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Australia Politics

Australia Gets Its First Female Prime Minister 419

Posted by samzenpus
from the sheila-in-chief dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Julia Gillard has been elected unopposed to the Labor leadership, seizing power in a bloodless Parliament House coup after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd decided not to contest this morning's leadership ballot. Ms. Gillard will now be sworn in as Australia's first female prime minister. Emerging from this morning's meeting, she said she felt 'very honored' and said she would be making a statement shortly. Treasurer Wayne Swan now steps up as deputy prime minister. He was also elected unopposed."
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Australia Gets Its First Female Prime Minister

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 24, 2010 @12:30AM (#32673694)

    The news value here being a Prime Minister's gender is condescending to Julia Gillard as a politician.

    The news value should be "Aus PM changes: Will she drop Conroy?"

    • by Zonnald (182951) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @12:32AM (#32673700)
      I didn't know they were dating!?!
    • by KermodeBear (738243) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @12:35AM (#32673720) Homepage

      I'm sick of "First X Elected To Whatever Office." Haven't we moved past this yet? Ideas matter. Gender, ethnicity, heredity do not.

      • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @12:39AM (#32673760) Homepage

        Unfortunately no, we haven't. Sadly, we don't yet live in a utopia. Most power structures are dominated by men, racism still exists, etc, etc.

        *Should* this be news? No. But the sad fact is, it is.

      • by Cameron McCormack (690882) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @12:42AM (#32673784) Homepage
        First female PM, sworn in by our first female Governor General, too. Also she is an avowed atheist. I think that's a first for an Australian PM, too.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Zonnald (182951)
          Let's not forget that in Sydney we have a Female Lord-Mayor, NSW has a Female Premier and Governor. So really this is not new ground for Australia - least NSW.
        • by thijsh (910751) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @02:27AM (#32674376) Journal
          A ginger female atheist (devilwoman!), excellent!!! As you can see the aussie internet filters that would protect them from 'all the evils' has failed them once again...
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by drsmithy (35869)

          Also she is an avowed atheist.

          This part is far more newsworthy, especially given the rise of the Christian Right in Australia over the last decade or so.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by YttriumOxide (837412)

          Also she is an avowed atheist. I think that's a first for an Australian PM, too.

          I certainly consider that far more interesting that the fact she's a female. I'm a pretty "staunch" atheist myself, and find it quite sickening how we're becoming more and more persecuted in the western world these days simply for saying that we refuse to believe a bunch of nonsense without strong evidence. It used to be that the western world was the best place for atheists, but over the last ten years that's been taking a VERY sharp down-turn. For a modern Western country to have an atheist in the "top

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by IWannaBeAnAC (653701)

            Not in Oz. Historically, religion has been quite distant from politics - yes, we have our resident right-wing religious nutjob (currently that position is taken by Steve Fielding, and before him, Brian Harridene), but even then, it is only really in the last couple of years that religion has started to become mainstream in politics, which is BAD and hopefully will now stop.

            When I was growing up, I always knew Brian Harridene as the resident wingnut (he came from the same state as me too), but it was onl

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by MishgoDog (909105)
        Actually, what's more interesting is the manner in which she was appointed (as opposed to elected). Internal party politics ousted Kevin Rudd, and appointed Gillard in his place - a few months before a likely Federal election.
        It's in interesting idea!
      • by melikamp (631205) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @12:54AM (#32673868) Homepage Journal
        What if X is robot? Did you personally move on past that one?
      • by NewToNix (668737)

        I'm sick of "First X Elected To Whatever Office." Haven't we moved past this yet? Ideas matter. Gender, ethnicity, heredity do not.

        Agreed! But your post did invoke a mental picture of Spock as leader of the Klingon High Council...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SteveFoerster (136027)

      I can't remember the last time I wish I had the points to mod an AC first post up, but this would qualify. It's her policies that matter, not her plumbing.

    • by fabs64 (657132)

      Funny thing is when it started happening I said "whoa, gotta be the first victorian pm in a while". Took a good 30 seconds before I figured out why people were looking at me funny

    • by Cimexus (1355033) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @01:35AM (#32674088)

      Agreed. There are two reasons why this should be a story on Slashdot, and neither of them relate to Ms. Gillard's gender.

      1. This is the first time that a serving Prime Minister has been deposed by his own party without even having completed his first term of office (not counting those that died in office, or were temporary caretaker PMs such as Forde). That alone is newsworthy and will make today a notable day in Australian poltical history. What's more, it would have to also be the most rapid fall from grace of a PM in living memory - Kevin Rudd, as recently as three months ago, was enjoying one of the highest approval ratings of any PM, ever. And now he is gone, removed by the very colleagues who as little as 48 hours ago were voicing complete support for him.

      2. More relevant to Slashdot as a technology-related site, this coup means that there will be a ministerial reshuffle and a new Cabinet. Which means there is a good chance that Senator Conroy will be dumped as Communications Minister. Perhaps in favour of Kate Lundy (although this is far from certain). Given that the internet filter proposal was already on shaky ground (Labor has quietly been putting it on the backburner as being "too toxic a topic" for an election year), this may be the extra push needed to make sure it sinks into oblivion (and good riddance!).

      Whatever happens, it certainly has been a dramatic day in politics. It has made the upcoming election, which was looking to be one of the most boring in recent history, into something a little bit more interesting ;)

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I don't think there will be such a big reshuffle. A lot of serving ministers (including Steven "fuckwit" Conroy) pledged support to Gillard.

        Let's not forget, that the reason Rudd was thrown out was because the current MPs felt he could win a election - and by extension they would stop being ministers. this wasn't some Gillard coup, rather a self-preservation exercise by the serving ministers. As such, they will be expecting some kind of reward for their support. Expect Conroy to be shuffled to another minis

    • by sstrick (137546)

      While I like to think of myself as being a open minded as the next person, I do not believe that equality should extended to the head of government.

      Right now I am sure the other countries are laughing at our choice for PM.

      We appointed a wranger, that right a red head as our prime minister! What she is female? That irrelevant, a red head did you hear!

  • by Opiuman (172825) <(redbeard) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday June 24, 2010 @12:34AM (#32673710) Homepage
    I for one, welcome our new ginger overlord
  • So... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Does this mean they're done trying to cut the cable to the Internet in Australia, or is that still on?

    • Re:So... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 24, 2010 @12:45AM (#32673802)

      It's hard to say... it is a toxic policy, and a new leader is the perfect opportunity for a "cabinet reshuffle". If she makes Conroy Minister for Something-To-Keep-Him-Busy-So-He-Can't-Fuck-Up-The-Internet, maybe we will have meaningful change.

      There are actually people within the Labor party who are far more qualified to be communications minister and who are actively opposing the filter (along with... everyone else in the fucking country). Kate Lundy would make a good Comms Minister, for one.

  • by coppro (1143801) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @12:38AM (#32673756)
    Canada's first and, so far, only female Prime Minister also took office by becoming party leader and with no general election in between.
  • Please (Score:5, Informative)

    by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @12:38AM (#32673758)

    Someone tell me if i should hate her or not, the internet has failed me so far

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bloodhawk (813939)
      I guess it depends. If you thought Rudd was doing a bad job then you should hate her too, she is just as responsible for the current state of the government as he is as she is one of the core policy setting pollies. You could also wait a few days to see if she drops conroy, if she doesn't then you should view her with the same disdain we all view him with as a vote her her is a vote for his state driven censorship.
    • Re:Please (Score:5, Insightful)

      by williamhb (758070) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @02:12AM (#32674304) Journal

      Someone tell me if i should hate her or not, the internet has failed me so far

      Mate, she's a politician. Surely that's all you need to know!

  • Really this is just the labour party hoping that by dumping their figure head moron Rudd that people will forget Gillard is just as responsible as Rudd for the recent policy disasters. If anything Gillard is even more extreme than Rudd, lets hope the voting public can see past this sleight of hand.

    Labour need to go before it's too late. Censorship and economic mismanagement are things that simply can't be tolerated any longer.
  • by ad454 (325846) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @12:44AM (#32673792)

    Unfortunately time and again, women politicians have proven themselves to be just as incompetent and corrupt (especially with their favouritism towards big business and their contributions) as male politicians.

    As a women, I have yet to notice any women president or prime-minister leading a western country that has put any additional emphasis over their male counterparts in the same political party on women's only issues: gender discrimination, reproductive rights, healthcare inequalities, etc. So seeing a women as head of state no longer inspires me.

    • by H0D_G (894033) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @01:13AM (#32673972)

      "As a women" - Are you a hive mind?

    • by cappp (1822388) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @01:20AM (#32674020)
      I'm sorry; I couldn't let this pass without response.

      Women's only issues? Seriously? I'm going to assume you're just using short-hand for a more nuanced idea, but still the underlying ideology warrants consideration. Last time I checked the fact that I have a penis didn't make reproductive rights any less of a personal, moral, political, and societal concern. Ignoring the fact that I have a mother, grandmother, sisters, female friends, colleagues, fellow citizens, potential future daughters et al, the fact is that there are underlying issues of fairness, law, and justice that make this relevant to me and mine. I'm not Black but I care about, and am directly affected, by racial equality. I'm not a sportsman but Title IX effects me. I'm not a pirate but IP laws effect me. I’m not a Fox viewer but their freedom of speech effects me. I’m not on death row but their experience effects me. All these things effect my life as a citizen and member of society, they speak to my values, my morals, my interests, and my obligations.

      Discrimination affects us all and strikes at the basic fundamental underpinnings of democratic society. Sexism is just as much about relegating women as it is about controlling men and the way they live their lives, it affects the effeminate man, the homosexual man, the artistic and the socially awkward.

      A woman shouldn't be placing any additional emphasis on these issues, that's interest politics at their worst. Male politicians often care deeply about said issues, their female counterparts are under no heightened obligation to aggressively pursue an agenda because of their testicular inadequacies.
    • Emphasis on those issues? Or expressed an opinion similar to your own on those issues?

      I have no issue whatsoever with women in positions of power. But when special interests start to cloud judgment, incompetence is shown. It mirrors my sentiment toward my own president. And hes a man.

    • by bane2571 (1024309)
      That's a terrible attitude, you've basically said, "I'm uninspired by female politicians because they don't descriminate for women" I mean the point should be male and female politicians acting and being treated exactly the same.
  • Strewth (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hognoxious (631665) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @12:46AM (#32673818) Homepage Journal

    she said she felt 'very honored'

    No she didn't, Australians can spell.

  • Politics would be a lot more tolerable if politicians called each other out in meaningful ways more often. This is the best display of nose-to-the-grindstone politics since Honduras last year.
  • by brendan.hill (1218328) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @01:03AM (#32673910) Journal

    This argument makes me want to kill myself.

    Who cares that she was unelected? You voted for a party, not an individual, you moron. The policies of the party are unlikely to change significantly under Julia. The party leader can and is elected or negotiated) by the party, not the public.

    I mean are people really this fucking stupid? I'll give you a hint - yes they are.

    While I'm ranting, there's another thing I hate. I hate this ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wf3KovsW1Zo [youtube.com] Actually I love the ad, it's friggin' hilarious. What I hate is the fact that this is the quality of election campaigning which political advisors think is worth engaging in. I hate this because this indicates that this is the sort of thing people are persuaded by when they decide who to vote for. People are persuaded more by a cute, idiotic cartoon, than actual political records, history and peformance. Those people are fucking stupid.

    I mean think about it - Kevin was replaced mostly because he was unpopular with voters, and Julia gives Labor a better chance at the next election. This in itself proves the point - despite things not being significantly different under Julia, this change of leader will sway people's votes. WHY SHOULD IT?! It shouldn't, but it does.

    Basically I hate the way democratic politics works, it's crap. And I hate stupid people. Stupid people shouldn't have this much influence.

    -Brendan

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by grainofsand (548591)

      I think the threat by the mining companies to not donate to the election fund this year was the deciding factor in the Victorian and SA factions spilling. A lot of MPs out there rely on mining donations for their election campaigns. Losing those would have made it very hard for them.

      The one thing that has come out of this very clearly is that you need the backing of a strong faction. Rudd was never faction-aligned and has now paid the price for it.

       

    • by geekpowa (916089)

      Rudd's unpopularity is in part a reflection of his ineffectiveness as a leader and a politician. The electorate selected him because they expected significant change. The electorate also voted the previous PM out. Yet Rudd's tenure is marked by a parade of wasteful ineffective policies. He was all talk and no delivery. Disaffection has been brewing for some time now, for years for some people who voted for him only to be quickly disappointed (myself included). We by our politics may disagree on these point

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kasimbaba (1813770)

      Basically I hate the way democratic politics works, it's crap. And I hate stupid people. Stupid people shouldn't have this much influence.

      I agree. Think about how stupid the average person is, and realise that 50% of people are stupider than that. And these people are making decisions on who should run the country. It's ridiculous. I prefer despotism.

  • Bloodless? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by seyyah (986027) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @01:12AM (#32673970)

    Julia Gillard has been elected unopposed to the Labor leadership, seizing power in a bloodless Parliament House coup after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd decided not to contest this morning's leadership ballot.

    Oh come on. Did you really need to tell us that the parliamentary "coup" in Australia was bloodless?

    • by Eskarel (565631)

      Well it was bloodless.

      The fact that it was only bloodless because Rudd did some last minute polling and found out exactly how much of it he was about to lose is unrelated.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sstrick (137546)

      All smothering.....

      No seriously I think the "bloodless coup" bit was more a statement of disappointment that we did not thin out the political gene pool a bit with a few lynchings.

    • by Gumbercules!! (1158841) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @08:56AM (#32676506)
      Well... that depends on the time of month for Ms Gillard, doesn't it?

      I'm sorry.
      So sorry.
  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @01:47AM (#32674156) Homepage Journal

    Lindsay Tanner announced his retirement right after the new PM got in. That tells me the election will be sooner rather than later. Internet filtering is the main issue of interest to /. so I propose we get organized and attack Stephen Conroy.

    Lets all put Conroy last. Copy my sig. Spread the word. Send a message to Gillard on this subject.

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @01:55AM (#32674210) Homepage Journal
    Does she have some sort of pouch in which to store her young?

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