June is my busiest month of the year at work…something to do with databases and subscriptions and renewals and end of financial year. Into the midst plunged an unexpected bit of politics. Australia now has its first female Prime Minister and she’s a ranga at that, though I think she’s the third ranga in the position (Scullin was a ranga too and possibly one other). If truth be told, Gillard has been effectively running the country for quite a while, either as Acting PM (while Rudd was out of the country) or by being part of his Kitchen Cabinet. I am overjoyed to have her as PM, though my politics tend to lean toward the left of Labor…or so I like to think. The reality may well be that I continue to channel my father who was a leftie of the first order: a Baptist minister who became an atheist, eventually joined the Communist Party and later left the party and moved more into socialism. A man whose opinion I greatly respect, admire, love and miss.
I do have concerns at the manner in which the events in the political sphere have unfolded. A chunk of the push has come from the NSW Right, which has had interesting “success” at the State level. Unlike the State, there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that Gillard is in charge (though Keneally is growing on me too) and is a powerbroker in her own right. But still, the NSW Right strikes me as rather bereft of passion with little concern for the greater populace. So too, in the Federal sphere, I am somewhat disturbed at the speed of the rebellion…30 hours or so ago, there was little indication that mutterings were anything other. Yet here we are. I also believe that Gillard was loyal to the end and had no intention of sticking a knife in Rudd’s back. However when events created a change and made some really obvious gestures, she had the strength to grab them with both hands and step firmly forward. I am impressed with the way both Gillard and Rudd have handled the tumultuous moments. Rudd, in public at least, has been portrayed, or allowed himself to be portrayed as too much the emotionless robot, too much the bureaucrat managing committees. He always seemed to lack the raw passion that I loved in Keating (though I usually disagreed with Keating’s political leanings) and the ability to take the argument to the Opposition. Keating has always been a formidable entity against whomever he crosses, and Gillard seems to channel some of that.
Prior to the last election, I was somewhat disappointed that Rudd scored the leadership and Gillard didn’t, though at the same time I acknowledged that she didn’t quite have the National presence or voice. She has it now. Totally. When Labor got into power with Gillard as Deputy she grew into the position and continue to grow. She proved herself a capable leader and Rudd to his credit, allowed her plenty of room to grow. Rudd too, turned out better than expected. As I have often argued he achieved everything I wanted him to achieve:
- He deposed John Howard (spectacularly I might add)
- He said Sorry
- He ratified Kyoto
…and generally proved himself to be an effective leader on the world stage. I was proud to have a leader like him representing Australia to the world at large; there was of course, a sense that being PM was more of a stepping stone to a more significant role in the UN :-) I am currently hoping that he ends up as Minister for Foreign Affairs under Gillard – then we will see him continue to do interesting things.
Likewise, back at home, Gillard has excelled as our leader and now has it in name as well as deed.