Julia Gillard hasn’t always been quite so supportive
It really is difficult to keep track of Julia Gillard’s shifting priorities.
As she stood before the media in the Prime Minister’s courtyard yesterday, Gillard could only provide one justification for her decision to meddle in Labor’s preselection process and effectively end the 15-year parliamentary career of Trish Crossin by fiat.
She was “troubled” by her party’s historical failure to send a single indigenous representative to Canberra, and Nova Peris would help right that wrong.
There is some merit to that reasoning. Or at least there would be, had the Prime Minister not trampled on the aspirations of indigenous leader Warren Mundine to get Bob Carr into the Senate just last year.
Mundine was a certainty to fill Mark Arbib’s newly vacant Senate seat before Gillard interfered. Her government was lagging in the polls, Carr was a household name and she needed a new Foreign Minister.
So Mundine, a passionate advocate for indigenous Australians, got the shaft. He put his hand up to serve and was slapped down by a Prime Minister who cared more about making the right political move.
Was Julia Gillard just a lot less troubled by Labor’s lack of indigenous representation last year? Or do her principles change with the political winds?
Either way, the Prime Minister can hardly crow about her support for Aboriginal representatives after her treatment of Mundine.
We shouldn’t forget about Trish Crossin either. The incumbent Northern Territory Senator may not be the greatest politician in history, but she surely deserves to be treated better by her party’s leader.
Labor Party figures, including Julia Gillard herself, had reportedly been planning to replace Crossin with Peris for almost two months. But the Prime Minister only informed Crossin on Monday night, less than 24 hours before the announcement.
So Gillard has again cut down one of her own party’s members with no consultation and, frankly, very little class. Warren Mundine could probably empathise.
Nova Peris is undoubtedly a worthy candidate, and the Labor Party should be proud if she makes it into the Senate.
Good on Julia Gillard for picking her. But the Prime Minister’s treatment of Trish Crossin was classless, and her treatment of Warren Mundine last year was even worse.
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