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The fault is in themselves

By Kevin Donnelly - posted Tuesday, 2 April 2013


Prime Minister Gillard and those surrounding her seek to blame Kevin Rudd for the ALP government's paralysis and failure to govern. They are wrong.

As in any tragedy/farce the fault lies not with destiny, fate or the actions of others – instead, the fault lies with Prime Minister Gillard's flawed character and thirst for power.

What motivates and inspires Prime Minister Julia Gillard? In June 2010 I wrote that Gillard was motivated by opportunism when arguing, "Based on her actions since becoming Deputy Leader and Minister for Education, it's clear that pragmatism has over ruled ideals and Julia Gillard is no different to many other politicians who put power before beliefs".

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In March 2011 I revisited the topic and argued that the Australian public was fed up with "good government and sound policy being subverted by opportunism and pragmatism" represented by Gillard's willingness to compromise ideals in her quest for power for power's sake.

In the two years since nothing has changed my mind about what motivates the Prime Minister. Again and again, both in terms of policy decisions and political strategy Julia Gillard proves herself more akin to Machiavelli than Gandhi.

Whether her statement that there was more chance that she would be playing for the Western Bulldogs than challenging Kevin Rudd as PM, reversing her promise not to introduce a carbon tax or the promise to keep the budget in surplus, there's no doubt that Gillard has exhausted her credibility with voters.

The most recent example of putting power above ideals and beliefs is last week's on again, off again leadership challenge.

Forget the spin about the Prime Minister showing steely resolve and composure under pressure. The reality, unlike Simon Crean and Martin Ferguson who, in the best traditions of the Roman patricians fell on their swords for the greater good of the party, Gillard appears happy to destroy the government as long as she prevails.

Not for Gillard the example of Prime Minister Gorton who, on the vote for leadership being tied and his position secured, put the greater good of the party before self-interest with his words, ""Well, that is not a vote of confidence, so the party will have to elect a new leader".

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The recent photo opportunity on the lawns of Kirribilli House involving the Prime Minister and the Sydney shock jock Kyle Sandilands represents another example of spin over substance.

After attacking Tony Abbott, supposedly, for being misogynist the PM, in order to garner votes, is happy to appear side by side with somebody whose past words and actions demean and humiliate women.

The ALP true believers must also be continually dismayed that their party, in order to serve Gillard's self-interest, now copies Howard government polices in areas like border protection and the treatment of refugees.

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About the Author

Dr Kevin Donnelly is a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University and he recently co-chaired the review of the Australian national curriculum. He can be contacted at kevind@netspace.net.au. He is author of Australia’s Education Revolution: How Kevin Rudd Won and Lost the Education Wars available to purchase at www.edstandards.com.au

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