Thursday, 27 June 2013

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard ousted

Julia Gillard 2010I suppose that most of us tend to be parochial in our interest in politics. Before my trip to Australia, I had not heard much of Julia Gillard. In Melbourne, the forthcoming Labour Party leadership election was a hot topic. Yesterday, my chosen source for daily news over breakfast, The Week, featured her removal in their most useful "10 things you need to know today" as well as in a couple of customarily succinct feature articles so I would have finally caught up.

An important reason for the interest of orthodox Australian priests in the contest is Gillard's strong advocacy of abortion as a "woman's right", most recently expressed in her "blue tie" speech earlier this month. Lifesite news has a video and commentary on their article Radical pro-abortion Australian Prime Minister ousted after strident gender/abortion speech. The upshot is that Australians are, generally speaking, more pro-life and pro-family than the English but also that Kevin Rudd, the new Prime Minister, will probably narrow the gap between the Australian Labour Party and the Conservatives in the General Election on 14 September.

My priest friends in Melbourne had an interesting insight which would be missed by us in the UK. Gillard was a Melbourne lawyer before entering politics. As I can verify, people in Melbourne do have a distinctively Australian accent, especially with some vowel sounds being different from English pronunciation. (We had some fun with the different ways that we pronounce the word "holy.") Nevertheless, the Melbourne accent is closer to standard English than the kind of twangy Australian which Gillard has affected. It is rather like the embarrassing attempt of George Osborne to do a bit of estuarian mockney when speaking of the Briddish who wanna work.

UPDATE: Thanks to Anthony Ozimic in the combox for an important twist in the story which I had missed: "It is also noteworthy that Julia Gillard opposed same-sex marriage but Kevin Rudd now supports it. See Australia: Equal marriage campaigners welcome Julia Gillard’s decision to resign as prime minister"
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