Why Gillard won't go

In June 2010, the Liberals and Nationals Coalition under Tony Abbott were given a 53% national preference over the Australian Labor Party (ALP), which caused the leadership change to bring Julia Gillard to power (Harcher, 2010). The latest Newspoll on June 4, 2013 with Gillard at the helm puts Tony Abbott’s coalition in front at 58% (The Australian, 2013). Elections are only a few months away, scheduled for 14 September 2013.
Yet, although all political pundits are predicting a landslide defeat in the next election, Gillard refuses to budge from the leadership. Since earlier this year, individual ALP luminaries have called for her resignation (Scarr, 2013) but she has resolutely refused the whole time (Atkins, 2013).
The next obvious step in the process, as Gillard did to Rudd in 2010, is if she won’t jump then someone has to push her. Yet, it seems that the ALP are reluctant to do just that. The Australian newspaper states, “We cannot fathom why the Labor caucus has, for so long, stuck by a leader who will almost certainly lead it to its worst ever electoral defeat (The Australian, 2013).”
The difficulty here for all of the above confusion is that they are continually and desperately trying to avoid the elephant in the room: Feminism.
The closest that anyone seems to get is Janet Albrechtsen of The Australian who says that Labor’s quotas for women MPs is largely responsible for the downturn of the party (Albrechtsen, 2013).  Not only does it make for poorer female candidates, she claims, but it also encourages factional deals which allows for poor male candidates as well.
To quote her directly: “…until genuine merit becomes the determining factor for preselection, Labor is destined to be populated by the wrong people, chosen for the wrong reasons.” And she calls the Gillard a “Quota PM” to let us know exactly who at least one of the “wrong people” is.
However,  it is ideology that got Gillard the job in the first place. In 1996 Gillard, with other feminist Labor party workers, started an organisation called Emily’s List (Emily’s List, 2013). This organisation was set up to fund and mentor female candidates to represent Labor in both state and federal elections.
The doublespeak of this organisation should be enough to show its dishonest intent. They have a “mantra” (the less New Age would call it a slogan), “When women support women, women win”.
By “women”, Emily’s Listers are not just refering to any women, or even feminist women, but feminist women who “absolutely” believe in the cause. Only the fervent need apply.
And, when these women win, who gets beat? Can you think who the losers might be?
A hint might be gleaned from one of the justifications for the Emily’s List organisation: “For many women, the cost of running an election campaign can be prohibitive to their involvement in politics.”
Of course, by “election campaign” the girls are not talking here about a bare-bones, seat-of-the-pants effort for a seat on a local city council. They are talking about candidates being able to take on the might of Abbott’s Coalition in seriously contested state and federal elections.
How many male bricklayers or plumbers could afford such an indulgence? How many men, even in jobs that require a suit, are so well off that they can put their career on hold to try their luck, and many tens of thousands of dollars of their own money, in a campaign that, if they lose, has a return of nothing?
This is why most men who want to run for parliament join a political party. In the Labor camp, the men get funded by party; the women get funded by the party–plus what they get from Emily’s List.
Equality! What a shame we all can’t get some.
One of the things the Emily’s Listers pushed for was Labor taking on a policy of providing 40% female candidates for electable seats. That means if it’s a Liberal safe seat, there is no chance of getting elected, so a man can have it. [Editorial note: the Liberal Party is the Labor Party’s primary opposition in the upcoming elections. Yet the Emily’s List people appear unwilling to help Liberal women. Interesting, no? –DE]
In other words, before they beat the Liberal men, the Emily’s Listers first beat the men in their own party.
However the thing to note here is not just that Gillard’s rise lacks merit. Her source of power, therefore, is Emily’s List, and not the ALP, and not the ballot box.
In her “Blue Tie” speech, she declared that Labor is the party for women, and that September 14 will decide “…whether, once again, we will banish women’s voices from our political life (Gillard, 2013).” Again, with references to Abbott and misogyny, Gillard turns to the language of the Feminist faithful and not to Australian Labor Party policy.
This speech resulted in some 500,000 men dropping the ALP as their preferred government in a poll taken shortly thereafter (Atkins, 2013). How’s that for an inclusive Prime Minister who will bring consensus as only females can do?
It doesn’t matter to Gillard, or the Listers, if the ALP remains in government or how badly they might lose. As long as Emily’s List remains, Gillard and her ilk will have access to power.
But if Gillard resigns, then she is admitting that she is not up to the job. It means that not only is Gillard a failure, but so, too, is the unstated but always implied premise behind Emily’s List: quota-empowered women will do a better job than men ever could.
Therefore, Gillard’s resignation would also bring in to question the legitimacy of the other Emily’s Listers currently enjoying positions they could never earn on their own account.
What Gillard also knows is that the Sisterhood, benevolent in its support, never forgives and never forgets. If Gillard resigns they will disown and disempower her in a heartbeat.
A recent example of this was Gillard’s own dismissal of Trish Crossin, an ALP Senator who favoured Rudd in a failed comeback attempt (Maiden, 2013). The dumping was characterised as “brutality” by Crossin, who received “nothing” for her many years of service to the ALP cause.
As to why the men in the Labor party don’t remove her, have a look at Tony Abbott’s non-rebuttal rebuttals to Gillard’s claims of misogyny. He will not take Gillard on over any feminist issue because he is afraid of the feminists. He knows that any argument with feminists just leaps from one unsupported accusation to the other. In the end, he will sound just as mad as they are with no real benefit for his cause.
For example, try arguing with a feminist that Patriarchy as they describe it never existed and see how long it takes before you are accused of racism and homophobia.
Instead he parades his wife and daughters to deflect accusations of misogyny while he tries to look “women friendly” in the background.
If Abbott is afraid of them, you can imagine how the men in the Labor party are. Some of them, by now, are there because of their feminist friendly position. They depend, to a certain extent, on Emily’s List too. Others are there because they were prepared to swap deals with the Listers. None remain who might have opposed them.
Having allowed the feminists to push their way in to their leadership, the ALP is now between a rock and a hard place. To lose the feminists, they fear, would mean losing a large part of their voter base and certainly many of their most ardent activists.
To keep the feminists, it seems, they will probably need to lose everybody else.


Albrechtsen, J., 2013. Gender wars can’t help the Labor cause any more than a quota PM. [Online]
Available at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/gender-wars-cant-help-the-labor-cause-any-more-than-a-quota-pm/story-e6frg7bo-1226657317732
[Accessed 17 June 2013].
Atkins, D., 2013. Party Games: Prime Minister Julia Gillard loses 500,000 male voters in a month with her blue tie speech. [Online]
Available at: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/party-games-prime-minister-julia-gillard-loses-500000-male-voters-in-a-month-with-her-blue-tie-speech/story-fnihsr9v-1226665229700
[Accessed 19 June 2013].
Atkins, D., 2013. Prime Minister Julia Gillard won’t give up her job without a fight. [Online]
Available at: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/prime-minister-julia-gillard-won8217t-give-up-her-job-without-a-fight/story-fnihsrf2-1226664038486
[Accessed 19 June 2013].
Emily’s List, 2013. Emily’s List. [Online]
Available at: http://www.emilyslist.org.au/
[Accessed 18 June 2013].
Gillard, J., 2013. The Blue Tie Speech: Prime Minister’s Address To Women For Gillard. [Online]
Available at: http://australianpolitics.com/2013/06/11/women-for-gillard-speech.html
[Accessed 18 June 2013].
Harcher, P., 2010. The Syndey Morning Herald. [Online]
Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/rudds-showdown-at-the-last-chance-saloon-20100606-xn7x.html
[Accessed 18 June 2013].
Maiden, S., 2013. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/im-offering-you-nothing-julia-gillards-response-to-dumped-senator-trish-crossin/story-fndo317g-1226572146614. [Online]
Available at: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/im-offering-you-nothing-julia-gillards-response-to-dumped-senator-trish-crossin/story-fndo317g-1226572146614
[Accessed 19 June 2013].
Scarr, L., 2013. Julia Gillard must resign as leader or Labor is doomed at the election, says Kon Vatskalis. [Online]
Available at: http://www.news.com.au/national-news/julia-gillard-must-resign-as-leader-or-labor-is-doomed-at-the-election-says-kon-vatskalis/story-fncynjr2-1226594718462
[Accessed 19 June 2013].
The Australian, 2013. http://www.theLeadership Panic ignores Labors policy challenges. [Online]
Available at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/editorials/leadership-panic-ignores-labors-policy-challenges/story-e6frg71x-1226665263429
[Accessed 18 June 2013].
The Australian, 2013. The Australian. [Online]
Available at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs
[Accessed 18 June 2013].

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