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What Julia Gillard is up against (continued)

This post is another fabulous guest post by Kay Rollison, my mother.

I’m following up on Victoria’s recent post on what Gillard is up against. Two pieces on the Drum on Thursday 21 February nicely illustrate a couple more of the sorts of attack that Gillard faces. Both articles, though they appear to be something else, are actually attacks on the Prime Minister.

The first is Jonathan Green’s An imminent assassin or Gillard’s final shield, which almost caused me to choke on my muesli. It purports to be an analysis of ALP leadership tensions, and is arguing that Kevin Rudd will not be able to mount a successful challenge to Julia Gillard for the same reason that he lost the prime ministership in the first place. That is, because he has no factional backing in the Labor caucus. But Green goes beyond this to suggest that Gillard is a captive of right wing unions, who would rather see the government defeated than allow someone outside of their power, such as Rudd, to be Prime Minister.

The article begins reasonably enough with a question for the journalists who are spruiking a challenge by Rudd. How would it happen?

If, as almost to a woman they insist, a Rudd challenge to the Gillard prime ministership is all but inevitable, how precisely is this transition supposed to take place?

(Note ‘to a woman’. Green’s little joke.)

He’s right to ask this. A journalistic consensus doesn’t add up to a leadership challenge. There may be many reasons why journalists might like Rudd to offer a contest, such as it would make good political drama, it would be something they’d been right about this time or it would excuse them from having to find something else to write about. But this doesn’t mean Rudd will challenge.

So why does Green think the press is wrong about a challenge?

He doesn’t think it’s anything to do with whether or not Rudd could do a better job. He dismisses the argument that Rudd was removed because he was incompetent. No, he was removed because his ‘presence in positions of power threatens the “faceless” control of traditional party mechanisms’. Is putting ‘faceless’ in inverted commas supposed to be another little in-group joke? And Gillard and Swan, appearing at the AWU National Conference, ‘know precisely who’s buttering their bread’. The AWU in turn support the ‘profoundly unpopular’ Gillard because worse than ‘the hiding that this leadership will bring to the parliamentary party come September 14 … would be the elevation of a leader in the party hostile to various internal interests; a man, like Kevin Rudd, who would work actively to undermine and subvert traditional avenues to power and influence.’ Wow. The Evil Empire at work.

By this reasoning, Gillard and Swan should have nothing to do with the AWU. Green even suggests that there is a ‘sense of taint that might stem from close association to the union seen as being both her faceless coup backers of 2010 and more remotely to the vague but still festering allegations of imprudence from the 1980s (sic)’. Really? What is Green doing here, apart from trying to resurrect the stupid allegations from the 1990s? Suggesting that there is something wrong with a situation where unions like the AWU financially support the Labor Party, which was born out of the union movement? Certainly the relationship between the industrial and political wings of the labour movement has changed beyond recognition since it first arose. But that there is a relationship is as fundamental to the political scene as the relationship between big business and Tony Abbott. I’m sure that the union movement is just as concerned about the prospects of an Abbott government as I am, and will do everything in their power to avert the threat.

I can’t, however, refute Green’s argument. It’s of the kind that says that there are no flying pink elephants at the airport because the flying pink elephant catchers are working well. If there is no challenge, it must be because Gillard is a creature of the right wing unions. Thanks Jonathan.

The second is Tad Tietze’s article ‘Greens in 2013: between a rock and a hard place’. This one purports to be about the difficulties facing the Greens in coming to terms with being part of the parliamentary game, as opposed to being a protest movement.

‘The Greens’ “outsider” status was always destined to clash with their desire to be successful political “insiders”,’ Tietze says. Fair enough. He looks at Christine Milne’s Press Club speech, and her argument that Labor had broken three of the four heads of the agreement Julia Gillard signed with Bob Brown. He asks how it is that the Greens supported so many of the things they are now objecting to – such as the Mineral Rent Resource Tax. He, in my view correctly, identifies the problem at the heart of the Greens political stance – how can they become a major political force, capable of appealing to the middle ground, and at the same time, preserve their distinctive role as a party whose policies are decided by its members, not its politicians, and are true to what he calls the party’s ‘left wing’ orientation. He also points out that their support for Labor comes at a time when Labor is doing badly, but because of the threat of an Abbott government, left of centre voters are as likely to stick with or move back to Labor as to support the Greens. The irony is, he says, ‘that their adaptation to the official political game has not delivered electorally’.

So what’s my problem? First, it’s that the Greens cannot be what he obviously thinks they should be: ‘a clear progressive alternative to Labor’. If you can’t win enough seats in the lower house to form a government, you can’t be a clear progressive alternative to anything. Furthermore, I’ve never seen any real evidence of how the Greens plan to deliver their policy ‘wish list’ while juggling the demands of government. Running a government isn’t as easy as telling people about your ideal world. A lot of the Greens policies are what is called ‘aspirational’; nice ideas, many of which I applaud, but are also entirely impractical. True, some of them are better than the compromises Labor has had to make – but for better or worse, compromise is what politics is about, particularly when you are in a minority government.

Second, it turns out that Tietze is one of those people who think that living under Abbott won’t be all that bad. He says that the Greens’ ‘partisan connection has led them to join Labor in overplaying the horror that will occur if Abbott becomes PM (when in fact his administration is likely to be nasty, but at least as weak and incoherent as Gillard’s). Love that ‘when in fact’. Perhaps it won’t be bad for Mr Tietze. Presumably he isn’t sick or poor, unemployed or likely to be made so. Maybe the NBN doesn’t matter to him, but surely the carbon price does? ‘Weak and incoherent’? It would take another post to list the achievements of this government. I’m happy to acknowledge the contribution made by the Greens, but I think it’s Labor we can thank for our relative prosperity in the face of international economic weakness.

On one hand, this article is just another form of Labor bashing. On the other, is suggests that lots of Greens would probably be happy with an Abbott government; they could revert to their uncompromising agenda, and be damned to the rest of us.

PS. I noted with interest some Greens are into realpolitik; in the WA Legislative Council Agricultural Region, the Greens are preferencing the Shooters and Fishers Party ahead of both Labor and Liberal. Well done Greens. Hunting in national parks forever!


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  1. ernmalleyscat (@ernmalleyscat)

    Good analysis. Exactly my reaction to Jonathan Green’s article.

  2. Peter

    Gillard is up against…her own poor performance. Period.

    Rollinson seems to have skirted over any real analysis of the factions in understanding the current machinations of the ALP. Gillard is largely kept in power by the support of right-wing unions and the right-wing faction. Left-wing leaders like Carr, Albanese and Cameron all lined up against her.

    Gillard has been governing against type – attacks on gays, asylum seekers, single mothers, plenty of appeals to the religious right and expanding the chaplain program in govt schools. Abbott must enjoy the fact that Gillard is effectively rolling out his socially conservative agenda If Abbott had tried to do many of these things, the howls from the left would have been deafening. Apparently when a “Labor” govt does it, it becomes less problematic.

    The long-term issues facing the ALP must be addressed. It does the party no good not to acknowledge the extent of the problem. Rollinson’s cheer leading may make herself and ALP supporters feel better, but the future of the party requires some real analysis. The collapse of support for the ALP cannot be put at the foot of the MSM – however easy an answer that seems. If that is the lesson that is taken away from the coming defeat, then the ALP will be in danger of irrelevancy for an extended period of time. The party needs thinkers like Lindsay Tanner who have been warning that the Labor project must be recalibrated for contemporary Australia.

    To have 70% of the Australian public voting for parties other than the governing party is a devastating indictment of the party’s inability to connect with the electorate. Waleed article is a good starting point:

  3. Iain Hall

    The whole premise of this piece is swimming in that north African river that flows past the Pyramids.

    Only a dyed in the wool Gillard Fan would write such a piece, to be honest I think that it will only be after Gillard has been voted out that we will see any honest (with themselves) analysis of the performance of this government, as peter says above Waleed Ali’s piece is a rather more accurate depiction of the ALP’s situation than this piece of apologia for Gillard.

    Just as a thought exercise can I suggest that Victoria and Kate try to pretend that the opposition is not the sum of all their fears and just look at the government performance on its own, do they really deserve your endorsement in their own right?
    Do they really meet the performance criteria that we demand of any government?
    You see the country deserves more than “I’m scared of the other mob” as the basis of keeping a bad government in power. We need first and foremost good governance and sound administration and I’m very sad to say that the evidence is that under Labor we are not getting either.

  4. Disturbia

    Ian, don’t write crap.

  5. Joy Cooper

    Excellent blog Kay. Agree with every word you have written. What’s with this ‘profoundly unpopular’ Julia Gillard anyway? This is another press fabrication which non-critical thinkers then believe is the way things are & ‘profoundly’ dislike the PM as they conclude that is how they are suppose to “think”. because Hadley, Jones, Bolt & News Ltd told them so.

    Personally, I know of a male in his early twenties who doesn’t like (rather he hates) Julia Gillard because she has red hair!! Very profound, I must say.

  6. Iain Hall


    I never “write crap” 😉

  7. Trev

    I’d have to say I’m also disappointed with your comments Iain. I believed that you were less an Idealogue and more an independent thinker ( and observer) than your latest remarks suggest.

  8. Tom of Melbourne

    Why Leadership Matters – Return to Rudd

    The ALP Government is fractured, headed for defeat. This situation is a function of the current inept leadership of Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan.

    If leaders of any organisation can’t build trust, confidence and a sense of alignment, they fail. Leadership isn’t just about doing things, developing policy or making announcements – they’re activities. Leadership has more to do with creating trust, or offering a better, stable future. It’s “the vision thing” – the messages of leaders have to resonate.

    Gillard can’t do it, and these days, no one listens anyway.

    The choice isn’t between Gillard and Abbott, that’s not a choice worth making. Vote 1 – Informal, is the most ethical selection at the moment.

    With the ALP headed for electoral disaster, the choice is one for the ALP. They can choose Rudd.

    A “Return to Rudd” (R2R) campaign would kick start an electoral comeback. With the range of ministerial hacks that would self-select out, a Rudd Government would look bright, young and fresh.

    On the policy front, Rudd has proven to be more humane towards asylum seekers, less dogmatic about marriage equality. He would be more credible in reviewing carbon/emission policy; he is likely to be determined and capable of proving a point about the MRRT.

    Rudd’s policy strengths put the harsh spotlight on Gillard’s weaknesses.

    Rudd is capable of cutting through an allegedly belligerent press gallery, he can connect to the electorate – giving them a sense of optimism and building trust.

    Returning to Rudd would stop the leak of votes to the Greens and claw back the middle ground. An ALP government under Rudd is likely to be more progressive than the current tired, moribund one.

    Gillard has had her opportunity and she has failed. She deserves no more sympathy than she provided to her predecessor.

    It’s time for Gillard to get out of the way and allow the electorate to return to the leadership they prefer – Rudd.

  9. Min

    Would Labor policies and achievements such as those which Tom R has mentioned smell any sweeter under a Rudd leadership..I should imagine not. A prediction should Rudd assume the leadership would not be as per ToM that there is wisdom in this move, but that it would be Labor In Turmoil, Failed Leader Returns.

  10. Tom R

    the messages of leaders have to resonate.

    It’s impossible for anything to ‘resonate’ when the media continually misrepresent, ignore or outright lie about what it is that Gillard and the Government are attempting to do, and spend an entire week talking to each other in patronising terms over something that they finally admit isn’t going to happen.

    Meanwhile, the shriekers shriek that ‘Labor stand for nothing’, yet appear all to easy to align them with communist and class-war at the drop of a hat.

    I’d argue that, if they stood for nothing, then these caricatures wouldn’t spring so easily to mind.

    Labor have stood for the worker from their outset. And wide ranging reforms like the NBN (which will lift productivity more than any other single policy) and the Carbon Price (which will create opportunities in renewables for our own workforce), that are built around that central belief cannot be swept aside with the empty rhetoric mentioned above.

    And the LNP’ opposition to these schemes is driven solely from their desire to protect their big business interests, murdoch on the NBN, and the big oil on the Carbon Price.

    Saying that there is ‘no narrative’ is simply ignoring the achievements of this Government. Sure, the media don’t acknowledge the narrative, as it is at odds with their own. Nonetheless, it is there for anybody who wants to see it, and for anybody who does not want to be dictated to by angry old men who see their empire crumbling as technology moves faster than their business model can respond to.

  11. Tom of Melbourne

    With the greatest of respect Min and Tom R, you’re both committed ALP supporters. You’d vote for them if they dug up Arthur Caldwell, and reinstated him.

    Like it or not, blame the media all you like, but Gillard doesn’t connect to the electorate. They have stopped listening to her.

    But stick with her, follow her over the cliff and enjoy the recriminations.

    The option is to RETURN TO RUDD, and have the opportunity for success, with a more progressive social policy structure.

  12. Ricky (Tory Torcher)

    Oh yes he does…look at the economic figures.

  13. Min

    ToM, well maybe and just think how progressive the Libs would become if they ditched Abbott in favour of Turnbull..but Malcolm probably can’t get the numbers either.

  14. Truth Seeker

    Min, the LNP always go where the money is, and the money is backing Abbott! 😀

    Iain replied to Disturbia “I never write crap”, but that should read “I never write anything but crap” 😀

    There, fixed it for ya 😀

    Cheers 😀

  15. Tom R

    They have stopped listening to her.

    You echo the media narrative nicely yomm, but they have said this before, and then she delivered the Misogyny speech. Even then, they told us we weren’t listening, yet most are aware of it. Many are still unsure what it was about, to be sure, but that is mainly because the media didn’t appear to understand what it was about. I am sure they knew exactly what it was about, they just couldn’t accept it.

    Sorry, but people are listening, and Labor do have a ‘narrative’. Sure, they have real issues getting across, but Rudd had the same problem. Going back to Rudd isn’t going to stop the media bulwark of bullshit for the ‘narrative’. In fact, imo, it will just play into their hands. The frantic attempt of the past week for another leadershit really just tells me one thing, Labors best chance is to stick to their game, as the head honchos on the other side really look to be panicking. It is all that can explain this past weeks unhinging.

    And the fact that you, a Labor hater since you began posting, really wants Rudd, should be enough for anyone to decide that sticking with Gillard is the best alternative.

  16. Joy Cooper

    Couldn’t agree with you more Tom R.

    As for ToM, since when have the neo-cons wanted anything to happen which might benefit Labor? So why all the so-called “earnest advice” to bring back Kevin Rudd? Are they less afraid of him than gutsy Julia Gillard?

  17. Tom R

    with a more progressive social policy structure.

    Mining Tax
    Changing 457 visa conditions
    Getting ‘welfare’ back to what it really should be, for those who cannot afford it, not to give handouts for those who can.

    Apart from the immigration and same sex marriage, I don’t really have a problem with the ‘progressive’ nature of the current social policy structure. Of course, it appears that you prefer abbotts version of ;social cohesian’

  18. Tom of Melbourne

    I’m not interested in critiquing every policy that Tom R claims is progressive. He has his opinions and he’s steadfastly stuck to the ALP regardless of their competence and disingenuousness.

    Tom R, Min and Joy Cooper are typical of the ALP supporters who stuck with Rudd right up until he was knifed, switched 100% behind Gillard, and joined in the vociferous criticism of Rudd and his legacy.

    They day after the federal election they will take comfort from “blaming the media”.

    Gillard doesn’t deserve the Prime Ministership, she has proven to be incompetent in the 3 policies she claimed she would correct. She is a failure on the criteria she set herself.

    She should make way for someone who ahs the capacity to salvage something from the current wreck – Rudd.

  19. Joy Cooper

    ToM how dare you speak for me!! You know absolutely NOTHING about me but typical of rusted on Tories you taken it upon yourself to judge others without any proof whatsoever. Why am I surprised.

    Having a female PM seems to have shaken the Conservatives to the core. Fantastic!!.

  20. Tom of Melbourne

    Bizarre Joy, you have labelled me a “neo con” without knowing me. I’ve simply returned the favour.

    Get over it.

    If you don’t like a little of the return service, please don’t bother to serve it up.

  21. Joy Cooper

    ToM typical dismissive of others rights Tory bully. Stop blaming others for your behaviour

  22. Tom of Melbourne

    Joy said – ” As for ToM, since when have the neo-cons wanted anything to happen which might benefit Labor?

    and then complains that I have replied in kind. If you’re going to label people on blogs Joy, you’ll have to get used to receiving the type of comments that you willingly dish out.

    Get over it.

  23. Truth Seeker

    Tom R, I’m with you, although he was apparently very difficult to work with. 🙁
    But that ship has well and truly sailed and the mendacious right supporting Rudd says it all… They are worried! 😀

  24. Truth Seeker

    Joy, this is a part of what Julia Gillard is up against, lies and dishonesty, and yellow Tom and his/her/its compatriots, purple Toms are inherently dishonest and the epitome of RW mendaciousness 🙁

    Cheers 😀

  25. Tom R

    and joined in the vociferous criticism of Rudd and his legacy.

    I am actually quite proud of the Rudd legacy. He did wonderful things in office, and I was shattered when he was rolled.

    Just yomm, re-writing history again

  26. Joy Cooper

    Thanks Truth Seeker. Never noticed the colour thing. :)) You are so correct.

    Yes Tom R I was ecstatic when Rudd ousted the petty, creepy & mendacious Howard. It was sheer joy after having him, & his sneaky dog whistles, drag Australia back to the “bad old days” of nasty divisiveness. Unfortunately, there is still a large segment of the population which continues to espouse this ideology.

    When Rudd was rolled I was surprised but knew that Julia Gillard was more than up to the job. She has proven me right & has put up with all the outrageous, slanderous, seditious crap that has been thrown at her in an outstanding manner as befits a true leader. She carries out her duties with grace & dignity. Cannot imagine Tony Abbott having an ounce of the backbone she has.

  27. Bacchus

    It seems more and more are seeing through fake personas on the Intertubes, specifically cultivated to push the conservative agenda 😉

  28. Truth Seeker

    Bacchus, surely not 😯 😀

    Cheers 😀

  29. Tom R

    specifically cultivated to push the conservative agenda

    I don’t think that yomms behavior could be called ‘cultivating’. It is too blatantly obviously barracking for that.

    What is bewildering is his continued expectation for people to believe him when he engages in this concern trolling.

  30. Tom of Melbourne

    You obviously don’t get it Tom R.

    If there is one thing that I have consistently posted about over the 6 years that I’ve exchanged opinions with you, it is that I don’t like the union hacks and power brokers who run the ALP.

    Even you would have to acknowledge my consistency in that.

    The biggest setback they could suffer would be Rudd returning. That would set them back more than an Abbott win. Rudd’s return would destroy their credibility. A win by Rudd would see him take them on, and oust them from control of the ALP.

    That would be good for the ALP, it would turn it into a progressive, diverse political party.

    The alternative is defeat by Abbott, and you and you kindred spirits taking comfort from the outcome by “blaming the media”.

  31. Jason

    As was said elsewhere “The difference now is that we already know what kind of PM Rudd would make, because he’s already been PM. And that is autocratic, arrogant, incompetent, paranoid, unwilling to take advice, contemptuous of public servants and staff, unable to delegate, unable to make decisions, addicted to spin and process, prone to hysteria under pressure (etc).

  32. Tom of Melbourne

    Yes Tom R, I’m glad you may now seem to get it. There are 3 possible Prime Ministers after the election – Gillard, Abbott or Rudd.

    A win by Rudd would provide me with the greatest satisfaction – with the slapping down of the union hacks and power brokers – and has the added bonus of him leading a government that would be more likely to implement the social policies that I prefer.
    Jason, I tend to think that a lot of the crap about Rudd being dysfunctional was with the objective of trashing him, finishing him off. It may have.

    I commented at that I became friendly with one of Rudds advisors a few years ago. They said they worked hard, but rejected the reports about his more extreme behaviour.

  33. Tom R

    it is that I don’t like the union hacks and power brokers who run the ALP.

    Oh, I don’t disagree with that, although I do think that ‘don’t like’ doesn’t even begin the approach the visceral hatred of all things union that comes across after (has it be 6 already?) years of reading you bile.

    I mean, who can forget your constant railing against those bully boy union thugs during the heady days of the workchoices era. Of course, you are still in denial of that episode of your blogging career as well.

    And then, your constant misrepresentation of the (Rudd) Governments response to the GFC, which, as has been seen, was pitched almost perfectly for the chaotic situation it was facing. And all you can harp on about was unemployment didn’t get as high as had been expected. Yes, you exposed yourself as a true Rudd supporter through that era 😉

    And then, we get to Gillard. If you have a hatred of union ‘thugs’, that pales into insignificance in the unhinging you have displayed since a female union protagonist took the top job. I’m still wondering what she personally had done to you back in the schoolyard. It really is the only way to explain such open hostility.

    Yea, ‘don’t like’, kind of like saying that Dracula ‘don’t like’ garlic

  34. Joy Cooper

    What an awful site that was Tom R Good catch though. It would seem Mr ToM bends very easily with whichever way the wind is blowing at the time.

  35. Joy Cooper

    So what he is saying, at the time, has as much credence as Tony Abbott’s utterances?

    When I said “bent with the wind” I did mean a right leaning wind. It just depended on the strength of it. Lol

  36. Tom of Melbourne

    You should try to relax Tom R. Many on this blog would be aware of my years of criticism of the ALP. You’ve hardly pointed to an ‘exclusive’

    As I have explained on many occasions the structure of the ALP is poisoned, it’s manipulated by union hacks and factional warlords. Actual members don’t control the party the support and to which they volunteer their time. It is in desperate need of reform.

    In comparison to Gillard, Rudd was outstanding…and as I’ve pointed out, he has the advantage of a history of more compassion on asylum seekers and a more progressive approach on marriage…and Rudd would punish the hacks. That would represent some justice.

    But I’m really not particularly bothered, you’re welcome to walk over the cliff with Gillard, and spend a few years blaming the media for a Liberal win.

  37. Tom R

    What an awful site that was

    The site itself I have no issue with (it is actually one of rebs incarnations), but some of the commentators … well… 😉

    It would seem Mr ToM bends very easily with whichever way the wind is blowing at the time.

    Oh, no, he doesn’t bend. As long as it is vociferous opposition to WHATEVER Labor is doing, regardless of who is in charge, yomm will be there with his head-kicking boots on. As sure as night follows day.

  38. Tom of Melbourne

    As I’ve said, I don’t particularly care one way or the other, but after Abbott is PM I’m sure you and a range of others will get great comfort from blaming the media and blaming people who read the media.

    But what you don’t do is look at the corrupt structure of the party you back and the inept, disconnected leadership that the hacks installed.

  39. Peter

    @Tom R. Of course the hacks installed Gillard. One can’t understand the nature of the ALP without reference to the factions (and the sub-factions)! Anyone involved in the party is acutely aware of the dysfunctional nature of the party structure. If you are a member, can I suggest you get involved in Local Labor. It is the group that has been set up to support the Bracks/Faulkner/Carr reforms. You have to be a member to join the group.

  40. Tom R

    has as much credence as Tony Abbott’s utterances?

    And there you have it Joy. It is remarkable how often this poster echoes almost word for word the current Liberal talking points. I mean, even his comments here, pushing for the return of Rudd, is just that. Was he writing for howard when he went on 60 minutes last night and stated exactly the same as yomm is now stating.

    Surely, it’s just one massive conspiracy. or is it a case of, if great minds think alike, perhaps weak ones do to?

    Sorry yomm, too many years concern trolling for this to have any resemblance to real concern.

    As I have said, numerous times. All large parties are controlled. It is good that there is an open discussion on the level, but, in the case of Labor, I am happy for that control to ultimately lie largely with Unions. They have a long history of protecting and advancing the right of workers (granted, with a few unfortunate incidents along the way).

    Much better the control comes from there, than the boardroom of a large Mining company. Which perhaps unsurprisingly is where I still tend to think that you often have your keyboard.

  41. Tom of Melbourne

    Tom R, please then let me check non Liberal words with you – am I able to use the following – incompetent, hopeless, bungling, miserable?

    I don’t want to fall into the trap of using words only available to Liberals.

    Off you go, head towards that cliff with your leader! Enjoy the fall.
    “Truth Seeker” (misnomer) again lasted just a few days before breaking his pledge. No wonder he prefers Gillard.

  42. Peter

    @Tom R. You have seemed to miss the thrust of Tom of Melbourne’s point. You have rightly pointed to a number of good things the government has done. Although the government has done some horrendous things, also. But policies in and of themselves does not constitute effective leadership. The quote again:

    “The ALP Government is fractured, headed for defeat. This situation is a function of the current inept leadership of Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan. If leaders of any organisation can’t build trust, confidence and a sense of alignment, they fail. *Leadership isn’t just about doing things, developing policy or making announcements – they’re activities*. Leadership has more to do with creating trust, or offering a better, stable future. It’s “the vision thing” – the messages of leaders have to resonate.”

    None of what Gillard has done amounts to a cohesive whole. She has presided over lots of random policies – some progressive, plenty more that are highly regressive and a few that are downright nasty – but a vision for this nation?

    Blaming the media for Gillard’s inability to cut through is just an excuse. Previous Labor leaders at the state level – Bracks, Beattie, Carr – were able to operate in the same media environment and prosper.

  43. Tom R

    and the inept, disconnected leadership that the hacks installed.

    Are you talking of Rudd or Gillard, because you have described both the same, so it gets confusing.

    I also like the oppositions use of the term ‘inept’, even though we have seen a stable and progressive agenda of reforms put through this ‘chaotic’ Government, whilst keeping our economy an envy on the world stage

    Inept, I don’t think that word means what you think it means yomm 😉

  44. Truth Seeker

    Ah purple, another toilet break… same old shit?

  45. Tom of Melbourne

    149 people were elected to the House of Representatives on the basis of not having a “carbon price” at all, or before 30 June 2013. There was no need for Gillard to break that specific promise.

    In order to extricate herself from the previous policy (and as an excuse to knife Rudd), Gillard promised to build community consensus. She said without this the reform would fail.

    She committed to not introducing the change in the absence of community consensus. Did she mean that or not?

    Gillard has advocated every conceivable position on the carbon tax/price. Why would anyone believe her?
    Similarly, she has held every possible position on asylum seekers.

    Does Gillard actually stand for anything beyond clinging to power?

  46. Peter

    @Tom R. The attacks on Keating were just as vicious. At least acknowledge that Gillard is a poor communicator. As someone who has worked in communications for more than 15 years – she is atrocious.

    The two ministers resigning was poor planning. You don’t set the date for the election, to have two ministers resigning two days’ later! The perception of ‘ministers jumping ship’ is terrible.

    Gillard has never cemented her authority on the party. The party has recorded near record low levels of support for much of this period. *Any* leader who has sustained such terrible polls over a consistent period would be facing internal turmoil. Let alone one who become PM in a manner that still scars the party. The media are being fed by a caucus that is split, leaking to the press and demoralised.

    Do I think the ALP will lose under Gillard – certainly. Would I advocate a move to Rudd – no. The factional dealing that ushered in countless NSW premiers was disgusting. The move to Gillard has been a failure, but the party needs to deal with the consequences of that decision. The realpolitik is that Shorten’s right-wing sub-faction of votes is not going to switch their support – the likely next Labor leader doesn’t want to be associated with her installment as PM and also her removal as PM. That level of knifing is never of good look for the potential next leader.

    Actually, I do watch the media closely. My job requires me to analyse the media on a daily basis. My desk is filled with all the nation’s papers.

    Is that really the government’s narrative – I seriously doubt that the government is working to this template. I could ask random individuals and all would give entirely different answers to that question. There are policies, but no narrative. Sadly, it would be easy to construct a social conservative narrative that this government is working to.

    Policies feed into a narrative, the narrative feeds into a broader vision.

    This is not just a problem for Gillard – Abbott is afflicted with the same deficiencies. And he will rightly be facing the same problems once he is PM.

  47. Tom R

    were able to operate in the same media environment and prosper.

    There has been no media blitz against a sitting Government that even approaches the level of antagonism, obfuscation and outright lies that this minority Government has had to compete with. The closest would have been the Whitlam Government.

    When two MP’s announcing that they are leaving politics more than 6months out from a Federal election is characterised as ‘chaotic’, when a speech by the PM that goes viral world wide and is acknowledged as ground breaking by the worlds media is fobbed of with ‘it’s the context’, and when the media themselves misrepresent the meaning of ‘Carbon Tax’ to the extent that we end up with ‘chaff bag’ commentary, then yes, the media have a heel of a lot to be responsible for.

    Another week of leadershit all because howard reckons it should be just adds another pile of manure on the empty rhetoric our political ‘debate’ has become. And that is not the Governments doing. They have tried all sorts of things to get beyond it, but nothing will satisfy the naval gazing of the media, not even, it appears, an actual leadershit challenge.

    None of what Gillard has done amounts to a cohesive whole.

    Then you are not watching very closely are you. Almost all of the reforms put forward is about distributing the resources of our country evenly, supporting those less well off and removing the ‘filter down’ mentality of the howard Government.

    Just because the media tells you it isn’t there, doesn’t mean that it isn’t.

  48. Tom R

    There was no need for Gillard to break that specific promise.

    A large portion of them would not support a market based mechanism anymore, even though they had an agreement with the Government in hte previous term to go ahead with one.

    In order to go ahead with the Governments long declared desire for a market mechanism, they negotiated with those others who were also of that view. The remainder became irrelevant to the discussion, as their only negotiation line was ‘NO’

    Gillard has advocated every conceivable position on the carbon tax/price.

    No she hasn’t. She has always argued for a market mechanism (the only variance being the timing), and has long argued against a direct tax on power consumption, which is what she promised she would not be introduce prior to the last election. And it hasn’t been introduced.

    Does Gillard actually stand for anything beyond clinging to power?

    Carbon Price
    Workers rights

    Yea, looks like she does 😉

  49. Joy Cooper

    Well Tom R you must be pushing the right (correct) buttons to have two posters ToM & Peter) explaining over & over just how misguided your beliefs are & keep trying to put you back on to the path of righteous thinking. Well done.

  50. Peter

    @Joy. It’s that “righteous” thinking that has Labor at a catastrophic 30% in the polls. Some of us want a functioning ALP with enough members to rebuild after the coming election.

  51. Peter

    @Tom R. On carbon, there was clearly confusion within the electorate. In terms of communicating her intention, she failed. Perhaps they needed to be less “quiet” in how they communicated this.

    In terms of the ministers resigning, I never said it amounted to chaos. I’ve assessed this in terms of its incredibly awful perceptions. Gillard and her communications team scored an own goal for this glaring stuff-up. What I said:

    “The two ministers resigning was *poor planning*. You don’t set the date for the election, to have two ministers resigning two days’ later! The *perception* of ‘ministers jumping ship’ is terrible.”

    Because of the poor planning, the election announcement was subsumed by Gillard giving a national press conference to announce two of her ministers leaving. The day’s media was then dominated by this important story overtaking any election talk. It gave the Opposition the opportunity to paint the government in chaos. A decent communications team mitigates against such woeful incidents.

    Spot the difference in what I said, and you claim I said.

  52. Tom R

    Some of us want a functioning ALP with enough members to rebuild after the coming election.

    A start might be by not accepting the ‘accepted’ wisdom that Gillard promised not to implement a Price on Carbon. That is obviously false, and you are just feeding the beast if you accept it. Or agreeing with the msm that two people announcing their decision to resign is ‘chaos’

    That’s just a load of bull

    Exactly the same thing happened with Howard, and it was praised as alerting the public to their intentions.

    Do you spot the difference there?

  53. Peter

    @Tom K. “Or agreeing with the msm that two people announcing their decision to resign is ‘chaos’ “. What you claimed I said, was incorrect.

    I’m not feeding off anything. My critique of the government’s inept communication planning stands – the results are abundantly clear. It engulfed coverage of the election for a day and allowed the opposition a free hit. This was a distraction of the government’s own making.

    I keep forgetting, it’s all the MSM’s fault.

  54. Joy Cooper

    Peter have just had a flash of inspiration. Why don’t you contact the PM & offer your services as a communications adviser? You seem admirably qualified to assist her to improve her communication skills & image. .

  55. Tom R

    On carbon, there was clearly confusion within the electorate. In terms of communicating her intention, she failed.

    clearly? As I said, the discussion that took place in the light of her announcing it was not that she had announced it, but rather, that she had announced it so soon

    People were expecting (for good or for bad) a representative community forum. But instead we went straight to the chase.

    That was the surprise. There was no surprise over what the Governments long term aim was, and now is.

    Or perhaps you have something to back up your ‘clearly’ with?

    You don’t set the date for the election, to have two ministers resigning two days’ later!

    As I said, howard’s ministers did it, and were applauded for it. No, you didn’t say ‘chaos’. But you are still feeding of their meme.

  56. Jason

    “It engulfed coverage of the election for a day and allowed the opposition a free hit. This was a distraction of the government’s own making. ”

    Apart from political wonks like us that follow the day to day happenings what was the killer line from this “free kick”?It wasn’t like the opposition came out with any costed policy.
    yes it was a distraction of the governments own making, but two people resigned from the front bench so what?

    What ” coverage of the election” was missed?

  57. 730reportland

    the Greens are preferencing the Shooters and Fishers Party ahead of the duopoly
    but you have omitted that greens usual message is voters do their own preferences

  58. Peter

    @Tom R. You announce a surprise election date, two ministers resign two days later, the opposition makes hay at your expense, then the fifth poll in a row showing support has slumped into the 30% territory. But of course, it’s that nasty MSM’s fault for the terrible coverage.

    @Joy. Do you contribute anything other than snide comments?

    @Jason. For the public, Ministers resigning as soon as an election is called doesn’t look good for the government. The incident did more to damage her within caucus than the wider public. Gillard’s political judgement is being assessed constantly. The summer was supposed to be spent putting together a strong strategy to open the year. By day 3 you’re announcing resignations, nullifying any positive news story of the election date. ALP staffers I know in Canberra told me that MPs couldn’t believe the stupidity and sheer lack of foresight.

  59. 730reportland

    While Lefty panic is often on display here, has anybody else picked up on the Righty-panic displayed over the NBN.?

  60. Tom R

    It engulfed coverage of the election for a day and allowed the opposition a free hit.

    Absolutely anything ‘engulfs’ the media coverage these days, as long as it is something that can be angled in badly for the Government. The only other option left to the Government is to do nothing, which is really what they want it seems.

    As I said, when the two ministers left under howard under similar circumstances, it was certainty, under Labor, it is presented as chaos.

    Interestingly, there was almost no reporting at all about the ashby findings by the judge. Even the msm couldn’t spin that badly for the Government. So they took the only other alternative available to them Ignore it.

  61. Jason

    This is the same caucus that leaks against her anyway isn’t it?
    As for election dates apart from QLD and Tasmania the rest of the country has fixed elections yet the Canberra press gallery finds it offensive because they can’t speculate for 7 months on the election date.
    As for ALP staffers as the secretary of a sub branch here in SA who wishes some of the “staffers” had some real life experience in the work force rather than at uni or in an MPs office only to become MPs themselves, I couldn’t care less what they think as they parrot the thinking of the faction they belong too, after all that’s how they got their jobs in a lot of cases.

  62. Peter

    @Jason. Yes, the caucus leaks. Her plea to the caucus not to leak, which was subsequently leaked to the press really isn’t smart, is it.

    This issue is not the announcing of the date, I’m a supporter of fixed date elections, but she undermined her launch by allowing poor planning to feed into the oppositions narrative of “chaos” by having ministers resign after the election date announcement. The Fin Review suggested that it didn’t occur in November when it should have, because of fears of a leadership spill.

    I have no stomach for the factions and their ability to provide patronage to all manner of “goodies”. The Local Labor movement to try and advocate for the Bracks, Carr and Faulkner party reforms seems to have stalled. Martin Foley has a paper for the ALP conference here in Victoria:

    “I couldn’t care less what they think as they parrot the thinking of the faction they belong too, after all that’s how they got their jobs in a lot of cases.”. Yeah I agree. Alas, that’s how Gillard became PM and its the factional system that keeps her there. Her enthusiastic embrace of Howes, isn’t by coincidence.

    Having lived in the UK, the UK Labor party does not have factions. The leader is elected by MPs, unions and the broader membership – most people don’t realise. There is something to be said to be able to vote for the leader of the party – especially as I voted for Ed Milliband.

  63. Joy Cooper

    @Joy. Do you contribute anything other than snide comments?

    @Peter Actually I was serious. It is you who is being snide which is quite typical of those who think they are superior to others. Which they are not.

    ALP staffers I know in Canberra told me that MPs couldn’t believe the stupidity and sheer lack of foresight.


    They should be summarily dismissed for disloyalty to their employers. Disgraceful behaviour, no doubt encouraged by your good self.

  64. Peter

    @Joy. I wasn’t being snide, I thought my answers attempted to explain why having two ministers resign two days after you announce an election, when you knew of their intention to resign for 12 months prior, was poor planning and terrible politics. I don’t think I am superior to anyone – I do have an opinion and I may disagree with people. But surely this is a blog which is based on the assumption that people contribute their thoughts. Your are free to critique any of my opinions – I won’t take offence.

    Alas Joy having worked in politics for many a year, if every staffer and MP was summarily dismissed for possessing and discussing their differences of opinion, Canberra would be empty. The Politburo all parties are not – which is a good thing.

  65. Tom R

    was poor planning and terrible politics.

    Yes, that may be your opinion, and it fits snuggly in with what the media lead with too. But, you haven’t been able to highlight why, when howards ministers announced it in the same manner (just after the date for an election was named) it was called ‘certainty’, yet when the Labor ministers do it, it is called ‘chaos’. The same action, the only difference is the party, and the reporting is polar opposites.

  66. Peter

    @Tom R. Isn’t the smarter strategy to ensure that this didn’t occur in the first place, instead of blaming the MSM for not reporting it as you’d wish. That’s why its called media planning…

  67. Peter

    @Min. No protocol at all involved. Both Ministers said they told the PM 12 months ago of their plans to retire. The FIn Review reported that it was likely that Gillard waited until after the election was called because of fear of a leadership spill in November. The assumption was that once an election was called, the pressure to change leaders would subside. Although with the 6th poll showing the ALP’s support at 30ish per cent, and a loss of historic proportions in the offing – the pressure is increasing not decreasing on her.

  68. Joy Cooper

    The Fin Review is hardly an unbiased source of credible political nous.

  69. Tom R

    The media campaign against Ms Gillard and her government can have only two foundations — a dislike of a woman as prime minister or a nasty conservatism that seeks to protect privilege. Either one is unacceptable. We should call on our mainstream media to play fair or not play at all. It is far from healthy for the media in a liberal democratic society to become so unbalanced on matters pertaining to politics.

  70. Min

    Peter, I disagree although it is highly likely that the PM knew of plans to retire, to announce this earlier would have been destabilising. The timing was as protocol required.

  71. Tom of Melbourne

    When people call Fairfax (or part ofit) biased, they’ve lost their connection with reality.

    Fairfax constantly runs a progressive agenda, reporting on asylum seekers, climate change, IR. All the subjects that seek to attract an intelligent readership, but which aren’t always convenient to the ALP.

  72. Joy Cooper

    You jest, surely, ToM.

  73. Tom R

    instead of blaming the MSM for not reporting it as you’d wish.

    instead of blaming the MSM for not reporting it as they had previously.

    Fixed it for ya, and, I note that you haven’t answered my (repetitive) question.

    Why present the same thing as polar opposites dependent, apparently, purely on which party is doing it?

  74. Tom R

    The timing was as protocol required.

    Not sure ‘protocol’ is hte word Min, but defintiely stability, particulalry with Nicola Roxon and her plain packaging laws being subjected to such scrutiny.

    It also gives the people time to change their mind. They know they won’t be leaving until the next election, so take time to make sure it is really what you want. Gotta be careful with words like ‘protocol’, cos some will latch on, and get their dictionaries out on ya 😉

  75. Peter

    @Tom R. I have no idea why as you claim the media reported an event one way seven or eight years ago and reported it differently today – it seems naive to think that would necessarily be the case. That is why you mitigate against such things, because one doesn’t know how the media will report something. Isn’t it better that one not provide the ammunition to the media & opposition in the first place? I’ll repeat my original point – it was piss-poor planning.

    So you are linking to the MSM now? Is it good or bad. Or just bad when it doesn’t agree with you?

    @Joy. The Fin Review was quoting sources. The end result is the same – a really crap way to start the campaign. The 6th poll, over two months shows the ALP in 30% support territory – that’s not an outlier, that’s not noise, that’s a trend folks.

  76. Tom R

    The FIn Review reported .. The assumption was

    Yea, and apparently the media aren’t to blame ROFL

  77. Peter

    @Tom of Melbourne. I have to read all the papers every day, and I agree. The Age is a generally left-of-centre paper. On the issues, it takes a consistently progressive approach – refugees, gay rights, multiculturalism, climate change, etc. Their columnists are predominately of the left. What they are not is a propaganda outlet for the ALP (unlike the Australian which is a propaganda outlet for the Libs).

    I think as a paper it would be failing in its duty if it didn’t report that caucus was leaking to them constantly, that the ALP is split, that leadership tensions continue to simmer, that the polls are bad for the ALP. This is not made up. The notion that this would somehow not be reported, is somewhat surreal. This is the painful reality of where the ALP finds itself at the moment.

  78. Tom R

    I have no idea why as you claim the media reported an event one way seven or eight years ago and reported it differently today

    Therein lies the difference. I do 😉

  79. Joy Cooper

    Excellent, Tom R, very well-written & oh so very accurate. Of course, the rightists will not agree & will berate you for it.

  80. Tom of Melbourne

    Tom R does tend to miss the point. The ‘left’ don’t simply fall into line with the ALP talking points – because the ALP isn’t ‘left’

    Arguably, the Liberals are conservative.

    These days the ALP stands for nothing, and people of a genuinely ‘left’ persuasion don’t waste their time (or their credibility) defending them.

  81. Tom of Melbourne

    What? So if the media can’t find prominent left aligned independent commentators/academics to defend the ALP it’s the ‘media’s fault’?

    If the only people willing to tarnish their credibility to defend the ALP is…the ALP, the media is supposed to have a politician on a panel? Which will require them to have a Liberal politician too.

    It seems that you just want to blame the media for the range of deficiencies in the ALP.

  82. Tom R

    Actually Peter, I think it was Tim Dunlop who wrote a while ago that the ‘lefts’ biggest problem (if you can call it that) is that their commentary will attack anyone based on accuracy, rather than ideology. The right hold no such scruples, and attack simply anyone on the opposite spectrum, irrelevant of the argument.

    That is what Labor is up against.

    It becomes quite obvious on shows like Insiders, where at least one panelist is simply an apologist for the coalition, and the others are (generally) debating facts. Nobody is an apologist for Labor (which is as it should be, except it offers up a very biased view of the actual debate when one third of the debate is pure cheer leading, with no opposite cheerleader to compensate)

  83. Joy Cooper

    Very tiresome ToM.

  84. Tom R

    because the ALP isn’t ‘left’

    Hence I put the ‘left’ in highlights for that yomm

    the opposition aren’t ‘right’ either, they are ‘far right’

    so, stick with pedantry, and ignore the ‘context’ 😉

  85. 730reportland

    Using the embedded media as a reference on the web is largely pointless. Better references to anything can be obtained from `direct`sources usually.

  86. Tom R

    So if the media can’t find prominent left aligned independent commentators/academics to defend the ALP it’s the ‘media’s fault’

    No, they shouldn’t be using propagandists to begin with. The fact that they do is the medias fault

  87. Peter

    @Tom R. They are *commentators* who give their *opinions*. The name is on the tin. Left commentators are critical of the ALP because in so many areas the ALP has moved so far to the Right.

  88. 730reportland

    The embedded media can also interview scientists from the non-political angle and discuss the science.

    The embedded media choose to add `heat` and obtain a shill or propagandist.

    They shouldn’t be using propagandists to begin with. The fact that they do is the medias fault

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