Chants of “ditch the witch” and “ditch the bitch” could be heard repeatedly at the protest rally against the carbon tax in Canberra yesterday. It was a fitting illustration of the escalating vitriol against Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Against that backdrop, Labor supporters hesitate to criticise the Prime Minister. Indeed, to express concern about where she’s taking the party is to invite accusations of misogyny, disloyalty and anti-Laborism. But as I watched Question Time yesterday, an experience one now endures rather than savours, I couldn’t help thinking that the invective from her opponents did not diminish my belief that she is indeed a disastrous Labor leader.
With a gallery of protesters applauding every line from Tony Abbott, Gillard adopted a fighting posture, much as she has done in Question Time since late last year. As she does most days now, she repeated her “bring it on” challenge to the Opposition. Multiple questions on climate change and the carbon tax were turned into an attack on Tony Abbott’s credibility and policy shortcomings. This heartens the faithful, as it should.
“She’s so good in the House,” Labor people tell each other, pinpointing one of the qualities Gillard’s reputation was built on. But there’s a certain undergraduate quality to Gillard’s performances. Abbott has it too, that combative, take-no-prisoners approach, the repetitive jibes, the sharp put-downs. It’s difficult to define but there’s something missing in these performances. [Read more...]