Julia Gillard fails judgement test

Close your eyes and imagine last year’s race for the White House between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. As election day draws closer, Obama makes a headland speech saying:
“Make no mistake about it, if Governor Romney is elected in November, African Americans will be excluded from positions of power in America. The clock will be turned back on civil rights and African Americans will been consigned to the margins of society. The only jobs available to us will be the chorus line of Showboat and our children will be condemned to finding recreation in crack houses. We will be forced to eat watermelon and have frizzy hair. White men from Salt Lake City wearing thin black ties will call around to our neighbourhoods to covert us to Mormonism. Do Americans really want to recreate this old America? I don’t think so. Should we go forward to build a better America? Yes, we can.”
Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s speech on women’s rights in Perth revealed the desperation of her cause. It showed no political judgement but a lot of panic. The speech will strengthen the loyalty of a group of Australian women of a certain political and social disposition. But it will alienate many more women, and certainly a majority of men. Women have won many of the battles to which she refers. Indeed, as the first female prime minister of Australia, she should be revelling in the achievements of the women’s movement not claiming that they are under dire threat from Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and Christopher Pyne. The threat is simply not sustainable or believable.
Reporters banned
To make certain her message was delivered without media interference, reporters, photographers and camera teams were banned from the hall were she spoke. Her office later delivered an edited transcript of the speech and film footage to the ABC and commercial networks. They all used the story but only the ABC and, later, Sky Television admitted they had been fed taxpayer-funded footage. Since when has the Australian media started accepting footage and edited speeches from politicians to be broadcast in election campaigns? Bob Carr tried this disgraceful stunt when he was Premier of NSW and he was quickly lambasted. Now he is Gillard’s Foreign Minister and her re-election team comprises former Carr advisers. They have utter contempt for the media and will manipulate it at every turn. Their behaviour is made possible by a supine press, gutless journalists, who are prepared to surrender media independence to get a story. They are a disgrace.
It will make older voters yearn for the grandeur of Gough Whitlam. When he launched his election campaign at the Blacktown Workers’ Club in November 1972, he began with the memorable line: “Men and women of Australia.” Whitlam chose the words deliberately. They were the same ones used by John Curtin when he launched his prime ministerial campaign in 1943. I hope someone can persuade Ms Gillard not to launch her campaign with the words: “Women of Australia.” With the idiots among her spin doctors, nothing is certain.

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