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Am I not pretty enough?

When I recently saw a photograph of Julie Bishop’s boyfriend David Panton sitting next to her in the official delegates section on the floor of the United Nations General Assembly, I wondered what the reaction would have been if that was Tim Mathieson sitting next to Julia Gillard. Imagine the outrage, the questions, the accusations.

For some reason, Julie Bishop has been treated entirely differently to Julia Gillard in so many ways.

When Ms Gillard did a photo shoot for an article in the Weekend Australian, Julie Bishop accused her of behaving like a “fashion model or TV star” rather than a politician, adding that posing for magazine covers was “not my style”.

who weekly In the last two years, Bishop has appeared in Who Weekly, The Australian Women’s Weekly, Harper’s Bazaar and Marie Claire talking about her portfolio as well as fashion and fitness.

Unlike Gillard she has not been criticised for her magazine profile or her cultivation of social media and the blogosphere.

When Scott Morrison talks about childcare funding there is no Sophie Mirabella screeching from the other side to the childless Bishop “You won’t need his taxpayer-funded nanny, will you?”

There is no Bill Heffernan suggesting she is unfit to lead Australia because she is “deliberately barren” or George Brandis labelling her as “one-dimensional” because of her decision not to have children.

Bishop has largely avoided scrutiny of her time as a lawyer and her treatment of dying litigants as well as her very brief tenure as shadow treasurer.

She has never been grilled by radio shock jocks on the private lives and business dealings of her various partners.

Rather than having Germaine Greer telling her she has a fat ass and Anita Quigley telling her to “get a stylist her own age”, Bishop is always described as “stylish”.



When, as deputy, Julie Bishop stabbed a first-term sitting Prime Minister in the back she was just doing her duty. Perhaps it was acceptable because she didn’t have the temerity to think she could be leader. Why would she when she is “living the dream” as Foreign Minister.


Did Julia Gillard cop the abuse because she was the first female PM? Was it because of the nastiness of the Abbott era unleashing the hounds? Was it due to the vitriolic campaign by conservative commentators and the Murdoch press?

Or was she just not pretty enough?



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  1. Matthew Oborne

    We have seen so many double standards since 2010 many more came to fruition after 2013 that you are left wondering how such blatant hypocrisy ever got hold. Why isnt Julie Bishop held to account for her double standards? She is described as a performer when reality shows her record is nothing to boast about, she just hasnt made as many slip ups. Morrison is a performer yet his performance was based on being recalcitrant and ignoring his obligations.

    Clearly their is a different benchmark for the Libs.

    The Libs can give visas to the mafia for donations, bribe the hussein family, be involved in major rackets and dodgy donations, they can break our laws and international laws and it barely rates a mention, but Labor takes a hit every time it comes even close to the Liberal level of deceit.

    It was game on – meaning it is OK to start a royal commission just because Julia Gillard pointed out Abbott has an extremely vile history of sexist remarks and alleged behavior.

    Are this government now going to an election to make them legitimate or should we have a convoy?

  2. longwhitekid

    Julia Gillard not pretty enough? Seriously? Asbestos Julie is so beat she looks like an anvil in a wig. Every time I see her face I think of a red hot horseshoe being hammered into shape. Gillard ‘copped it’ because she was a female PM AND Labor. Liberals are the nastiest bunch who pull no punches relentlessly attacking their oppononents again and again to distract from their own incompetence, incredible hypocrisy and deeply entrenched corruption. I am utterly sick of their behaviour. This psychopathic bunch of bogans could do with conducting themselves in a manner befitting their station of representing us, their employers. Not too much to ask when you are some of the highly paid politicians in the world. The way politicians in this country conduct themselves disgusts me. Please, have some dignity and decorum at least if you cannot do your job.

  3. brickbob

    Good article and you are spot on,Julia Gillard was treated like trash not only by Murdochs sycophants but by the majority of Australian media,where Bishop was and is treated like royalty,by God i wish Gillard was still Prime Minister,i really do.”””

  4. Kaye Lee

    Remember when we had a Prime Minister who had the vision and courage to do what was needed for the future?

    We had carbon pricing, a real NBN started, education funding reforms, water protection laws, confidence that the NDIS would be a reality, state partnerships on hospital funding and homelessness…the list is long.

    The time being lost before realising that all the things she tried to do must be done is something the Coalition will bear the blame for.

    Turnbull knows it but he has sold his principles for glory.

  5. paul walter

    Borderline personality disorder issues, anyone?

  6. Ann

    One looks like a woman and the other one has blond hair

  7. flohri1754

    Very well put and extremely illuminating contrasts between the treatment of these two prominent women. Ending with probably one of the most fetching photos of Julia Gillard I have seen. Gillard was truly given a raw deal by far too many components of the main stream media. Time will, I believe, add an increasingly memorable sheen to the memory of her time as PM … whereas history will not be increasingly dismissive of the “legacy” of Tony Abbott. The dice still having to land regarding Julie Bishop and Malcolm Turnbull.

  8. David

    @Matthew Oborne and all posters and Kaye Lee…great contributions…no need for me to add anything, thanks

  9. Matters Not

    I don’t think Julie Bishop had her very brief tenure as treasurer. ‘Shadow’ was close as she achieved and soon after lost the confidence of her colleagues.

    She was replaced by Hockey. And given his demonstrated ability, or lack thereof, it shows how (in)competent she was.

  10. Keitha Granville

    Excellent piece Kaye – I always liked Julia and was so sick of the way her appearance, the way she spoke, everything she did, was rubbished by the opposition and the press.
    It’s totally disgraceful that JB took her boyfriend to the UN. WTF ??? He doesn’t work for us, he doesn’t represent us in any way, why was that allowed ? Imagine the outcry if you took one of your childen into such a meeting – you’d be called on it immediately . And yet this is exactly the same. I can’t believe no one made a fuss.

    Totally on your page brickbob, I wish we still had JG, she was a fierce and formidable leader I was proud to have in charge of our country.

  11. Kaye Lee

    You are quite right Matters Not. I will edit the article to shadow treasurer. Thanks.

  12. Mark Needham

    Gillard was “ugly,” but not in the pretty, or looks, sense.
    Just not the sort of person, if she followed me home, would me mum, let me keep.

    A bit like Adam Goodes, he and others think he was “Boo’ed” because he is black. Colour has nothing to do with it, Goodes, is just not a real likable sort of bloke.
    So too, with me. I will not be very well liked after stating my views. It sometimes gets to a point, where instead of understanding the true situation, a “way and means” is created to suit our bent, at this moment in time.

    Even Joan Sutherland, could be called “ugly”, but in fact was absolutely beautiful.

    As this link will surely attest.

    You do not have to be anyone in particular to be disliked. It happens all the time and so shall it continue.
    Get over it, please.
    Yours in Ugliness,
    Mark Needham

    PS. Quoted from an above comment…”Liberals are the f*cking nastiest bunch who pull no punches relentlessly attacking their oppononents again and again to distract from their own incompetence, incredible hypocrisy and deeply entrenched corruption. I am utterly sick of their behaviour. This psychopathic bunch of bogans could do with conducting themselves in a manner befitting their station of ”
    Shoudst this person look in a mirror, what would they see, I thinks to meself.
    Ah well.

  13. kerri

    And has Julie Bishop ever been accused of being a Lesbian with a gay partner who is just there for appearances??

  14. Wally

    Great article Kaye.

    “Did Julia Gillard cop the abuse because she was the first female PM? Was it because of the nastiness of the Abbott era unleashing the hounds? Was it due to the vitriolic campaign by conservative commentators and the Murdoch press?”

    I don’t think looks had anything to do with it, Julia copped it for all of the reasons above.

    The LNP calling her Juliar would have to be the most hypercritical term in political history given Abbotts confession that he will say whatever is needed to be said without any consideration for the truth.

  15. kerri

    Mark Needham can you please. Find somewhere else to get your daily trolling fix?

  16. Kaye Lee

    I prefer not to resort to personal abuse but I find your views offensive Mark Needham. Having read much of what you write, it is clear that you are a bigot. You cannot see the racism and sexism inherent in our culture. You ‘dislike’ Muslims. You think Adam Goodes, who has done an amazing job in standing up to discrimination and giving Indigenous Australians pride in their heritage, is “just not a real likable sort of bloke” for no reason that you can enunciate. You make no comment on the hypocrisy in the different treatment of Gillard and Bishop.

    And your comment about not wanting to “keep” Julia Gillard should she follow you home, just made my point. You form your opinions based on nothing but prejudice. People like you are what is wrong with this country.

  17. Roswell

    I see Mark Needham is being his old self.

  18. Kaye Lee

    Could you hear how hard I was hitting the keys as I typed?

  19. halsaul

    Julie Bishop is the ethical twin of Abbott. Relentless narcissism & ambition way above her abilities. Still playing coquette with the old boys as she always has. Sad really.

  20. Kaye Lee

    Oh you big strong Nordic man you….want a job? Oh, you want your own institute…’s $4 million

  21. Roswell

    Kaye, I’m getting fed up with way Mark Needham snipes at you whenever you put up an article. And when he’s questioned about it he screams that he has a right to freedom of speech. If his right to a freedom of speech means that everybody else here has to put up with his continual bullshit, then give me censorship any day.

  22. Kaye Lee

    I couldn’t care less about sniping but I find his blanket ignorance despicable.

  23. leonetwo

    Another difference – Julia Gillard was called a liar because the media edited her comments about a carbon price. Julie Bishop lies to parliament again and again, and to us and no-one says a word. The name ‘Juliar’ applies to Bishop, a real liar.

    I just have to whinge about something – Bishop’s Barbie-pink phone. She has it out constanlty during QT, her attention is on her damn phone, not on what her colleagues are saying. If she cares so little about her duties in the House why does she bother turning up? Just imagine what would have happened if Julia Gillard had spent QT playing games on her phone (because I think that’s what Jules is doing).

  24. mars08

    Julie Bishop would be very unattractive no matter what she looked like…!

  25. Sir ScotchMistery

    @ Long white kid, I can only ask that you not hold back. Tell us seriously what you think nd feel as you go on. You will be occasionally jumped on for using horrid words but that’s okay, there are times when all i want to do is grab a bit of 4×2 and smash a libtard myself.

  26. David

    Mark Needham…..were I the one designated to push the button to ban you completely from AIM, you would be long gone troll. Consider yourself very fortunate the powers that be are more humane when it comes to your presence here than I

  27. Michael Peters

    Kaye – very succinct, informative and thought-provoking – we need more of this “compare and contrast” and for Labor-in-opposition to stand firm (by design or otherwise) and not fall for and copy NLP hypocrisy, envy and jealousy race to the bottom and then perhaps more of us will realise how easily we have been deceived, admit that is not where we wish to be by demonstrating this valuable lesson to our children of how not to behave anytime, anywhere.

    BTW, interesting to get the PM and minister for Women to comment?

    Democracy’s power lies in the 1 vote, 1 value each citizen is entitled – unfortunately that democratic orgasm exist in the 4 to 10 minutes it takes to vote every 3-4 years – in between times, this 1:1 is systematically surrendered to the point where the majority of 226 members of parliament do with our “common wealth” of property and rights what they like and citizens become mere inconvenient spectators.

  28. Roswell

    David, we’ve been pushing a lot of those buttons lately.

    I can’t say I approve of the abuse Mark Needham receives, but I can’t help but think that he asks for it.

  29. Mark Needham

    “Apart from that, f*ck off and crawl back under your rock, asshole.”
    Charming, hey!

    That a differing opinion, should draw such an acerbic comment as given above, is really………….. But, I did say that it would happen. Rightly so, because that is how we are made up in this world, but sometimes the vernacular could be better chosen.

    ” You make no comment on the hypocrisy in the different treatment of Gillard and Bishop.”
    There are a lot of things that I haven’t said. Of course there is hypocrisy in Gillards/Bishops treatment, that is the way of media. There is hypocrisy everywhere. There is hypocrisy in the way I am treated here
    I speak, as I see it. I try to not be nasty.
    That I am not a fan of Goodes, is irrelevant. Goode in all respects, should not care one iota, what I think of him. He is also allowed the choice of disliking me. I can accept that. I am not going to fight him over it, I am not going to start ‘effing and call him a retard or such. Adam is most probably a bloody good and nice bloke. I have never met him, only know the “crap” that the media has fed to me. From all of that, I have no time for him, again so what. It does not matter
    It, just does not matter.
    What does matter, is that you are saying that I “should” like him. Because I do not, you say I am a Bigot. Now calling me a bigot does matter. I am not a bigot.
    Because I don’t like, say, Pamela Anderson, does not make me a misogynist. stop reading into a statement, words that are not said, implied or meant.

    I do not, dislike muslims.!!!!
    I do not, dislike any race of people.!!!!
    I do not dislike, homosexuals.!!!!
    I do however dislike, skimmers and skammers and those who mean me harm.!
    If the hat should fit, should the king be naked, then I am duty bound to say so.
    What is wrong that I say, in a fair and reasonable manner, that I do not like spinach.

    Keep on making wrong assumptions, twisting the words and putting words in ones mouth is a good way to attack. But it will surely, through its lack of reason, make any sense to a fair and reasonable person.

    fair Go you lot,
    Mark Needham

  30. M-R

    What Ann said.

  31. Wun Farlung

    Leave Mark alone. The poor bugger ain’t the full quid

  32. Blinky Ewok

    Great article Kaye. Julia was a great PM who introduced the policies which would have taken us into a bright future. We could have been well on the way to transitioning from fossil fuels to renewables, the NBN would be progressing well, health and education would be funded and targetted to where most needed etc. We would not have had Abbott trashing every good thing we had going for us. History will look kindly on Julia where as future generations will despise Abbott and his wreckers.

  33. flohri1754

    Definition of a Mark Needham = Delusional Masochist

  34. jimhaz

    All of the reasons stated. There was one more though – that being “the first time around” scenario where difference is abused because it is different. I think that is about 15% of the reason why the LNP show ponies are not copping it much in the personality domain. That just leaves a mere 85% to the other factors.

    The “vitriolic campaign by conservative commentators and the Murdoch press” set the public tone for what is “acceptable” for just how much false negative personalising the LNP members can undertake and they were given a total free reign to use as much personality propaganda as they liked. This sort of viciousness and policy exaggeration is the modus operandum for conservative parties around the world. It is how Bush and Abbott got elected. As conservatives are selfish people it comes most naturally to them whereas progressives don’t like being such liars. The vested interest based MSM expects this sort of propaganda from the cons, they have built up a tolerance and let them get away with it. Of course this is why they gave so much negative attention to the ABC.

  35. virtualnonsense

    “Did Julia Gillard cop the abuse because she was the first female PM? Was it because of the nastiness of the Abbott era unleashing the hounds? Was it due to the vitriolic campaign by conservative commentators and the Murdoch press?”

    I feel that it was a combination. That Abbott couldn’t form govt because Oakshott and Windsor rejected him was enough to unleash those hounds. Had the LNP a different leader, I don’t think the abuse Gillard copped would have been what it was under Abbott and thereby his right-wing media mates. Abbott was never going to succeed as he went on to show and he damn well wasn’t going to let a woman do better than him.

  36. Don Winter

    Julia was and I’m sure still is a beautiful person. I was proud to have her as my PM. Mark Needam is just a distraction ( a thing that prevents someone from concentrating on something else ) a but like Abbot was. Great post Kaye Lee, thanks.

  37. Peter Ball

    excellent article that needed to be said , Bishop is ugly both within and on the outside too – her treatment of Asbestos victims showed to me this ugly woman has no soul

  38. Mark Needham

    RoswellOctober 20, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Kaye, I’m getting fed up with way Mark Needham snipes at you whenever you put up an article. And when he’s questioned about it he screams that he has a right to freedom of speech. If his right to a freedom of speech means that everybody else here has to put up with his continual bullshit, then give me censorship any day.

    Mate, please, just one thing that I have said/written, that is :-
    * Libellous
    * Untrue
    * Racist
    * Acerbic
    * Vulgar

    That you disagree with I say, is OK, by me. No problem.
    Are you going to deny my right to have a differing view to you

    But I am at an age where I have no need to lie, hide, libel or attack anyone.
    Now, put my feelings on paper, OK.

    You are correct, I think I am trolling ( by writing, thinking that the people who read, will be discerning, educated, understanding enough, to realise, that it is purely a point of view and not a doctrine and be able to carry on a normal conversation without being nasty et al.)
    I am wrong to presume this as fact, allready proved.
    feeling pity and shattered,
    Mark Needham

  39. Christine Farmer

    What a great photo of someone not supposed to be “pretty enough “!. Whatever happens, Julia Gillard was Australia’s first female prime minister, and a very fine one. She has her place in history, which can’t be taken from her, no matter how much she is criticised by narrow-minded conservatives. It may take time, but her achievements under such difficult circumstances will be appreciated for their value to Australia. We will also be able to see how the media conspired in her destruction.

    I’m not sure whether her being Labor or being a woman was more unbearable to the coalition. The combination made the insult even greater to their born-to-rule mentality. Not to mention being a redhead!

    I’m not at all clear what Julie Bishop has done apart from looking decorative. What has she achieved as foreign minister?

  40. diannaart

    Why isn’t Julie Bishop treated to the same sexist commentary as Julia Gillard was?

    Hmmm, I could say, “gee isn’t it great maybe we have stopped personally attacking women for being, well women?”.

    However, I know that is not true, any more than whether appearance played a part; neither are ridiculously good-looking, although I prefer Julia’s more open honest looks to the closed-up prune, Bishop.

    One is from the born-to-rule conservatives, the other from working-class background – that is where the great double standard starts and ends.

    May as well ask why Malcolm has yet to be termed a “backstabber” for ousting Abbott – he won’t be (born-to-rule B/S). Is it because is is prettier than Julia? Don’t think so.

    Class warfare.

  41. Trixie March

    My boyfriend hates Julia Gillard but only because he was a Rudd supporter. He says I only like Gillard because she’s a woman. I believe she had the vision and the strength to do what this country needed and yes, the media treated her atrociously! I also believe that Labor only lost the last election because of it’s leadership troubles. As for Julie Bishop, she will do and say anything to advance her career, and Yes! I want to know why her boyfriend was sitting beside her at that meeting!

    I also believe that the best thing the Labor party and Bill Shorten should do, is for Bill to step down as leader (rather than have a messy spill) as he is not the person who can out poll Turnbull this time around. As to who should replace him, I’m not sure. Nobody seems to stand out in the party anymore.

  42. Sonum Norbu

    Why not just ignore Mark Needham and he will then simply just go away. Sure he’s a turd, but like a turd he will go away.

  43. win jeavons

    Simple; conservatives do nasty so much more. It is in their DNA ?

  44. Stephen

    Amazing hatred and vitriol shown towards Bishop here. The people making those comments probably wouldn’t even realise that you are just as bad as those who would attend a rally holding ditch the witch signs. You’ll deny that but you are every bit as appalling. As for the vitriol directed towards Mark, what happens in ones life to become so bitter and twisted?

  45. Stephen

    Win, read the above comments for nasty

  46. Terry2

    Thanks Kaye

    That Julia Gillard had longer in the office of PM and achieved more than her nemesis and successor, is a source of quiet satisfaction to me and I’m sure brings comfort to her : what a woman.

  47. Judith W

    As always, vitriol says more about the perpetrator than the target. Bishop isn’t receiving the same gutter mouthed remarks because the people who made them were from amongst her allies. Bishop should be remembered for the company she keeps – “so low they could swing their legs sitting on a postage stamp” my dad would say.

  48. kerri

    Terry2 ??
    Me too!

  49. mmc1949mmc1949

    Mark Needham – I agree that no one is liked 100% by the rest of the world, so not liking Adam Goodes is nothing special. But when the bulk of the dislike of him is expressed in racist terms, surely you should be condemning that if you aren’t a racist.

    Let’s not forget that it wasn’t only the Murdoch press that had its knives out for Julia. I stopped subscribing to the Age specifically because of the unfair and unreasonable attacks Michelle Grattan made on Gillard. I always thought to myself that Grattan was jealous, felt knocked off her perch – after being called the leading woman in politics in Canberra, that title couldn’t be sustained once we had a female PM.

    MSM journalists have a lot to answer for in not challenging all the Liberal lies. Also for not pointing out, or allowing others to, that whatever Labor’s policies were when it went into an election, once there is a hung parliament, compromises have to be made. That applies to any party in that situation. Instead we were treated to the cry of “Liar” from all quarters.

    The print media were always going to suffer something with the advent of online news sources, but maybe they wouldn’t be doing as badly as they are if they produced quality journalism. They haven’t done that for a long time. If they want to turn their fortunes around, they could start by taking a leaf out of AIMN’s book. But I’m not holding my breath.

  50. Mark Needham

    “surely you should be condemning that if you aren’t a racist.”

    Yep, fairly said. I have no trouble saying that racism is not on. I never have said that racism is the way to go. But, I, myself, keep being called a racist here, because I said that I don’t like Adam Goodes. So if I was black, said I didn’t like Tony Abbot, I would be accused of being a racist. No, I am not black, and Yes, I don’t like Tony Abbot.

    I have had a gutfull, of the ……here.

    Still awaiting answers to my question,

    “” Mate, please, just one thing, that I have said/written, that is :-
    * Libellous
    * Untrue
    * Racist
    * Acerbic
    * Vulgar

    If no reply, then I will rest my case.
    Without a nasty bone in my body,
    I wish you all, peace.
    Mark Needham

  51. paul walter

    So,, Needham got his way and made it about him? Sad.

    Back to Bishop.

    If Bishop is on the receiving end of scorn here it is because posters recognise a self absorbed narcissist and attention seeker who is at the vanguard of class warfare in our time..all the warmth of an ice block and compassion of a T Rex.

    I really looked to se if there would be even a skerrick of pity from another woman toward another, Abyan, for example, but it turns out from an earlier read today that she is actually at the vanguard of the hardline against women like Abyan, a new victim now that Bernie Banton is dead.

    She is, of course, no worse than her male colleagues, but she is no better either. Nothing to do with sex, just the same crook attitude as those colleagues.

  52. Kaye Lee

    In one of her many magazine interviews Julie reiterated she is not a feminist and tells women they should “stop whingeing and just get on with it.”

    “Please do not let it get to you and do not become a victim, because it’s only a downward spiral once you’ve cast yourself as a victim,” Bishop told the fashion magazine.

    So there. We should all just cut the crap and get ourselves a good job – bloody feministas giving cute girls a bad name!

  53. i have a nugget of pure green

    Julia Gillard, thank you, and sorry for the crap you had to put up with.

  54. paul walter

    It’s a very Hobbesian straight jacket. Grits teeth, grunt, groan. Happier back in the seventeenth century, you suspect…whips out!

  55. Kyran

    A world leader (one of those elected people) undertook to increase asylum seeker intake. This leader had to stare down a vociferous, home grown (and international) animosity .The fact she was female is irrelevant, in my opinion. The fact is, in my opinion, she was a leader. Of the two ‘J’s’, one is a leader.
    I think it was Plato’s book, The Republic A few centuries BC.
    There are leaders. There are opportunist’s Gender is irrelevant, in that context. Thank you, Ms Lee. Take care

  56. Kaye Lee

    Gender should have been irrelevant. I fear it was/is not. Women are expected to strive to be attractive. The damage we do to our girls with this peacock mentality is immeasurable.

  57. hforward22

    I think she (Julia) is beautiful. Specially when she laughs.

  58. David

    Not only outwardly beautiful, I adored her inner beauty which shone through when Julia smiled and laughed. Women do not in my opinion need to be candidates for beauty pageants to be…..beautiful

  59. Kyran

    There is right, there is wrong. There is good, there is bad. Gender, race, religion etc is irrelevant to me, as well. I am fascinated by the notion the Greek philosophers had this worked out BC.
    For some of us basic units, gender is irrelevant. Leaders, however, are sorely needed. Take care

  60. Matters Not

    There is right, there is wrong. There is good, there is bad

    Indeed we entertain/use the concepts of ‘right and wrong’ these days and also the concepts of ‘good and bad’ in every day discourse, (without analysing the difference between same), but then you say:

    am fascinated by the notion the Greek philosophers had this worked out BC

    Not sure about that. Plato never drew a distinction between the ‘right’ and the ‘good’ (or the ‘wrong’ and the ‘bad’). At least that’s my understanding.

    The distinction between ‘deontological’ and ‘teleological’ ethical systems evolved some time later.

    If not, then you might provide a link, so I can update my knowledge.

  61. Trevr

    Great Article Kaye Lee. There are standards and then there are the Liberals, a truly ethics and moral free zone of apologists for Parasitic Corporate Capitalism.

  62. RosemaryJ36

    If you are in the world of politics, it should be because you are involved in forming policies. If you do not like the policies which others have developed, your criticism should be reasoned and free of the ad hominem which destroys today’s political discussion.
    Personalities have been dwelt on to the point where we have a reality TV approach to selecting a PM.
    It was a breath of fresh air to have a hung parliament and some people of integrity holding the balance of power.
    Maybe that is what we need.

  63. Trevr

    Mark Needham describes himself perfectly as ” UGLY”. I read him as an inarticulate twit who constantly confuses his capabilities with his desires and so he maintians his “ugly” definition as he searches for counselling in all the wrong places. Onya bike Skidmark.

  64. Random

    Points well made about the contrast in treatment of Julia and Julie, and I totally agree.

    And, there lies a massive irony; an article specifically on ‘fair’ treatment has that same sentiment totally obliterated in the comments. I confess I am not very familiar with Mark Needham, or other commenters as I’ve only recently discovered this site and its compelling content.

    However, as an ‘ignorant’ observer, there seems to be a great deal of hypocrisy when responding to an alternative view point. Granted, Mark’s comments weren’t totally on point, or particularly eloquent, but isn’t he entitled to this view, as much as others are to theirs? Especially when you compare the tone of the responses? The despicable derogatory attitude of the Libs that is so scorned by this particular article and most commenters, is emulated a heart-beat later towards Mark. You can’t have it both ways. Either you’re above the vitriolic narrative, or you are part of the problem…an enabler of the baser version of discourse and lack of debate we’ve languished under for too many years.

    We have the freedom of choice in how we respond (or not to, and avoid being successfully diverted), can we choose “better”? Just my humble view, which like Mark’s may not resonate…

  65. Kaye Lee

    I too am uncomfortable when we degenerate, something of which I am guilty at times. I will try to do better.

    One thing that frustrates me is when people (like my husband) say they don’t like Julia Gillard (or the Greens, or Adam Goodes, or Muslims, or whoever) without any sensible reason.

  66. corvus boreus

    This might sound hypocritical (who me?) coming from someone who has on occasion made claims that other posters were ‘auto-coprophagic benthos’ (to say nothing of trematodes), but I agree with Random’s contribution regarding personal abuse.
    It derails discussion from the topical to the personal, and makes this site look bad to newcomers.

    Back on topic, another probable factor in the disparity of treatment shown between the two Julias is the matter of ‘faith’.
    Ms Bishop states an affiliation with the Anglican branch of Christianity, whilst Ms Gillard was often attacked for her disavowal of any religious beliefs. I think Gillard’s open Atheism contributed somewhat to the viscerial hatred of the ‘witch-hunt’.

    Regarding the dragging of their respective partners/consorts into the political game, that should be of peripheral interest unless the other half steps into the limelight (or is pulled by their partner) in terms of political announcements, official functions or controversial/questionable dealings.
    Tim the hairdresser was a very ‘stay at home’ type of bloke with no public controversies (to my knowledge), and I cannot actually put a face to his name, yet he was a constant topic of allegation and insinuation with regard to their relationship.
    David the pharmacy baron and property developer turning up in the section of the UN security council reserved for official delegates suddenly transforms him into a person of political interest, rendering their relationship worthy of more serious scrutiny.
    Similar applies to Ms Bishop’s prior relationship with former senator Ross Lightfoot, who courted controversy with suspect financial dealings and openly racist statements. I am uninterested in what pillow-talk Ms Bishop might have engaged in, but am troubled by our foreign minister’s choice to liase with the man who, among other charming remarks, stated that “Australian Aborigines are the lowest colour on the cilvilisation spectrum”.

  67. Kaye Lee

    “The Foreign Minister has discretion as to who is invited to General Assembly sessions and has in the past invited constituents and friends to sit with her.”

    Since when did this become a social function?

    As to politicians’ families/partners, the less we know about them the better as far as I am concerned. I am already heartily sick of “Lucy and I”.

  68. helvityni

    Excellent article Kaye Lee. I think we now have two prime ministers…
    Like Howard’s missus, Jeannette, Lucy has plenty of influence. “Lucy and I”, our very own power couple.

    Why does Ms Julie has the need to flirt with all male world dignitaries…? Please, please, Julia, come back…

  69. Felicitas

    I know why The Bish took her boyfriend – it was to do her snoozing for her whilst she stayed awake (have you seen her in parliament?).
    And yes, Helvityni, I too cry in the night “please come back Julia” – only she won’t – she’s intelligent!

  70. Friday

    ‘Don’t let them get you down’ was her advice.
    Murdoch and the morning shows were willing parties to the rabbott’s style of bullying. They were easy targets to repeat his lies. It was unfortunate that the ABC morning and 24 began and were well caught up in the negativity.
    Despite the constant attack, her strength shone through and the rabbott, even with their misogynist vote, stayed behind in the polls.
    Not even the atrocious ABC series ‘at home with Julia’, defeated her.
    Eventually the fitzgibbon petulance, the husic fear and the shorten capitulation gave her a 57 to 45 loss. What a comparison between her reaction and those of the rabbott and the lemon to losing.
    Thanks Kaye for the chance to relive a great 3 year memory.
    Oops forgot Julie??? Right school tie, right religion, right media, right friends, right amount of nastiness, right shape, right clothes, right men and right up herself.

  71. mars08

    If I had the time and the talent, I’d submit an article on the merits (and downside) of manners and ideological purity in political discussion. For well over a decade, Australian society has been relentlessly weakened by a small bunch of rich, powerful and influential people. Their narrow interests have been put ahead of the greater good.

    Is this the time for handwringing about polite discourse?

  72. Kaye Lee

    My mother always said that name-calling was the resort of those who were losing the debate and that swearing showed a lack of vocabulary. Needless to say, she was a teacher 🙂

    You certainly have the talent to submit an article. I look forward to it when you have the time.

  73. mars08

    @Kaye Lee… U have no doubt that name-calling can be the last resort of those who are losing the debate. But I’m confident that there are other other causes.

  74. Kaye Lee

    Hey I was quoting my mother. My own opinion is that there are times when a good rant can be very cathartic, even necessary.

  75. mars08

    @Kaye Lee…. ooops er… My comment should have started… “I have no doubt…”

  76. Roswell

    Please do submit an article, mars08. That sounds an interesting topic.

  77. mars08

    Didn’t I mention my laziness…?

  78. gangey1959

    Great article (again) Kaye Lee.
    And a very enlightening set of responses.
    Mark N is due his attitudes and response just the same as the rest of us. (OK, NoS can bag his own head.)
    In fact having read Mark’s further comments I cannot disagree with everything he has said.
    It is just the same as me being able to say what I do about bmw drivers.
    This is not the forum for abuse of other opinions. I can get that watching question time.
    Back to the topic of the article.
    There are very few politicians who would have been able to achieve what she and her colleagues did from a minority position. She did everything with grace charm and (at times vitriolic) wit. Her ‘misogynist’ speech was a gem. She is one of the few politicians I would like to meet. Sadly, there is no–one else om the Labor party who comes even close.
    Julie, on the other hand, is just a cow. A well dressed, great haired, spiteful, “evil, wicked straight-razor totin'” foul mouthed cow. I’ll just bet that she has a fleet of beemers. She and the rest of her kind just shower abuse and insult on everyone who holds a different opinion to them. Especially when the lnp were in opposition. They abuse their positions, and our trust, and then blame others when caught out.
    Ms bitchop went to the UN, and took her partner with her. Did she pay, or did WE ???
    Our current foreign minister might be the darling of the msm, and on all of the hag-rag covers, but she will NEVER be Australia’s PM.

    Give me Julia back. NOW.


  79. paul walter

    This a red letter morning. Kaye Lee mentions her mum’s sticks and stones, Mars admits to laziness and Helvitiny identifies Miss Julie’s untramelled propensity for flirting with every/anything in trousers as well as ever present teev cameras. Subverting the gaze, indeed!

  80. Stephen

    Corvus, I’m pretty sure Gillard would be the last person to want previous relationships brought into the spotlight. I think it is a reasonable question to ask why Bishop even takes her partner overseas at all but there is no need to unnecessarily throw mud. Especially without balance and especially when the lady you admire so much would understandably shudder reflecting on some of her past choices when it comes to that matter. Anyway I’m off to get my prostate checked by a small Asian female doctor. Wish me luck.

  81. Backyard Bob

    The main difference in the way both women get/got treated can be expressed in the differences between their respective sides of politics. Conservatives are notorious – whether politicians or members of the commentariat – for personal jibes and gutter snipery. The Left mostly manages to avoid such behaviour. I don’t think there’s any great mystery here.

  82. Stephen

    Backyard Bob, many of the comments on these pages could well have been written by those pathetic people holding ditch the witch placards. There is not much difference between many of the commenters here and those people. Both sides think the other is worse but the reality is that there are elements from the left and right who are as appalling as each other. You don’t need to go further than some of the comments above for evidence of that and I’m not referring to Mark.

  83. corvus boreus

    First up, sincere best wishes on today’s test, and I hope the results come back clean.

    Regarding former PM Gillard, my ‘admiration’ for her is somewhat diluted and patchy, rather like a shoddy paint job.
    I fully respect the negotiatory skills with which she formed a minority government from some rather disparate elements, and managed to maintain reasonably functional government, passing a significant quantity of legislation. Of the legislature itself, some of it I thoroughly support, other items I utterly reject, with the rest falling somewhere in the grey.
    My main unreserved admiration for Julia Gillard was for her answer at a press club address when Mark Riley asked how the Australian media could lift it’s game, which I think is a classic prime-ministerial quote. “Don’t write crap” should be etched in stone in front of the Canberra press gallery.

    As to her ‘past choices’, I presume you mean her former liasion with AWU official Bruce Wilson, and the allegations that he funneled unaccounted funds into her home renovations. This was investigated within the frames of reference of the commission into unions, and covered extensively in the media. The TURC found insufficient reason to pursue the matter further.
    Personally, I do not view this as completely vindicating her (it all still smells a bit dodgy to me), but that may partially be because of an inherent cynicism regarding politicians and others in positions of power (including union big-wigs).
    This morning I did not raise the subject of Julia’s ex, Bruce the union boss, partially because, to me, the conduct of an ex-pollie is less relevant than that of a current one, and partially because I am a slow typer who dashed off a missive in the pre-work rush.

    Ps, I try not to sling any ‘mud’ around unless I have thoroughly checked it’s substance first.

  84. Roswell

    Best of luck, Stephen. Hope all goes well.

  85. David

    Stephen do you have a spare halo I can borrow,,,thks

  86. Friday

    Mars you will have plenty of evidence for your article the ‘never discuss politics or religion has been around for a couple of hundred years, although the current topic, women in politics, made it a trilogy only recently.
    As for discussion that is only available without ‘belief’ abrogating the need for evidence and, with one exception, these posts display a roughly common belief.
    The point of bishop not being subjected to the savage press is moot because there are no rabbotts or murdochs to drive the agenda in the mainstream media and labor has avoided getting down and dirty(Mary-jo fisher, robb depression, abbott speech therapist? all avoided)
    Laborites, perhaps sensing the hypocrisy of decrying jones’ ‘bag in the sea’ died of shame’, brown’s bitch and ditch the witch and reading the terrible vicious attacks in these posts, are generally silent supporters of federal colleagues.
    Sorry Kaye if the cap fits wear it, news corp and the shock jocks against Julie are alive and well fouling the comment pages of the AIMN

  87. Kaye Lee

    Whilst I can understand and agree with the criticism of some of the comments we have made, do you truly believe strangers commenting on a blog compares to the very public vitriole from very public figures that Julia Gillard endured? As I have said, I will try to lift my game – let’s hope the politicians and MSM make a similar effort.

  88. Backyard Bob


    To clarify, and somewhat echo what author Kaye Lee just said, when I refer to the “commentariat” I do not mean garden variety social media, Twitter and political blog commenters like the people who post here. No offense intended, but they/I/we are nobodies in the scheme of things. I’m talking about public media figures who garner some measure of respect and support – justified or not. i.e. those that have the public ear.

    I would hazard a guess that if we were to engage in a sort of virtual handshake bet as to who could produce the most quotes from Left/Right politicians and commentators that involve sordid and personal references and/or invocations or allusions to acts of violence, I would win hands down (assuming you took the view that the Left is as bad).

    For the record I think that the way conservative commenters get treated at this site, and others like it, is beyond pathetic, but that’s how these places work, on either “side” of politics”.

  89. Stephen

    I don’t think the vitriol from either side is justified Kaye and especially when the vitriol is born from simply representing a different political ideology than one agrees with. We aren’t talking about kiddy fiddlers and rapists here but reading some of the comments you would wonder. I get that this is just a site for anti Libs to vent but it’s the pure hypocrisy that I find quite astounding. As for having a halo David, I certainly don’t. I’d just rather just deal with my frustration for politics and policies I disagree with rather than putting so much effort into hating somebody simply because they don’t belong to the political party I voted for. You can see from the comments above how that can possibly lead to people just becoming bitter and twisted individuals. Thanks to those who have replied to me and all the best. Most people in society want the same thing which is health and happiness, we just see different versions and methods of achieving that. Cheers

  90. Stephen

    Backyard Bob, I take the view that both sides should be doing better to work towards the best wishes of the Aus people. I’m not concerned about left and right. Whatever people think about Turnbull he has quickly changed the perception of parliament and it should hopefully be a positive for Shorten too should he learn from his lack of penetration of the Turnbull grilling last week. Hopefully we can put the poor performance of Aus pollies over the last decade or so behind us. I agree how these places work though and that’s fair enough too. Cheers and all the best.

  91. The AIM Network

    I get that this is just a site for anti Libs to vent

    We have tried to get some right-wing voters to write articles for us – to provide balance – but they haven’t been forthcoming.

  92. paul walter

    You have to find a literate one, one who can read and write.

  93. Trevr

    The Left wing and the right wing belong to the same bird. Unfortunately this bird never flies as Australia’s grand Democracy experiment was neutered at birth by the poison of Partisan Party Political Machines whose main role is to vacum all available public funds into furthering the self interest of this failed 2 Party Preferred Political Farce.

  94. keerti

    I look forward to the news report which starts,”malcolm turncoat with his white hair fashioned into a cute cowlick was wearing a tailored suit with the wrong colour socks…”

  95. Backyard Bob

    We have tried to get some right-wing voters to write articles for us – to provide balance – but they haven’t been forthcoming.

    You have to find a literate one, one who can read and write.

    And there is your reason why.

  96. kizhmet

    Since Abbott’s departure, there has been a noticeable, decisive and welcome shift from divisive politics. I hold my breath in the hope we can return to civilised discourse as both sides of the political spectrum. I sincerely doubt the rusted-on right wing shock jocks in MSM will catch on, however.

    @ Stephen:

    “Most people in society want the same thing which is health and happiness, we just see different versions and methods of achieving that.”

    Agree entirely with this sentiment. It is unfortunate the ideology of the “right” side of politics achieves this at the cost of the average Australian. There lies the rub. Whilst Turnbull has brought about a change in attitude, ultimately he is hamstrung by his own party; significant policies remain unchanged. If Turnbull introduced policies he previously espoused (such as SSM and Climate Change,), I might have considered voting for him. Not a hope in hades now – it isn’t about the man it’s about the party and the policies it represents.

    Sadly politics in this country is about choosing the lesser of two evils. ALP may not tick ALL the boxes, but their policies are ultimately more equitable.

  97. Mark Needham

    Stephen, I hope you haven’t caught anything of corvus boreus or Roswell, Hey!

    “there are times when a good rant can be very cathartic, even necessary.”

    OK, I have now joined in, but like you, my tounge is in my cheek

    Chuckling under me breath,
    Mark Needham

  98. corvus boreus

    Mark Needham,
    Glad to know it’s your tongue that’s bulging your cheek; for a moment it looked suspiciously like nob-gobbing, Hey!
    Shaking my head at your constant driveling of off-topic, self-referential trifle and tripe,

  99. Backyard Bob

    This isn’t directed at anyone in particular; it’s just a general observation of the “Turnbull Effect”:

    For me the difference between Abbott and Turnbull is little more than the difference between a fairly well trained Doberman and a rabid Bull Mastiff cross. Certainly one is immediately preferable, but ultimately they’ll both bite off your dangley bits if you leave them out there to dangle. I’m not convinced the improvements Turnbull brings to the political scene are really much more than cosmetic. That he’s an improvement on Abbott is simultaneously true and thoroughly mundane, in much the same way as a passing headache is better than a crippling migraine.

    Turnbull may not be quite as fulsome and frothing an ideologue as Abbott, but he is, nevertheless, a conservative ideologue. He’ll appeal to the “centre” and that’s politically dangerous for Labor, but he’s got nothing to offer progressive Australia and never will have while the Xian-Right of the Coalition continues to hold the degree of power it’s had since the 90s (that this holds true somewhat for Labor as well is perhaps a matter for another day).

    Small, even trivial changes have appeared across certain policy areas but they are designed to appease the centre; they do not represent a meaningful shift in policy philosophy and implementation. For me it’s all cosmetic and designed purely to dampen down certain political hot spots.

    Is Malcolm Turnbull a more righteous and trustworthy person that Tony Abbott? I don’t believe he is. I think the view that he is stands as one that invokes the phrase “all evidence to the contrary”. Turnbull is simply more skilled in the dark arts of political spin and chicanery. Abbott may have been hopelessly and irretrievably mendacious and lummoxular, but his nature was wholly transparent, which, in my view, makes him arguably less dangerous than Turnbull. The new PM possesses many of the characteristics of Kim Beazley – affable, charming, intelligent (if wafty), benign. But lurking behind this seemingly innocuous facade is a big-end-of-town, capitalist idealogue. Other than for those who share that particular faith, there’s little to see in that that’s benign – let alone benevolent.

    And however much Turnbull may have managed to convince Fairfax media that’s he’s God’s gift to Oz politics (and sadly it appears to be so), he will remain a conservative tail being wagged by a neo-conservative dog.

  100. Kaye Lee

    Kerry Packer, whilst singing the praises of his young lawyer Malcolm Turnbull, said “I wouldn’t get between Malcolm and a bag of money.”

  101. patriciawa

    J is for Julia and the Joy she gave.
    U is for Us, so Useless to save
    Labor while staying Loyal to her,
    In spite of our Instinct that never
    Again could we Australians be so proud of our name.

    Those are my feelings about Julia, but there are also the hundreds of other articles expressing the same, like this one at
    Report: Julia Gillard One Of The Best Prime Ministers In Australian History

  102. Kaye Lee

    here it is patriciawa. I miss her too 🙁

  103. Michael Taylor

    I’d have her back in a flash.

  104. Kaye Lee

    Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone

  105. LOVO

    The peoples PM……*sigh*…..gone, but never ever forgotten.

  106. Michael

    It takes (at least) two to make things happen – I take this opportunity thank my member for Warringah and the LNP for their efforts in making us realise the value, as espoused, of what was taken away from us, teaching us that one needs to know bad to gauge what is good, and awakening the power we all have as engaged citizens.

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