Julia Gillard – trial by gender. Verdict – exile!

THIS CARTOON, DRAWN AT THE END OF JULIA GILLARD’S TENURE AS PRIME MINISTER, WILL BE ON DISPLAY IN THE MUSEUM OF AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRACY AT THE OLD PARLIAMENT HOUSE IN CANBERRA.
THE EXHIBITION, TO BE KNOWN AS ‘WOMEN IN PARLIAMENT’ WILL COMMENCE IN LATE AUGUST 2018 AND WILL RUN FOR APPROXIMATELY 12 MONTHS.

It is as if the metaphorical media lens is a microscope, 1,000 times more scrutinising of women — indeed, less critical of men. If Julia Gillard had bat ears, it is unlikely she would have made it to the prime ministership in the first place.

A word of caution: If you happen to be a highly intelligent woman with deep philosophical convictions and passion for the future of Australia, and have aspirations to become prime minister, go for it. But only if you do not have any physical imperfections that make you lesser in appearance to Elle McPherson. But then again, if you are blond, the media will destroy you anyway.

As if looking back on the demise of Julia Gillard, Marilyn Lake wrote a piece for The Age, just one day before Australia’s first female prime minister was ousted by the Labor caucus, in favour of a … you guessed it … a male … who will, odds on, not be sexualised by Australia’s media and wider culture. By Bruce Keogh

An excerpt from Marilyn Lake’s article 25 June 2013:

How could we have foreseen what would befall her? The relentless persecution by senior male journalists, the vilification, the sexist mockery, the personal abuse and the contempt with which she would be treated. Between 2010 and 2013, the full force of Australia’s masculinist political culture would be brought to bear on this path-breaking woman.

It is now a truism that history will prove more sympathetic to Gillard’s prime ministership – and the policies she introduced – than contemporary commentators have been.

What will mostly attract historians’ attention, however, will be how she was treated, the rabid misogyny, the hysteria of men who could not abide the spectacle of a woman in power, who labelled her a bitch, a witch, a liar, a usurper, an illegitimate claimant who refused to bow down before her male rivals.

She has been sexualised in a way no previous prime minister has been sexualised.

In the past three years, obscenity has become a favourite mode of prime ministerial denigration.

Full column by Marilyn Lake who is Professor in History at the University of Melbourne researching the international history of Australian democracy.

“I PUT IT TO YOU THAT THERE IS AN ELEPHANT IN THIS ROOM … “

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Riding his bike through the corridors of parliament house, wearing his fire brigade overalls with his red speedos on the outside, donning a hard hat and safety goggles, Tony Abbott stopped a cleaner to ask for directions, “Excuse me, I can’t remember where my office is. I’ve been so busy obeying Peta – running, cycling, life-saving, fire-fighting, kissing babies, visiting factories and gallivanting around the country – that I seem to have forgotten. She sends me here, there and everywhere to keep the media distracted from the real business of prime ministership. I happily use her fail-safe scripted verbatim rhetoric ad infinitum, ad nauseam. She’s a genius. I tried to ad lib a few times with my own ideas but those gaffes made me a laughing stock. Prince Philip was the barbecue stopper of the century. So I just do what she says and follow the script. She runs the government. I call her boss. That’s how I manage to keep my job as PM. Without her I’d be stuffed. I have the political discretion of a flying pink elephant on steroids, with a pretty face, if I might say so.

The ‘cleaner’ was an unrecognised journalist by the name of Paul Kelly, who promptly gave his name. “My word you are multi-talented – a journo, singer-songwriter and a cleaner.”

A hasty shower and a “help-me-get-dressed-and-choose-a-tie-please-boss” later, Abbott addressed the National Press Club with an unread speech prepared by hers truly.

When the people of Australia elected their prime minister they got one of the fiercest political warriors ever known in the history of federal parliament. I am in command and control of this government, and I am getting on with the job of governing our country.

There is absolutely no possibility of me losing my job, despite the wishes of the majority of cabinet and backbenchers who loathe and despise me. I cannot be sacked because I am the boss. Bosses don’t sack themselves.

So Julie, hate me as much as you like. I ain’t goin’ nowhere.

And if you or Malcolm or Scott think you can get rid of me, I’ve got so much dirt on you I could leak like a sieve all day everyday for years. I’ve had my spies planted in your offices and I know you are ratting on me. I eat rats for breakfast, so watch it!

Abbott: Whoops, I seem to have the wrong document. Are there any questions? Yes, you the cleaner I was talking to earlier.

Kelly: Mr Abbott, I put it to you that you have the right document, heinously contrived as a ploy by your chief of staff to look like a mistake but, in fact to shore up her position as pseudo prime minister. What you have just blurted out makes her untouchable. I put it to you that there is an elephant in this room and its name is Peta Credlin. It was you who was elected prime minister, not her.

Abbott: When the people of Australia elected their prime minister they got one of the fiercest political warriors ever known in the history of federal parliament. I am in command and control of this government, and I am getting on with the job of governing our country.

Kelly: Mr Abbott, those are Credlin’s words not yours.

Abbott: Whatever Peta says is true and I stand by her every word. You have my word on that. I put it to you that our discussion – when I said that she runs the government – was a figment of your imagination. I deny having the political discretion of a flying pink elephant on steroids, with a pretty face, if I might say so. With my looks and her brains we are a duumvirate with the intestinal fortitude you, as a cleaner, may never see the likes of again. Better fly now. Come on boss, let’s wing it back to our office. Thank God you know the way.

“WE KNOW HE IS A FIZZ OF A WIZ, IF EVER A FIZZ THERE WAS, BECAUSE BECAUSE … “

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We’re off we’re off the Wizard, The wonderless Wizard of Oz
He’s turned us off, We’ve done a U turn, And this is what we say

We know he is a Fizz of a Wiz, If ever a Fizz there was
If ever oh ever a Fizz there was, The Wizard of Oz is one because
Because because because, Because he’s not who he said he was
He promised no broken promises, But look at what we got
He promised no nasty surprises, But look at what we got

He’s dead in the water and so he oughta, As far as we’re concerned
Because because because, Because all decency he has spurned
When he was in opposition, He stated his noble position
When he became prime minister, He then became quite sinister

He’s dead in the water and so he oughta, As far as we’re concerned
Because because because, Because his bridges have been burned
His backbenchers have joined the dots, A leopard never changes spots
They fear they’ll be unseated, If phoney Tony is not defeated

He’s dead in the water and so he oughta, As far as we’re concerned
Because, because, because, Because the nation he’s unnerved
(As Prince Phillip might have observed)
A ridiculous embarrassment, Has no place in government
Australians ask without reserve, Is this the best that we deserve

He’s dead in the water and so he oughta, As far as we’re concerned
Because, because, because, Because justice must be served
A man by his own beckoning, Deserves his day of reckoning
So now the question must be asked, How much longer will he last

We’re off we’re off the Wizard, The wonderless Wizard of Oz
He’s turned us off, We’ve done a U turn, And this is what we say

We know he is a Fizz of a Wiz, If ever a Fizz there was
If ever oh ever a Fizz there was, The Wizard of Oz is one because
Because because because, Because he’s not who he said he was
He got in on false premises, He slipped in through the crevices
With the truth he menaces, Soon he’ll meet his nemesis

We could not refrain from this refrain without some Oz vernacular
He’s knackered, he’s rooted, he’s stuffed, he’s buggered
He’s up shit shit creek without a paddle
And if you think that we might jest, Watch this space with interest

On the screen, It will be seen …

The Fizz of Oz Spectacular

COMING SOON TO A CINEMA NEAR YOU