillard leaving the Royal Commission yesterday.

There are many people who feel Ms Gillard did not display that formidable person we saw yesterday during her term as Prime Minister.

What rot.

Ms Gillard has been consistent in her approach since the day she took office. What has not been consistent is the environment she operated in.

If we didn’t see that formidable person, it is because we were constantly distracted by internal ALP ructions, deliberate destabilisation and a culture of misogyny that dogged the Gillard years at every turn.

Like I said, if I ever have even a quarter of the grace under fire that Ms Gillard has, I will be very lucky indeed.