Published 24 June 20101 July 2010 · Main Posts Et tu, Gillard? Jacinda Woodhead Overnight the face of contemporary Australian politics – that lacklustre, bureaucratic, increasingly-resembling-a-trainwreck Rudd – was met with a leadership challenge. This comes on the back of a downward plummet in the polls [debatable] and numerous backflips on the ETS, refugees, Afghanistan and recent confrontations over the RSPT – ‘that great, big fat tax’ the mining industry and the Liberals are so distraught about. So Labor’s factional warlords have decided it’s time for a new figurehead, and few doubt that Julia Gillard will win. But what does Gillard really represent? Gillard has been an IR lawyer since 1987, a politician since ’98. She may have been on the Left in her days of student politics, but it’s difficult to detect a trace of that now. Conservative and progressive pundits alike adore her. She’s never challenged Rudd on any policy and there seems to be this idea – ostensibly because she’s a woman? – that she has the best interests of refugees, the Australian public and the mining sector at heart. Personally, one of my favourite memories of Gillard is during the three weeks of intensive bombing of the Gaza strip at the start of 2009, when she declared that Israel was merely exercising its ‘right to defend itself’. Jake Lynch covered her pro-Israel politics here. Labor is supposed to be the union party, but these days they’re more interested in defending business and maintaining discriminatory building union legislation – just ask Ark Tribe. As one MP said earlier today, ‘this is madness’. The fact is this dismal performance in the polls [also debatable] and in governance is Labor’s failure. Because, these days, Labor only has pro-business and centre-right populist policies, which are very far from their roots. Much of their vote has been lost to the Greens due to their conservatism and policy backflips. But, mostly, because of their lack of concern about the issues directly and immediately affecting their electoral base. For anyone who thinks under Gillard’s leadership Labor will be more progressive, pro-environment, pro-union, anti-war, pro-human rights, I say, that’s trick photography. Larvatus Prodeo is covering the spill, the ballot and undoubtedly the aftermath, as are Crikey and Drum. Your thoughts? Jacinda Woodhead Jacinda Woodhead is a former editor of Overland and current law student. More by Jacinda Woodhead › Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 10 November 202311 November 2023 · Subscriberthon 2023 On the final day of Subscriberthon, Overland’s most important members get to have their say Editorial Team BORIS A quick guide to another year of Overland, from your trusty feline, Boris. I liked the ginger cat story, though it made my human cry. I liked the talking cat, too, but I’m definitely in the “not wasting my time learning to talk” camp. But reading is good. And writing is fun, though it’s been challenging […] 1 First published in Overland Issue 228 9 November 20239 November 2023 · Subscriberthon 2023 On the second-last day of Subscriberthon, Overland’s co-chief editor Evelyn Araluen speaks truth to power Editorial Team To my friends and comrades, I’m not sure if there’s language to communicate how this last month has utterly changed me. This time a few weeks ago the busyness and chaos of bricolage arts and academic labour had so efficiently distracted me from my anxiety about the upcoming referendum that I forgot to prepare myself for its inevitable conclusion.