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The difference with Australian politics

We just appointed a woman who was born in a foreign country, who is unmarried, and who is not religious, to be our executive. Compare and contrast with a nation of your choice…


  1. Neil Neil

    This isn’t so great. Every single US president has been born in a foreign country.

    • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

      Actually, every single government leader in every other country has been born in a foreign country, so far as I know.

  2. Mike Haubrich Mike Haubrich

    I am happy for Australia that you now have a PM with all/each of those qualities. I am sure that many will be watching to see if she retains her office when the next elections are held.

    I see new grousing that it doesn’t really count because she hasn’t yet been democratically elected; that the Kiwis have had two women, etc. and that the Brits have yet to follow up from their bold move of electing Thatcher.

    I am interested to see if she will be bold enough to push for a reversal of the trend to censor the internet.

    • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

      The election thing is irrelevant, since we have a system that elects parties, not leaders. But I would give more kudos if she wins the next election. The Labor Party tends to appoint women to leadership when they expect to lose.

      We should have had a woman leader years ago, but I do not think she will be very different from Labor men in any respect. However, she is completely areligious in public life, unlike Abbott and Rudd, so that is what I most appreciate. I too hope she dumps the internet censorship policy, but unfortunately we won’t know much before the election.

      • MartinDH MartinDH

        Yes and for non-party non-parliamentarians:
        1) she has to retain her seat [public vote…one district]
        2) Labour has to maintain its majority (or at least be able to form a majority coalition) [public vote…nation wide]
        3) Gillard has to maintain leadership of the Labour Party [Internal Labour vote].

        Anyway, congrats on what appears to be a rational, left-of-centre, convention defying PM…I hope she lives up to expectations and, if so, remains in power for some time (an anti-Thatcher perhaps).

    • A. Clausen A. Clausen

      What does an election have to do with it. In the Westminster system, the rule is “the voters choose the Parliament, the Parliament chooses the government.” Prime Ministers don’t stand for election save in their own riding, and while they certainly are the face of their party during elections, that’s not the same thing.

      Nobody says Churchill wasn’t the legitimate Prime Minister of Great Britain between 1940 and 1945, even though he had gained the office after Chamberlain stepped down.

  3. Would it be unreasonable to ask you to expand on your first word, ‘we’?

    • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

      The NSW Right, of course. They speak for us all.

  4. She comes from Barry! Boy! Have you got problems!

  5. Esa Riihonen Esa Riihonen

    Finland – we have a female president elected twice by popular vote. Has one out of wedlock daughter, has been the president of SETA the major LBGT rights organization of the country, doesn’t belong to the church, got married (for practical reasons) with her long term partner only after the first election.

    I guess we are pretty even.

    • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

      No. You win outright. If only you all spoke Australian and had a bit of sunshine, I’d come live there.

      • Aussies don’t speak they …

  6. Dornier Pfeil Dornier Pfeil

    Bravo ! ! !
    You have my hopes she doesn’t knuckle under to religious tropism like the equivocator in chief we have in the states.

    • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

      Obama has been rather courageous for an American politician WRT religion. He has several times affirmed the role of atheists and nonreligious in American society, which so far as I can tell nobody in that office had since, well, ever.

      However, his actions have been less than stellar.

      • Dornier Pfeil Dornier Pfeil

        Agreed. He has been far braver in statement than any president since the founding. (Compare George Bush Sr’s statement that atheists are not even Americans.) I picked the word tropism with care though. I may be exposed to it more than you, but his paeans to religion are still numerous and getting more so. Ah well, he is still a politician. No sruprise there.

  7. Chris' Wills Chris' Wills

    @Martin DH

    Not sure why you would wish an anti-Margaret T on anyone.

    Hopefully she’ll set a good example by scrapping the Great Australian Internet Censorship project.
    Though, if she just appoints Kate Lundy to replace Stephen Conroy I suspect you’ll have the same project but with a smile.

    • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

      Do you think Lundy is that stupid? She knows it can’t work.

      • Chris' Wills Chris' Wills

        I’m sure she isn’t stupid (i.e. she likely knows that it won’t work), but has that ever stopped a politician enacting iliberal and unworkable laws?

        It gives more power to the politicians and police to control and oppress people and views that they don’t like, so it doesn’t matter if she knows it is unworkable in practice for 100% of the populace, for most internet users it will work.

        Also they get to waste lots of money and get freebies.

  8. djlactin djlactin

    We in Canada also had a female prime minister (for 132 days), although she succeeded Brian Mulroney (“Myron Bullroney”), perhaps the least popular PM in (all, not just Canadian) history, who resigned after he realized he would be defeated in the next election. Come election time, she was wiped off the map. She cried on TV.

    • A. Clausen A. Clausen

      She had reason to cry. Her party was reduced to two seats (from 151) and she lost her own riding. If that ain’t a reason to cry, there’s no reason to cry.

    • Dornier Pfeil Dornier Pfeil

      Did she volunteer to take his place or was there no choice involved at all? The cowardice Mulroney showed and the disrespect he showered on her were legion.

  9. djlactin djlactin

    Perhaps I should have mentioned her name: Kim Campbell.

  10. We just appointed a woman who was born in a foreign country

    Not just any foreign country, but WALES!

    I tell you we’re taking over.

    Cymru am Byth!

    • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

      I wondered when you’d pipe up. Do you think she might have a red dragon tattoo?

    • thonyc thonyc

      Not WALES but BARRY!

      If you don’t know the difference go visit Barry but I warn you you might not survive the experience without suffering serious mental injury.

    • Louis Louis

      Woman PM: Brilliant! I wish it were an irrelevance but…

      Non-Religious PM: Brilliant! I also wish it were an irrelevance but…

      Welsh and from Barry: Ouch, you fucked up there. There is no excuse for Wales. The whole place should be burned to the ground. Bunch of close harmony singing, leek bothering, sheep shagging, daffodil sporting fuckers the lot of them. They even support the wrong rugby team.*


      * Actual anti Welsh bigotry may not exist. Except for the part about supporting the wrong rugby team.

  11. Do you think she might have a red dragon tattoo?

    You might think that. I couldn’t possibly comment.

    • Jim Foley Jim Foley

      You might think that. I couldn’t possibly comment.

      When I see that phrase I think “House of Cards”. Or is there another source?

      • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

        That and “To Play the King”.

  12. Veronica Abbass Veronica Abbass

    Do Australians really spell labor without the u? Tell me it isn’t so.

    • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

      Just the Labor Party. I’m not entirely sure why. Possibly there’s a north American connection back in the late 19th century.

  13. Veronica Abbass Veronica Abbass

    Thanks for the reply; I looked for an explanation and viola:

    The ALP adopted the formal name “Australian Labour Party” in 1908, but changed the spelling to “Labor” in 1912. While it is standard practice in Australian English both today and at the time to spell the word labour with a “u”, the party was influenced by the United States labor movement and a prominent figure in the early history of the party, the North American–born King O’Malley, was successful in having the spelling “modernised”.[20] The change also made it easier to distinguish references to the party from the labour movement in general.[21] Furthermore, the spelling “labor” had been acceptable in both British and Australian English in earlier periods. (See also: Spelling in Australian English)

  14. Oh, VA, that all SOUNDS so rational, whereas, as a long-time Broken Hill born ALP supporter (from birth), I assumed it wuz just cuz we coodnt spel.

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