The abrupt exit of Julia Gillard from the PM’s position after a do-or-die leadership vote last week leaves me dwelling more on the personal than the political when reflecting on her short reign – appropriate, really, as that’s what most people did during it, too.

The rights and wrongs of policies have never generated the juiciest headlines about Gillard; rather, it’s been the torrent of personal abuse hurled her way by grown men who ought to know better. A silly schoolkid flinging a sandwich at Jules’s head is one thing; adults in high-profile public roles saying unnecessarily vile things for all to hear is quite another. 

In only the past few weeks there has been the thoroughly puerile ‘small breasts, huge thighs and a big red box’ mock menu furore, plus radio presenter Howard Sattler going audaciously off-topic during an interview with the former PM, asking whether her partner Tim Mathieson is gay based on the fact he’s a hairdresser. Credit to Jules, she kept her cool. “I don’t think in life one can actually look at a whole profession full of different human beings and say, ‘Gee, we know something about every one of those human beings’,” she rather sensibly responded.

Other vulgar examples include 2GB’s Alan Jones saying Gillard’s father “died of shame” at a gathering of Liberal Party members and Tony Abbott being photographed in front of a ‘ditch the witch’ placard. Of course, Gillard’s adversaries are free to tear into her policies and leadership all they like. But this relentless pattern of attacking her as a person as opposed to a politician has me asking more questions about the suitability of her enemies to professionally lead a country than the vilified Gillard herself.   

That’s irrelevant now she’s been ousted. The best we can hope for, then, is that the boys can stop squabbling in the playground now there’s no girl’s pigtails to pull and crack on with the business they’re paid to run.  


Brits kick out Boat Race Aussie

If there’s a single member of the general public who thinks the decision to deport Aussie Boat Race protester Trenton Oldfield for his ‘crime’, just as his British wife is about to give birth, is a reasonable one, I’d be extremely surprised. I’d also contrive some way to deal them a sharp kick to the shin for being an irrefutable idiot.

Oldfield has already served a six-month jail term for disrupting the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race in 2012 after he jumped into the river with the boats. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that in itself was a bit harsh. But having his application for a spousal visa refused on the grounds his continued presence in Britain would not be “conducive to the public good” is at best an overreaction; bring his wife and unborn child into the equation and it becomes vindictive and cruel.

Can this decision stand up to scrutiny? Knowing UKBA as we do, quite possibly.  


Photo: Getty