Tag Archives: Julia Gillard

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Lest we forget: Kevin Rudd wasn’t very popular last time round

K-Rudd looks set to have another tilt at the lodge. Which, for non-Australians, is where the Prime Minister of Australia lives.

I’d rather the Labor party just install Bill Shorten. He seems eloquent and clever. Or Tanya Plibersek. I think I’d consider voting Labor if there was a Shorten/Plibersek ticket.

K-Rudd was a control freak, and just as power hungry as Gillard. And he eats ear wax… it’s the result of some bizarre hagiographic redaction, and the sour taste his public knifing left in our mouth, that gives him his position in the polls. Partly I think the electorate relishes the chance to turf him out democratically.

J-Gill is just awful. A political experiment gone wrong. She can’t get anything right, and clearly moves in whatever direction is popular on the issues she doesn’t care about – so she’s strong on climate change and education, but is about to change her position on the definition of marriage (if the papers today are anything to go by).

Here’s what I think he should do when he inevitably loses his challenge next week, or whenever it happens. Instead of moving to the backbenches, he should move to the cross benches, with whatever Labor supporters feel strongly enough about ousting Gillard. He should do a Katter, and start his own party. And he should trigger a double dissolution. Leave the party in a huff. And write his memoirs.

He can’t win from here. His party hates him. He doesn’t seem to have the requisite support. If he resigns his seat there’s every chance the power grabbers in the Labor party will find some way to hold on in a messy hung parliament. So crossing the floor seems like his best option for making waves for Julia, who he clearly dislikes.

The other mob across the floor aren’t much better, Tony Abbott is a walking cliche/soundbite/bad visual pun. We should probably just draft Peter Costello or Paul Keating back into the top job. At least those guys had a bit of character and some sense of an ideology beyond the endless pursuit of staying in power and beating the other guys.

That is all.

10 Flood related words/phrases I don’t want to hear again for a long time

1. Mother Nature – a gross misrepresentation of agency. At least be prepared to blame God, but better yet, blame the broken world we live in thanks to sin. See here.
2. Grave fears – seems insensitive in the extreme. How about “serious fears” or just “we fear for their lives”…
3. Inundated – seriously. I heard a lady who had miraculously survived a torrent but who had been cut by barbed wire say her legs had been “inundated” with scratches.
4. Essential items – when talking about bread, milk, and toilet paper).
5. Road closed – especially when it comes to people who have been stupid enough to drive through flooded causeways
6. “Channel Seven” – Ben was onto something when he suggested Channel Seven’s coverage seems to be more about self promoting than flood coverage. You don’t have to throw the words “Channel Seven” in front of any noun to indicate possession. Try “our”… or don’t talk about the thing you’re flying in at all. Mention your reporter by name. Humanise yourselves.
7. Rubbernecking – it’s an ok word when it’s original, but it becomes hackneyed very quickly.
8. We are “____” – insert parochial catchcry here – but “Queenslander” is particularly abhorrent. Anna Bligh’s “Remember who we are, we’re Queenslanders” represents most of the things that are wrong with our state. Least of all, because it works.
9. Anything Julia Gillard says – she talks like a robot version of Kath and Kim. Emotionless strine. If Anna Bligh can run rings around you then you’re in big trouble.
10. Inland tsunami/wall of water.

Some flood related puns/cliches for good measure:

1. Anything Noah related – any jokes about pairs of animals or building an ark.
2. “uncharted waters”
3. A new watermark.
4. “pooling our resources”
5. “swamped”
6. “fatal flood” – alliterative, but unoriginal. Headline writers have been using it since the early chapters of Genesis.
7. “burst its banks”
8. Any personification or application of agency to a stream of water that is actually simply taking the path of least resistance from one place to another.
9. Describing flood losses as “down the drain” or “down the gurgler”
10. Descriptions of flood damaged locales as “ground zero” or a “war zone”

The “Sainted Krishna” prize for “Mixed Spiritual Metaphor” goes to Anna Bligh for:

“I hope and pray that mother nature is leaving us alone to get on with the job of cleaning up and recovering from this event.” source: halfway down this story

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Peter Jensen on politics

This interview with Peter Jensen on the current election is worth a listen. I’m surprised it hasn’t been spoken about more in the blogosphere this week. Perhaps it’s not controversial enough. It’s from Sunday night.

Q: Do Christians necessarily vote from the viewpoint of faith, do you think?
A: Yes we do. And fortunately in Australia it’s perfectly possible, even across the range of options, to vote from faith and to vote differently. You can not say to a Christian in Australia “you must vote for such and such a person. It’s a matter of balance. You’ll work out which way you want to go.”

He discusses Gillard’s atheism and its impact on Christian voters frankly. He discusses Abbott’s faith and its impact on voters with equal frankness.

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Julia and the Big Red A(y)

Julia Gillard is in line (depending on the rest of the election campaign) to be our first elected female prime minister. As far as I can tell the only people more excited than the red heads and the females in the electorate are the atheists – because Gillard is out and proud. She’s not definitely the first atheist PM (as far as the internet is concerned Bob Hawke was an atheist, though he told Denton he’s an agnostic not an atheist). She could well be the first. And I thought there had been a pretty muted response from the Christian community – there were even a couple of great articles (one from John Dickson in the Herald, one from Greg Clarke on the ABC website, and one from Michael Jensen on sydneyanglicans.net) suggesting that it didn’t matter.

But the scaremongering has kicked in in the last few days – and more and more Christians I’m speaking to are expressing concern about the idea that Julia, an atheist, might be running the country. I don’t think that the disendorsed Liberal Candidate from Sydney, David Barker, speaks for all Christians when he says this – but he taps into a scary undercurrent in Christian thinking:

“I’m not anti-Muslim. I believe every one should have their own beliefs,” he said.

“But I don’t know if we want at this stage in Australian politics a Muslim in the Parliament and an atheist running the Government.”

Why don’t the atheists deserve a place in a democratically elected parliament? Shouldn’t the parliament be representative of the electorate. This means 10%, roughly speaking, of our politicians should be atheists. The fact that one rises to the top of their party is a testament to their ability and the faith their colleagues have in their ability to do the job.

I’m wondering at what point people think her atheism will impact her ability to govern. Or her ability to act as the leader of the nation. We don’t have the “Christian heritage” the U.S claims as they ban atheists from holding certain positions in public office. There’s nothing in the Bible that suggests the leaders of our nations should be God fearers (we’re not Israel – despite some people trying to insist that the Old Testament should apply to our legislative body today). The New Testament affirms the government of the day as a government chosen by God – and the Roman empire was perhaps the most anti-Christian regime of all time.

I don’t care that Gillard is an atheist. I care more that she sounds like a character out of Kath and Kim. I’ll weigh up my votes on policy alone. Some of those policy positions may be reached as a basis of the application of my faith. That’s my right as a voter. Even if my vote (which won’t go to Labor at this stage) counts for nothing (or just for one) and Labor retain power I’m not going to sleep poorly knowing that an atheist resides in the lodge. At least she’s open about her beliefs rather than claiming to be a lapsed Anglican – one wonders how much time John Howard has spent in church since losing power.

I think John Dickson’s advice for Christian voters is pretty awesome.

“Christians should be willing to change voting patterns after Christian reflection on particular policies. A believer who cannot imagine voting for the ”other side” has either determined that only one party aligns with the will of God or, more likely, is more attached to their cultural context than to the wisdom of scripture…

…So, what principles guide the Christian vote? First, a Christian vote is a vote for others. It is basic to the Christian outlook that life is to be devoted to the good of others before ourselves. In the political realm, Christians should use whatever influence they have to contribute to others, to ”consider others better” than themselves.”

If Christians are worried about Gillard’s moral compass (using the tired old chestnut that atheists can’t be moral) they should perhaps remember two things – all people, atheist or otherwise, are made in God’s image. I assume that includes some sort of moral compass coexisting with the sinful nature, all people (including Christians) have the capacity to act immorally, and all governments (atheist or otherwise) are provided by God. Even the ones that oppress Christians. We should cherish the opportunity we have to have a say in who rules us – but a vote based on scaremongering, or a “Christian Values Chart” like the one Simone rightly loathes, is a wasted vote.