Kevin Rudd is taking a break — and you can too, thanks to Jetstar.

25-06-2010 9-03-10 AM

The airline was just one of many companies capitalising on the defeat of Rudd and the rise of our first female PM in Julia Gillard. Print ads from fast food chain Nandos said: “Yes Julia… Chicks rule”; book retailer Borders fired out a promotional email with Gillard-related tomes and, strangely, books on “amazing diets”.

Brazen advertising aside, the media has wilfully jumped aboard the Gillard runaway train. When the austere Australian Financial Review dedicates an incredible 30 pages to a story, you know it’s big news.

The media caught Barack Obama, who knows about firsts, sending his congratulations to the first female PM. On the topic of foreign leaders, the inevitable Downfall parody has also popped up online with hilarious results.

The front pages of the nation’s newspapers have dusted off the pun generator and taken a quirky, light-hearted approach, with headlines like “Crown Jules”, “Sister Act” and “Better red than dead”. The Geelong Advertiser had the scoop of the century: Gillard’s “next door neighbours”. The front page of the Shepparton News covers its new favourite son: the ‘first man’, Tim Mathieson. The Illawarra Mercury has gone straight to code red with this Redhead Matches-inspired cover. Will this follicle-discrimination ever end?

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The Punch thinks it will, asking the most serious question of all: can Gillard raise the status of 1-2% of the global population from a chromosomal mistake to new-found heights?

The Australian is more worried about the stark silence of wedding bells surrounding the new de-facto first couple, but have steered clear of previous political barbs calling her “barren“.

Over at Aunty, they have been preoccupied with Gillard’s lack of progeny and a feminist, “girl power” approach. While at the Sydney Morning Herald, Peter Hartcher has taken, well, a different approach declaring Gillard is “as smart as any man“.

At the always consistent news.com.au they are worried about how much we know (or don’t know?) about Gillard, putting up a 14-question quiz. See how you go.

25-06-2010 8-58-22 AM

International news has made much of our new PM. In the United Kingdom, The Guardian is at pains to remind us that Gillard was born in the quaint, seaside town of Barry, Wales. Everyone from CNN to the New York Times was reporting on Gillard yesterday.

So, to the victor go the media spoils but let’s not forget the vanquished former PM Kevin Rudd. A new chapter in Kevin-abilia sprung up in clothing stores. And the ghost of leaders past also appeared in the form of Mark Latham on Sky News (watch the video here).

So it’s been a strange menagerie of coverage, a media vortex with a caricatured, parodied and no doubt slightly amused PM at its centre. And, yes, she has red hair.

Peter Fray

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