Australian Politics

October 12th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Last time I was in Canberra, was the day Kevin Rudd got rolled. Sadly it doesn’t look like either Gillard or Abbott will get rolled while I’m here, but the day before I got here the Speaker of the House resigned. The final straw was court documents revealing texts such as:

 “Brough is a cunt,” Mr Slipper said in a text on October 10 last year. Soon after, he said: ”Funny how we say that a person is a cunt when many guys like cunts.”

About five minutes later Mr Slipper began what the Opposition has called “‘vile anatomical references”. Referring to women’s private parts, he said: ”They look like mussell (sic) removed from its shell. Look at a bottle of mussel meat. Salty Cunts in brine.”

Personally I love mussels and scallops :-)

Anyway not the worse thing ever said, but in the context of this being to a young male staffer he kept hitting on, it was inevitable he went.

Slipper won a motion of no confidence against him by one vote, but as Labor were defending him the House, the independent MPs had gone to him and told him he must resign. He did. This meant that Labor looked like they were defending the indefensible.

Gillard used the debate to launch a ferocious attack on Tony Abbott as a sexist and misogynist. The attack has become a viral hit internationally, but let me tell you that actually in Australia I’m not sure it went down so well. The newspapers are full of stories casting scorn on it, It certainly appealed hugely to Labor’s own supporters but for many it was seen as playing the victim card.

Abbott did not help things by using the phrase “Government dying of shame” which was unwise considering what Alan Jones said about Gillard’s father. But it has also just come out that a comedian at a Labor/union fundraiser made very disgusting remarks about Abbott’s female chief of staff Peta Credlin. Gillard had left when it was made, but several Ministers remained. It rather undermines their attempts to make Abbott look sexist – rather it just shows how personally denigrating Australian politics is – in all parties.

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Will a gay sex scandal involving a Liberal MP bring down Julia Gillard?

April 22nd, 2012 at 4:37 pm by David Farrar

Normally an allegation of a gay sex scandal involving someone elected as a Liberal Party MP would not concern the Leader of the Australian Labor Party and Prime Minister.

But it does when the MP is Peter Slipper. He was first elected to Parliament in 1993 and re-elected in 2010. But in November 2011 the Speaker of the Australian Parliament resigned, and Slipper became Speaker against the wishes of his own party to help the Government’s majority. He then resigned as a Liberal MP, and is now an Independent.

At the 2011 Federal Election both Labor and the Coalition won 72 seats. Gillard retained power by gaining four votes from the six cross-party MPs. They are:

  • Adam Bandt, Greens
  • Andrew Wilkie, Independent (former Green)
  • Tony Windsor, Independent
  • Rob Oakeshott, Independent

After losing the Speaker, The Government can only pass laws 75-74. When Slipper became Speaker, the numbers became 76-73. But Gillard renenged on a deal with Andrew Wilkie, which made the numbers 75-73-1.

If Slipper resigns and a Labor MP replaces him, then Gillard has just 74 seats and the Coalition probably 74 seats and Wilkie hold the balance of power. Does not guarantee the Government falls, but would be very unstable.

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