Tattooed woman leaves her mark on Gillard
Prime Minister Julia Gillard was in full flight on the subject of why the entire nation should gang up on outlaw gangs when a young tattooed woman shouldered her way through the media pack and cried, ''You're full of it.''
Ms Gillard appeared momentarily startled, but soldiered on. She had an election on the way, and law and order is one of the more reliable campaign standbys for any politician on the make.
The Prime Minister was in Punchbowl, a suburb in an area of south-west Sydney not so long ago infamous for drive-by shootings, gang rampages and pack rapes.
Why, only the previous evening someone had shot into a family home in the nearby suburb of Padstow, Ms Gillard pointed out.
The woman who had inserted herself into the press conference gesticulated and mouthed, for no obvious reason, ''liar''. The Prime Minister's security detail didn't bother to intervene, possibly on the basis that here was a fine example of a local who had gone off the rails.
The Prime Minister, having announced on Sunday a national taskforce to tackle gangs and organised crime, declared she now wanted to persuade state premiers to refer to the Commonwealth their own anti-gang laws and methods of grabbing unexplained wealth to ensure a national approach to a problem that transcended state borders.
The states' attorneys-general only last year had rejected such a request, but Ms Gillard said it was time she put the matter directly to premiers.
Before the day was out, about half the state premiers would baulk at the suggestion, but by then Ms Gillard had moved on to greener and friendlier pastures - the bucolic surrounds of the University of Sydney's agricultural campus on Sydney's southern outskirts.
She was to unveil the university's new Centre for Carbon, Water and Food, Australia's first multidisciplinary centre designed to find better ways to grow food.
The centre, Ms Gillard said, was all about breeding plants that used less water to grow while taking more carbon out of the atmosphere in the cause of transforming Australia into a ''food superpower'' in the Asian century.
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No rude and noisy interlopers here. Instead, Ms Gillard was welcomed by an elder of the Tharawal tribe of the Eora Nation, who spoke movingly of his love for the forests, the gorges and the rolling hills and valleys of his land on which the campus sits. The elder, Uncle Ivan Wellington, affectionately referred to Ms Gillard as ''Mrs Prime Minister'', ''Jules'' and ''Julie''.
On the campaign trail, you win some and lose some.