STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Australia's Gillard Is Silenced for Now
By Staff News & Analysis - June 26, 2013

Kevin Rudd ousts Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard … Kevin Rudd is more popular with voters than Ms Gillard … He won 57 votes in a leadership ballot of Labor MPs and senators called by Ms Gillard, who received 45 votes. The change comes ahead of a general election due in September, which polls suggest Labor is set to lose. After the vote, Ms Gillard confirmed she would stand by a pledge to resign from politics following a loss in the leadership challenge. "I will not recontest the federal electorate… at the forthcoming election," she said. – BBC

Dominant Social Theme: This glorious woman, this feminist Joan of Arc, will return someday to speak truth to power. The battle to make sure that men look at women as human beings and not objects is not yet over, or at least not in Oz.

Free-Market Analysis: Oz won't have Julia Gillard to kick around anymore, or not for a while, though probably at some point she will make a comeback.

She is simply too devious, too tough, too divisive and too hypocritical to stay on the sidelines for long.

She is indeed a woman, as she has taken to emphasizing, but more importantly, a large part of politics is the ability to polarize, and Gillard has proven herself something of a genius in this regard.

Here's more from the BBC article:

Kevin Rudd has exacted revenge on Julia Gillard, his one-time friend and deputy who ruthlessly deposed him in 2010. Ever since he was removed from the prime minister's office, he has sought to destabilise her leadership. This has been a very personal feud. For Ms Gillard, it's a dramatic reversal. Three months ago, when she last called a leadership election, her rival could not muster enough support to mount a credible challenge. In the meantime, the Labor government has slipped even further in the polls.

Labor is not only one of the most brutal political parties in the world, but also one of the most calculating and pragmatic. Its parliamentarians might not necessarily believe they can win the forthcoming election against the conservative opposition. Many already believe that's a lost cause. But many calculate Mr Rudd will at least prevent an electoral wipe-out, and maybe help save their own seats.

… Ms Gillard added: "What I am absolutely confident of is it will be easier for the next woman and the woman after that and the woman after that, and I'm proud of that." Mr Rudd is more popular with voters than Ms Gillard, and many believe Labor will perform better in the poll under him.

It is this last point – made by Gillard herself – that is perhaps the most important one. Gillard's sudden adoption of the rhetoric of feminism over the past year seems to underpin this realignment. But, in fact, there are much larger issues including the economy, carbon taxes and most of all, Labor's resurgence and continued calculations.

Yet Gillard, by adopting feminist talking points over the past months, has obscured the larger issues and the press in good measure has followed her lead. Thus, we once again have a divisive political spectacle – as the process demands.

In the US, the rhetoric often pits blacks against whites. In Europe it pits Islam against Christianity these days. In Australia it has tended to focus on aboriginal issues, until the genius of Ms. Gillard illuminated, once again, a different kind of conflict.

Ms. Gillard may have been deposed as a result of a union calculation that Labor can do better with Rudd than Gillard – despite her feminist focus. Of course, there is plenty of blame to go around, and the barbs aimed at Gillard were juvenile at best and generally malicious. But surely she would have served herself better professionally by ignoring them instead of bringing them front and center with her own comments.

But this is the reality of politics worldwide. Ms. Gillard's main achievement was to force through a carbon tax – the first in the West – that recognizes and monetizes manmade atmospheric carbon. The tax will depress Australia's energy industry without rectifying the problem of global warming, which may not exist.

Gillard's main accomplishment was thus to levy a groundbreaking though unnecessary tax. Her defeat was at the hands of her own union backers, or so certain Australian reporting seems to indicate. And the rhetorical standard that she chose to emphasize was an entirely unnecessary one (in terms of a sensible political agenda) that had to do with sexism in politics.

This is mainstream politics in the 21st century: illusory, hypocritical and determinedly dedicated to misdirection.

After Thoughts

Gillard's talents in this regard will surely manifest themselves in some sort of political rehabilitation. But given its increasingly obviously decay, we wonder how long this kind of aggressive, Western-style regulatory democracy will last in the 21st century …

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