War On Gillard Proves We Still Have A Long Way To Go

Julia Gillard may not be the best Prime Minister Australia has had, but she’s certainly the most resilient. During a gruelling 3 years she has endured a campaign of vitriol and vilification unrivalled in our politics.

While Keating, Howard and Rudd were all subject to scathing criticism, a special contempt has been reserved for Gillard. The reason for this is worthy of further examination and reveals much about attitudes towards gender in Australia.

I offer this analysis with an important caveat. Like many Australians I disagree with a number of the Prime Minister’s policies. Gillard has perused an immoral and ineffective immigration policy, negotiated a weak mining tax, stripped funding from universities and single mothers and shown a frustrating recalcitrance on the issue of gay marriage. All of these things are worthy of public criticism and debate. All too often however, criticism of Gillard has been more personal than political.

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One Nation Revisited?

Through their racist and homophobic remarks, candidates from Bob Katter’s Australia Party have certainly let the cat (or the Katter in this case) out of the bag in terms of their party’s agenda. It’s now up to both sides of politics to distance themselves from this dangerous brand of conservative populism.

Bob Katter is the latest in a raft of Australian politicians to denounce ‘political correctness.’ Indeed, Prime Minister Howard spoke of a “pall of censorship being lifted” after his election in 1996 and Australians being able to “speak a little more freely and openly” about a range of controversial issues.

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