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Monday 08 November 2010

Helen's twin?

Posted in: Features
By Craig Young - 24th June 2010

New Australian PM Julia Gillard
Finally, Australia has its first female federal Prime Minister, former ALP Deputy PM Julia Gillard. Will her premiership herald a thaw in ALP/LGBT relations across the Tasman?

After the ALP won its first federal election in over eleven years, forty nine year old Gillard became the first female Australian Deputy Prime Minister, as well as Minister for Social Inclusion, Minister of Education and Minister of Employment and Workplace Relations. In that role, she presided over the repeal of the hated WorkChoices anti-union legislation.

Happily for the ALP, she has an outstanding record of involvement in student unionism, trade unionism and feminist politics and comes from Victoria, a traditional ALP stronghold. She has an experienced record of combat against Tony Abbott, the hapless Liberal federal Opposition leader. Like our own Helen Clark, she has no children. Gillard is partnered with Terry Macklin, a hairdresser. She is seen by many as an antidote to the isolationist technocratic leadership style of her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, whose Queensland background meant that he was patently not used to the pluralism and diversity of modern ALP politics.

What does her ascent mean for LGBT politics? She seems to be from a more social liberal background than Rudd was, so there may finally be some reversal of such retrograde steps as the federal same-sex marriage ban, although undoing the damage that Rudd did to ALP electoral prospects through reversing the disastrous mining profits tax will be a probable priority. She may well also reverse the return of the draconian 'detention centre' policy for refugees and asylum seekers and return the ALP to the days of centrist, corporatist leadership under Hawke and Keating in the eighties and nineties.

Goodbye, Mr Rudd. Not nice knowing you...

Julia Gillard (Wikipedia):
Craig Young - 24th June 2010

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