Saturday, January 15, 2011

Gillard and Bligh

Some people are always going to be happier when they see women being emotional ~ after all, isn't that what women are ~ over emotional and out of control? It appears that Shaun Carney, associate editor of The Age just can't accept the fact that our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard is measured and controlled when she presents in the media. Indeed, Carney states in his editorial 'Lessons for Gillard' this morning, that 'In news conferences and interviews she has looked and sounded robotic and rehearsed'. Susie O'Brien from The Herald Sun put it in kinder terms, she referred to Gillard's demeanor in relation to televised reportage on the floods, as 'wooden and unconvincing'. I suspect, given the cunning way Carney introduced the article by referring to his mother's memory of the 1955 flood in the Hunter Valley that he may in fact have been considering Julia Gillard's media performance in relation to Anna Bligh's emotional plea for Queenslander's to stay strong and the sight of Bligh's trembling bottom lip as she stated "We're the ones that they knock down, and we get up again." I have to admit that I like seeing the emotional humanity exhibited by Bligh, we need to see our politicians as affected, after all Bligh's own mother's house was in the flood path. However, apart from Bligh's obvious emotion and compassion towards the plight of the Queensland people, we also need a Prime Minister in control, displaying leadership qualities and self-discipline. Julia Gillard did not barge in and take front place in media presentations, she did what any true leader should do, which was to allow those who know, to be the one's who speak and the Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh certainly had on the ground experience of the flood and was the best person to talk about it at this time. Gillard's role will come later when she is asked to explain the big picture in relation to how the floods affect the majority of Australians. Gillard doesn't have to show emotion to be actually feeling it, we know that she's not a robot and no amount of underhanded vitriol by Carney about how the PM came to Labor Party leadership is going to make us doubt that Julia is the woman for the job and yes, tough decisions always have to be made.


  1. I was also taken aback by Shaun Carneys meandering,pointless,misogynist piece in the Age on 15.1.2011. I understand politicians are closely scrutinized by the press,but Gillard is being critisized for style,not substance.According to Carney, she 'does not look comfortable', is 'robotic and rehearsed','stage-managed',and needs to 'reset her formal style of presentation'. Not particularly relevant or useful observations in a time of national disaster.

  2. Good points Debra.
    This morning I also found an article by Anne Davies on the National Times, who, when discussing Bligh, added:
    "Beside her, Ms Gillard stood perfectly coiffed in a dark suit, nodding. For women politicians, it is always a fine balance between showing emotion and being perceived as too emotional. Gillard has perhaps erred towards being too cool" and further "Prime Minister Gillard has seemed wooden and not caring. I am not saying that she doesn't care; it's just she doesn't appear to care."
    Believe me, if Anna Bligh ever became PM the media would criticise her for being too emotional. Lets face it, as a woman 'you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

  3. Julia Gillard is a flat, slow, boring speaker. I always feel like saying 'spit it out, Julia', when I see her on TV, droning on at press conferences. She's not expected to show a lot of emotion because she's a woman, but it would be nice if she was a more likeable human being. I personally find her mannerisms (hand gestures) and slow drawl very irritating. Everything about her looks unspontaneous; her nodding, her looks of sympathy/concern etc are all too rehearsed. That's not to say she's necessarily an incompetent PM (although I think she is pretty ordinary as a leader), but it is true to say she won't appeal to a lot of voters. I'm still waiting to see a 'real Julia', but it doesn't look as though that's ever going to happen.

  4. If by the 'real Julia' you mean when she is fired up, then you might consider watching her on Question Time in the House of Representatives. She's an excellent debater as well as being humorous, sympathetic, intelligent and insightful.