Jun 24, 2010

June 24 2010 - A Bittersweet Day For Australia.

Thursday June 24 2010 began with some excitement of national interest.

I woke at dawn to discover that the Socceroos won their final game of World Cup 2010 against Serbia. They were tenacious and it was a thrilling game.  I'm hooked on the game  now.  I intend to watch the finals regardless of who makes the final cut.  And I'll be wearing my green and gold.

Even the(sydney)magazine could not distract me from the big (and only) front page news in Australia.  The fate of The Prime Minister at the hands of the Labor powerbrokers.  His fate was to be decided at a party meeting at 9am.  By the time I got to work and had finished my eye-opening cup of instant coffee, his fate was sealed.  There wasn't even a vote.  Everyone at work was talking about it.  Waiting room televisions were hijacked and together we watched the news and felt all of Kevin Rudd's emotions and teared up when he lost his composure.  Regardless of where we all stood politically.

We had lost one of Australia's most popular Prime Ministers at the hands of his own party.  The second in  our history (the first was Bob Hawke).  There's something about the Labor Party.

History had been made.  Australia, we now have our first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

Are historical moments always a bittersweet at the time that they happen?  To me, there was none of the excitement of Barack Obama's historic ascent to the Presidency.  The hope and change that he represented touched so many people in so many countries outside of the United States.  Today's news has not brought me the same elation.

This country has said sorry for the treatment of indigenous Australians both in the past and in the present.  Our Government has finally introduced a paid parental leave scheme.  We are ready for a female Prime Minister who earned the job on her own merit.  But did it have to happen like this?

I didn't vote for Kevin Rudd and don't subscribe to all of his policies or style as PM.  He is however a human being who was driven by the best intentions for the country.  He suffered from a lack of popularity within the caucus so any of 'his' failures in policy implementation were not diffused or deflected.

Tony Abbott has his moments but I was touched by his tribute to Kevin Rudd in parliament today.  He is correct, no Prime Minister deserves to be treated this way by his own party.  The people voted for Kevin Rudd and his fate should have been decided by those who vote and pay their taxes to fund all politicians.

I should be excited that we our first female Prime Minister.  Our feminist forebears campaigned hard and suffered so that we could be the best we could be in whatever profession we chose to pursue and have the same rights as men.  Something went awry with the recent 'raunch culture' and 'adulation with women famous for being famous' periods of popular culture but we've generally been making progress on what the early feminists fought for.  

The 'top job' was the last 'glass ceiling' we needed to break through and it is done.  I just wish our first female Prime Minister wasn't appointed as the result of the denigration of man who gave his all for Australia.  


  1. I agree with you. Odd kind of day. Like you I didn't vote for Mr Rudd. I think Julia Gillard seems to be an exceptional human being but am not sure of how much I like her political leanings. I think the ALP has once again shown who is really in control - the party and the trade unions. I think we are heading for an interesting election. I also liked Tony Abbott's response. I must admit to having a soft spot for Tony anyway (and no - it is NOT the budgie smugglers...)

    A Farmer's wife

  2. It was all very bittersweet xxxx

  3. Excellent post, SSG.
    I too was touched by Tony' Abbott's respect for Kevin Rudd. He was placed in an awful situation.
    I cannot believe how quickly it's all happened.

  4. Today was a very strange day indeed. I don't think he deserved that (and I voted for him) but then at the same time we have a momentous occasion with our first female PM. But the way that it happened, not nice at all.

  5. Agree with you about it all feeling a bit odd. Though I don't think Kevin gave his all for Australia. I always felt (and it was hinted at in the media), that he gave his all for himself. Now that he's not PM, the stories about him being a "one man" government will come out. His rudeness and temper is legendary and everyone has bitten their tongues. I'm relieved to see him go.


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