I confess to never understanding politics. The personalities, the three second grab of quotes that sound good but mean nothing, not the Labor Party’s two Red Weddings in three years. Then there’s all the stupid stunts like baby holdings. Spectacular as it may seem to the outside world, I assume hard work to ensure that you stab the right people in the back (or the front) to ensure you stay within the corridors of power while governing the country in what you believe is the best interests of the people.
Every leader, popular or not has a legacy. The legacy may or may not be good. It’s probably grey. Take George Bush Junior. The world sees him as a bumbling buffoon, remixing the English language like so much techno gobbledee-gook, but his legacy is the best response he could muster in response to the new world of terrorism and saving the US from the GFC. Closer to home, we have Julia Gillard being replaced by the person she replaced first. Aside from being a spectacular round of musical chairs, what did she do? How will she be remembered as Prime Minister of Australia?
Firstly, she managed to get the ball rolling on the NBN, a properly thought out broadband infrastructure project that, if allowed to run to completion will be the centrepiece of a truly nation building exercise as it will guarantee equitable communications access for as many people as possible. Then, there’s the carbon tax, transitioning to an emissions trading scheme. People may call climate change bunkum, but even if that were the case, surely there should be some sort of penalty for the fact that we are using up what is ostensibly a finite resource – fossil fuels.
On a more social level, there’s the disability insurance scheme and attempting to get school funding reformed. These are all worthwhile and praiseworthy reforms to the way the nation is run. But what she receives in response is bewildering. It’s not praise, it’s not even a slap on the back and a thank you. It’s constant and non-stop hysteria about how appalling a job she’s doing. Seriously? Sure, I may be an armchair expert here – just as much as the bloke who spouts crap on newspaper comments sections – but I can pull back and look at what is actually happening. I can’t honestly see where she’s stumbled so badly that the entire country is rising up in arms with pitchforks to get rid of her.
I think – in the end – history will remember Julia Gillard as the most underrated and unappreciated Prime Ministers in this country’s history. The fact that she worked with gusto and was able to push through so many major policies in three years as the leader in a minority government is testament to her strength and tenacity. I salute you, Julia Gillard.