Amanda Vanstone cites “I’m Still Standing” as one of her favourite songs. Well, it would take a bit to knock my old boss down, but congratulations to the gal for today becoming Australia’s longest serving female cabinet minister – 2,438 days.

Emily’s Listers, please note. Vanstone is breaking the record set by another Liberal, Australia’s first woman in cabinet, Dame Margaret Guilfoyle. And behind Dame Margaret, another Liberal takes third place, Jocelyn Newman. So much for affirmative action.

All of which adds a certain frisson to tonight’s Julia Gillard spectacular on Australian Story.

We’ll be kind. We won’t attributive motives. We’ll say it’s ABC scheduling. But it’s very interesting that we’re getting what’s being billed as a “candid and surprising” look at Labor’s leading lady when there’s leadership talk about – and more messiahs are appearing for her party in her home state of Victoria than in any Christadelphian tract about “The End Times”.

Gillard has talent. She also has no husband and no kids. She is a 45 year old former political staffer. She knows how the shock jocks can treat her: “What does she know about life in the real world…”

Gillard also has a very big millstone around her neck called Medicare Gold. Everything from its name down stank. We have an ageing population and a disintegrating public health system. The Medicare Gold solution? Free, immediate health care for the over 75s. Not age before beauty. Age before need. Park the wrinklies in a hospital.

It will be fascinating to see how Gillard acquits herself tonight. But whatever the outcome, the Labor hopeful should have a look at Amanda Vanstone. She’s scarcely a conventional politician. She’s also swallowed more than a few sh*t sandwiches. Yet today she’s sitting there, fat and content.