This blog is a participant in Blog Action Day 2012.
The theme is the Power of We -
which I believe the women of Australia
have demonstrated in support
of our first female prime minister, Julia Gillard,
and in support of reasonable civil discourse.
This is quite a story.
This post is Part 1.
I expect to follow up this afternoon with Part 2.
This wordcloud has come from Turn Left 2013
I will leave it to a feminist PhD candidate to collect every last thread of this story. Collecting the most recent and prominent threads has been enough. Below please find a list of mainstream media links relating to Julia Gillard's speech last Tuesday 9 October 2012. Among these links both the video and the transcript of the speech are available.
I believe a number of factors led to the speech of 9 October.
Firstly, the ongoing vileness day after day, week after week by conservative forces and the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott. Please go here to see some of the images used against Julia Gillard. Many women face sexism and misogyny every day and have to let it go by with dignity - so it has been believed. There is no doubt that Julia let it go by with dignity - but we do suspect she may have mentally rehearsed what she would actually say given the opportunity.
Secondly, she faced the Canberra Press Gallery to answer challenges which had been going on for a long time regarding events in her earlier life. Julia stood there taking every question the gallery asked and answering in detail. My view is that if they had stayed there until midnight, she would have kept up her strong demeanour and kept answering their questions. As it turned out, the gallery ran out of questions after 55 minutes. But it was a tour deforce with Julia remaining composed, answering lucidly, and even giving some interchange.
Thirdly, what doesn't break me makes me stronger. Unfortunately for the conservative opposition, the Liberal National Party Coalition, they have continued their hardline and vile tactics for over two years. Australia has a 'hung' parliament with the government holding on by a thread with support of a mixed bag of independents and teeny-tiny parties. For Julia and her manager of government business, Anthony Albanese, some days it must feel like herding cats. Every day that parliament sits, the Labor government is only a vote or two or three away from defeat. Yet Labor has not toppled as the Opposition expected ... and day by day their frustration, their hatred, their violent language has become more putrid.
So while some believe that Julia Gillard remains the Prime Minister of Australia by luck and with the help of petulant independents, her misogyny and sexism speech proves beyond doubt that this is a strong woman with a sound intellect who is competent, competitive, and determined. This is what electrified and transfixed Australia - and, as it turned out, the world - last Tuesday.
Now we see and hear a mystified mainstream media trying to play catch up. They focus on what led to the speech - matters surrounding the now resigned Speaker of the House of Representatives. They say they had to give context to their reporting. I have yet to hear any of our senior and serious journalists acknowledging that a number of narratives can co-exist and run concurrently, each with their own context.
The context of the eruption of social media was that a significant number of Australians - perhaps the majority - and possibly a majority of women were fed up. We have been fed up with the negativity of the opposition. We have been fed up with the vileness and violence of their language which has poisoned public discourse in Australia. We want good government. We don't want either our economy or our nation talked down to glorify the negative agenda of the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott. Over and over with spontaneity since last Tuesday Australians have said "Enough is Enough". I am not sure whether we have to wait a little longer to declare Julia's speech cathartic, a national release, rejoicing, breathing out at last. We will wait to see if that is really the case.
But last Tuesday was significant. I believe that the women of Australia reached a new milestone then. Our drooping shoulders could now be lifted and braced. The misogyny and sexism and ridicule and diminution of women would now be fought with dignity and strength. Men who share the values of Abbott and Jones will have to either shut up or justify themselves, their words, their actions. Game on! Thank Julia!
For a distinguished review of the vile things
that have been visited upon Julia Gillard
please go to Anne Summers site - The Looking Glass.
Please note Anne's warning: there is a vanilla version,
then there is the R rated version, and then the pictures.
Here are a few blogs to give you a flavour
of the mood among women in The Land of Oz
of the mood among women in The Land of Oz
I realise that these blogs are only a minute representation
of the blogosphere on this topic.
Please, Networkers, feel free to send me
the name and URL of your favourites for inclusion.