18/04/2012 - 10:50

Gillard should cease her phoney excuses

18/04/2012 - 10:50


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The PM cannot keep relying on the fact she is a single woman, an atheist and childless to help her discount her political woes.

The PM cannot keep relying on the fact she is a single woman, an atheist and childless to help her discount her political woes.

Julia Gillard, as Kevin Rudd’s deputy and as prime minister, has been intricately involved in every major policy decision Labor has made since the November 2007 election.

That means she is far more culpable than the incompetent Mr Rudd for the parlous state the Labor Party and their government now find themselves in.

Only Wayne Swan, her deputy and still treasurer, comes anywhere near that degree of responsibility for Labor going pear-shaped.

Yet, according to one well-informed Canberra reporter, at a recent private Labor fundraiser, held in swish Doltone House overlooking Sydney Harbour, she intimated to well-heeled guests that it was her status that somehow explained Labor’s difficulties and continued decline.

Here are the crucial lines from the reporter’s account.

“She likened the personal challenges stacked against her to those of the US president, Barack Obama, with whom she had caught up at the nuclear summit in Seoul, South Korea, earlier in the week,” he wrote.

“She regaled the audience with a humorous exchange they often have when they meet.

“‘I’m good mates with Barack Obama,’ Gillard was quoted as saying. ‘I tell him: you think it’s tough being African-American? Try being me … try being an atheist, childless, single woman as prime minister’.”

The reporter claimed this little tete-a-tete was conveyed by “using humour, insofar as she would never elevate her own struggle as a woman in politics to the same level as a black man becoming the president of the United States”.

Such curious remarks show that Ms Gillard was not only self-serving but that she remains completely oblivious to certain aspects of American life, especially its politics.

Let’s consider both her errors separately, with the self-serving first.

Ms Gillard has apparently convinced herself that growing recognition of all her bungling and incompetence can somehow be discounted or downplayed because she’s an atheist, single and childless.

Nonsense. Who is she kidding, apart from herself?

Gough Whitlam, like her, claimed to be an atheist.

Yet, he won two elections, 1972 and 1974. And the reason he lost in 1975 and again in 1977 was because of his sheer incompetence in governing.

His atheism had nothing to do with either of his victories or losses.

Another Labor leader, Bob Hawke, son of a pastor, claimed he was an agnostic. That never affected his electoral performances. 

The only prime minister who regularly highlighted his belief in God was Mr Rudd.

Not only did he so often ensure he could be photographed with a church steeple in the background by having outdoor Sunday morning press conferences but he emphasised his admiration of martyred Lutheran theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as well as his membership of the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship.

Mr Rudd is also the only politician I know who made an issue of Ms Gillard’s atheism and childlessness and even alleged she had been a communist, which is untrue.

According to several witnesses attending a 2011 Adelaide pub function, he said to Labor Senator Don Farrell, who had helped Ms Gillard into the prime ministership: “I’ve been wondering how you reconcile your conservative brand of Catholicism with a childless, atheist, ex-communist as Labor leader.”

And nor was his removal from the prime ministership that was engineered primarily by Ms Gillard, due to his theism, but rather due to Labor MPs panicking that they would lose the 2010 election.

The sooner she ceases portraying her atheism as an excuse for her dismal performance the better.

As far as being childless and single, they are also furphies.

What of comparing herself to president Obama’s African-American background?

The first thing that should be said on this is that his part-Kenyan ethnicity, far from being disadvantageous, was in fact a big electoral bonus.

All my learned American contacts assure me that is definitely so.

They have said that many – meaning millions – of Americans had, for quite some time, been looking to having the White House occupied by what’s referred to in America as a black.

This sentiment confirms America is truly a “melting pot” with no class of people excluded, even from the highest office in the land.

Remember, California recently had an Austrian-born governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Louisiana has Bobby Jindal, of recent Indian ancestry.

It’s blatantly obvious that, when comparing the number of registered black electors to votes cast for president Obama, millions of white voters backed him ahead of the Republican John McCain.

That said, the one who was most unfairly treated in that contest was not president Obama.

It was Mr McCain’s vice-presidential running mate, Sarah Palin, who was maligned and criticised by white leftists, especially journalists and commentators, from day one of that campaign. And a major reason for this was that she openly proclaimed traditional Christian values, including opposition to abortion.

President Obama’s contrary stance on that issue gained him support during the Democratic presidential primaries of the so-called “pro-choice”, meaning pro-abortion, activist group, the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL).

Not even Democratic presidential rival, Hillary Clinton, who agreed with NARAL’s stance, as a member of pro-abortionist Emily’s List group, of which Ms Gillard is a member, could beat him.

So much for ethnicity disadvantaging president Obama.

Whichever way you look at Ms Gillard’s uninformed remarks on her atheism, marital status and childlessness, plus president Obama’s ethnicity, she’s completely back to front.

Which leads to the next question. Why is Labor languishing on her watch?

Where to begin?

There’s so many reasons, none of them being her atheism, childlessness or being single.

Firstly, there is her statement just before the 2010 poll that “there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead”. Enough said.

Secondly, she smooched up to the job-destroying Greens, a party 90-odd per cent of Australians reject.

Thirdly, she has excessively boosted Canberra’s controls, imposing new taxes and increasing debt.

And, of course, there’s the Craig Thomson affair. By claiming that Mr Thomson, former head of the embattled Health Services Union, enjoys her “full confidence”, Ms Gillard has diminished herself, Labor and the office of prime minister.

The ACTU has rightly, even if belatedly, severed ties with the scandal-ridden HSU’s leadership.

One-time Labor powerbroker Graham Richardson assessed this well.

“The principle that you are innocent until proven guilty must be upheld at all costs, but we are all entitled to ponder that which we know,” Mr Richardson said.

“To believe Thomson never visited the house of ill repute that appears on his credit card statement, you would have to believe that a person unknown stole his credit card, forged his signature, stole his driver’s licence – a copy of which was appended to the credit card payment – and also stole his phone, which was used three times between the Central Coast and the city of Sydney to call the house on the day in question.

“Further, you would have to believe that the credit card, the licence and the phone were all miraculously returned next day. 

“As evidence mounts of the systemic bleeding of union funds for a decade or more, Gillard must share the shame that the whole of the labour movement must now bear.

“What disgusts me most, is that the losers are some of the lowest-paid workers in the land.”

Ms Gillard should cease peddling phoney excuses for her failures.



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