Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Julia: first 'opinion poll PM'

By Don Allan - posted Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Apparently Australia has experienced a surge in demand for poster sized pictures of new Prime Minister Julia Gillard. No doubt people want them to replace the Kevin Rudd picture they were using either as a dartboard in their games room or as a cover for a hole in the roof of their garden shed.

Thinking it strange that a picture of the Prime Minister was being used as a dartboard or cover for a hole in the roof of their garden shed, some might say “Only in Australia”. You might not, but can you think of a better use? Some people might also think that changing a prime minister on the basis of bad opinion polls also deserves the tag “Only in Australia”.

It is true nonetheless that Julia Gillard is now Prime Minister of Australia while Kevin Rudd has become the proverbial feather duster. On taking the job, however, Julia Gillard adopted the role of reluctant taker of the position and could have attempted to prove her reluctance by offering Rudd a post in her cabinet. The fact that she hasn’t not only suggests something else to me it also serves to confirm my view that she was never reluctant.


Indeed I am sceptical of reluctant takers, male or female, particularly when they are politicians as it has long been my understanding that people who stood for parliament did so because they knew what was wrong with the country and, given the chance, would like to be Prime Minister so that they could make things right. As an observer of Australian politics for the past 40 years, I can say honestly I’ve never seen this happen.

Occasionally during those years however, aspiring politicians have asked me how they should behave if elected. My answer: if and when you try to make things right be strong of voice but not strident.

Today however, I would advise, that if ever they climbed to the summit of Mount Politics and became Prime Minister, they should always be careful of ambitious party backroom boys who want to exercise prime ministerial power without the responsibility of holding the post. If they don’t, particularly because getting rid of a PM without an election is now deemed acceptable, they would face the strong possibility that if the backroom boys of the party they represented didn’t like what the opinion polls were saying about them, they, too, would likely become a feather duster.

That said, every political party has backroom boys; none can plead innocence. And much as Prime Minister Gillard has a good line in rhetoric denying she is beholden to no one (not even voters?), whether or not she likes it she owes the back room “Bovver Boys” of Labor’s right faction in New South Wales a very big debt because, had they not set in motion the actions that led to the destruction of Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister, she would not be Prime Minister today.

Now I don’t care what you think of Rudd. But let me be frank: although I didn’t much care for him, I respected him and his position as Prime Minister of an alleged democratic country. But what kind of democracy is it that allows political thugs like the “bovver boys” to remove a prime minister and pass it off as being in the interests of the nation?

Political thugs of whatever country have never been known to care about the interests of the nation; their interests are the only things that count. And isn’t it strange that when their contemporaries in other countries do the same, in a classic case of pots calling kettles black the “bovver boys” have the gall to call them thugs.


That apart what makes their act of political thuggery more heinous is that it was carried out on the basis of bad opinion polls in the media. When results of the polls were published they were capped with headlines that pandered to the cynical view most people have of politicians. And because people are too lazy to make an effort to understand policy, these headlines became their political stance at that time. Of course, after the next poll that stance could change.

Although a Celt, I make no claim to being gifted with sixth sense, but in a piece “New system of Government on the way” published On Line Opinion, September 8 last year, I predicted opinion polls were on the way to becoming the method of selecting PMs.

Sadly, it seems I was right.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

7 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Don Allan, politically unaligned, is a teenager in the youth of old age but young in spirit and mind. A disabled age pensioner, he writes a weekly column for The Chronicle, a free community newspaper in Canberra. Don blogs at:

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Don Allan

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 7 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy