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May 06th 2013 print

Philippa Martyr

The sun shines bright on Planet Julia

That notion of parallel universes, so beloved of science fiction writers, is no longer a mere theory. If we are to judge by Julia Gillard's assertion that her party will carry the day on September 14, the one she inhabits must be a wonderful place indeed


She’s right. Labor could win the next election. Just about anything’s possible in politics. Also in physics, they tell me. Apparently there are entire parallel universes in which the ALP wins the next election by a comfortable majority, and where 18 months later and after a slump in the polls, Gillard is knifed by a triumphant Simon Crean, who begins a campaign to restore the ALP to its ideological roots.


But now back to the real world, where Gillard is facing a bloodbath of Shakespearian proportions. She reminds us:

“People will be there, in a polling place, with a ballot paper in front of them, and it will be a very clear choice: do I want … Julia Gillard, a majority Labor government, a focus on jobs and on the services my family needs, a clear plan for the future?”

And that’s where it all begins to unravel. The above proposal makes a great deal of sense, if it only weren’t for those two little words: Julia Gillard. Take these words out of this sentence and you have a serious platform for the ALP to seek re-election.

It’s now becoming clear that what most people in this country don’t want – in fact, the one thing they don’t want – is Julia Gillard. She’s faced not one but two leadership challenges. State Labor parties beg her to stay away during campaigns. She is now so diabolically unpopular that Tony Abbott has worked out that all he has to do is wear a suit and say as little as possible, and he will be swept to power unopposed.

Gillard asked her rhetorical voting public:

“….or do I want the leader of the Opposition, Mr Abbott, with his very clear plan for cutbacks?”

It’s good of her to give Abbott a head-start with his election campaign this way. Those wanting to know what Abbott might really be planning would be best served by reading the transcript of his recent IPA speech. (Abbott has promised not to be Gough Whitlam, but that covers a range of unlikely outcomes, including attempting to borrow money illegally; firing Julie Bishop for having an affair with her office manager, a la Jim Cairns; and, finally, being sacked by the Governor General. Then again, anything is possible.)

Gillard finally said that, “at the end of the day Australians are a smart people; the facts matter, the policies matter, and there we are with the right answers.”

Unfortunately, Gillard also has all the wrong questions. And just for now, she’s sounding less like a competent Prime Minister and more like Tiny Tim.

Philippa Martyr blogs at Transverse City.