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May 22, 2013 14 Comments ›› admin


Should she stay or should she go? Prime Minister Julia Gillard

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 United States.

          Consider the Government’s achievements: They acted swiftly to save us from recession during the world’s financial and economic meltdown. But just as important, they resisted cutting the budget to shreds when revenue fell despite the immense political pressure to do so.

          They transformed our schools and our schooling, thus setting us up for the future and giving our children the best possible start in life. They invested massively in tertiary education, including trades, to meet the needs of a growing and changing economy.

          They created the National Disability Insurance Scheme from nothing. They raised the pension to a decent level. They introduced paid parental leave. They invested in roads, ports and other infrastructure that was holding us back because Howard ignored it. They improved relations with China while maintaining a strong US commitment. Indeed, in foreign affairs they didn’t put a foot wrong.

          They fixed the Murray-Darling river system. They put a price on carbon that will lead to a transformation of our energy generation. They’re building the NBN that will transform for the better the way we live and work.

          And they did all this as a minority government in the face of obdurate resistance and schoolyard bullying from Tony Abbott. They tried desperately to stem the flow of boat people, but were blocked at every turn by an Opposition that revelled in the political mileage they gained from it.

          So why am I the last columnist to give them a fighting chance? Well, Julia Gillard has never been given a fair go. People still resent the way she made it to the Lodge after his Party rejected Kevin Rudd. Had she been a man, it would have been a political coup and that’s that, but a woman couldn’t be forgiven.

          The Murdoch press, and the miners, have vilified Labor for their own vested interests. Sadly, their campaign has set the tone for other media outlets. But that could only be effective in a political landscape where something fundamental has changed in the communication business. That’s summed up this week in a memorable phrase from New York Times columnist Frank Bruni: ‘The sideshow swallows the substance’.

          Policies are ignored. Instead, the ‘news’ all about fripperies, trivia and the seven-second grab. If you doubt it, aside from the gold-plated parental leave scheme – and slashing at least 12,000 public servant jobs – try to think of a single Abbott plan for Australia.

          Oh, that’s right: “Stop the boats”.                  


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  1. Sara Dowse says:

    Hello Robert. I sincerely hope you’re right! All the best, Sara.

  2. Alex Mitchell says:

    As I’ve come to expect over the decades, your piece is elegantly argued, intelligently written and arresting in its presentation.
    I shall contact you on Sunday, September 15, to eat humble pie or invite you to swim across Lake Burley Griffin sans budgie smugglers.

  3. lenore kulakauskas says:

    Hi Robert, You have plenty of supporters in the silent public for your views, maybe not enough though, as the majority prefer the spurious press. Something that never ceases to amaze me is how anyone who challenges the ‘right’ has to go over and beyond with detail whereas the ‘right’ gets away with nebulous and mostly sloganistic speech. My friends and I keep doing our bit to keep the retard right at bay, often feels like a hopeless task but you can never give up!

  4. Xanthe Dewhurst says:

    Great article finally someone is showing the truth
    Agree and was pleased to read your article sick of
    The Gillard bashing !!

  5. Jo Lane says:

    Thank you for writing this Robert – thank you – for articulating what I was hoping the general public would have figured out – I was just hoping/trusting they didn’t figure it out too late.

    • robert says:

      Hi Jo
      I would like to think we are just a little ahead of the game and the public will catch up before election day…but there are times when I despair.

  6. Ashley Fielding says:

    Could not agree more. Great piece!!

  7. artemistic says:

    Liberal has such as Larry Pickering, Andrew Bolt, Michael Smith as well as a number of Liberal MPs brainwashing their fans with hatred against Islam and trying to turn Australians against the Muslims in our country. This in turn is going to aid Abbott in his policy on Stop the Boats. I have never seen such an outstanding PM who has to stand up to the Radio harassment and the harassment caused by Michael Smith who is a close friend of Barnaby Joyce to use a smear campaign to try and get rid of her. Parliament was used as a Court Room who had Ms. Gillard in the witness box to use her as an object to their bullying and temper tantrums. You summed it up very well. We can only hope the Murdocy media and the powers behind the Roman Catholic Church have a much lesser hold in bringing in Mr. Abbott and that people stop seeing him as being Godlike he isn’t far from it.

  8. Shirley Green says:

    Thank you for being a rare journalist with a positive view. I am so depressed with Australian politics and the ugliness of Abbott, Pyne, Bishop, Hockey, Brandis etc which was appalling to watch on Question Time last year and whose behavior continues to be ugly. When one compares Abbott and his front benchers to our PM and hers, it is frightening to think that LNP might be the leaders of this country in September. The Labor Party under PM Julia Bishop has achieved great things for this country and, given the chance, will continue to do so.

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