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 8 September 202326 September 2023 · Main Posts Announcing the 2023 Judith Wright Poetry Prize ($9000) Editorial Team Established in 2007 and supported by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation, the Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New and Emerging Poets seeks poetry by writers who have published no more than one collection of poems under their own name (that is writers who’ve had zero collections published, or one solo collection published). It remains one of the richest prizes for emerging poets, and is open to poets anywhere in the world. In 2023, the major prize is $6000, with a second prize of $2000 and a third prize of $1000. All three winners will be published in Overland. First published in Overland Issue 228 8 September 202315 September 2023 · Main Posts Announcing the 2023 Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize ($6500) Editorial Team Supported by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation, and named after the late Neilma Gantner, this prize seeks excellent short fiction of up to 3000 words themed around the notion of ‘travel’; imaginative, creative and literary interpretations are strongly encouraged. This competition is open to all writers, nationally and internationally, at any stage of their writing career.