Julia and Tony? You've lost me.

Kate Hunter


The way Julia Gillard tells it, she had no idea she would become Prime Minister on June 24, 2010. The opportunity came up and apparently she thought, ‘Well, it hadn’t crossed my mind, but I’ll give it crack.’

Well of course she did. It was the Prime Ministership, not the last Tim Tam in the staff fridge. Wouldn’t you grab it with both hands?

Maybe, maybe not. I’m no  political expert. Most of the time, I’m not even an enthusiast. But this disturbs me, mainly because I don’t believe it. The Prime Minister inexplicably granted an interview to ABC’s Four Corners which aired on Monday night, reliving the months leading up to the spill which claimed the scalp of then PM Kevin Rudd. It was mostly unremarkable television until the squirm-worthy moment when the PM was put on the spot.

Did she know about the impending coup? Did she see the damaging polling that showed her popularity as PM ahead of Rudd?

She dodged, skipped and ducked the repeated questioning. It was uncomfortable. And that moment set in motion a chain of events that would, like a picked thread, begin to unravel her leadership credibility. There were claims she personally lobbied for Rudd’s removal. Personally handed around that damaging polling. Personally helped draft that speech she delivered when he was rolled.

And still she stood firm and said she never intended to take the job until the day it happened.

As Annabel Crabb tweeted so eloquently during the game-changing 4 Corners program on Monday night:


And not believing is the crux of my problem. I wanted to believe Julia Gillard was different. That she would try new ways of solving gnarly old problems. I’d hoped having a shacked up atheist in The Lodge would loosen things up. I know it hasn’t been easy for her, what with a hung parliament at all, but I feel let down and confused.

So what happens next? The Labor party seems to be unlikely to sponsor Kevin, The Comeback Tour. Even the most daring bookie wouldn’t take a bet on Gillard, so that leaves me looking at … Tony Abbott.

Let me say here that I’m the ultimate swinging voter. I’ll be voting for my local member (Labor) in the Queensland state election because I think she does a good job and because I’ve seen her at Woollies at 8pm. Not campaigning, shopping. I think she’s the real deal.

The way Ms Gillard’s Prime Ministership was first reported

My husband and I often cancel each other out on polling day. I have no allegiance to any party. If a Federal election were held tomorrow, I don’t know which way I’d go. But I’d sure be sweating over my ballot form more than Julia Gillard says she did over taking Rudd’s gig.

Labor in the Lodge has lost me. They’ve only had me erratically but now, I just couldn’t do it. But I’ve got another dilemma – I can’t cop Tony Abbott.

I know, I know … I don’t vote directly for the PM, but I care who’s leader of our country. And I vote not on policy but on character (not to be confused with personality). Policy changes with the polls.

I no longer know who belongs to which policy. Border Protection, The Malaysia Solution, Mandatory Detention. The whole thing has degenerated into a preschool blame game, ‘She stole our idea!’

‘Did not!’

‘Did so.’

‘Yeah well. We’re not going to play any more so how do you like that?’

So I can’t vote Labor and I won’t go for Abbott. He seems like a defensive tennis player – waiting for his opponent to try something brave and fail. I’m sure he’s very intelligent and if I sat next to him at a wedding no doubt I’d have a top time, but the lacquer of leadership is too thin and too new. I still see the old Tony -the anti-abortion, anti gay marriage, anti-everything Tony. It makes me feel anti-Tony.

But let’s imagine Malcolm Turnbull was on the posters. Well, Liberal Party, we should talk.

I had forgotten about Malcolm until I saw him on Q&A late last year. He seems like a man with brains, backbone and heart. He doesn’t need politics for power, money or profile. He’s run big businesses and what is a country if not that?

But what I really love was that he stuck with a policy even though it probably cost him the leadership. Some said he showed poor judgment. I thought it was integrity.

Could Malcolm lead the Liberals? Would they get rid of Tony? Seems unlikely – I suspect Gillard has dug the ALP hole so deep Kyle Sandilands could beat them.

So, what to do? Thankfully, an election won’t be called tomorrow. There’s still time to try to work out who stands for what. But geez I wish they’d make it easier.

Will policy, character or something else win your vote?