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One cool customer

Go you Doggies.

Go you Doggies. Photo: John Woudstra

Whether she sees the week or month out, I'm pretty sure Julia Gillard isn't a bitch, witch, she-devil or any of the other pejoratives cast her way in her remarkable career.

And let's not kid ourselves it's not remarkable being the first female leader of your country. That's history. Lock it in, Eddie. Julia Gillard will be mentioned in Aussie classrooms for the next two centuries.

Gillard has both manifested and magnified the ambitions of more Australian girls under the age of 16 than every female athlete, actress, model, scientist, journalist and cartoon super hero combined.

Frustratingly, however, it'll only be after Gillard's left office we'll see her described as she is by so many who've met her: Funny. Down to earth. Good company. Smart. Warm.

I've no way of confirming this because Gillard and I have never watched a game of football together, where I hear she's also apt to scream "GO YOU F---ING DOGGIES!" and slosh a Melbourne Bitter on what's his name - the hairdresser's - slacks.

No matter what you think of Gillard, her government and policies (of which there've been many significant achievements), the great political tragedy of the last four years is we don't know our Prime Minister.

Sure we had the embarrassing recalibration of 2010 when Gillard promised us the "real Julia", however, I think this "get to know ya" jaunt has largely been a failure.

I've talked to people as diverse as the CEOs of ad agencies tasked with election campaigns, senior journalists, Gillard's political opponents, TV cameramen and make-up artists - and they've been surprisingly consistent in their appraisal.

Top chick. Really nice. So different to the person you see on TV. A great woman.

The tragedy is we've not been given the opportunity to engage with that great woman, to fall in love with Gillard like many voters did and have with Bob Hawke, Paul Keating, Malcolm Turnbull ... even, gulp, John Howard.

Increasingly that's because our media and pollies are locked in a death roll to "control the narrative", to appease a largely ignorant, fickle voting public, so our leaders play "mistake-free football" and bore the electorate to death with speeches more tightly worded than mobile phone contracts.

Mostly, however, I lay the blame at the feet of Gilllard's media advisors because too many people have told me they're producing shit from clay. They have a self-deprecating, intelligent, cool-headed, historic figure to work with but are giving us a woman too easy to dislike.

In four years of mostly minority government, we've not once seen Gillard lose her cool despite parliamentary pressures and compromises that would have turned John Howard into Groucho Marx and made Tony's Abbott's head explode.

Make all the jokes you want about Gillard's red hair, but she's anything but flammable. She's cooler than the other side of the pillow, which we might have the grace to admit in 10 or 20 years' time.

You can follow Sam on Twitter here. His email address is here.

Please don't take it personally if I do not reply to your email as they come in thick and fast depending on the topic. Please know, I appreciate you taking the time to write and comment and would offer mummy hugs to all.


  • History will judge whether the worst PM we have ever had .. my vote is yes...

    Date and time
    June 24, 2013, 7:38PM
    • @GC_Resident
      Then I guess you would have no issue if I called you the worst commentor ever? My vote is a resounding yes.

      Date and time
      June 24, 2013, 11:46PM
    • I don't know if she's the worst in history, but certainly the worst I've ever known! Who cares if she's a woman or not - this gender debate is embarrassing - she's bad because of her lies and her government's shortcomings, not because she happens to be female.

      Date and time
      June 24, 2013, 11:48PM
    • Julia will go to her grave believing she could have won the election except for
      -The world economic situation
      -Poor advice from the treasury
      - Men in Blue ties
      -The media
      -Kevin Rudd
      -The relentless negativity of the opposition
      -Tony Abbott
      -Rupert Murdoch
      -The big miners
      -The stupidity of the electorate
      -People smugglers
      -Budgie smugglers
      -Budget deficits
      -Budgie deficits
      -Captain's picky thingos
      -Peter Slipper
      -Eddie Obeid
      -Live meat
      -The opinion polls
      -The election date
      -Western Sydney
      -The number 457
      -Pink batts
      -Tin ears
      -Hung Parliaments
      -Women for Gillard
      -her boyfriends big mouth
      -Germaine Greer
      -Nasty economists who don't listen to her
      And she's probably right. In a world without any of that stuff she might have had a fighting chance. If only....
      But then again she likely would just have screwed that up as well.

      Date and time
      June 25, 2013, 12:09AM
    • What are your reasons for saying Julia is our worst PM ever GC ? Did she send our young men to a war that was based on a lie and ended up creating civil war in the invaded country. Did she lie about refugees jumping overboard ? Did she keep our economy sound Inte face of The GFC ? Did she create reforms to make our society more equitable, Gonski and Disability Scheme ? It is reported that only 30 per cent of people want the carbon tax repealed and governments all over the world are looking to implement something similar, so that can't be the problem.
      Know "the worst prime minister" is what a lot of people are saying but Murdoch press and Abbott 's shock jock pals aside, it beats me why they are saying it. Perhaps you could enlighten the readers. While you are at it, could you let us know why you think Abbott would be a better ? That could be tricky, I know. Tony hasn't shown enough respect for the electorate to let us know what his plans for the country are. But then again why should he when people like you are getting such great satisfaction making the big "worst prime minister" statement.

      Date and time
      June 25, 2013, 2:38AM
    • GC_Resident - History will judge her in terms of her economic record and the legislation passed, not in terms of the hysteria and spin merchants that dominate the current political discourse. In terms of unemployment rates, interest rates, economic growth, credit rating, levels of personal taxation etc, her record is amongst some of the best in our history, despite being achieved in a time of world economic instability and with a minority government (not that the average punter understands this as it never seems to be discussed - the media seems to concentrate on all the sideshow) . Some of her legislation, like NDIS, is ground breaking and will be remembered positively. Of course there are things that could and should have done better, but I can see no evidence that the opposition would have achieved better results.

      Thomas Gale
      Date and time
      June 25, 2013, 3:49AM
    • Whilst I am sure she will be mentioned in history, I suspect it could be as having been the last Labor Prime Minister. If after her departure we discover disaster in our countries finances or some matter from her past came up to discredit her, then I think Labor would need to be completely overhauled and relaunched to save it from extinction. Gillard could go down in history as far worse than any of us susepct even now.

      Date and time
      June 25, 2013, 5:23AM
    • She's jostling on the podium with Whitlam, Keating and McMahon.

      Reality Bites
      Date and time
      June 25, 2013, 6:29AM
    • You're deluded, John Howard was the worst prime minister we've ever had, although I'm pretty sure Abbot will make him look good by comparison. Current debate looks like this video

      haha howard
      Date and time
      June 25, 2013, 7:05AM
    • Wrong.

      Rudd was far, far worse.

      Date and time
      June 25, 2013, 7:08AM

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