I’m reading My Story by Julia Gillard. For overseas readers, she was Australia’s first female Prime Minister.
There’s some of her political views I don’t agree with but in the main I’m a Labor voter (with swings towards Green sometimes). I was so glad when had a female PM, and extra glad that the first female PM was a Labor one.
I don’t know why politicians always have to write such tombs; analysing, justifying, describing, explaining every nuance and speech and action. Most of which most people can’t remember, let alone care about.
Still, Gillard writes like a forthright Laborite. And I love her voice. So Aussie.
Could you hear a political leader from any other country saying this about crying when deposed?
While prime minister, I had shed tears: tears of sadness for the suffering of [others], tears of grief at the loss of my father, tears of relief … But I was not going to stand before the nation as prime minister and cry for myself. I was not going to let anyone conclude that a woman could not take it. I was not going to give any bastard the satisfaction.
The use of bastard on page one sets the tone. Well, much of the tone. Just not the long boring bits.
God, Rudd was an arsehole. Why do politicians let their own ego overtake them, overtake their purpose? Why do they become a traitor to their party and the people? Why do they sabotage an election for their own ego? And why is this more usually Labor politicians than Liberals?
Have you heard “that speech”? The “I will not be lectured in misogyny by that man” speech. Powerful stuff. YouTube it.
Really, vast slabs of this book were boring. I skipped pages, sections, chapters. And that sums up part of her failure. She failed to capture, to ignite the public. She was boring. I heard her in person once. She was warm and engaging. But when she speaks a prepared speech her voice flattens and she becomes an automaton.
And just quietly, I haven’t forgiven her statement that parents should go to their child’s school and rouse on the teachers. Yeah, thanks Julia. As if everyone isn’t an expert already. As if we don’t have enough helicopter parents. Enough whinging, “I’m going to the Minister” parents already. Enough verbal abuse by parents. She has conveniently left that foot in mouth comment out of her book.
If I’m ambivalent about her, I’m equally ambivalent about her book. I do like redheads, though.