Eva Bradley: Bad karma comes back to bite Gillard

By Eva Bradley

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Like all good little girls, I paid attention when told by those who knew better than me to do unto others as I would have done unto me. Eventually (when I was big enough to understand what 'unto' actually meant), I took heed, and have avoided racking up bad karma whenever possible.

What a shame Julia Gillard never learned the same lesson.

In contrast with most Australians recently, I quite like the woman. A bit of a lapsed feminist myself, I admire her for going where no Aussie female had gone before and following in the footsteps of our own much-admired Helen Clark by taking the top job away from the old boys' network.

I confess I never paid much attention to what she had to say for herself - what with her waving the red flag and being across the ditch and all - but like most typical voters, I noticed she had better hair than our own first elected female PM, and better teeth. What's not to like?

Perhaps, at heart, it is that she took something that belonged to someone else. When a bully wrestles the bucket and shovel from another kid in the sandpit, we will grudgingly keep playing along in the interests of being part of building the best sandcastles.

But that doesn't mean we have to like the king (or queen) of that castle ... or that we'll forget three years on how they stole the throne.

To extend the metaphor well beyond its shelf life and confuse it with another one entirely, Julia Gillard built her castle on sand and now she is paying the consequences.

Kevin Rudd bided his time and snuck around after class building up allegiances in the playground and what he lost he now has back ... for now.

But rather than give Labor the life support it so badly needs, it seems to me that their in-fighting and divisive allegiances have undermined the whole point of what they are trying to prove to Australians right now. If they can't play nicely together and unite as a party, how on earth can one have confidence that they will be able to unite a country in the years ahead?

Such are the vagaries of politics that we know every little rotten detail about the leadership coup and the dirty dealing that led to it, but very little at all about what the Labor Party in Australia believes in. The soap opera of skulduggery in the shadowy corridors of power is far more likely to sell newspapers than dreary details on economic policy and political reform. The same goes for Labour on this side of the ditch. We all know plenty about David Shearer's ongoing struggle for popularity, but where are the column inches about what he actually stands for?

I've lamented before about the shift towards news as entertainment, and the fact that we as consumers of news are entirely to blame for it, so I won't digress.

But I will make the point I was gunning for right at the beginning - that one can't feel too sorry for Julia Gillard as she bravely and with apparent goodwill hands over the crown she took from Rudd in remarkably similar circumstances. Karma has bit her on the bum and hard. One day ruler of a country, the next day unemployed. I wonder if it's enough to make her wish she'd listened more carefully to the "dos" and "don'ts" when she was a little girl just like me?

 

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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