Apr 4, 2011

Gillard’s extraordinary ordinary

There was a great deal we’d heard before in last week’s Whitlam Institute much-debated speech by the Prime Minister. In fact, we’ve been in this grimly Spartan territory on several previous occasions.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

There was a great deal we’d heard before in last week’s Whitlam Institute much-debated speech by the Prime Minister. In fact, we’ve been in this grimly Spartan territory on several previous occasions.


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69 thoughts on “Gillard’s extraordinary ordinary

  1. shepherdmarilyn

    Why do the media continue on this line that policy has to be “sold” to anyone. It is mooted, drafted, sent to committees if necessary, debated in both houses and if the numbers fall the right way on both sides of the floor it gets the nod.

    They don’t try to sell education changes or anything else and the punters have zero say in the taxes they pay so why do taxes on mining moguls have to be sold and why does infrastructure have to be “sold”.

    It’s all a bit precious really.

    The claim is always that Howard sold the GST, but he didn’t. He actually lost the vote on the 1998 election by quite a margin because the punters didn’t want the GST. The Democrats though voted for it without fresh food and it passed.

    The Democrats as a party were destroyed.

    The So-called carbon tax is paid by the big polluters, the morons waving their stupid banners would know that if they bothered to read more than the tabloid hacks.

    And as for Gillards’ cheap shot a the Greens.

    Sarah is a young woman from Gippsland, a lawyer, properly married with one daughter who worked for Amnesty INternational while completing her law degree. She helped tear down the walls of Woomera when she was 19, campaigned for refugee rights in the streets with me at 20, marched against the Iraq invasion and has a strong moral position on human rights in the tradition of Doc Evatt and his universal declaration of human rights. So do the other Greens who continue to work tirelessly for no nukes, the environment, no refugee prisons, no wars, the rights of aborigines, gays and other minorities and they do it with a quarter of the resoources and staff of the main parties.

    Gillard is a lawyer, unmarried, childless, has indulged with at least one married man, has a live in lover and no appeal ever to human rights, she stifled the ETS and now says it is imperative, stabbed Rudd in the back and has never done as well as he did with the vision thing and for fuck’s sake she allowed armed cops to shoot at refugees.

  2. [email protected]

    When you reflect upon the fact in the news today that 8 million of us are bordering on the ‘Ignoarance is Bliss’ state, where there is no need anymore to be numerate or literate, or to even be able to hold a pen and put it to paper legibly, then you can sort of see where the PM is trying to come from and go to. These people are voters too, even though they be not like you or I. They actually might positively identify with the characterisation the PM was trying to reflect. To them Life IS Work, and Work IS Life, except on the weekend when you play sport, have a BBQ or go to the Club. These people are increasingly defined by who they are in their little world of work and family, and the PM, I think, gets that, and is trying, if somewhat clumsily, to say that they are important to the ALP, it is just not a party for the Latte Left and the Unions, they don’t exclusively belong to the Coalition, and if you follow the ALP they will actually look after your interests better than the Coalition, who, at the end of the day, despite their superior ability to appeal to these people and their prejudices, are not on their side in a clinch like Labor are.

  3. Had Enough

    Cool winds of change are blowing through the ALP corridors. The public anger over carbon tax, the issues with NBN and the likely blow out, the trust starting to emerge over the BER, the massive issues with illegal immigrants, the increases at Australia Post (18% in 20 months) and its impact on small business parcel services.

    The wheels are falling off.

    Now reports today that we wont be cutting foreign aid, so as to not awaken KRUDD, whose career / legacy will be build on getting some UN Post etc etc

  4. Matt Hardin

    The difference of course, [email protected], is that Chifley talked of the light on the hill, Whitlam the desk and the lamp and now Gillard about the every day Australians. The first two were truly aspirational; to show that there is a way to get better, to be better, to be part of something larger. The ALP should not be for ordinary Australians, they should be helping and inspiring everyone to be extraordinary Australians.

    Gillard’s speech seemed to suggest that wage slavery and getting up early was an end in itself: that the “economy” was the only reason to get out of bed. Hardly a progressive stance and certainly not one to rush to the barricades for. If the best that the party of the workers has for workers is “set your alarm clocks early” then what does the ALP stand for? Who DO they really represent?

    And they wonder why they are having troubles…

  5. Frank Birchall

    Excellent piece, Bernard! Gillard’s swipe at the Greens, accusing them of not sharing “everyday” Australians’ values, is offensive to many non-Green voters and is strategically stupid.

  6. Jimmy

    Had Enough – Gee the govt must be terrified, public anger at the carbon tax seems to be pretty well matched by public support which will only increase once people realise they will get a tax cut to cover any extra expense, some made up cost blow out’s for the NBN that will apparently occur some itme in the future and a few dollars increase in postage that no one cares about, oh and “the trust starting to emerge over the BER” which I would of thought was a good thing.

  7. Socratease

    We already knew, for example, that Gillard was an almost Thatcherite proselytiser for the virtues of hard work.

    I said when Gillard took over from Rudd that I hoped she wouldn’t morph into Thatcher.

    I now await a “I’m not for turning” speech …

  8. Had Enough

    @ Jimmy

    The only people getting a tax cut are those on welfare and social security!! Further, the ‘tax cut’ will only compensate less than half of the increases or less, cause it will impact everything, not just petrol, but every food items, every non food items, cause they are all transported by trucks.

    I meant truth starting to emerge over the BER.

    People do care about postage increases. You mighn’t as someone else may pay for your postage.

  9. Peter Bayley

    I suspect this tendency is to be found in Julia’s early upbringing – she’s old enough to have absorbed a feeling for the British (Welsh) class system from her parents. However, I think the old idea of the “working class’ is becoming less and less useful. We all of us work, and many who would traditionally be “blue collar” are, in reality, small businessmen, concerned with all the issues imposed in running a business. We are all of us literate; increasingly informed and able to make good decisions. Besides, everyone enjoys a good coffee so the latte thing is not a useful signifier.

    I feel the pollies are chasing a chimeric “bloke” and “sheila” that no longer exist – at least in great numbers. The fact is, it is more pleasant (and in fact cheaper) to live in a society which cares for its members and in which most of its members are relatively happy – so we pay into the pot to ensure the society functions smoothly. This impulse has nothing to do with unionism and if the government properly ensured the people are given a fair deal and a proper right to negotiate, there is not a great deal of need for unions in the traditional sense any more.

    In fact, I think many of Labor’s problems stem from having too many members from what have become anachronistic class-based institutions. So I find myself somewhat adrift, looking for voices that speak for me. I am very suspicious of NSW’s new Opposition leader John Robertson – he represents exactly the union extreme the ALP could well do without – he appears totally self-serving and would be better suited to the sad Greedocracy the US has become. I can’t take Tony Abbot’s destructive “Noh” play seriously and I hope Turnbull and Hockey will be allowed another chance at enunciating a gentler liberalism. The Greens have some attractive ideas – but also some loony ones, especially in NSW – so they will continue, I think, to be fringe-dwellers for some time. So – what’s left? – perhaps we need another Don Chip to surface and create something afresh.

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