Friday, 25 June 2010

Australia's first female Prime Minister

Open thread for discussion, basically.

On the one hand it's good to see Australia make this break-through - I always forget that they are quite a long way behind us on the sexism issue. And it's good that they are able to have a non-Tory first female PM, unlike NZ (Shipley) and Britain (Thatcher).

On the other hand Gillard's politics are, from what little I understand of the Labor Party over there, on the Right side of her caucus, and she's done stood for some pretty regressive things.

On the gripping hand, to borrow from Deborah, it will be interesting to see how the media and the public in Australia treat this development. I heard a description of her on the radio yesterday as "childless and unmarried" - this from a news source, not an opinion piece. I couldn't have told you if any previous Australian PM had children, although I can remember knowing a few of them were married because I have mental pictures of them on podiums with their wives. Can a woman leader win at the ballot box in modern Australia or are they just not ready to elect a sheila yet?

Anyway, I'm pretty uninformed about this issue, so fill me in in comments please!


Giarne said...

I'm worried about the fact that the Labour party haven't overthrown the worst of Work Choices employment policies and that she was the driving force behind the terrible "My School" website for league tables.

That said, I don't know all the good stuff about her and I like to be surprised.

Focussing on female politicians personal relationships makes me angry - as you say, we rarely find out if other MP's or PM's have families unless they are explicitly profiled by that MP. Media certainly rarely focus on the ability of a man to do the job cause he has a young family, yet that slur is levelled at women pollies.

Hugh said...

While Gilliard had the support of many of the Right factions in State Labour parties, I don't know if she is necessarily of the right.

My impression, and it's also a vague one, is that Gilliard's replacement of Rudd is less about a move from Left to Right (or vice versa) and more a move back towards the ALP's traditional system of horse-trading between semi-organised internal party factions, which Rudd tried to bypass (if not destroy).

In practice this may well mean a shift right in terms of policies but it doesn't mean Gilliard is personally of the Right. Whether it's more or less democratic is kind of open to debate.

Julie said...

How's this for an irrelevant article they never would have written about a new male PM?

My favourite bit:
"The Left aren't the natural champions of the traditional family unit, and her radical left-wing background is a concern to us," Mr Cannon said.

A Nonny Moose said...

I'm hoping Helen Clark is on the phone with her asap to say "don't let those bastards grind you down".

Boganette said...

I saw that article too Julie and couldn't believe it. My sis who is in Aussie said that her partner was called her "boyfriend" on TV by a reporter. And they're staking him out and asking when *HE* is going to propose to her.


oliver said...

I don't understand what is wrong with having right-wing parties deliver the first female Prime Minister.

Julie said...

Oliver, if I state "Jenny Shipley's not my sister" will that help at all?

Boganette, I found that article through your twitter feed, sorry I should have acknowledged that in my comment but I got interrupted while I was writing it and forgot. Sorry!

Boganette said...

No worries Julie! I don't mind.