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One Term in the Life of Julia Gillard

Julia Gillard one year into her prime ministership, July 2011. © Kym Smith/Newspix & Illustration by Jeff Fisher
Julia Gillard one year into her prime ministership, July 2011. © Kym Smith/Newspix & Illustration by Jeff Fisher

Two years is a long time in politics, especially if your name’s Julia Gillard. The Monthly has seen the rolling crises as well as the successes: from Gillard’s inability to sell her ‘story’ following the leadership coup, to the Thomson, AWU and Slipper affairs; from the policy reforms to the famous ‘misogyny speech’, when for so many people the Real Julia emerged at last. Here’s how the Monthly has seen the Gillard prime ministership.

 

On this occasion, the broadsheets came too late because Gillard’s speech had already been received with massive approval by those using social media. Suddenly the disconnect between the pundits and their supposed audience was glaring.

A Matter of Context: Gillard and the press gallery by Amanda Lohrey

 

This is why the claim that Labor was inconsistent to attack Abbott for misogyny yet support Slipper as speaker seemed weak to so many women: Abbott had it coming.

They Had It Coming: Gillard and the misogynists by Judith Brett

 

Gillard, in emerging as a clear-sighted political operative who does not wish to assure anyone she is any particular kind of woman, is free from the patina of the pedestal and unburdened by the guilt and expectation of generations past. 

Comment: Julia Gillard by Julia Baird

 

Is it possible that Gillard, watching the rivalry grow between our two most important international partners, will engage herself with Australia’s place in the world?

Comment: Julia Gillard, Foreign Policy and the Summit Season by Hugh White

 

Her life story, as it appears broadly to voters, looks a bit like this: Redhead. Political lifer. Pretty feisty. Likes football. Seems a capable deputy. Whoops! Is suddenly the prime minister.

Prime Minister, Interrupted: Why One Year After the Election Voters Still Don’t Know Who Gillard Is by Annabel Crabb

 

Gillard is a tough politician – flawed, yes, but undeniably tough. Most prime ministers have a hyena tearing at their belly as they dash across the political landscape. Gillard has not one, but many – a veritable pack of scavengers and would-be predators all.

Comment: Gillard and her Attackers by Christine Wallace 

 

At best, Labor will face the prospect of ten years or more of opposition. At worst, some Rudd supporters fear that the fortunes of the Labor Party may never revive. Rudd’s return is best seen, then, as a salvage operation.

The Return of Rudd? by Robert Manne

 

Federal Labor’s woes rest rather on a string of particular, mostly avoidable, tightly interconnected, strategic blunders. As a consequence of these blunders, Tony Abbott now seems certain to be Prime Minister before the end of 2013.

 The Long Goodbye: Explaining Gillard’s Collapse by Robert Manne 

 

The enduring popularity of the Rudd government was of course no accident. The single most important reason can be stated simply. Rudd led virtually the only government in the Western world to survive the global financial crisis without falling into recession. The overthrow of Rudd must seem to casual foreign observers of Australian politics almost entirely crazy.

The Second Rudd Government? by Robert Manne

 

The great question that was now raised was whether the Greens would be able to compromise. Over the negotiations leading to the carbon tax they have shown very definitively that they can. The unwritten story of the Gillard government is the final maturing of the Greens – their metamorphosis from protest movement to parliamentary party.

Does the Australian Parliamentary Left have a Future? by Robert Manne

 

Never before had the parliamentary party treated a successful ALP leader with such disrespect and disloyalty, especially when it was only a few months out from an election battle to determine whether the party would be in office for a second term.

The Hollowmen by Mark Aarons

 

What distinguishes Gillard most from other women who have gone a long way in Australian politics is that she genuinely loves power. Possessing it works as a big political multiplier for her: the more power she gets, the better she performs and the more she accumulates as a result. She is always ‘on’ politically and people respond to that certainty. They like a woman who is comfortable with power and its deployment.

The Other Biography: Jacqueline Kent's ‘The Making of Julia Gillard’ by Christine Wallace


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