Thursday, June 24, 2010

It's a woman's world, Oz

So we have a new Prime Minister in Australia, Julia Gillard.

Yes, Julia. Our first female PM.

Overnight the ruling Labor Party decided to remove their leader, the then PM Kevin Rudd, and as they elected Ms Gillard to be the party's new leader she becomes Prime Minister.

Although she's the first female PM, women have already made their mark in our political system, although they're not really known outside Australia.

The country's Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, for example:

In my home state of New South Wales, the Governor is Marie Bashir:

We have a female premier running the state government too, Kristina Keneally:

Sydney has a female Lord Mayor, Clover Moore:

Our neighbouring northern state of Queensland has a female Governor and Premier too.

I only mention it because the image of the country is that it's generally a blokey, macho, male-dominated place and to learn that women are in these positions may come as something of a surprise to people.

And, of course, because the media is going to be full of the gender thing.

Actually, I think it's irrelevant. Ability and talent are what matter as far as I'm concerned. Is this person going to be a good PM, not a good female PM - any more than it mattered how her predecessor Kevin Rudd performed as a male PM.

By the way, also a reflection of Australia is the background of the women I've mentioned. Some were born in Oz, the new PM was born in Wales, our Premier was born in the USA, the NSW Governor was born in Oz to Lebanese immigrants.

Oh yes, and like ten or fifteen percent of couples the PM and her partner are not married.

Apart from all the political excitement, things back in Oz are normal according to Sydney local radio I'm listening to.

Whales are frolicking off Bondi beach, a truck has jacknifed on the only road between Sydney and my home town, causing traffic chaos, and the football team didn't progress beyond the group stages of the World Cup.


Bushmechanic said...

Don't forget, she's not been elected by a general election, but appointed by the Labor caucus. Her elevation will be more significant if she is still PM following the next general election.

At that time, being a women might not affect her polling then, but being Single women might have an effect. I don't know if Australia has ever had an unmarried male before as PM.

Dave said...

Well done to Ms Gillard. She is one tough cookie.... male or female...

Seabee said...

BM, agreed. To win I'd say she needs to announce some quick policy initiatives (as she's already done with the mining supertax issue) particularly on boat people and the emissions trading scheme, to show there's a new direction, then call a snap election. The longer she leaves it the further she gets from the honeymoon period.

The change of leadership's a reminder that we should vote for a party and its policies rather than for personalities. Not for Kevin last time, or Julia or the awful Abbott in future, to be PM, but for the parties' policies.

BTW, I really don't think her marital status will come into the thinking of anyone other than religious fundamentalists, and fortunately we don't have many of them.

Susan said...

Ooops, I thought Quentin was a guy!!!

Dave said...

Seabee, agreed - marital status won't be a consideration. Look at Pauline Hanson, twice divorced mother and single at the time of her election into a members seat.

a question of a question said...

why to all these women have short hair?

LDU said...

It's sad to see Labor giving in to the demands of the mining magnates. Kevin Rudd's mining tax would have been the most significant redistribution of wealth policy of any government since federation.

Good policies are always unpopular.

Seabee said...

LDU, I agree, but she seems to have salvaged something of it.

The sad thing is that had Big Kev not handled it so badly, and if it didn't have the retrospective aspect, I think a bill giving us a better return might have gone through.