Wednesday, 10th October 2012


Yesterday's dramatic day in parliament evoked wildly divergent responses.

Following Julia Gillard's barnstorming speech, social media reactions were immediate and overwhelmingly supportive: Abbott's gaffe had appalled, and Gillard had responded to this and other recent slights with justified force, at last. (Slipper's messages, while undoubtedly offensive, had outraged few.)

The footage of Gillard's speech went viral internationally, and it was also reported positively around the world.

But local political commentators, following Slipper's resignation, were uniform in their criticism. The Prime Minister made a dreadful strategic error; she wasted political capital by defending Slipper; there were double-standards at play – while accusing Abbott of sexism and misogyny, the government was protecting the misogynist in its own ranks.

And the rest of Australia's voting public? Possibly they just saw parliamentarians shouting accusations at each other again.

On an overheated day, it was Peter Slipper, ironically, who stood up to defend the sanctity of parliament, then promptly stood down.

Nick Feik
Politicoz Editor

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At Last, The PM Puts Her Foot Down

"Gillard rose to prominence because of her parliamentary ­per­formances in opposition and, as ­deputy prime minister she was regarded as Labor’s deadliest weapon in government. Until yesterday however, she had sheathed her sword as Prime Minister… But in her determination to not give the opposition the scalp, the Prime Minister missed an opportunity to take the initiative on the ­Slipper issue and rid the government of a man whose presence reminded voters of the doubts they have had over her judgment."

PM Will Rue Yet Another Bad Call

"Gillard's parliamentary presentation was brilliantly ferocious, emotionally stirring and evocative of a wronged and injured party. But the substance and argument fell well short of an acceptable political strategy and risked only alienating more voters disenchanted with the grubby, hypocritical and personal abuse from both sides of parliament."

Oakeshott, Windsor Urged Slipper To Quit

"Tony Windsor has revealed he and fellow independent MP Rob Oakeshott told Peter Slipper he should consider resigning as parliamentary Speaker because his position was untenable… Mr Windsor met with Mr Slipper an hour before Opposition Leader Tony Abbott moved to have him removed as Speaker."

Julia 'Badass' Gillard: Slipper Resignation Just A Sidebar

"Prime Minister Julia Gillard: a 'badass' champion for women around the world. The Prime Minister's 15-minute speech condemning misogyny and attacking Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's history of comments about abortion, women's roles in the home and their ability to wield authority has impressed political pundits in the US and Britain." (Also: Julia Gillard's Misogyny Speech, New Yorker)

A Dignified Exit In The Most Undignified Of Circumstances

"Peter Slipper ascended to the Speaker's chair one last time. True to his eccentric sartorial form, he wore a white tie on a white shirt, nestled neatly beneath his ceremonial black robes… The circumstances were about as ignoble as they get, but he was, at least, magnanimous in his departure, referring only obliquely to his disgrace."

Loathing For Abbott The Reason For Vote

"When Peter Slipper decided late Tuesday afternoon that he would resign, the government did not try and stop him. In fact, it encouraged the decision. Yet less than an hour earlier, it had voted along with key crossbenchers Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott and Adam Bandt, to defeat a no confidence motion moved by the opposition that would have forced Mr Slipper out. From afar, it looked inconsistent… It was all about a loathing for Tony Abbott."

Gone Is The Turned Cheek: Gillard As We've Rarely Seen Her

"Watching her, you saw her eyes narrow and her shoulders almost shiver. It seemed, to someone watching on television as I was, that she was almost convulsing as she alternated between rage and disbelief… Gone was the wooden, robotic figure who has puzzled and infuriated her supporters. But it was not just the passion of her delivery that was so electrifying. It was what she was saying."

The Gatekeepers Of News Have Lost Their Keys

"When you have the likes of Michelle Grattan, Peter Hartcher, Peter van Onselen, Jennifer Hewett, Geoff Kitney, Phillip Coorey, and Dennis Shanahan all spouting essentially the same line in attacking the Prime Minister – a line at odds with the many people's own interpretation of events – people wonder what the point of such journalism is… The point is, the reaction of ordinary people on social media shows in a glaring, almost cruel way just how out of touch political reporters have allowed themselves to become."

Julia Gillard 'Lets Women Down On Pay'

"Julia Gillard's claim to be the policy champion of equal rights for women was under fire last night after her home state accused her of reneging on a deal to fund higher wages for low-paid community sector workers, and welfare leaders said she was robbing the poorest single mothers in the country through welfare cuts… Welfare groups have accused the government of presiding over a sexist policy."

Also: Jobless Rate Up As More Seek Work

Abbott: A Walking Contradiction

"This is where Marr’s essay is invaluable. It identifies the character trait which, above all others, explains the Abbott puzzle. He is a man of chronic hyperbole, an attention seeker who cannot engage in public debate without exaggerating the faults of his opponents and their policy positions."