Julia Gillard’s Whitlam Oration and ordinariness

There’s been some discussion on PM Julia Gillard’s inaugural Gough Whitlam Oration at the Whitlam Institute in the University of Western Sydney last night on another post, where it’s arguably off topic. But it probably does deserve a post of its own.

The full text is at Richard Farmer’s blog.

A few quick thoughts:

1. Given that the speech promises helpful little cuts to avoid deep cuts down the track, we really need to query the fetishisation of the Budget Surplus By Next Year Or Bust narrative. I suppose it’s been woven into the whole avoid another broken promise thing by now, but how rational is it to do this? Gillard goes on about the mining boom, but her praise for its employment record appears contradictory when set against her other comments about mining companies preferring to import labour rather than provide training, and, for that matter, to Wayne Swan’s point in the mining tax debate last year that the resources industry employs comparatively few people, and went madly shedding labour during the GFC while still wracking up massive profits. I’m not at all convinced that now is the time for “government to get out of the way” – I thought that private sector demand and employment growth was still sluggish.

I’d have also thought that natural disaster spending would reasonably excuse a continued deficit.

But I imagine that the “cuts” thing is a political maneouvre to show the government muscling up, and to wedge the Liberals. Well and good, but how good for the people of Australia will such a program be?

2. A lot of attention has revolved around this bit:

And the Greens will never embrace Labor’s delight at sharing the values of every day Australians, in our cities, suburbs, towns and bush, who day after day do the right thing, leading purposeful and dignified lives, driven by love of family and nation.

3. Gillard’s talk of fairness and opportunity seems blind to any notion that the ongoing structural conditions which shape unequal access to opportunity have to be challenged. Her vision is still a narrow social liberalism Mark well identified in this post on Gillardism during the election campaign last year. It repays rereading.

Elsewhere: Jonathan Green.

Elsewhere [by MB]: Trevor Cook:

Gillard uses opportunity 12 times in her speech, and never mentions equality or inequality.

Concerns about inequality have been air-brushed out of the rhetoric of today’s ALP.

Update: John Quiggin.

Update: Bernard Keane.


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116 responses to “Julia Gillard’s Whitlam Oration and ordinariness”

  1. akn

    Jeez, “leading…lives driven by love of family and nation”.

    By jingo, what a good idea that is.

    From now on my life will be driven by love of nation. Manly love of nation. Even same sex type love of nation, if possible. But definitely it’ll be a type of sweaty, lycra wearing, bike pushing, seried ranks of khaki clad soldiers, war memorial building, ANZAC footy match attending red haired blue eyed love of nation.

    Fark.

  2. Link

    “The Greens will never embrace Labor’s delight at sharing the values of everyday Australians, in our cities, suburbs, towns and bush, who day after day do the right thing, leading purposeful and dignified lives, driven by love of family and nation.”

    OFFS! Is this what you’re talking about? This is fantastic ordinariness, extra-ordinary in fact. Hope Ms Gillard’s feeling ‘ordinary’ about Bob Brown’s response.

    er read the post caroline. I’m dignified. WTF?? love of family and nation. SPew.

  3. BilB
  4. Razor

    Give the girl a break. She has to keep changing her fundamental principles to keep up with the opiniuon polls – it must be tough to come up with a coherent speech in those circumstances. From the NUS to PM – I know an individual’s political views can evolve over time but that isn’t evolution that is a complete demolition and rebuild.

  5. paul walter

    akn, not so cynical, where is Your Heideggerian enchantment for the volk and all things volkisch?

  6. Razor

    opiniuon – a new event in Track Cycling – watch for it in London 2012!

  7. Fine

    “setting the alarm clock early”!

    It makes me want to wallow in bed with a bottle of gin. I feel a competition coming on with the Libs on who can tougher on “dole bludgers”.

    I’m so sick of this idea that work, in itself, is always a good thing for people. There was an article in the Age last week about some research comparing the mental health of people with a job they hated, with people who were unemployed. The unemployed were happier.

  8. StKlida

    You should try work sometime Fine. It’s rarely perfect, but it is better for you than wallowing in bed with a bottle of gin.

  9. Fran Barlow

    Gillard wittered:

    And the Greens will never embrace Labor’s delight at sharing the values of every day Australians, in our cities, suburbs, towns and bush, who day after day do the right thing, leading purposeful and dignified lives, driven by love of family and nation

    I strongly suspect I know what Gillard means people to imagine when she speaks of ‘every day Australians’. She means people inclined to support the right in general, including most especially the Hansonites, white, lower middleclass, christian and xenophobic. She can pretend the language is inclusive — because there’s no reason in principle why your ‘every day Australians’ couldn’t be darkskinned or tertiary educated — but it’s very clear she is dogwhistling here the Blot-Akerman trope that the Greens are an inner-city cultural “latte” elite — “the shiny bums” of a long departed Clyde Cameron who, in the 1970s also gave us the term “dole bludger” in a similar pitch at rightwing voters at the time.

    Gillard may not be a Christian, but she utters the culture of someone who sees humans in highly moralistic terms –”work” as an ennobling thing, horror at “queue jumpers” for welfare and outer-urban angst at foreigners coming in and changing the neighbourhood. As tempting as it is to assume this is for her simply reflexively parochial rightwing cant she has been uttering this stuff for so long it’s not clear that she doesn’t actually believe it. In any event, it doesn’t matter.

    She is quite clearly a manifestation of the ignornace and backwardness that remains the legacy of white Australia. She can attempt to distinguish herself and the party she leads from the Hansonites all she likes, but the reality is that Hanson, Abbott and Gillard are directly and indirectly the creatures of Australia’s existential fear of red and yellow peril, of guilt at being the beneficiaries of the occupation of Aboriginal land and the overlay of christian moralising that supplied it with the moral warrant to accept it all and move on.

    Unlike the ALP, we Greens and those to our left have confronted the legacy of white Australia and have determined that we can and must be otherwise. It is the ALP, who over decades abandoned not only socialism but any meaningful iteration of equitable community in their mad chase after what is now seen as the neoliberal rubric who now feels the pressure to reassert that deep down, after all, they understand community whereas we Greens do not. This is guilt written in terms that Gillard hopes the tabloids will propagate because it comes with the maudlin tabloid tropes all over it.

    Never more apt was the aphorism uttered than it can be here: Hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue.

  10. akn

    Yes Fine but recall that ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’.

    The race to the bottom between Abbott and Gillard in persecuting people on disability pensions is going to make for extra special entertainment in the coming months.

  11. Sam

    “setting the alarm clock early”

    She’s a Welsh Methodist, in spades.

  12. Sam

    akn, well buggar me, I was just looking up that phrase. But in the end I thought that Gillard as Maria Mandel didn’t fit.

  13. Mark Bahnisch

    @11 – I think she noted elsewhere that she was raised as a Baptist, Sam, for what that’s worth.

  14. Mark Bahnisch

    @7 – Fine, I agree wholeheartedly.

    Here’s a piece on the research into mental health and bad jobs you referred to:

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/45842.html

  15. John D

    Perhaps the speech title should have been “Labor WAS a party of ideas”?
    She still hasn’t understood that Rudd lost support when it looked as though he was dropping his commitment to ideas and returning us to the Howard/Gillard grey sludge?

  16. akn

    From the thread where this discussion started because Gillard’s failure to understand the political history of her own party/movement is a significant failure that has immense policy repercussions…

    Gillard states in that speech:

    The historic mission of our political party is to ensure the fair distribution of opportunity.

    Oh yeah? Doesn’t know the history and philosophy of the labour movement. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy notes that the idea of the equality of opportunity is a component of a moral theory of justified social inequality … which is a far cry indeed from older ideas of distributive justice that were foundational for labour movements and the parties of social democracy.

    So, we’re all liberals now? The Prime Minister must have an older relative called TINA.

  17. Mark Bahnisch

    @akn – I made a similar point that Gillardism came down to social liberalism in the post to which Kim kindly linked.

  18. akn

    Yes Mark, I’m aware. I suspect that the reason Gillard is a social liberal has to do with her intellectual history in which it appears that West Wing has replaced the Webbs as a source of inspiration.

  19. Sam

    Mark 13, Baptist – even, worse.

  20. Mark Bahnisch

    I’ll probably cop something for saying it, akn, but I suspect Gillard’s intellectual formation as a lawyer didn’t conduce to much of a knowledge of political traditions and different forms of social analysis. My own (brief) acquaintance with Socialist Forum in 1988 on a student politics trip to Melbourne also didn’t suggest to me that body in which she was prominent was a powerhouse of ideas.

    Generally speaking, Labor pollies and staffers do watch far too much West Wing! ;)

  21. Mark Bahnisch

    @19 – Sam, I once remember having a chat with a priest of my acquaintance about a uni friend who’d converted from Catholicism to Presbyterianism – “I can imagine lapsing, but to become a Presbyterian!!!”.

    It’s a house with many mansions, I guess.

  22. John D

    Akn: Julia is a child of the workers that has benefited mightily from the opportunities she had that her parents didn’t. It is part of what drives her dedication to education.
    However, what people like her often forget is that there are many children who can’t benefit from the opportunities that she had. Some will be hindered by the attitudes and culture of family and friends. But for many, the real problem is that they simply lack the aptitude to take advantage of the opportunities that served Julia so well.
    Distributive justice declined during the Hawke/Keating era. Perhaps this is part of the reason that the working class no feels any great loyalty to the Labor Party?

  23. Sam

    I don’t mind the Presbyterians. Chacun a son gout.

    Gillard is who she is, namely, the daughter of Welsh salt-of-the-earth Baptists who drilled into her the old fashioned virtues of (certainly) hard work and (probably) thrift; who was a diligent student; who fell into left wing student politics; who was ambitious and who wasn’t going to let ideology get in her way; who followed the well travelled road of Slater & Gordon to Labor staffer to politician.

    And now, here she is, 50 years old, and the Prime Minister.

    Trouble is, she is like the dog that finally catches the car. She doesn’t know what to do. Unlike, for instance, John Howard, who knew exactlywhat [he wanted] to do.

  24. akn

    I think you may be correct JohnD about the shift to social liberalism creating a drift away from Labor to Liberals as a reasonable alternative given that, as you note, Labor’s commitment to distributive justice has been waning since the Hawke/Keating years. Perhaps it is a case of the working classes no longer having any other than purely defensive reasons to vote Labor, ie, no guaranteed commitment to redistribution of wealth via welfare and social wage spending.

    I disagree with you about people not having the aptitude to take advantage of opportunities; the absence of equality of opportunities can be pretty much mapped out using ABS postcode measures of socio-economic standing and income. The absence of that opportunity equality remains stark by all measures for Aborigines, for example. The rhetoric of equality of opportunity is more likely to be mobilised as an explanation for why people were incapable of taking advantage of opportunities that never existed in the first place.

  25. Doug

    “And the Greens will never embrace Labor’s delight at sharing the values of every day Australians, in our cities, suburbs, towns and bush, who day after day do the right thing, leading purposeful and dignified lives, driven by love of family and nation.”

    Talk about exclusionary rhetoric – how does she know what people who vote Green actually delight and embrace?

    This is poll driven dog whistling of the first order.

    Tony Abbott does have a point when asked today “If they are so extreme why are you in partnership with them?

  26. paul walter

    Dog whistling, utterly contemptible and Greens by definition, prefer gardens to parking lots at newly consructed post modern tree museums, where they pay a dollar and half just t’ see ‘em.
    Is this the speech I very briefly caught the other night, where she was waffling on about “balancing the budget” again, before I switched off in despair.

  27. zoot

    Thanks akn, you have pre-empted every comment I felt moved to make. So all I can add is, “What akn said”.

  28. akn

    OK Zoots, I’ll shut up now:)

  29. PeterTB

    we Greens and those to our left have confronted the legacy of white Australia and have determined that we can and must be otherwise

    So you steer away from integration, which would avoid untold misery for generation after generation of indigenous people.

    The past is the past Fran. It’s time to look forward.

  30. Tiny Dancer

    I laughed, I cried, I laughed.

    Can we admit that it is a disaster?

  31. adrian

    Oh just sod off Gillard. Your patronising comments at the Greens (‘they mean well’ etc etc) just make me want to vote for them and leave your empty ordinariness where it belongs.

    May have a couple of days off work next week for good measure.

  32. PeterTB

    Trouble is, she is like the dog that finally catches the car. She doesn’t know what to do. Unlike, for instance, John Howard, who knew exactlywhat [he wanted] to do.

    So true Sam – do you think he’d consider coming out of retirement?

  33. Wantok

    I agree that the fetishisation of a Budget Surplus has gone too far now to abandon it even though it does seem rather pointless.
    BUT I really could not stand Tony and Barnaby getting apoplectic with feigned outrage if we don’t have a surplus come the next election.
    I can hear Barnaby now: ” we’re borrowing a hundred million a day: we’ll all be rooned !)

    Better we have a surplus,eh.

  34. PeterTB

    Gillard may not be a Christian, but she utters the culture of someone who sees humans in highly moralistic terms –”work” as an ennobling thing, horror at “queue jumpers” for welfare

    You say that like it’s a bad thing Fran. If I thought she really thought like that, I might vote for her.

  35. Russell

    I think the alarm clock was pinched from Nick Clegg – other bits seem to come from Thatcher.

    This is an amazing speech:

    “And we have always acknowledged that access to opportunity comes with obligations to seize that opportunity. To work hard, to set your alarm clocks early, to ensure your children are in school. We are the party of work not welfare, that’s why we respect the efforts of the brickie and look with a jaundiced eye at the lifestyle of the socialite. The Labor culture values effort more than status.
    It prizes the great Australian tradition of informality and rejects the sort of snobbishness and obsequiousness that infect other societies.”

    Obviously brickies are to be respected more than public servants or someone who is finding it hard to get a job, but do all those ordinary Australians who flocked to see Prince William value effort more than status? Thank Goodness we’ve rejected snobbs and (intellectual)elites.

    And this is just ignorance: “We happily leave to the Greens being a party of protest with no tradition of striking the balance required to deliver major reform.” Labor’s one-vote-one-value legislation would not have passed in W.A. but for the Greens.

    “A government for opportunity, for shaping the future, for the many.” So if you have bad luck, or were never one of ‘the many’ don’t look to Julia or the ALP for any sympathy!

  36. Sam

    Gillard has clearly taken advice that it’s a bad look for her to be so close to the Greens – the brickies disapprove – so she has to distance herself from them. But then as others have said, why is she in a quasi coalition with them?

    It’s a gaping contradiction.

    She could have used the lecture to get stuck into Abbott on various themes – his nihilism, his flirting with extremists, his fundamental lack of seriousness – without mentioning the Greens at all.

    Gillard will eventually be poisoned by her poor judgement.

  37. Fran Barlow

    PeterTB said:

    You say that like it’s a bad thing Fran. If I thought she really thought like that, I might vote for her.

    I’m no mindreader so I can’t tell you what she really thinks but I suspect you’d be on very safe ground. She shows no evidence at all of being able to think outside the parameters set for her by the Murdochracy. If she is less rightwing than Keating, I’m yet to see any evidence. Frankly, if I have to have a rightwinger in power, I find Keating less egregious. Perversely, she seems a lot less liberal these days than Fraser or Hewson.

    In any event, the point is moot. Whether she really thinks it or not, in government she is likely to go to the mattresses to foster that impression. What she thinks is much less important than what she does.

  38. Nickws

    akn @ 16: From the thread where this discussion started because Gillard’s failure to understand the political history of her own party/movement is a significant failure that has immense policy repercussions…

    What makes you think she doesn’t understand today’s history of the Australian Labor Movement? She most certainly understands the history of the Party is it existed during its most recent years as the aforementioned movement, as she lived through the tailend of that; she understands the newer party as later enunciated by Paul Keating in his victory speech on election night, 1993 (and that party obviously predates ’93, hence the speech being dedicated to who-know-you).

    There’s no point in her giving a lecture on a political culture she can’t remember and has never experienced as the inaugural Whitlam oration. That’s why it’s the ‘Whitlam oration’, not the ‘old demotic Chifley-hating, Whitlam-sceptic oration’.

    BTW I’m surprised nobody sees the whole point of her attack on the Greens in this format. It’s all about reclaiming the legacy of those sixties and seventies cultural reformers (not just Gough, but Dunstan and the others) from the Greens. Are there no middle class, post-materialist radical Green voters here? You all horny handed industrialist supporters of Bob Brown, eh?

    There is no reason for her giving such an aggressive speech if it’s not a form of turf war with the Greens. I’m gobsmacked that nobody sees it as an inter-middle-class skirmish.

    Oh yeah? Doesn’t know the history and philosophy of the labour movement.

    Actually she could be a true modern fabian in her beliefs (i.e. this ‘social liberalism’ that I’m certain Mark B. is talking about) or she could just be a PR spinner when it comes to trying to connect with the voters.

    Anyway, akn, you vote Green, I take it.

    Mark @ 20: I’ll probably cop something for saying it, akn, but I suspect Gillard’s intellectual formation as a lawyer didn’t conduce to much of a knowledge of political traditions and different forms of social analysis.

    (a.) Tradition—see my points above about how Gillard as a woman born in 1961 is perfectly on topic RE contemporary, living ALP tradition.

    (b.) Using different forms of social analysis—I honestly don’t know what an ALP caucus leader who does know how to do this looks like, Mark.

  39. hannah's dad

    Oh jeez Julia, to think I used [past tense] to admire you.
    Actually I was once a supporter of Labor for that matter.

    Has anyone got Orwell’s “Animal Farm” handy?
    You know, the concluding paragraph where the animals outside the farmhouse are peeking inside and can’t tell the difference between their new leaders and their old human overlords.
    It would be a most apt quote.

  40. Helen

    There was the same hearty cheering as before, and the mugs were emptied to the dregs. But as the animals outside gazed at the scene, it seemed to them that some strange thing was happening. What was it that had altered in the faces of the pigs? Clover’s old dim eyes flitted from one face to another. Some of them had five chins, some had four, some had three. But what was it that seemed to be melting and changing? Then, the applause having come to an end, the company took up their cards and continued the game that had been interrupted, and the animals crept silently away.

    But they had not gone twenty yards when they stopped short. An uproar of voices was coming from the farmhouse. They rushed back and looked through the window again. Yes, a violent quarrel was in progress. There were shoutings, bangings on the table, sharp suspicious glances, furious denials. The source of the trouble appeared to be that Napoleon and Mr. Pilkington had each played an ace of spades simultaneously.

    Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

  41. Mark Bahnisch

    Elsewhere: Trevor Cook:

    Gillard uses opportunity 12 times in her speech, and never mentions equality or inequality.

    Concerns about inequality have been air-brushed out of the rhetoric of today’s ALP.

  42. Mark Bahnisch

    Using different forms of social analysis—I honestly don’t know what an ALP caucus leader who does know how to do this looks like, Mark.

    If you want to confine discussion to the Whitlam and post-Whitlam era, Nickws (and Gillard herself mentioned aspects of labour history that long predate Whitlam), you might consider reading the Blewett Diaries which demonstrate that under the Keating government, there was certainly far more awareness of the factors that lead to class inequality than Gillard discloses in the speech. They cover the period from 1991 to 1993.

  43. hannah's dad

    Ta Helen.

    This line “….and the mugs were emptied to the dregs.” is sadly appropriate isn’t it?

    They are all just ‘pigs on the wing” aren’t they?
    *sigh*

  44. Ute Man

    adrian wrote:

    leave your empty ordinariness where it belongs.

    That is the perfect description of the modern ALP. Sadly.

  45. James McDonough

    Sorry, I’m late to the party re hard-working Baptists. As a young Catholic (admittedly, not a proper “Bible-believing” sect) I always thought that hard work was God punishing us for having thoughts above our station:

    To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.
    It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
    By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
    Genesis 3:17-19

    Or as the Hold Steady put it:

    I guess I heard about original sin. I heard the dude blamed the chick. I heard the chick blamed the snake. I heard they were naked when they got busted.

    Either way you tell it, it’s the truest thing in the Bible.

  46. Lefty E

    “And the Greens will never embrace Labor’s delight at sharing the values of every day Australians, in our cities, suburbs, towns and bush, who day after day do the right thing, leading purposeful and dignified lives, driven by love of family and nation.”

    Problem: Not even dogs are listening to that guff.

  47. Helen

    I guess I don’t have to point this out, but this means that those of us who vote Green fail to do the right thing day after day, lead purposeless and undignified lives, and do not love our families, or Australia.

    Oh, Gillard, I so wanted to like you.

    (Reminds me of the “decent Left” – implying that the rest of us aren’t decent.)

  48. Michael

    Pretty soon the ALP is going to realize that the only way they are going to be able to get and hold onto Government in future is a formal coalition agreement with the Greens, which includes a preference agreement and arrangements for 3 cornered contests. The Liberals and Country Party (Nationals) realized this a couple of generations ago and it has served them well politically. The have managed to appeal to extreme flat-earthers (Nationals) and the relatively moderate right wingers (Liberals). The ALP needs to grow up and realize it has more to gain by embracing the Greens than by rejecting them.

  49. Nickws

    Okay, I just read the whole thing, and I’m a little taken aback that the word ‘movement’ is not mentioned once. I think that’s either a sign of intellectual banality on the part of whomever wrote the speech, or calculation by Gillard in excercising final edit. Maybe she doesn’t like the fact that it was losers Latham and Beazley who often used the expression ‘Labor Movement’ in their speeches.

    Mark: Gillard herself mentioned aspects of labour history that long predate Whitlam

    It’s mostly the cult of Gough And The Next Two Ones, but yes, she says, “We created the aged pension, brought the Sixth and Seventh Divisions home from the Middle East, dammed the Snowy, modernised the economy, said sorry to our Indigenous peoples.
    Yet ours is also the Party of 1916 and 1932 and 1955, of 1975 and 1996, and 2011 in New South Wales now joins the roll.”

    She also gives a shout-out to J.C. Watson for standing firm against the naysayers while he leader, a claim which may not stand up to much scrutiny.

    you might consider reading the Blewett Diaries which demonstrate that under the Keating government, there was certainly far more awareness of the factors that lead to class inequality than Gillard discloses in the speech.

    Mark, I did skim that book once for the juicy bits, but I also took from it the lesson that Blewett thought there was an occasionally unbridgeable divide between social- and economic-policy spheres in the cabinet he was in.

    Overall the whole thing was obviously structured around both an endorsement of Robertson and the little kulturkampf shot at the Greens.

  50. Paul Austin

    The Greens are the party of the far-left. Most voters are in the centre. If the ALP wants to become unelectable at the Federal level then they should move to the left where the Greens are. Fortunately, they learnt that lesson after 1949-1972.

  51. Nickws

    You should sign out of your blog, Paul Austin.

    It hurts the Ozblogistan brand to have crossed admins.

  52. adrian

    It’s becoming clearer and clearer by the day that there’s really not much point to the ALP’s existence anymore. I just wish Gillard hadn’t made it so so damn obvious.

    Just imagine if the Liberals looked a little less deranged.

  53. Lindsay

    Helen @ 40 Thanks for that reminder, it has been a long time since I read Animal Farm, I had forgotten how descriptive it is of our current political position.

    Moving a little to the right (or left) I am becoming a little confused as to who is right (or who is left for that matter). There was a report on our 7 local news tonight about the Caloundra South development,[link] part of the report stated that there was to be a certain amount of AFFORDABLE housing. My brain entered into lockup when an opposition spokesman made a comment along the line that if the government owned the development then they could have some control over affordability. Unfortunately I cannot quote verbatim as i was banking my head on the table trying to release the lockup. I must have missed the point where the ALP moved so far to the right that hey jumped over the LNP leaving them to be the lefties

  54. Lindsay

    to moderator I really cannot handle this HTML stuff. There was supposed to be a link to http://www.ulda.qld.gov.au/01_cms/details.asp?ID=471

    I give up

    [I fixed it for you ~tt]

  55. silkworm

    Either way you tell it, it’s the truest thing in the Bible.

    No it’s not. It’s misogynistic bullshit.

  56. paul walter

    50, No. The greens are soft left.
    The labor party is conservative and the rest represent a sort of nascent or incipient reactionism. But both majors are inseperable when it comes to economic rationalism and sucking up to our new colonial masters from Washington.
    How does the old saying go?
    A one party state with two rival rightist factions vying for the goodies and/or spoils of defeat.
    Right and righter is not my idea of healthy politics for a country (colony?) like ours.

  57. Paul Austin

    I agree with silkworm. And could someone *please* tell me how Pandora’s Box “wouldn’t have worked” if it hadn’t been a woman? Apart from the whole “Women brought evil into the world, therefore they must be subordinate to men and punished for the rest of eternity” line (which is what it’s on about), and which has no validity whatsoever, but still seems to permeate society, dangit!!!

  58. Mercurius

    @47:

    I guess I don’t have to point this out, but this means that those of us who vote Green fail to do the right thing day after day, lead purposeless and undignified lives, and do not love our families, or Australia.

    Yep Helen — it’s funny. I do the right thing day by day, my life is purposeful and dignified, I love my family and nation — yet somehow, I felt excluded from the “many” that Gillard wants to govern for…

  59. Jacques de Molay

    According to MacCallum, the dystrophy in this campaign is emphasised by the choice of Gillard as Labor’s flag carrier and Abbott in the opposition leadership.

    “I always had my suspicions about Julia Gillard. As Lindsay Tanner once said, she’s an untrustworthy opportunist but you felt she might have some fire in the belly. She presents as being not the whitebread politician, nobody’s puppet, her own woman, but she’s white bread with the crusts cut off. Show us your policies; anything, please.

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-election/battle-of-the-bland-20100723-10op6.html

  60. Jacques de Molay

    It concludes Mr Tanner had reservations about Ms Gillard dating back to her student politics days.

    “Tanner was determined to block her advance by all means possible,” Ms Kent writes.

    “He maintained a public position that she was a conservative and a careerist who could not be trusted.”

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/lindsay-tanner-tried-to-block-rise-of-conservative-careerist-julia-gillard/story-e6frg6nf-1225778205660

  61. Mercurius

    Maybe she doesn’t like the fact that it was losers Latham and Beazley who often used the expression ‘Labor Movement’ in their speeches.

    Then Nickws, how do you explain the preponderance of “opportunity” — another Latham favourite?

    Anyway, I found this speech reassuring. It’s nice to know that anyone who’s having a hard time in this country is in that position due entirely to their own failings and shortcomings, and all they need is a bit of opportunity to sort them out.

    Certainly we don’t need to examine the ways in which our structures, institutions and prevailing cultures do a lot of selecting and sorting before people have even stepped up to the plate. We’re the land of the fair go! (As long as you’re one of the ‘many’. And you don’t vote Green.)

  62. The Devil Drink

    It’s rarely perfect, but it is better for you than wallowing in bed with a bottle of gin

    I don’t believe that statement has enough evidence to warrant the assertion. This calls for a reliable scientific double-blind test.

  63. Paul Burns

    Also, what’s with this sudden rehabilitation of John Winston Howard. The only difference between Howard and Abbott is that Abbott is a fool.
    In the days when I wuz in the Labor Party, long long ago, you knew who the enemy was. The Liberals and Nats; all Liberals and Nats, past and present.
    Kenneally almost got it right when she said the ALP left the people. What she should’ve said was the ALP left the ALP. And Gillard’s speech proves it.
    As for the smear on the Greens. Since it won’t be an Abbott Government this term, I happily await the consequences.

  64. Mercurius

    @61:

    Ask, and ye shall receive

    (Now back OT!….)

  65. silkworm

    Tony Abbott does have a point when asked today “If they are so extreme why are you in partnership with them?”

    Yes, it’s the smartest thing he’s said so far this year.

  66. calyptorhynchus

    PeterTB #29

    “The past is the past Fran. It’s time to look forward.”

    Trouble is, the future isn’t necessarily anglo-celtic aspirational.

  67. billie

    Bill Mitchell at BillyBlog reckons Gillard and her economics advisor are barking up the wrong tree. Australia owes its current prosperity to Communists not to balanced budgets which rip money out of the economy leaving workers impoverished.

    Saul Eslake also commented on equity between workers and investing classes

    To round out the economics views John Passant ex-ATO asks whether workers have the power to effect change any more in robust language

  68. billie

    In previous post (?#66) I misrepresented John Passant, he isn’t the author, Tom Bramble is. The article provides interesting numbers about the size, pay and composition of the Australian workforce

  69. Mr Denmore

    It seems to me that ever since the crushing defeat of John Howard in 2007, the ALP has been governing as if Howard was still running things.

    That’s evident in their reflexive buy-in to News Ltd’s manufactured ‘culture wars’, their fevered flight from their traditional role as opponents of rising income inequality, their half-hearted stop-start approach to action on climate change and, now, Gillard’s public embrace of a socially conservative ‘Howardian’ agenda.

    Clearly, the idiots who ran NSW Labor into the ground by trying to second-guess the politicial evolution of western Sydney ‘aspirationals’ and who persuaded Rudd to walk away from the ETS are still calling the shots for Gillard.

    Again and again, the major parties work on the assumption that the electorate tilted permanently to the right under Howard and that Rudd’s election was some kind of temporary malfunction. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    I read Rudd’s victory in 2007 as reflection a movement back to the centre in Australian politics. The right were for the first two years of Rudd’s reign left in the wilderness fighting among themselves. But from the moment of Rudd’s choke on climate action (after foolishly using the issue as a wedge) and Abbott’s ascendancy, the ALP has been hiding under the doona.

    Now, with Gillard having been installed by the coal miners and the bigoted right-wingers who run much of the union movement, she is trying to fashion a narrative built on the Protestant work ethic and petit-bourgeois suspicion of those who don’t flog themselves to death down the mines of a disappearing industrial ‘heartland’.

    To imply, as she does in that speech, that the 12 per cent of the electorate that gave the Greens their first preference vote last year are somehow not “ordinary” Australians provides the final proof for me that the Labor Party is a morally bankrupt institution that exists for no other reason than as a machine to drive the careers of professional politicians such as herself.

    The irony is her strategy – because that is what it is – will win her no votes from the right, while further alienating a centre left that has given up on the ALP as a significant and evolving political force.

  70. akn

    Paul Walter @5 (missed that earlier): the way I feel these days makes Heidegger look like a sentimental Romantic. Cheers.

  71. paul walter

    70 Hi mate. Beleive me, I’m going going greyer by the moment living in ” the land of the free” also.
    Don’t ever dare point out that black isn’t white or the emperor wears no clothes or youll be called a trouble maker or a red or anti semitic, or whatever.
    the Wizard wants the smoke and mirrors left in place and we Munchkins had better keep, well, “Munchkinning”.

  72. joe

    I just read Michelle Grattan’s article in the Herald, Gillard bites the Green hand she needs to help her. A generally uninspiring article.

    But it did make me think, regarding political “branding” that it’s interesting that Gillard gets media “traction” when she’s bashing the Greens, whereas bashing the Libs and the Nats is just the status quo. As if politics is just a metaphor for product differentiation.

    Who is Julia Gillard?

    What a strange question? I mean, what a self-serving question for any journalist to ask. Who is anybody? It’s just such a general, undefined question, there can’t be an answer of any substance to it. There can only be a narrative — in the strict sense of the word, a work of fiction, a manufacturing of a sense of empathy, the creation of a character. A demand for the media spotlight.

    We sit back and watch — and are disgusted by — the distortion of the images that we get through the media without considering enough the context which produces these distortions.

    Julia Gillard simply must have the media spotlight. What does she have to do to get it? I remind you of the last election campaign! There should be consequences for the media for what happened in that campaign.

    This isn’t an excuse for her behavior, this is just (another) critic of what happens when the media is no longer communicating events to the public, but has become the event itself.

  73. Tiny Dancer

    The context is obvious. She is from the far left, held herself out as a moderate, got into bed with the far left and now bags them.

    Will the realmJulia please stand up

  74. PeterTB

    calyptorhynchus says: “Trouble is, the future isn’t necessarily anglo-celtic aspirational.”

    Indeed – but we owe it to our children to try to make it so.

  75. akn

    Nickws@38: your defensive comments about Gillard manage to avoid the issue that I raised. To put it more succinctly: promoting ‘equality of opportunity’ rather than distributive justice entrenches the dominance of neo-liberalism within the Australian social democratic tradition. That sort of social policy is antithetical to social democracy. The ALP is on a hiding to nothing with this and it is evidence to me that Gillard and others at senior levels in the ALP are operating in a theoretical and ahistorical vacuum.

  76. Mercurius

    calyptorhynchus says: “Trouble is, the future isn’t necessarily anglo-celtic aspirational.”

    Indeed – but we owe it to our children to try to make it so.

    Geez PeterTB, that’s going to be difficult to do for the people whose children aren’t ‘anglo-celtic’, isn’t it? Can you recommend any good breeding programs that will help achieve your aim?

    Do you even know how idiotic, and how effacing of historical realities, the phrase ‘anglo-celtic’ is?

    The Angles, Saxons and Jutes totally displaced the Celtic tribes from English lands, through the usual familiar means of invasion, conquest and forced removals.

    To assert the existence of an ‘Anglo-Celtic’ culture is like saying there’s an ‘Israeli-Palestinian’ culture. Or a ‘Spanish-Aztec’ culture. Or a ‘Russian-Chechen’ culture.

    And when you consider that you are trying to recreate this myth more than 10,000 miles from its ostensible historical location, your position is even less tenable.

    It’s incredible that you consider yourself to be “looking forward” when the ‘future’ you envisage hankers after a millennia old myth of a culture that never even existed. ‘Anglo-celtic’? How ridiculous.

    I’m trying to work out whether your statement is more offensive, more sinister or more idiotic — but each time I consider one dimension, it gets leap-frogged by another. I think you’ve scored a trifecta!

  77. adrian

    Mr Denmore sums it up well.

  78. robbo

    How bloody depressing this woman is. She’s certainly ensured that as long as she utters this sort of garbage my vote will remain with the Greens,the only political party with integrity and a genuine desire for the betterment of all of us,just like Labor used to.

    And in years to come there will no doubt be memorable ‘Whitlam Orations’, but this tripe sure as shit won’t be remembered by anyone as other than the culmination of a decade of the ALP trying to out-torie the tories.

  79. Fran Barlow

    Yes … well said Mr Denmore …

  80. Ken_L

    One can only hope that the NSW election result is repeated federally in 2013, so this ideologically bankrupt and clueless mob gets consigned to the septic tank of history quickly rather than slowly.

    In 50 years I have never read more unmitigated tripe from a prime minister than this speech of Gillard’s, unless it was her speech to the Imperial Congress a few weeks ago.

    <blockquote… five years ago the money earned from exporting 10,000 tonnes of iron ore would buy about 280 dishwashers.

    Today it would buy you around 1400 dishwashers.

    Good fucking grief. Instead of our national happiness benchmark being something frivolous like home ownership, it’s now an iron ore export dishwasher equivalent. See how life just keeps getting better and better?

    Still Obama must have been pleased to know Australia is going to ‘see the mission through’ in Afghanistan, since he has his hands full in Libya now. It must come as a relief to him that someone knows what the mission is. But as Julia said, ‘That is what I was elected for and that is what I will do.’ Dead right, I remember that being about the first thing in the policy speech. Oh wait, Afghanistan wasn’t mentioned in the policy speech. Still I bet she could feel all the voters willing her to Finish The Job.

    Don’t worry about the Howard Government disappearing from view Julia. With you in charge, it never left.

  81. Dave Bath

    The timing is delicious! Whitlam cleaned up the faceless men before the ALP had a chance of getting into office, while who does Julia rely on, and what just happened a few days ago in NSW?

    The thing is, Julia is further to the right of not just Gough the Great, but also Big Mal and Ming the Merciless.

  82. Fran Barlow

    Some people here Ken, thought I was wrong to vote informal rather than preference the ALP last election.

  83. Kim

    Update: John Quiggin.

  84. Graeme

    Labor has been the inheritor of Deakinite liberalism for two decades now. Don’t imagine Gillard is the first cuckoo of that spring.

    I am a bit bemused though by the sudden, co-ordinated anti-Green rhetoric. First, whilst they have a case to make of economic differentiation, the ‘unAustralian’ rhetoric is puerile. Second, if it is poll driven/stage managed as it feels, don’t they realize that it just makes what is a loose coalition government look like a rabble?

  85. Paul Burns

    God help us! we are in the hands of the lunatics.
    Yes, there has long been a thread of liberalism running through the ALP, exemplified by Lang in the 1920s, for example, but it has always been subsumed to what we might recognise as traditional Labor values, totally missing from Gillard’s speech.

  86. joe

    Kim, you’re going to make me cry.

    While the speech is, in my opinion, a reflection of the times, it is indeed very alienating for social democrats. Actually, for anyone who is uncomfortable about putting complete faith in the private sector’s ability to make the right decisions and deal with crisis.

    It will be interesting to see, if there is another global financial crisis, how the western governments react.

  87. Nickws

    akn @ 75: your defensive comments about Gillard manage to avoid the issue that I raised.

    Defensive? On her behalf? I was being critical of you and Mark for your belief that she didn’t say the correct things in her somewhat trivial, unimportant speech, akn.

    To put it more succinctly: promoting ‘equality of opportunity’ rather than distributive justice entrenches the dominance of neo-liberalism within the Australian social democratic tradition. That sort of social policy is antithetical to social democracy. The ALP is on a hiding to nothing with this and it is evidence to me that Gillard and others at senior levels in the ALP are operating in a theoretical and ahistorical vacuum.

    This is all pretty cogent, but these aren’t the points you were raising in that original post I responded to. You only began to explain at post 24 what your critique was—I’m afraid I have to admit to not reading any post after Marks @ 20 before I wrote my response. My bad.

    That said, you actually think the government of 1983/96 was able to thread this needle, right? Hence “Labor’s commitment to distributive justice has been waning since the Hawke/Keating years.”

    There’s you problem, and I think it’s also the problem of Mark. As far as I’m concerned Gillard Labor is playing from the exact same ideological playbook as Hawke and Keating did, and it makes no sense for you to claim those two for your own version of social democracry in opposition to Gillards. It actually comes across as a tad revisionistic and confusing. The only reason Keating never used that hoary meme about “the end of big government” is purely stylistic, not philosophical.

    Between this and the claim that a vote for the Greens is a vote for a redistributionist party (instead of a conservationist, quality-of-life party with a set of redistributive politices) I have to admit to being unimpressed with the overreaction to the PM’s speech. It’s all a lot of energy wasted in response to Gillard doing a bit of reallife trolling.

    (And I wouldn’t be surprised if it was either Freudenburg or Watson who wrote that line about Green supporters not sharing in the “delights of everyday Australians”. It’s merely a bit of tribal, partisan hazing. Why bother hitting back with claims of her being guilty of betrayal? It’s all politics. No need to take it too personal.)

    Call me crazy, but if you’re genuinely critical of her it might help to save your ammunition for something like her corporate taxcut policy. That’s a bit more pressing than reinforcing one’s own ideological narrative in a fit of pique.

  88. PeterTB

    Chill out Merc @ 76, all that frothing can’t be healthy for you.

  89. tssk

    omg how did I miss this speech? Is Julia on crack or something? This is not going to work. Right wingers will continue to vote Lib, they’ll know that her ‘tough’ speech is just words. But it will drive ALP voters away. Some to the Greens. And some to the Libs. And for those of us who voted Greens because we felt the ALP had turned their back on us…well message reinforced!

    I’m just gobsmacked. Every day I’m more and more disappointed by the ALP post Rudd.

  90. Fran Barlow

    Graeme said:

    I am a bit bemused though by the sudden, co-ordinated anti-Green rhetoric.

    This merely shows that The Greens are challenging their legitimacy within their heartland a lot more than they can cope with. Albanese’s commentary and that of Gillard are those of people who know that they are on the nose and are trying to drag us down into the muck with them. The fact is that we Greens are far closer to what most ALP supporters would like the ALP to be like — culturally, organisationally and in terms of public policy. One hears the pain in the voices of Gillard and Albanese.

    Albanese yesterday was having a go at us for not preferencing them in places like Swansea. He’d have had us preference a regime that has its own political name — the NSW disease. Albo was wanting us to embrace it, apologise for it, and catch it ourselves. And when our vote, rather than increasing, had declined, he’d have been able to say we’d been rejected as credible.

    This shows the utter intellectual contempt in which the ALP holds not merely left-of-centre voters, but the public in general. There’s no way that he can believe this stuff himself — he’s just not that stupid — but he apparently thinks he can get away with pushing this at hoi polloi.

    What a bunch of utterly contemptible sleazebags this lot are! I will never vote Liberal, or advocate support for them, but if it happens that the coalition does defeat the ALP at the next election, it won’t be long before I console myself with the thought that this foetid bunch of politically vacuous reactionaries had been despatched by people who at least were willing to pitch consistently at their own kind.

  91. Incurious and Unread

    Nickws@87,

    It’s merely a bit of tribal, partisan hazing. Why bother hitting back with claims of her being guilty of betrayal? It’s all politics. No need to take it too personal.

    Precisely. Policy and power is what is important. If Gillard can introduce carbon pricing and then win the next election so as to sustain it, who cares if she is methodist or baptist, anglo or celt, “social democrat” or “neo-liberal”.

  92. tssk

    Disagree I&U @ 91. I know a lot of Lib voters who are big fans of “whatever it takes.”

    Doesn’t fly with the left though. We’re quite happy to eat our own if the battle is won the wrong way.

    I’m not going to support a party that seems intent on trying to turn into a left wing version of the Howard government.

    Motives do matter. Once you abandon principles for results you inevitably find you care less about the results.

  93. Paul Norton

    As one of the 12 per cent of Australians who voted Green at the last Federal election, I have no problem with Julia Gillard sugggesting that we aren’t ordinary Australians, because in fact we’re excellent Australians!

  94. Incurious and Unread

    tssk,

    We’re quite happy to eat our own if the battle is won the wrong way.

    Yeah, I’d noticed that. It is one of the things that make this blog entertaining for me.

    It is only on a grouchy Monday morning that I can lose patience with it.

  95. Fran Barlow

    tssk said:

    Motives do matter. Once you abandon principles for results you inevitably find you care less about the results.

    It’s not so much that motives matter. Fine words as they say …

    What matters is good process. Without good process — which absolutely includes non-arbitrarily chosen goals (“results”) — the possibility of progress is seriously jeopardised and any good that does follow is likely to be tenuous. Once you abandon accountability, the inclusion of legitimate stakeholders, rigorous analysis and evaluation of options within the time required to reach a decision point and so forth, the temptation is to start abandoning ends so that those who are really in charge can appear to have succeeded. The process and the ends both become subordinated to the interests of the principle players and what one sees is something that is corrupt and that taints all those associated with the ends.

    Sometimes of course the circumstances are so dire, that good process simply isn’t possible, and one must do “prototype” solutions or use what the business wonks call “agile” methods. This is almost always the result of prior organisational failure and something to be avoided because it’s almost by definition a high risk and questionable return trade. Healthy organisations try to avoid allowing themselves to get into that situation. Yet the ALP has made that its trademark over the years, and most especially over the last four years or so.

  96. Mr Denmore

    Nickws, Freudenberg – now nearly 80 – is long retired as a speechwriter. Watson fell out with the ALP a while back.

    Whoever wrote Gillard’s speech, it definitely wasn’t either of those esteemd gentlemen. It read to me like the work of a 30-year former Daily Telegraph journo.

  97. Russell

    “Gillard and others at senior levels in the ALP are operating in a theoretical and ahistorical vacuum”

    “It read to me like the work of a 30-year former Daily Telegraph journo.”

    Me too. I remember Julia saying that she was too young to remember the anti-Vietnam war and the anti-American feeling in Australia in the late 60s, early 70s. This speech, the Whitlam lecture, is a wonderfully ironic bit of ignorance.

    Whitlam was an extreme-ist in Gillard’s terms. All of us who demonstrated against the war were accused of not loving our country. Whitlam was accused of trying to destroy the family with his revolutionary changes to family law. He wanted to bypass the states and fund regions, he introduced a national health scheme, he made the universities free. Lord, imagine what Gillard would think of making universities free!

    Most of we Greens of a certain age voted for Whitlam, and I’m claiming Whitlam for the Greens!

  98. PatrickB

    “five years ago the money earned from exporting 10,000 tonnes of iron ore would buy about 280 dishwashers”
    Has anyone done any work on the effect of dishwasher price on the “dishwashers per tonne of iron ore” yield? Given the high dollar and the cheapness of products from China, this boon in kitchen appliances may be due to other factors. I think we should be told. Can we get Access Economics to have a look at it?

  99. tssk

    Fran @ 95. Well said.

  100. Fran Barlow

    Russell said:

    Most of we Greens of a certain age voted for Whitlam, and I’m claiming Whitlam for the Greens!

    Mind you, I don’t see Bob Brown giving the nod to the Indonesians to invade Timor L’Este and put down Fretilin. I also imagine Bob Brown would have favoured cutting a far more just deal over Timor Gap …

  101. Paul Burns

    Indonesian/East Timor policy from Whitlam to Keating: a rancid sore upon the ALP’s reputation which historians will strive to explain for years to come. It was Keating’s adoption of a military pact with Indonesia while the Indonesian army still occupied East Timor, and for that matter, West Papua, that finally drove me awy from the ALP for good. I left the party the day after he announced it. Was without a political home for years.

  102. Andrew Reynolds

    Paul Burns,
    It was a rancid sore on all major parties.

  103. Paul Burns

    True, AR, but one doesn’t expect, or didsn’t expect, the Labor Party to behave like that. With the conservative parties, you wouldn’t expect them to behave any other way.I suppose one of a Labor Government’s problems, though I’m not sure if that’s the right word, is that one expects them to behave in a more highly principled way than all their conservative opponents,at least in areas of foreign and defence policy, and they get into trouble with the electorate when they don’t.

  104. Andrew Reynolds

    Paul,
    I expect exactly the reverse. In my experience the ALP is more likely to say the “right” thing on these sorts of issues and then do the wrong thing, or at least stuff it up. The Libs are more likely to say the “wrong” things but then behave in a more principled way – while continuing to say just about anything.
    Which is better? Not sure, but I would prefer it if the double speak stopped from both sides.

  105. Kim

    Update: Bernard Keane.

  106. joe

    From the Bernard Keane link above:

    Gillard also shares Labor’s belief in the virtue of manual labour. [...] The conviction that work yielding some form of physical output is ennobling and somehow superior to the “McJobs” of service industries has persisted even as the service economy has supercharged job creation since the 1980s.

    Political discourse was once much more than [what relying on focus groups gets you: two parties competing to find creative ways to reflect back at voters what voters themselves think.]. The Hawke, Keating and early Howard governments treated voters, to use Gillard’s praise of Gough Whitlam, like adults, capable of thinking beyond the next five minutes, capable of understanding more complex concepts than the malevolence of a carefully crafted, unAustralian other, capable of supporting economic reform that might have initial costs but would yield long-term benefits.

    Well, this is probably the core problem in so-called Western economies:

    If political discourse could be honest it would admit that service industry jobs distort the economy and that their major benefit is to create an “occupation-activity” for otherwise unemployed people. It has much in common with the soviet era job-program.

    An “adult” political discussion would actually begin with an analysis of the role that work plays in structuring (disciplining) our society, while also keeping a firm view on what actually needs to be done in society. It amazes me that so-called free-marketeers, even after the GFC think that a market cannot mis-allocate capital! There is necessary work to be done in our society– transforming to a low-carbon society is a good example.

    Even after the catastrophe in Japan, and the Gulf of Mexico oil-spill, Hurricane Katrina, Iraq war, etc. etc. we’re still “thinking positively” and placing our hopes in the ability of a service-based economy to sustain our standard of living into the future. There are actual real problems– even in our societies not to mention other countries– but we’re investing in new media corporations like Google and Facebook and not pulling our sleeves up and tackling them because our brittle immature self-confidence isn’t up to it.

    How are the politicians supposed to even be honest? We couldn’t handle it.

  107. joe

    Actually, the first comment (by shepherdmarilyn) on the page of the Bernard Keane article is a fairly good analogy of the political/ media symbiosis in Australia.

    Perhaps to my intense disappointment also wrt Gillard herself.

  108. Fine

    I think Gillard is making an attempt to treat the public like adults capable of thinking beyond the next five minutes, in the case of the carbon tax. And where has it got her? Great swathes of the media screaming about how we’ll all be rooned.

    In the past we also had Oppositions who tended not to be hysterical wreckers and a rather more considered, less frothing at the mouth media. It’s getting more difficult for governments to actually put forward an agenda for major change and for it to be actually debate sensibly. None of this happens in a vacuum.

    And yes, Joe – we don’t like too much honesty from our politicians. To quote a second-rate film; “You can’t handle the truth”.

  109. joe2

    “And where has it got her? Great swathes of the media screaming about how we’ll all be rooned.”

    Frankly, I think she has a long term game plan and knew that would happen. Much of her strategy is based around achieving as much as you can in a hostile media environment.

    And if you start to look at what runs she already has up on the board, obscured by a large Newscorp tree, this is looking already like a considerable effort.

  110. PeterTB

    In the past we also had Oppositions who tended not to be hysterical wreckers

    Like the Labor opposition which opposed the GST for which JWH had an electoral mandate? As compared the TA’s Liberal opposition opposing a tax which has no electoral mandate?

    Get a grip Fine

  111. Fine

    I’m talking about the tone of the debate, not the fact that there was one Peter TB.

    Joe, I’m sure the hysteria was factored in and she realises she just has to cop it for a while.

  112. wbb

    Speechifying ain’t an Australian thing. These fund-raisers aren’t meant to be reported on and discussed. They are just for filling in the time between the Crownies and desert. Move one.

  113. joe strummer

    Career opportunities the ones with a-larm clocks

  114. David Irving (no relation)

    Fine @ 108, I think the last time we had close to this level of hysteria from an opposition and the meeja was in about 1975 …

    The main reason the tories didn’t screech about Hawke and Keating is because they were doing what the tories would have liked to have done, except they wouldn’t have been able to talk the unions around.

  115. Paul Norton

    The shorter Julia Gillard: the Greens are terribly queer.

  116. James McDonough

    @55

    No it’s not. It’s misogynistic bullshit.

    That work is the curse that comes with knowledge? That constant worry and struggle is the price we pay for a human level of consciousness? That the ability to plan ahead is also a heavy burden? That knowledge has a price, but we would choose it over blissful ignorance?
    You can read the myth how you like, but if it was just misogynist bullshit surely it wouldn’t have survived these thousands of years. A myth that doesn’t say anything about the human condition isn’t a myth at all, it’s just an anecdote.
    As for being the truest thing in the Bible, I was drunk, but I still think there’s an argument there.
    If I was going to try to swing this back on topic I’d say that one thing that we can take from the myth of knowledge is that facing up to bad news (such as global warming) and not just exhibiting Pavlovian responses to media stimuli is a mark of humanity. When you don’t worry you don’t have a conscience. If there’s a party with a conscience it’s the Greens, the only party that seems to take the challenges of the future seriously. Perhaps Bob’s been reading Genesis.
    Have I made myself clear or am I just rambling?