“Like empty shells scattered…”

“ Like empty shells scattered on the wide, broad shore,

I await the tide and waves to move me ever- more…”

I my opinion, Julia Gillard was as good a parliamentary performer as Paul Keating, her comedic attack on the “Bishops Julie and Julia” when education minister showed her capacity for wit and cheek on the floor of The House…


What she lacked, however, was the “space to perform” that has for millennia been the private property in parliament of the male of the species…the “props” for performance…ie; the casual use of the hand and arm movement, the affectation of “couldn’t care less” hands in pockets and the extraction and use of the pocket handkerchief to demonstrate contempt ..etc, familiar and expected from the men but rather un-ladylike when used by women. These “Man-erissims” and conventions, were, up to the time of Australia’s first female PM. the sole ownership of the male members of The House. What Julia Gillard did was to try to introduce female owned mannerisms that set a parlimentary standard for the next woman PM. to emulate and advance.

But while Paul Keating and Julia Gillard came from solid working-class backgrounds who grasped the opportunity of education to elevate themselves to the highest public role in the nation, it was Keating who had the advantage of observing the procedure of parliament and the “movement” of The House for the longer period. This allowed him more time to absorb the nuances of language, delivery and timing so important in the need for the flawless performance as a minister in government..This nuance of language in particular which is part of the private education “finishing school” in the middle-class private colleges is “visible” and indeed audible in the carefully constructed language used by that class that uses such to identify and connect to others educated in similar institutions..A “sign” as significant as and as identifiable with as “the Old School Tie” of the English establishment schools or the secret handshake of a masonic society.. It is the identification of “right of expectation” to be heard and to deliver without interruption, one’s dissertation.

Keating had the time to watch his fellow ministers, themselves many from such privileged schools deliver their halting-at-just-the-right-moment speeches , peppered with exquisite timing of conjunction and syntax, of emphasis on syllable and word to develop his own sabre-cutting style so severely delivered onto the “killing floor” of parliament.

And then we had Julia Gillard, the equal, surely in wit and flourish, but unfortunately lacking that lengthy apprenticeship in the ministry that cultivated the snarling Keating impatience and she was perhaps too soon thrown into the gladiatorial arena to exchange not just wit and willpower, but those political killing cut and thrusts familiar and esteemed by the male politician but viewed as “unladylike” and unseemly when coming from a woman.

And so then we came to the “hyperbole” moment ( below).


Ten News w / George Negus…on interview on ABC 7.30 w / Chris Uhlmann.

With the following Comments..

“ Why is this moron running our country? There’s 5 year olds out there with a more intelligent turn of phrase!”

“She’s as clueless on using big impressive sounding words as she is in pushing a tax which is the biggest political scam of all time.”

“dumb union hack fabian socialist ex chief of staff to useless brumby bogan lying hypocrite who is wreaking the country. the genius who came up with medicare gold and backed mark latham. The genius who dismantled the pacific solution when there were only 6 boat people in detention so she would look humane and caused 7000 to sail to oz and then blamed ‘push factors’ . worst p.m. in history, even makes whitlam look good. “

I think that is enough cut and paste to give the idea of what a mispronounced word can cost. We can see George Negus found it amusing and even good to poke fun at the PM. for it..of course, it had to be that shit-eating arse-licker ; Uhlmann who got the gig…if ever there was a more useless “boss’s suck” than HIM I have yet to witness them.

But getting back to that “finishing school” nuance of the correctly pronounced word or phrase..I can sympathise with Julia Gillard , having suffered the laughter and pointed barbs from my own faux pas on the subject..a humiliating experience for many of us educated in the mixing pot of state schools, where there is no developing network after graduation to extend or draw upon , no “clubbiness” of organisation or establishment to hone and extend the “vocabulary of influence”…It is a lonely graduation into the blue-collar world of hard work and gross familiarity, no matter the university qualification..it is the social peer group that holds one to account and THAT was the developing fluid that created the picture for both Paul Keating and Julia Gillard.

Particularly for Gillard as she was hurled into the rough and tumble world of union politics, where the “plum-voiced ambulance-chaser” would not go over well..add to that her relationship with a union organiser, which was used as some sort of “guilt by association” years later ( and I have to give respect to the man involved for steadfastly refusing to ‘drop her in it’ when pushed in that kangaroo “court of law” overseen by that filthy ‘judge’) .

The developing character of our first female Prime Minister was foreshortened by a conspiracy of disgruntled “men” (hardly worthy of the respect of the title) from both sides of politics and the Main-stream media, coupled with their “molls” too keen to lend their spiked heels to the injuries delivered to Julia Gillard on the floor of The House, in the cabinet rooms and in the rag-bags of the Murdoch spittoons !

There have been three reforming Prime Ministers worthy of the name in the last fifty years of the Australian Parliament…Whitlam , Keating and Gillard…all Labor PM’s..Two of them were removed from office prematurely , only Keating held his seat till the end of his run..and if you take the time to witness his cutting up and carving off of his opposition on the Floor of The House , you will see why…but it was not a lack of an acid tongue that cut the other two short of their rightful terms…no..their repartee of wit too were the stuff of legend ..it took cruel conspiracy, cowardice and betrayal to remove so fine ministers from office..and in the case of Julia Gillard, I sometimes wonder if it was the deeply inculcated suspicion and fear of the upper middle-class establishment for the rough and vulgar but concise accuracy of the working-class eye for a weakness in governance that finally swayed Gillard’s closest ministers to cruelly betray her.


12 thoughts on ““Like empty shells scattered…”

  1. As a Ruddite and Labor Party reformer I enjoyed this piece as it alludes to the many problems within our Party structure

    Neo-liberalism is the main problem within the Labor Unity right faction [some say far right faction]

    Keating has come back from his earlier neo-liberal stance that he used to defeat Hewson [stealing the right from under his nose pushing Liberals further right]

    I also believe that he would regret privatising 1/2 of CommBank in a private discussion

    He now preaches the Rudd ASEAN line and the Whitlam Chinese embrace than he did when PM
    With reading this Jan 13 2012 speech to the Asia Society it`s easy to see why he`s Chairman of the Asia Society and bases himself in New York

    I have a question for you
    Do you know and understand the workings of the Brookings Institution?


    1. Not so much now..oh , I know of it and who it represents, much like it’s once lobbyist rival : “The Cato Institute”..but lately I only take a passing interest in it’s comments on particular policy when delivered into the public forum.


      1. No worries..it’s just that the entire middle-east situation is now so complex and entwined from the time of the Jewish wars of the Roman times to the first world war and the machinations of the Sykes / Picot agreement that it would take a whole encyclopaedia to explain it let alone unravel it!..a task so way beyond my “pay-scale”.


      2. No the problem is not since Roman times up until WW1,it`s since 1948 and more especially since 1975

        israel is an Apartheid rogue State that`s broken over 100 UN Security council recommendations including the latest on 4th Nov 2016

        Australia has abandoned it`s ANZAC/ANZUS allies for this rogue state which is far worse than Apartheid South Africa


      3. While I enjoy talking history, and I could extrapolate on the time-line you mention, I’ll have to for this time leave that debate sit with that response..thanking you.


  2. The end of the Keating era also doomed the likes of Gillard with Beasley becoming leader who was more of a follower and wanted to be seen as “Howard lite” than lead a party of conviction.

    The unions were amalgamating larger ones eating up the smaller, union reps not knowing who exactly they represented, and it give rise to the “careerist” These people weren’t cut of the same cloth as Gillard yes like her university educated they had no appreciation about the struggle their working class parents/grandparents were/had gone through as it wasn’t happening to them.

    They became staffers to sitting MP’s and Senators and later MP’s and senators themselves because the rank and file were over looked as under educated even though they knew more about the topic than those who read it in a book but they already had the ear of the factional warlord and the numbers come any vote.

    The party and beliefs were secondary to the various warlords their career depended on look at Eddie Obied as an example

    When it came down to it The ALP failed Gillard and we’ll never know how great a leader she could’ve been as Rudd offered “careerists” jobs well above their station in life because they had no sense of loyalty to anyone other than those who could further their careers that would never have happened otherwise.


  3. Has the boyfriend gone to jail yet? I think the answer is no. Blewett after being charged was allowed to leave the country in spite of confessing of ripping off the union. The only one they were interested in getting was Gillard. This was after 2 decades of inquiries and investigations, based only on allegations and innuendo. None, including Abbott’s RC, found nothing.

    Liked by 1 person

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