The Australian media was littered with commentary over the weekend from an overstimulated press gallery as Julia Gillard began to settle into her new job as Australia’s first female PM.

Saturday saw the first run of robust polling for the Gillard era, which showed a significant boost in support for the government.

Yesterday the newly minted PM grabbed headlines by rejecting Kevin Rudd’s much trumpeted notion of a “big Australia,” opting instead for words such as “sustainable.”

There was speculation about Labor’s impending cabinet reshuffle, with talk of Simon Crean or Stephen Smith stepping into Gillard’s old portfolio of education, employment and workplace relations. Linked with that discussion has been the question of what to do with Kevin Rudd.

There has also been some buzz about a possible compromise with the mining industry over the RSPT, talk of a different response to boat people and the expected commentary about – gasp! – a woman becoming Australia’s Prime Minister.

Here are some highlights.

The Australian

Dennis Shanahan: New PM restores ALP vote

Julia Gillard’s replacement of Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister has restored Labor’s lost vote and given it a chance of winning an election within months.

Michael Costello: Unions, factions don’t deserve all credit

…to say Gillard is somehow illegitimate because she has not been elected Prime Minister reflects a deep misunderstanding of our constitutional system.

Sally Jackson: Julia becomes an instant cover girl star for top-selling mags

Julia Gillard faces the first test of her appeal to women voters this week. PBL Media’s ACP Magazines will give the new Prime Minister unprecedented exposure in the nation’s two biggest-selling titles — gambling it will be repaid with big sales.

Matthew Franklin: PM throws tax talks wide open

In her first full day as Prime Minister yesterday, Ms Gillard set the stage to proceed with Kevin Rudd’s proposed resource super-profits tax, but established a process for genuine negotiations designed to win mining industry support for the new levy on profits.

The Age

Michelle Grattan: Gillard tries to get Labor shipshape

Her conspicuous rejection of a ”big Australia” is all about reacting to community fears about high migration. It also can be seen as reaching out to those who are worried about the boat people.

Jacqueline Kent: Gillard will grow into the job

Julia Gillard enjoys politics. The ALP’s culture is part of her political DNA. Gillard understands the importance of consultation and persuasion

Leslie Cannold: Julia is one of us and all women are proud of her

What does it really mean to have a female prime minister? What will change for Australian women, men and the country as a whole. Nothing. And everything.

The Herald Sun

Laurie Oakes: A Liberal dose of bad news

…when Julia Gillard says the aim was to get the Government back on track, what she means is back on track for re-election. And the first opinion polls since she became Australia’s 27th Prime Minister suggest it is mission accomplished.

Germaine Greer: Pragmatism rules over principles for Julia Gillard

Gillard’s personal credit survived the shelving of the emissions trading scheme, the appalling mismanagement of the home insulation scheme, and the schools’ rebuilding program because she was as good at sound-bite politics as Rudd was terrible.

Sydney Morning Herald

Jacob Saulwick: PM looks to a regional response to stem the flow of boats

Julia Gillard will try to take some of the political heat out of the asylum seeker debate by pursuing policies similar to those she advocated in opposition, working for closer co-operation in the region to reduce the flow of boats.

Phillip Coorey and Jacob Saulwick: Gillard to offer deal to miners

The Gillard government plans to end the war with the mining industry this week by announcing changes to the resource super profits tax designed to placate big players such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, as well as the smaller operators.

Phillip Coorey: No big change in population strategy, despite what new leader says

Julia Gillard’s denunciation of Kevin Rudd’s ”big Australia” has been welcomed by lobby groups and others concerned about population growth – despite the Prime Minister actually promising the same policy approach she inherited from Rudd.

The Punch

Leo Shanahan: Campaign countdown: Julia now whistling her own tune

Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s decision to abolish Kevin Rudd’s plan for a big Australia has as much to with concerns with over asylum seekers as it does over population.

Carrie Miller: Gillard is doing it for all the unmarried barren atheists

By the looks of Facebook, Aussie rangas are taking great pride in one of their own grabbing the top job. So imagine how I’m feeling. As an unmarried, childless heathen it looks like someone who reflects my personal values has finally become Prime Minister.

The Courier Mail

Dennis Atkins: It only took a week for the Labor Party to convert a problem into a solution

Gillard turned around the public perception of the Government’s handling of the resources super profits tax with a gesture, an offer and a grasping of control.

Simon Kearney and Daryl Passmore: Queensland voters angry at Kevin Rudd coup

Kevin Rudd’s brutal dumping could backfire for the Labor Party in Queensland – a crucial battleground in the coming federal election.

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.

 

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW