You can’t have it all. That’s a self-evident truth.
You can’t have all the pies and all the ciggies and also have all the gold medals and grand finals. Well, not unless you also have all the sports scientists and all the banned substances as well, maybe.
So when the coolly coiffed deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop came out on the weekend saying women couldn’t “have it all” you could be forgiven for thinking she made sense.
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According to the perennially well-dressed Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, former first lady of France and retired supermodel, it’s time for women concerned with fighting for equality to take a rest and find another way to fill their days.
“My generation doesn’t need feminism,” she breezily informed French Vogue this week, before gushing about her newfound appreciation of “bourgeois” domesticity in the self-entitled manner only a wealthy inhabitant of two mansions can muster.
If only the 44-year-old heiress could tear herself away from her oh-so-enlightened existence long enough to peruse a few of the Twitter posts making news in far-flung Australia she might not be so smug about allegedly living in a post-feminist world.
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Well, there goes the moral high ground. By calling Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop a “bimbo” on Twitter today, Labor MP Steve Gibbons has turned the sexism debate into yet another hypocritical Labor backflip.
What a buffoon. Actually, in the spirit of gratuitous name-calling, let’s call Gibbons a baboon. He showed about as much brains as one, and the insult fits with his surname. Also, his arse is now a big red target.
Back in early October, I was proud to wave the flag for the now famous Gillard speech, as it was an impassioned and seemingly unrehearsed vent for her anger at Tony Abbott’s deliberate and cynical recycling of the vile phrase “died of shame”.
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That fact that Kevin Rudd, a mere backbencher, was able to get leave from Parliament to travel to China on a private mission points to some clever Opposition mischief.
It indicates the Opposition has adopted the strategic calculation that a high profile Mr Rudd is a large scale headache and distraction for Julia Gillard and a constant fuel supply for leadership speculation.
Mr Rudd’s quite clear declaration of support for Ms Gillard last night on the ABC’s 7.30 has put a scratch in the duco of that strategy but the Opposition is likely to keep revving it up.
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In the days following Tony Abbott’s election as Leader of the Opposition he received a barrage of calls from ex-staffers all desperate to work for him again. Most were women.
There were two reasons for this. He has a solid record of employing women in prominent positions, and his leadership style is based on respect and equality.
Far from finding it difficult to take advice from women in powerful positions – Tony Abbott puts women into powerful positions. I doubt there is another senior politician who could match his record of senior staff appointments for women.
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Back in early June deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop was pumping up the troops at a Coalition meeting by portraying Foreign Minister Bob Carr as the Government clown.
Ms Bishop, shadow foreign affairs minister, likened him to the character played by Peter Sellers in “The Party”, a 1968 film about an actor who bumbles and stumbles around a social event.
So like Carr, Ms Bishop said. She saw him as an accidental arrival in foreign affairs, who doesn’t know his way around the place, and keeps putting a less-than-diplomatic foot into affairs best left to the professionals.
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So Julie Bishop has a Huawei-donated iPad. Dangerous. Dangerous for her and dangerous for Australia if she ever aspires to become Foreign Minister. The iPad alone is but one of the micro details to emerge from Ms Bishop’s visit to China as a guest of the Chinese telco.
Some Liberals led by Julie Bishop together with vested mining interests questioned the Gillard Government’ accepting ASIO’s advice against letting Huawei bid for the National Broadband Network. But the bar on Huawei has wider significance because the controversy it has sparked illuminates the most vexing issue of Australian foreign policy - our relationship with China.
This foreign policy challenge was again in sharp relief at the recent Boao Forum, on the luxury resort on Hainan Island, China’s version of Hawaii (they also have their most advanced naval base there).
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Julie Bishop late yesterday confirmed that there had been some throwing of crockery in the shadow cabinet room and the office of her leader Tony Abbott.
It was a comment which also confirmed that the Opposition lost the week to the Government because it could not get its leader out of the spotlight.
``It’s a shame that the Labor Party doesn’t have robust policy debates within its cabinet,’’ Bishop told Parliament.
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It’s easy to attack politicians.
No better evidence perhaps than the bitchy list we compiled yesterday of MPs we think disappointed or just disappeared. But we’re not just a bunch of naysayers here at The Punch. Indeed we appreciate politics and politicians are great deal, otherwise we wouldn’t bother writing about it.
So here’s a list, in no particular order, of MPs who have tried and triumphed in 2010.
Well it’s been one hell of an effort by Tony Abbott:
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Update 7.30pm: Andrew Robb has now said he will not challenge Julie Bishop for the deputy leader’s position tomorrow. More here.
The Australian is reporting that Julie Bishop’s position as deputy leader of the Liberal Party may be under threat. Andrew Robb has confirmed this afternoon he has been approached by colleagues urging him to challenge her at tomorrow’s partyroom meeting.
But is this wise? Putting aside the obvious observations about how Julia Gillard came to lead the Labor party, the political reality now is she has been returned to office. With all the machismo that already surrounds Tony Abbott’s leadership style, installing another tough guy like Robb as his second-in-command as they take the fight to the Prime Minister is not without its risks.
Having survived as deputy leader through the ousting of Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull, and continuing in the role with Tony Abbott, Bishop has earned a disparaging nickname among some Liberal MPs. She’s known as “the cockroach” because she’d survive anything.
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Just as appearances of hatred in politics can be deceptive, periodic appearances of civility can be equally so.
A combination of last night’s annual Press Gallery Ball and the calming effect of two women leading question time today lead to a more conciliatory day in Parliament.
But don’t let it fool you, MPs are nervous and tetchy right now, and pretty sick of the sight of each other and the weather.
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The old saying is true, you do have to watch the quiet ones. Derided by his former leader Mark Latham as a “rooster”, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith showed this week that he is a particularly lethal fighting rooster as he methodically dismantled his shadow, Julie Bishop, over the forged passport scandal.
The expulsion of the Israeli diplomat and the subsequent argument over whether Canberra had gone too far has been discussed at some length on The Punch and elsewhere.
All I will say about it here is that it was not an issue (and would probably never have become an issue) which was the subject of animated discussion in shopping centre food courts around Australia.
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It has not been a good morning for the Liberal Party.
It has been revealed Former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser quit the party last December in disgust after it was placed under the new management of Tony Abbott.
Current deputy leader and shadow foreign affairs Minister Julie Bishop continues her comedy stylings by first claiming that Australia has also been guilty of faking passports, and then taking it back. Either way she stuffed up big time, and the two events have combined to aid Labor in pelting the Opposition with the tag that the Coalition are a pack of reckless ultra conservatives.
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She’s nothing if not loyal to the incumbent. Julie Bishop has just stood at the podium in the Liberal party room, just at the left shoulder of her third leader in two years. And she hasn’t just done with a straight face, she’s positively nailed it.
First she declared her absolutely loyalty to Brendan Nelson. When he was knocked off by Malcolm Turnbull Ms Bishop was again smoothly articulate in her declarations of support - and today, there she was again as Tony Abbott made his pitch for the next election. Deputies aren’t usually so resilient.
But Ms Bishop says she’s redefined the role of deputy leader of the Liberal Party, saying it’s not her job to angle for he boss’s downfall.
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