With the election only months away, will Julia Gillard’s elevation into leadership be enough to consolidate Labor’s electoral support and help them secure a second term?

Julia Gillard with Governor-General Quentin Bryce after being sworn in today. Pic: AP

Speaking to voters in Sydney today just over an hour after Gillard was elected Labor leader unopposed in Canberra, almost everyone knew about it and had a view on her impact on the national political landscape, though many reserved judgment on how it would affect their vote.

But broadly the people The Punch spoke to saw Gillard’s leadership a change to be excited about, and a great step forward for Australia in terms of gender equality.

Nicole, a Newcastle-based executive in her 40s said, “It’s great. We need more women in power.”

While 22-year-old Nick from Mascot thinks, “It’s pretty cool, chicks in power have a better mindset than men. I have confidence she’ll do a better job than Kevin Rudd. I hope she will.”

“It’s pretty good, definitely a step forward. I’m not a Labor supporter and I wasn’t a fan of Kevin Rudd, but I’d be more inclined to support her”, said Ben, 30, from Glebe.

However, it seems that for many of those enthused by Australia’s new political leadership it is as much about the symbolism as Ms Gillard’s ability, and what she stands for as a politician. “I think it’s fantastic because she’s a woman. As a politician, she’s obviously done her job to get there”, said Laura, 27, from Randwick.

Michelle, 22, a communications manager, sees Gillard’s leadership win as “pretty awesome really, just unexpected. It’s great because she’s a woman, and because she’s one of the only Labor members to come out of this term with her credibility still in tact.”

But it’s not all good news for Labor, as some are not sold on our new leader, or the process through which she came to power. “I’m just not that elated, she’s a stop-gap for the next election”, said Loretta, a 74-year-old retiree from Drummoyne.

Adam, 23, from Melbourne said “It’s exciting, but it’s a shame it was so forced.”

As for whether Gillard’s leadership will impact or even potentially win back votes for the Labor Party, it seems too early to tell, with many people waiting to see how she handles the top job.

“I don’t vote Labor, but who knows what she’ll come up with, she might change my mind”, said Loretta.

“[Labor will] probably get voted out in the next election anyway because no one trusts them anymore. But she’ll still have time to do good things and to try and make a good impression”, said a 19 year old sales assistant from Waverley. 

“I’ll reserve my judgement until something actually happens. I vote on the policy, not the party”, said executive Nicole.

Of the people we spoke to, there were many steadfast liberal voters, and a few who claimed they would have voted Labor anyway. For Michelle, Gillard’s leadership “will make it much easier to vote for Labor. I could never have brought myself to vote for Abbott.”

If the Labor party finds it any consolation, it seems their new leadership may have already won back one youth vote from the Greens. As Nick told us, “I’d like her to stay in power for as long as possible, so I’ll vote Labor, but I’ll still give my party preferences to the Greens.”

But over to you: how do you think Gillard’s rise to leadership will affect the political landscape? Will it influence your vote?

Most commented


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    • Andrew says:

      05:13pm | 24/06/10

      How long will it take before the electorate realises that the real power now lies with the union movement? Is the media actually going to mention this?
      Gillard did not get voted in unopposed she got voted in on the say so of the AWU and the ACTU!

    • Alpha Centory says:

      05:42pm | 24/06/10

      Andrew,the people who vote labor are generally swinging through forrests or kneeling before the god Union,both these examples dont comprehend society as we libs know it

    • Grumbles says:

      05:42pm | 24/06/10

      It was only mention 10 million times before the election and we were only told 10 million times that we were being rediculous…. What about the main scare campaign run before the 2007 election (not WC’s)....

      Julia Gillard 2007: “All we know is if the Howard Government is re-elected, we’ll have John Howard for a period of time, unknown, replaced by someone unknown because that will be in the hands of the Liberal Party.”

      Ahh the old Unelected PM scare, self fulfilling prophecy.

    • nosthow says:

      05:21pm | 24/06/10

      Ms Gillard is a smart lady and is above all a winner ! She will lead Labor to a resounding election victory over what is really a 2nd rate Coalition led by a 2nd rate leader ! Today is “goodbye Tony Abbott” day !

    • Brad Coward says:

      07:27pm | 24/06/10

      Oh come on, nos !  Two days ago your lips were firmly planted on Mr Rudd’s backside.  Suddenly your loyalty belongs to Julia Sparkles ?

      Typical Labor hypocrite !

    • Aitch B says:

      09:04pm | 24/06/10

      Is that you, Christian?

    • Wayne Fehlhaber says:

      10:40pm | 24/06/10

      Nosehole :  Best you start looking at the the polls which have been conducted today. Very bad news for Gillard. Seems the voters are well aware that Gillard was making the decisions alongside Rudd.

    • Robert Smissen Rural SA says:

      11:45pm | 24/06/10

      Man that must be some heavy shit you’re smoking! !

    • Tim says:

      08:02am | 25/06/10

      Hey Nosthow do you remember this from just a few short days ago?

      “nosthow says:01:08pm | 21/06/10

      Kevin Rudd will not only lead Labor to the next election - he will easily win the next election, casting aside Abbott , a man who only won the Liberal leadership by 1 vote because no-one else wanted it and they did not want Turnbull - hardly a convincing vote of confidence there Tony ! “

      Link here if you need reminding :

      Your delusions continue to amuse me. I think the sweetest part of a potential coalition electoral victory will be watching you and your reality denying ilk contort themselves into pretzels trying to explain it.

    • nosthow says:

      09:26am | 25/06/10

      @Tim - get with the moment Timmy old chap ! The King is dead , long live the King. Learn to move on old son and life will get better for you. Happy days for labor now Tim - Abbott is cactus bigtime !!

    • Jane says:

      03:38pm | 25/06/10


      Touche smile

    • BobM says:

      09:45pm | 26/06/10

      SMH - Are you more likely to vote Labor with Julia Gillard as leader?
      Yes 42%
      No 58%
      Total votes: 137269.

      Goobye Julia!

      PS - Nice pic of the GG who just happens to be Bill Shortens mum in law.

    • John Jones says:

      05:28pm | 24/06/10

      We now have a socialist PM in a country run for and by the Unions.  Only time will tell whether she us the unions puppet

    • Ghandis Quote says:

      05:32pm | 24/06/10

      Ghandi declared that Democracy was one step from Facism,Today Australia took a step back

    • Adam says:

      05:54pm | 24/06/10

      It is a shame that our first female PM will be known for being elected by challenging the PM of the day - not because she was elected organically by the people of the nation. I agree with Nicole in the article, it is such a great thing, I just hoped it didn’t happen in this manner.

    • Against the Man says:

      06:05pm | 24/06/10

      Gillard. We didn’t vote for her as PM. So does Australia have a say? Call an election now and prove your worthiness.

    • Wayne Fehlhaber says:

      06:12pm | 24/06/10

      At this stage i have read the results of several straw polls and phone polls on major TV Networks and the news for Gillard is not good . She has been soundly rejected in all results and Labor will still have every reason to fear an election result.
      This time round , the Australian electorate is well aware that the Union Movement in this country was directly involved in Rudd’s removal from office.
      The bulk of Labor M.P.‘s come from union controlled seats and got the nod from Unionist loaded pre-selections , therein lies the union control over the Labor M.P’s who respond to the string jerks of the unions.
      The electorate is a great believer in democracy , whether voting Labor or Liberal , and they want the power of their vote to last three years without being undermined by union thugs.

    • nosthow says:

      07:00pm | 24/06/10

      Ms Gillard is a breath of fresh air and it will lift Labor spirits immeasurably ! Well done Ms Gillard and we look forward to many many years of you as our PM - a lady who is more than capable as she has demonstrated in her long time as our Deputy PM. Bravo !

    • Robert Smissen Rural SA says:

      11:47pm | 24/06/10

      Are you really Julia’s old mum?

    • Android says:

      11:26am | 25/06/10

      @nosedrip,she will be a raging success as long as she does exactly what she is told by the men from sussex st,like the other token lol

    • Adam Diver says:

      08:27pm | 24/06/10

      Adam from internetland says: “Random quotes from people you meet on the street do not make a good article, and an even worse opinion piece and are probably the worse way to sum up a situation”.

      On a more important note can the media please try and be balanced before the next election. Gillard has as much baggage as any other politican and I would like this to be aired before the election not 2 years after aka rudd. I can’t believe we have a new prime minister before one term of government. This situation is a joke and quite depressing.

    • bob says:

      12:09am | 25/06/10

      NEARLY one term. Just wish we could have seen Krudd cry on election night. We was robbed i tells ya!

    • Ian Moses says:

      10:45am | 25/06/10

      Bob, I was looking forward to seeing Rudd’s teary election loss speech as well. However after seeing him yesterday, he grew in my estimation for fronting the media, after being shot down by his own. If Rudd had just gone to bed and pulled the doona over the head, I would have understood.

    • PaulB says:

      09:25pm | 24/06/10

      Quentin Bryce so reminds me of Dame Edna Everage.

    • steve parker says:

      09:54pm | 24/06/10

      Heads like mice - both of them!

    • yep says:

      12:12am | 25/06/10

      That’s unfair! mice are much nicer.

    • antiperspirant says:

      11:25pm | 24/06/10

      All I can do is laugh.

      Just like NSW Labor this is.

      New week, new drama, new leader. Resignations. Turmoil.

      The Labor brand is a joke. There is no stability. No loyalty, just a whatever it takes attitude.

      What a farce.

      And all the time the country bleeds. Gillard was up to her eyeballs in all the decisions and policy of this rabble. Her as leader means more of the same.

      The honeymoon will be brief. The spin is strong in this one too.

    • watchingwithinterest says:

      08:53am | 25/06/10

      I fully agree.  NSW history repeating itself on a larger scale. 

      Gillard hit the nail on the head when she said that the government hadn’t provided the stable environment that the people want.

      What I can’t believe is that almost nothing has been said of the fact that Wayne Swan is her deputy.  He was/is upto his eyeballs in the RSPT mess and he gets promoted! whats with that.

    • 6c legs says:

      12:00am | 25/06/10

      As a smart and articulate woman Ms Gillard will have no such “honeymoon period” afforded her by the media, that the fellas always get.
      It’s even started already, just read Penbos peice.

      (but now i really can tell my grandaughter that she can be anything that she puts her mind to.)

    • Greg says:

      02:07am | 25/06/10

      Julia might come across as sharp and smooth but she’ll trip up when the pressure comes on and her attempt to brush away questions with the throw away we’re doing this for Australia line doesn’t go very far.
      Using Swanny as a negotiator with the mining companies is just the start for he has been adamant to now that there was not anything to negotiate and so Julia has learnt backflips from Kev it seems and is now training Wayne.
      Next it’ll be Tony giving Julia Surfing lessons and that’d be a sight!
      And this negotiation over billions included in the budget can’t be regarded as too serious if Swanny is off to Toronto.
      So there’s a bit already or a bite to come back for a bit or bite of the rump.

    • Helen says:

      09:38am | 25/06/10

      ” she’ll trip up when the pressure comes on “

      Why do you think that?

    • South Park says:

      05:29am | 25/06/10

      This photo confirms two unelected officials holding the highest offices in this democracy and comprehensively demonstrates how your vote counts for nothing
      A Communist moment,take you back doesnt it

    • The cold weather in Canberra suits her says:

      05:37am | 25/06/10

      A lovely moment ,reminds me of the story I read about the family who were given free tickets on the Titanic

    • Ben in Canberra says:

      11:55am | 25/06/10

      It’s a pleasing sentiment that we have a female in the top job in the country, but for those who think it will alter the course of the Labor train wreck, I fear they will be sorely mistaken. Gender in the office of PM should and must be irrelevant; the best person for the job deserves the title regardless of their gender.

    • dead to me says:

      02:26pm | 25/06/10

      Labor seems to lack credible policy ideas. This has been the case since forever. State and federal Labor governments seem to cruise along because there is no pressure from voters to get things right.

    • Talon says:

      05:13pm | 25/06/10

      Aaaagh.  What does it matter?  Julia has made herself unelectable with the ETS anyway.

      I am not some snotty nosed kid who believes that females should be treated special, carefully and with more respect like a mother.  They wanted to be equal and they are.  The change to a female has not made the Labor party any less undesirable in my eyes but it has obviously swayed many of the weaker minded.

      Women in high power positions is a good thing, if they have the ability.  Julia may well have the ability but In this case she would have to clean up the mess left behind and make positive policies with a chance to improve life for Australians.  Mineral Tax reform, ETS and health reform in it current proposed format is not.

      Julia had plenty of time to oppose the direction of the Labor party before now.  Nothing has really changed.  The problems remain and so does their policies.

      What are we going to do now in the next election.  Liberal and Labor are as bad as each other.  Can we trust another faction without any experience at all?  If only there was a ray of hope for a better future.  I am realy begining to get sick of these school children.  I wonder if Obama thinks of them in that way?

    • Robert Smissen Rural SA says:

      05:39pm | 25/06/10

      For years feminists have been telling us gender is irrelevent (I whole heartedly agree) so all you have now is the crushing of the Fabianistic Kevvy & the Raising of Red Julia of the Loony Left, I can’t see how this is a win for Oz.


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