A Thatcher moment for Gillard

It somehow seems appropriate that Julia Gillard shared some front pages this morning with a picture of Meryl Streep being rewarded for her portrayal of Maggie Thatcher.

Richard Farmer

Crikey political commentator

A Margaret Thatcher moment. It somehow seems appropriate that Julia Gillard shared some front pages this morning with a picture of Meryl Streep being rewarded for her portrayal of Maggie Thatcher. That female British prime minister would never have won a public popularity contest either yet she endured at the top for a long time because of a grudging admiration of her toughness. Prime Minister Gillard should try for the same vote winning formula and start by showing no mercy on some of those ministers who publicly backed Kevin Rudd in the leadership contest. Send a few of them to the backbench to sit next to Kevin and hope for the best. Some fresh faces on the frontbench will do no harm. The communications assumption. Much talk by the PM after her victory of working harder to sell the message but there is one problem. Maybe it is not the messenger but the message. The big test to come is the introduction of the carbon tax, which will make things more expensive for everyone. There will be compensating concessions but I doubt that lowering personal tax by a few dollars a week will have quite the same beneficial impact as the negative impact of substantial increases in electricity bills. And as for extra superannuation benefits and reduced company tax, there are no votes to be won. The harsh truth is that Gillard was right when she argued back before the Rudd sacking that the only safe way for a political party to introduce a policy to restrict carbon dioxide production is when the opposition party agrees with it too. Not the only one. Australia’s Labor is not the only political party that will be struggling to find a fresh face to become its leader as the year goes on. The US Republicans appear to have the same problem. At the end of the first two months of the selection process for a presidential candidate there is not yet a clear cut leader. Reservations exist within the Republican ranks about all four of those currently in the race. As measured by the Real Clear Politics poll of polls, President Barack Obama has clear leads in hypothetical contests with Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. Candidate Rick Santorum is given a narrow lead but his social conservatism has not yet been exposed to the kind of criticism that Democrats would surely mount. Already there is talk of none of the four obtaining a majority of votes before the nominating convention, which would leave the way open for the selection of someone else. Perhaps the next round of primaries and caucuses will provide a clearer guide. Later today there will be polls in Arizona and Michigan with the Crikey Republican Election Indicators predicting the following:
  • Arizona -- Mitt Romney 98%, Rick Santorum 1.5%, Newt Gingrich 0.2%, Ron Paul 0.2%, Any other 0.1%
  • Michigan -- Mitt Romney 68.2%, Rick Santorum 32.5%, Newt Gingrich 0.1%, Ron Paul 0.1%, Any other 0.1%
  • Washington -- Mitt Romney 41.2%, Rick Santorum 50.4%, Newt Gingrich 0.5%, Ron Paul 7.8%, Any other 0.1%
Completely out of touch? If we are to believe that Rupert Murdoch and his family members working in the business were unaware of the improper practices at his British newspapers, then surely we must conclude that News Corporation has the most out of touch management in newspaper history. Ignorance might be a defence to criminal charges but it is surely a reason why the ignorant ones should be ruled not fit and proper people to be in charge of shareholders money as directors. The same ethical standards. It’s not hacking into phones and computers or bribing police and government officials but perhaps it is another example of the ethical standards of News Corporation. Washington’s Blog reports how Fox News edited a pro-war statement by former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton by substituting applause for what was actually booing. The two-minute video shows a public meeting where Bolton responds to a US war veteran’s question. The video shows that Fox then edits out the audience response to replace it with applause from a different person’s question. The proof is that the applause segment shows a different person walking away from the microphone than the person who asked the question. The veteran testified that the audience booed Bolton’s answer. The least popular winner ever. And coming in at No.13 on the weekly box office takings chart is The Artist with total box office takings in its 13 weeks since being released in the US of almost $29 million -- less than the top four films took in just last week. My fearless prediction is that Hollywood has out-w-nked itself and that the declining audience for its Oscars night of nights will be hastened by the best film selection. For film buffs there’s an interesting look at how promotion triumphed over common sense on the BBC website.

Free Trial

You've hit members-only content.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

8 thoughts on “A Thatcher moment for Gillard

  1. Barbara Boyle

    Why not a full line up of new faces for the front bench?

  2. klewso

    Boltongate/Limited News –
    “Fair dinkum, what good are news if you can’t pimp ’em out to the highest bidder?”

  3. Omar Khayyam

    re Gillard; It isn’t the message not being delivered, there is no message.
    The 2 party system is an abject failure and needs immediate replacement.
    Local representatives who actually represent their constituents, and can be removed by same, when said constituents decide!

    re Murdoch; Ignorance isn’t a defence against criminal charges.
    The claim by Murdoch et al that they were not aware of what was being done is beyond belief.
    Perjury would probably be a more accurate description.

  4. Gavin Moodie

    I agree with Omar that ignorance is no defence to a criminal charge.

    On Radio National breakfast on 28 February at 8:58 am James Carleton’s reading of the papers included a claim that Arbib’s resignation was Rudd’s price for going quietly. His source was freelance journalist Alex Mitchell’s facebook page, which I haven’t been able to find.

  5. Bill Hilliger

    Re Murdoch – if Rupert and James had have fessed-up at the beginning of the phone hacking scandal they would have been released and out on parole by now.

  6. f sweeney

    Your spill advice to PM Gillard at the opening of the 2012 Parliamentary year was spot on though tardily acted on at cost to the PM. Shr has learnt and I hope she listens to your ‘reds under the bed’ like advice and exiles several parasites wetting the Ministerial benches.

  7. Physician Assistant 1

    Brilliant we are paying for politicians to squabble like chickens in a hen house. Why not begin to debate openly some of the important issues on the table. 3 trails have demonstrated that implementation of Physician assistants to Australian health system willl not only improve efficiency, patient care, reduce waiting times but also assist medical students to get more time with their trainers. This position has worked overseas to improve health care which poly has the guts to tick the box and bring true reform to health care.

  8. K Stefanova

    Sorry, Richard, but the carbon price and household assistance that comes from making our biggest companies start to pay to pollute our skies won’t “make things more expensive for everyone.”

    A couple of months ago, The Climate Institute, CHOICE and ACOSS commissioned CSIRO to try and put a price tag on the impact of the carbon price and the assistance on offer. That research found that Australia’s carbon pollution price will add a mere 0.6 per cent to inflation in 2012-13. That’s the equivalent to 6 cents on every $10.00 spent. Or in even simpler terms, it’s an extra 2 cents spent on bread and a litre of milk, 11 cents on a leg of lamb and 14 cents on a week’s worth of fruit and vegetables. Petrol will not be affected by this legislation. Electricity prices will increase by around 10 per cent in 2012 outweighed by other cost pressures in upgrading poles and wires.

    The CSIRO research found these rises will be offset by government assistance in 9 out of 10 households, and most Australians will gain rather than lose if they invest in energy efficiency measures for their homes. Households can check out their situation at http://www.yourcarbonprice.com.au

    The research also shows that climate and/or extreme weather events like Cyclone Larry have made – or will make – greater impacts on our cost and way of life.

    Kristina Stefanova
    Communications Director
    The Climate Institute

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details