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The Negotiator


We saw her twist the arms of the teachers federation and get MySchool into existence.

We saw her take a devastating election poll result and turn it into a government.

And now we saw her pave the way for the most fundamental infrastructure reform in decades.

We know her as Julia Gillard, PM. Others now her as ….




Today is the last question time of the year. It is bound to be a cracker. The Coalition, who had talked up the demise of the government that Julia Gillard managed to scramble together as flimsy and about to collapse at any moment, have so far been thwarted from turning this into a reality.

In the 17 days post the election it became clear that Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott have two distinctive styles of negotiating. In fact it became clear that Julia and Kevin Rudd had two distinctive styles as well.

Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd seem to be from the old school.

When Kevin Rudd was in the midst of negotiating with the mining industry, he would have a talk with them and if it had not gone his way, he or a representative would appear in front of a camera and say things. This maybe words of peace or it maybe words of threat. It varied depending on the pressure at hand. I may be doing Kevin a disservice here as I really did not start to get interested in politics till around August this year. Most of it was a constant blur.

Tony Abbott’s style in the 17 days seemed to be the same as Kevin’s. Tony would have a talk with someone and if it did not appear as going in his favor he would use the media to try to beat up a wave of public pressure. We were subjected to hearing about phone calls from the devil and smear campaigns in the electorates of the independents for example.

Julia Gillard on the other hand seems to be in a completely different box. Again, I was not interested prior to August so I missed what she was doing with the Teachers Federation in regards to MySchool. But I took keen interest in those 17 days post the election. Julia did NOT at any stage appear to use the media to whip up a public frenzy. She barely discussed anything about the negotiations other than to say they were ongoing when she was asked.

She seemed to also be able to keep this type of style within the ranks of her colleagues. I really do not recall any ALP MP come out and criticize any of the key players, whereas within the L-NP, several talking heads came out to comment on ramifications if the independents decided to back Labor.

It did not really crystallise for me till this current campaign re the NBN. Despite the comments and pressure from the L-NP and despite Senator Nick Xenophon’s daily if not hourly use of the media, Julia kept her remarks to herself. The only times she spoke out was in parliament itself and it was usually to take a swipe at the coalition. She never made it a war of words in the media with either Steve Fielding or Nick Xenophon.

A lot is being made by the coalition calling the release of the summary, a condition of the arrangement made with Senator Xenophon as some kind of back down. THE AUSTRALIAN has also taken up this stance, but then again, I am repeating myself.

Some other commentators have asked why the summary was not released earlier etc. Looking at the released document, I asked myself that too. But then I had to put things into some form of timeline here.

Last week, when Julia Gillard returned from the G20/APEC meetings, she had a spring in her step. Something was up. And that something was the business plan. The week also marked several bills that were bought to a vote on the Thursday of that week. It was obvious that these bills and the efforts to get them through was the governments priority. They did not fail.

She then got onto another plane and flew away to Portugal. She was on the ground for 18 hours and in the air for 55 it was reported. She returned to the ranks to hear about 7 year and 3 year and 2 week confidentiality agreements in the papers and on TV. She worked quietly and methodically. She first got a deal with the greens in the senate and then turned her attentions to the independents. Steven Fielding avoided the media. Nick Xenophon made daily contact.

On Tuesday night, the PM met with Nick Xenophon. And then the winds of politics changed. Nick Xenophon first called this a back down and then he corrected that by saying it was a compromise. What really perked up my ears was he basically gave the credit to the PM while at the same time also praising the negotiations between Stephen Conroy and Penny Wong. But for the PM, Nick had found new respect.

“This is a win for transparency,” he said.

“I’m very grateful to the Prime Minister for getting involved in this process.”

I doubt Tony Abbott has these skills. Or if he does, he has yet to demonstrate them to me or it seems to the independents during the 17 days after the election. Nor did it seem was it evident as he attempted to persuade them in regards to the Wild Rivers bill.

In a minority government situation, it seems the right man for the job of Prime Minister is a woman and her name is Julia.

And next year, she’ll be back.

A. Ghebranious    2010            All Rights Reserved

  1. Jennifer Baratta permalink


  2. Catching up permalink

    Very clever lady. She governs on her own terms. not Mr. Abbotts.

    Mr. Abbott’s problem is that he believes his own spin. Mr. Abbott must surely realise that saying the same thing over and over, eventually becomes boring. It would not be hard to write the questions now that Mr. Abbott is going to ask this afternoon. I also expect to see a very angry opposition, as they do not cope with defeat easy. Last night’s childish performances in the senate proves this.

    My young eight year old granddaughterm who is not expose to political discussionm started to laugh when Mr. Abbott’s name was mentioned. Her hands immedialtely went to head and said that at school they call him Mr. Rabbit. He surely has problems when this occurred in a school in the southern highlands.

    I am asking if anyone knows what Mr. Abbott’s agenda is. I would love to know.

  3. Gravel permalink

    Well said. I am surprised that you have only followed politics since August. You seem to have a very good handle on what was happening. I read your blog via The Political Sword, where there are very good topics posted regularly.

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