Archive | June, 2013

Farewell Australia’s First Female Prime Minister

27 Jun

Last night, after another leadership challenge, Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female Prime Minister, was outsted as Prime Minister and the leader of the Australian Labor Party. I personally think this is a shame and a step backwards for women in politics. Yes, Julia became Prime Minister in a takeover coup when she outsted Kevin Rudd. But her leadership was plagued by leadership challenges and speculation. I heard on the ABC news last night a query – ‘would there have been so many leadership challenges if it had been a male politician in power?’ Does this whole leadership fight indicate something deeper about women in politics in Australia? Following the sacking of radio ‘shock-jock’ Howard Sadler over asking if Julia’s partner was gay, I wondered if the same question would have been asked of a male Prime Minister. Julia’s fashion sense, hairstyle, hair colour, diction and accent has been scrutinised by the media and the public. This doesn’t indicate respect.

For me, Julia Gillard as Prime Minister symbolised that women share an equal role in society and are more than capable of being the leader of a country. I support some of the major policy changes she made while in power. However, I agree with a comment (I actually can’t remember who made the comment – perhaps a member of the Australian Greens are a marriage equality campaigner) I heard last year after the push for marriage equality in the Australian parliament – Julia could have really made her mark in Australian politics by standing up for marriage equality and voting for the bill in parliament. This would have been especially important as the Australian Labor Party had at the party’s national conference voted to support marriage equality, and the fact that a large portion of the Australian public supports marriage equality. Shame to see that Julia didn’t support marriage equality, especially too when one of her cabinet members was an openly gay woman raising a child with her partner.

Perhaps with Kevin Rudd now in the role of Primer Minister, we may see a change in the marriage equality debate. I heard this speculated on the ABC radio news this morning. Kevin Rudd recently announced that he now supports marriage equality. Interesting…….

20130627-072423.jpg (Source – http://www.pm.gov.au/your-pm)

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