A few questions for Julia Gillard


I know I’m not the only one who’s completely fed up with the embarrassing soap opera that our national leadership has de-evolved into, but am I alone in believing that while it’s Kevin who’s been caught swearing, it’s Julia who’ll be cursed by this very suspicious video leak?

The simple fact of the matter is that our Prime Minister is fundamentally distrusted by her electorate because we’re not privy to the reasons why she and others decided Rudd was so bad for us in the first place.  Like coming home from school to find that Dad had moved out and isn’t welcome back, we deserve a better explanation than “because I said so,” when we want to know why.   We’re banished when grown ups want to discuss his sins, we’ve had to try to read between the half-truths and insinuations they concede to make some sense of what this is all about.  When they are asked simple questions, those smug insiders assure us in tones that seem to suggest we should leave this stuff to them and get on with watching sport on our plasma screens.

I would like to think that no one has the right to depose a sitting Prime Minister of Australia without some pretty bloody good reasons, so LET’S HAVE THEM!  “He was autocratic”, is the most common mumbled criticism.  Well I’m sorry, but that reads like leadership to me.   The rather floppy resolve of the Gillard Government in the face of the Mining and Gambling Industries and the Murdoch Media has me longing for a less populist approach.  These are the same forces that combined with the Howard Government for years to warn of the terrible risks associated with an apology to the Stolen Generations.  Well we seem to have survived.

Let’s put this entire leadership drama behind us by hearing the truth about the back room deals that lead us here.  From what were we rescued by Julia Gillard and her backers?  Unless and until we find out, we will naturally consider the possibility that it was personal greed and ambition that lead us here.  That a tough boss was overthrown for a more “conciliatory” one.  It follows then, that I have no trouble believing an unflattering video of Kevin Rudd could be released by someone in the PM’s office to hold off his advance.  Only days ago she was accused of being untruthful about how premeditated her coup was, and then voila! We have nasty swearing Youtube Kevin upon us.

Doubtless, the fact that she’s a woman has made the going tough for our Prime Minister, but it’s the lingering idea that she’s untrustworthy thats made it impossible.  It’s as though we struggle to hear anything she says above the white noise of our suspicion.  The private days of negotiation with the independents after the last election added to the sense of secrecy.  Even though Tony Windsor admitted that Tony Abbott had offered to “do anything to be Prime Minister” it was still Julia Gillard who was accused of “bowing to the independents” in the end.

Forget the Gillard Government, if the Australian Labor Party is to be saved at this point, the absolute truth about the removal of Kevin Rudd and the unmasking of the fabled “back room boys” and “factional heavies” is a must.  The Gillard leadership coup exposed the power that hides behind the candidates, beyond the boring political ads, and crucially, above our will as voters.

Who runs this joint?  How do they run it and why do they run it like they do?  Not complicated questions, but ones to which we must demand answers.

Meshel Laurie is a comedian and broadcaster. You can catch up with her on Nova’s Drive Show with Tim Blackwell and Marty Sheargold 4-6pm on weekdays.