Will the real Julia Gillard please stand up?

Posted on July 21, 2010 by

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When Julia Gillard ascended to the position of Prime Minister I have to say I was elated. I exchanged texts and tweets with my friends all day. As a 22-year-old female, it seemed like anything really was possible now.

Caroline Overington told us to call our mothers and thank them for making this moment possible and we basked in the excitement of a female Prime Minister being sworn in by a female Governor General. Of course, like many I had reservations about the way it happened but I shunned them from my mind. I mean hadn’t Paul Keating done the same thing? Surely Julia would soon consolidate her position with a win at the polls and all would be fine. Many assumed that Gillard’s seemingly liberal personal life would translate into public policy but that has not been the case. An unmarried childless atheist Gillard’s private persona gives rise to the view that she is a liberal but the fact that she has made it so far is a result of very carefully calculated positions that always have an eye on the polls. She is no political purist. Her policy proposals since becoming PM have been more John Howard then Bob Brown. She has stated that she believes marriage is between a man and a woman, has bought back very strong rhetoric on asylum seekers and proposed and then backtracked on a potential off-shore refugee processing centre in East Timor.

Why is this? Gillard hails from the Victorian Left faction of the Labor party but it was the NSW right who put her into power. Anyone who lives in NSW is familiar with this type of backroom politics. The NSW Premiership has been a revolving door in the last couple of years. So it seems now Julia Gillard is now dancing with those who bought her and they are the conservative forces of the Labor party. In its quest for the Howard-battlers, Labor has abandoned young people, immigrants and others who traditionally look to the party, taking their votes for granted.

Many people will say that soon Gillard will show her true colours but we can only judge her on her actions and decisions to date. The Government seems to be leaning towards an early election, perhaps to capitalise on her the euphoria that has followed Gillard’s elevation to Prime Minister. The polls seem to have her slightly ahead and it seems she will lead Labor to victory. However once the electoral fairy dust settles people will be looking for the real Julia Gillard and I just hope the euphoria we experienced on 23rd of June will not seem like a mirage. Am I being too harsh? Is it still too early pass judgment on Gillard? Share your thoughts.

Words by Fatima Malik

Image courtesy of The Age.com.au

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Posted in: Fatima Malik, Opinion