So, for those unaware (ie, ppl who aren't following me on tumblr or twitter or facebook and thus haven't had me being all :D :D :D and capslocky at them over the last 24hrs or so), Australia now has a new Prime Minister, who is our first female Prime Minister; Julia Gillard.
For those unaware of how this can happen, minna — has a really good post about it over here.
Short version: We don't vote for our PM. We vote for representatives, and the political parties pick their leaders. For the Australians (who don't live in Rudd's electorate): If you think you voted for Kevin Rudd? READ YOUR BALLOT AGAIN.
Generally speaking; Kevin did some pretty great stuff, not least of which was running a campaign that led to ousting douchenozzle extraordinaire John Howard, but there seems to have been an increasing sense that he was heading a little too far in the One Man Show direction. Not being part of the Labor Caucus, I can't say much to details, but then again, not a lot of people can and most who can are likely to not do so for some years.
Also: There's a lot I like about Julia Gillard. She's a badass in Parliament, and frequently causes Tony "Even Bigger Douchenozzle Than Howard If You Can Believe That's Possible" Abbott to lose his shit in hilarious ways (not that he needs much help). Despite a lot of the concerns about the role of the ALP Right faction in the spill, she's been ALP Left faction for a long time, and I think the ALP Right's role was less about supporting her and more about withdrawing any remaining support from Kevin.
I've seen a lot of "Not Like This" comments about Julia's taking of the leadership, and I'm wondering if I'm missing something here, but I'm not really sure what "Not Like This" actually looks like. As far as I can tell, the options were:
1. Pre-election Leadership Spill: What happened. A bit dramatic, but relatively quick (much shorter than the Hawke-Keating spill, which is the nearest comparison) and (imo) puts them in a pretty good spot for the election because having Julia front and centre vs. Tony significantly increases the chance of him mouthing off in ridiculous and self-damaging ways.
2. Post-election (ALP victory) Leadership Spill: I can't see this being better than what we've got now. The same arguments would happen, and as much as I wish it would, I can't see the "We Didn't Vote For Her" camp not just continuing for longer.
3. Post-election (ALP victory) Kevin retires and Julia gets 'given' the leadership (cf. Beattie and Bligh in Qld): I really don't see this happening. As Briony said to me on twitter earlier; given Kevin's emotional reaction yesterday, and the fact that he's not shown any real sign of thinking this is the end of his career, I don't see him as the type to resign the Prime Ministerial position.
4. Post-election (Coalition victory) Leadership Spill: WTF NO NO NO. Seriously, the only thing I see from this is Abbott wins, we have to put up with his hatemongering bullshit for however many years (I'm too pessimistic to think that if this happens it'll only be one term), and suddenly where we are now is seen is the far fucking left again. NO.
I dunno. I'm voting option one as the better of those four, assuming (which I think is pretty reasonable) than option 3 is really unlikely.
It seems one of the issues that contributed to the current situation was the massive circus going on about the Resources Super Profits Tax (RSPT). Now, I'm not generally the type that goes combing through tax policy; largely because, well, I actually like paying taxes, and don't have that much beef with them aside from the fact that middle class and higher folk whine about them ever so much (You can see why I don't get on with Libertarians, right?). That said, and I'm willing to accept charges of naivete on this front, but I think the name is pretty clear. It's a tax on the Resources Sector (i.e. the mining industry) that's linked to Super Profits.
Apparently (I've not been watching much tv-on-the-actual-television lately, so I've not seen much of it), the Mining Industry has been funding some pretty ridiculous socialist scaremongering ads about the RSPT. I hear a few of the bigger names, who are noted as some of the richest people in the country, had some kind of protest a few weeks ago where they were shaking their fists and "demanding justice". Seriously? Call me callous, but I don't have a lot of sympathy for the uber-rich demanding justice in the form of more tax breaks. It's in the realm of patently fucking ridiculous.
Going back to the Government, apparently they've been copping a lot of flack over the RSPT. And perhaps this is my naivete again, but I'm seriously not understanding (though this may be an indicator of why I perhaps should not go into politics) why the response is not one of the following:
1. "Uh, folks? We're taxing really uber rich corporations. How is this bad?"
2. "WHAT PART OF 'SUPER PROFITS TAX' IS DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND?"
I rather prefer the latter, because it links in nicely to my "READ YOUR BALLOT" point above. :P
*deep breath* It was good to get that out of my system. And now, I'm gonna go track down and watch yesterday's Question Time and Julia's interview on last night's 7:30 Report, because I need more Julia being badass in my day. :D
I shall leave you with this picture, which I posted on Tumblr last night:
[Image Description: Australia’s new, and first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard (left), sitting at a round table opposite Australia’s first female Governor-General Quentin Bryce (right), who is signing Ms. Gillard’s official appointment as Prime Minister]
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