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This website is in imminent danger of being shut down. It has been online since 1995, but the personal circumstances of the owner, Malcolm Farnsworth, are such that economies have to be made. Server costs and suchlike have become prohibitive. At the urging of people online, I have agreed to see if Patreon provides a solution. More information is available at the Patreon website. If you are able to contribute even $1.00/month to keep the site running, please click the Patreon button below.

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The Real Julia: Is That It?

The Real Julia was much talked about during the recent election campaign. It was a conversation initiated by Gillard herself. She offered the view that if only she could be left to be herself we would have a political leader of whom we could be proud.

The Real JuliaOf course, The Real Julia campaign collapsed under the weight of its own contradictions.

At the same time, many commented on the discipline shown by Tony Abbott. The Real Tony had been mugged by the campaign managers, it was alleged.

I have a more prosaic view. I believe we did see The Real Julia and The Real Tony throughout the election.

An election campaign is a period of immense concentrated activity, much of it artificial and simply silly. Nevertheless, it’s one of those times when the real nature of a political leader is hard to disguise. It tends to seep through the countless television and radio interviews. It’s seen in their reaction to pressure and in their contact with voters, no matter how stage-managed. [Read more…]

Day 17 – Amusing Ourselves To Defeat

Day 17 of the election campaign centred on the desperate attempt to resuscitate the campaign of Prime Minister Gillard.

But it began with a televised confrontation between Fiona Patten of the Sex Party and Wendy Francis from Family First. Since the “debate” was on Channel 7’s Sunrise program, it necessarily lacked gravitas but contained many loud buzzers to signal the thirty-second time limits.

Patten was out-talked by a more confident Francis and it reminded me of my conversation with Martin Leahy, the Sex Party candidate for the Victorian seat of La Trobe.

I met Leahy at the ballot draw, an arcane ritual complete with tattslotto style cages, numbered balls and blindfolded Electoral Commission staff. A two-stage selection of the numbered balls takes place, the first to allocate numbers to candidates, the second to designate the order of candidates on the ballot paper. [Read more…]