A LITTLE over three years after she knifed Kevin Rudd in the back, Australian prime minister Julia Gillard has fallen by the wayside. She came to office by the backdoor and has been seen off with a very public blood-letting.
Rudd did not scrape through; the leadership vote, foolishly called for by Gillard a day before Parliament rose for the winter, ended 57-45 in Rudd’s favour, much more than expected. Gillard thought she would ambush Rudd by not giving him enough time to marshal forces but her gambit failed.
There’s a lot of bleating going on about the first female prime minister being knifed and so on, but everyone fails to remember that Gillard was the cause of it all. She agreed to be put in the leadership position by the faceless men of the Labor party at a time when there was no need to change leaders.
Continue reading Gillard gets what she deserved
WOULD Australia’s first female prime minister, Julia Gillard, have been in the position she is today if she had become leader of the Labor party in the regular way and not by knifing a sitting prime minister?
Would she be any more popular today if she had challenged for the leadership during a period when Labor was in opposition and won a mandate to lead the country at the polls?
It’s hard to say, but one would incline towards the view that yes, she would not be at the receiving end as she is now if she had ascended to the top by this route.
Continue reading Australia has a leadership problem
IN February 2010, Andrew Lovett, an Australian rules football player, was charged with one count of rape over an incident in December 2009.
Lovett had been recruited by St Kilda that year after spending six years with, and playing 88 games for, the Essendon football club.
St Kilda immediately sacked Lovett. He never got back to playing in the senior league again, even though he was acquitted of the charge in July 2011.
Lovett is Aboriginal.
Continue reading In Australia, justice can be black and white
WHEN journalists criticise something repeatedly, those who read their offerings tend to conclude that the journalist in question has a dislike of the person or people at the heart of that issue – and that is the reason for the criticism.
But that is often not the case.
Irish journalist David Walsh was probably the only one of his tribe to be critical of Lance Armstrong when the American, on his return to professional racing after recovering from testicular cancer, won the Tour de France in 1999.
Walsh took the stand he did because he loved the sport. And he hated the idea that it was being ruined by people ingesting this drug or that and winning without deserving it.
Continue reading Pursuing Armstrong: a journo’s tale of triumph
A FEW months before Christmas 2005, the UK’s biggest electronics retailer, Currys, announced that it would not be stocking VCRs that year. It was one of the earlier announcements of the approaching death of what was a staple in many households worldwide.
By the end of the 2008, the VCR was well and truly gone. JVC, one of the major brands, made its announcement about shutting down its manufacturing of the gadget at that time.
In its place has come the hard-disk recorder, which also affords the user the option of burning recorded material to DVD or, more recently, to Blu-Ray. Technologies come and go in this manner.
Continue reading The death of free-to-air television
ONE hundred days from today, Australia will go to the hustings to elect a new federal government. The indications from opinion polls are that the incumbent Labor government will be reduced to a rump in parliament and that the Coalition — a grouping of the Liberal and National parties — will sweep back to power after six years in opposition.
It is not often that opinion polls are wrong these days; the most recent example of pollsters being off the mark that I can recall was in Britain in 1992 when all polls pointed to a Labor return to power. But the Conservatives, under John Major, triumphed and by a pretty big margin too.
However that cannot be counted on. For Labor, about the only thing that can reduce the margin of defeat would be a return to the leadership of Kevin Rudd, a man who is hated by most in the party. Yet polls indicate that the public likes Rudd.
Continue reading Countdown to the poll that counts