Thursday, June 24, 2010

An historic day for women and redheads

Like many Australians and political addicts I have spent a great deal of my day keeping an eye on the momentous events in Canberra.

I am excited and amazed that we now have our first female prime minister in Julia Gillard. A history making moment for all Australians and an event I hope to be able to tell my children and grandchildren about. And as a fellow red head it's a great day for rangas too!

The new Prime Minister's press conference was stirring stuff. She was eloquent, articulate, confident, intelligent and passionate. She demonstrated she has the ability to communicate with the ordinary person together with an ability to inspire. It was powerful stuff.

My dad actually reminded me of a prophetic statement I made six years ago. At that time I was working in politics including stints at Parliament House in Canberra. I had the pleasure of meeting Julia. I said then that Julia would be the first female Prime Minister of Australia. It's slowly dawning on me that this moment has finally arrived.

However there is a little part of me that is disappointed. Has the way in which this historic moment occurred taken away some of the shine? I've read the views of some commentators that because Julia is a woman we expect her to play nice whereas a man could get away with today's events. I do disagree. I truly believe I would feel this way if a male politician did the same thing.

I can already hear people say that's politics so deal with it. If you don't like the heat get out of the kitchen. Kevin did something similar to former Opposition Leader Kim Beazley and it will happen again. I'm not nieve, I have worked in politics and I follow it passionately. I understand it is tough and can be ruthless. But does it really have to be that way?

Most people watching the former PM's press conference would have found it hard not to be moved by the emotion he displayed. He was gutted and who could blame him. Whatever your politics or your thoughts about the man, you can't help but feel for him.

Please don't get misunderstand what I'm saying. I am so very proud as a woman and a citizen of this wonderful country that we finally have a female PM. We have broken through a barrier that I hope will inspire women, of all ages and from all backgrounds to achieve great things. I just feel a little sad and disappointed at the circumstances in which this occasion has all come about. I think my main concern is that we are living in a democracy and the steps to take this decision were made by a few.

With all that said, I wish the new PM the very best of luck with the enormous task she has ahead. The next few months will no doubt be a very interesting time. She deserves to be an inspiration to all women for a remarkable achievement.

Mama Mia has a great post all about Julia. Worth checking out.

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