If you were Julia…..

I’ve been pondering this topic for a while and thought it might make an interesting blog discussion point. I should state first up that I generally support a Labour government (well, my first preference would be the Greens, but we’re yet to get to a point where they come close to a majority) and I also think that Julia Gillard has done a pretty good job considering she’s leading a minority.  The sheer amount of legislation that has been successfully passed through both houses of parliament is quite astounding, it’s just a pity we rarely hear about that.  I’m proud of the fact that Australia is taking a strong stand against carbon pollution and that we now have paid parental leave (a long time coming that one, and still not perfect).  But along the way Julia and her party have made some terrible errors in judgement (“There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead” springs immediately to mind), and have dealt poorly with the continuous leadership speculation, the Peter Slipper saga and the controversy over Craig Thompson.  All these have left her with very little credibility, especially with those who gather all their political information from tabloid newspapers and current affairs programs, and even I would concede that she is unlikely to win the next election.  This frightens the pants off me, the alternative is just too scary to contemplate.  But if I put myself in Julia’s position I think I would make this last (potenitally) 18 months really count and get through some socially important legislation that would leave an amazing legacy.  Labour governments in the past have been known for their social policy reform, leaving us with the ongoing benefits of their hard work – medicare, free university education (sadly this has been significantly eroded).

And if I was in that position what would I do first:

1. Legalise gay marriage – it makes no sense to me why Gillard hasn’t done this already.  There seems to be pretty strong public support for it and she doesn’t appear to have any moral obstacles to get around personally.  If we find ourselves with an Abbott led Liberal/National government after the next election this will never happen, but we do have a small window of opportunity now to rid our laws of this particular discriminatory part and I would hate to see that lost.

2.  Bring in a policy on refugees that is fundamentally humanitarian and acknowledges that the vast majority of refugees who seek a safe haven here do so legitimately and deserve far more care and respect than our current system offers them. The fact that the Labour government has allowed the opposition to continue misleading the people about refugees and in particular “boat people” beggars belief really.

3. Put the teeth back in both the mining tax and the pokies reform – actually the $1 limit on pokies is a better reform in my opinion than the mandatory pre-committment.  This would mean that the Labour Government would again have the support of some crucial independents and the Greens and not have to reply on Craig Thompson nor would they need Peter Slipper in the speaker’s chair (not that they have him at the moment).  And even more importantly it would address some real social needs (ie unfair taxation favouring big business and multinational companies and the issue of problem gamblers).

4. And finally on something I am personally concerned about, apply the recommendations of the Gonski Report regarding increased school funding and introducing major reform into the way that funding is distributed.  At the moment a significant percentage of federal education money is spent on wealthy independent schools.  There are so many schools in need of basic infrastructure improvements, introduction of technology and other crucial educational resources that it is unfathomable that they are competing for dollars with schools that have their own indoor swimming pools, fully equipped theatres and sports fields as far as they eye can see.  There’s all sorts of other issues with the state of our education system, but I’ll leave the rest for now.

I could go on, but that would be a good start.  I’d like to think that if Julia and her ministers started taking a lead on these kinds of socially important issues she might actually find a bit more public support and her credibility in the public eye would increase.  Heck, she might even get re-elected.  So if you were Julia, what would you do?

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7 Responses to If you were Julia…..

  1. Alison says:

    I would vote Barbara 2013!!! You and I seem to have exactly the same feelings and hopes about this Labour government and it’s potential.
    Putting aside the gripes I have about the conduct of the opposition and media, there is only one thing I would wish for: a few months, or even just 6 weeks, of labour not stuffing it up with scandal, error or fumble. Then, have it followed by a more toothsome leadership. What I mean is: while I admire Gillard’s steady tolerance of the shockingly disrespectful treatment (including sexist abuse) that the office of the PM has received, a little Keating-esque retaliation, some calling-out on this behaviour of some talkback radio shows and columnists, well… that would be kinda good. Especially if Labour’s going to go all out in a last hurrah before we throw ourselves into the speedos of doom, maybe they could remind some of those raving adults where ‘the kids these days’ *may* be getting this crazy sense of entitlement and rudeness. Any, I ramble…

    • Barbara Good says:

      You know what Barbara’s first move would be, convert the grounds at the Lodge into a productive food growing haven for all!! You know actually I think there have been several periods of weeks or even months when the government hasn’t made some sort of monumental stuff up, it’s just that the news papers and news programs continue to hark on about things that happened weeks ago or rehash the leadership stoush when, in fact, there is no real reason to do so.

      And I completely agree that we need a bit of Keating style knock down of the opposition and media abuse on the PM and her office, most often based on her gender. Why the heck isn’t anyone calling Abbott and his cronies on it? And how on earth could any woman in the country bring themselves to vote for such a bigotted, sexist, arrogant twat? and without the female vote Abbott couldn’t win! The speedos of doom, I love it!

  2. Wendy says:

    Our politics are EXTREMELY similar. Its as if you read my mind!

    I’m so sad that a team of extraordinary women (gillard, plibersek, penny Wong, Nicola roxon etc) are being let down by dodgy blokes. But Julia won’t win at the next election (really I have to admit, she doesn’t deserve to) as the public seems so scandalized by broken promises when they’re made by a woman. We are used to men lying and our expectations of them are so low.

    Scarily we will end up with a nutter as next pm. Backed up by a bunch of other nutters. Sigh.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Always nice to find someone who shares your politics isn’t it? I have found the depths to which the opposition has sunk in in terms of their respect (or lack there of) towards the PM and female pollies in general to be astounding and a real blight on what should be a modern, egalitarian society. And I think the men in the government have been disappointingly silent on calling the opposition on this.

      As for not deserving to be re-elected, I’m not sure where I stand on that one, So many times I have wanted more from the PM and her team, but when you look beyond what the media is dishing up they have done some remarkable things. i certainly don’t think the behaviour of those opposite have done anything to deserve be elected in power. I love your comment about us being used to blokes letting us down, but crucifying women when they do the same. I very valid and insightful point.

  3. Liz says:

    I absolutely agree with you on everything – although I would elevate number 4 to number 1. One thing I do find ‘interesting’ is how little the state government are called on their broken promises, and I find the double standard particularly depressing. As much as I will be devastated when Abbott gets in I do find myself more concerned with state issues these days – I guess as both I and my parents age health becomes a bigger issue and with kids education becomes hugely important as does quality of life in Melbourne and its usually the State government who have greater power to influence that than those in Canberra. Do you think it will be possible to pretend Abbott doesn’t exist and save my ire for Ted? Hmmmmm thought not……but perhaps Abbotts rise will hasten Ted’s downfall – now there’s a cheerier thought!

    • Barbara Good says:

      Oh Liz, don’t even get me started on state politics. I’ll be out at the teacher’s rally on Thursday calling Ted on HIS broken promises. What he has planned for state education is the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Kennet days and that IS scary. The current Coailition government in Victoria has been a study in broken promises really, but the Labour government they replaced had started to take their position for granted and should have handled issues better (Myki and the Desal plant for instance). However, the treatment from Ted towards the nurses, police, ambos, social workers, mental health workers and now the teachers is truly despicable.

      What I find especially saddening is that every time I’ve gone out on strike as a teacher I have heard abuse hurled at us from passers by that seem to think teachers don’t have the right to ask for more money and better conditions – ultimately benefiting the students we teach. It seems some people (a small number, but vocal) care more about the short term inconvenience of having to find care for their children than for the conditions of teachers and schools. I hope and believe that the majority understand why we strike and hopefully this time around Ted will know the public want their teachers looked after. Okay now I’m really running away with myself…. can you tell education is my thing??

      • Liz says:

        Well you certainly have my support (and my daughters as she’s looking forward to a trip to the zoo while her teacher goes to the rally). Personally I think teachers are hugely underpaid and deserving of far more respect than those few individuals who resent the strikes give you.

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