June 25, 2010 | Ronda Jambe

She’ll have to dance with them that brung her

By chance I was at a breakfast for 300 women in Canberra yesterday. It was part of the ‘one million women’ campaign, which seeks that number in Australia to unite in personal and political action to combat climate change.

Penny Wong spoke, then dashed off to caucus at Parliament House. Greens Senator Milne also spoke, along with the ACT Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Maxine Cooper. All these women, supported by many more, all committed to getting real results and real reductions on emissions. Wendy McCarthy reminded us of how basic activism can be, how local and effective.

Of course we were all waiting to hear the news at 9, and soon enough it was clear that Australia’s first female Prime Minister had arrived via a bloodless change. You couldn’t call it a coup, and what a refreshing change from the months of speculation and media chatter that accompanied, for example, the night when Keating finally overthrew Hawke. My Canberra memories go back that far, because that night I was part of a staff performance at the annual Christmas Party for the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. It was at the Ainslie Olim Hotel, and we didn’t know who was going to walk through the door. In the end, neither Hawke nor Keating showed up, and our cheerful performances, including my rendition of Rap Song of the Eco-fems was recorded on video for the victor. Wish I had a copy, it was a hoot.

So Julia has a chance now to bypass rancor and be what we all want her to be: a fine and courageous leader. She has dealt with theĀ  sameĀ  career challenges that the women in that huge room at the Hyatt have faced. She could never have expected this to happen as it has, and she gives every impression of being both smart enough to run with it, and humble enough to listen and learn.

We all know that one of the main reasons Rudd was deposed was his inaction on climate change. Along with many others, I sent her a congratulatory email, and asked her to act decisively on climate. The room full of climate changing women were encouraged to do this, and we all wish her well. She was part of those decisions, and she can now get it right. We’ll be holding her accountable.

Afterthought: On Radio National this morning Julia is being compared with NZ’s Helen Clark, also an open atheist. She didn’t swear on a Bible, she affirmed. More importantly for Australia, this isn’t a media or public beat-up. Try that in the USA.

Posted by Ronda Jambe at 7:26 am | Comments (5) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. Pardon me, but what I’ve been hearing is that Julia Gillard, impressive though she is, is one of those who was behind the back down on climate change policy, and also, wants to take a firmer line on refugee policy. Until after the coup with insider stories coming out, I had assumed as you do, but this doesn’t seem to be the word on the streets. Is this why she is backed by the right wing of the ALP? I would love to hear to the contrary, otherwise, it is very disturbing indeed.

    Comment by Helen — June 25, 2010 @ 10:08 am

  2. yes, Helen, there were some articles about the factions and unions making the move. But this was based on electoral prospects, not personalities (giving them all the benefit of the doubt.) In a parliamentary system, we do not elect the leader, only the party.

    I am looking for a firmer policy on population, with a holistic look at our refugee and education policies as part of that. If we let people in, especially horribly stressed people, we are obliged to look after them, and train them in language and work skills.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — June 25, 2010 @ 10:06 pm

  3. Ronda, you must be seeking an apparatchik postion- that is, if you aren’t already embedded. Can’t say I’m sorry to miss your musical talents. Such gushing. You’ve been in Canberra too long by the sounds of your fawning.

    Comment by Richard — June 26, 2010 @ 9:49 am

  4. I have news for all bienpensant ocker female femocrat prattlers like Jambe: the day Rudd fell, the business page of the leading German neocon daily FAZ headlined happily on its Wirtschaft (business page) : “Australian industry forces change of government.” It then approvingly cited the rise in mining equity prices on the SSE. QED. Have you any idea how the AU mining and banking interlocking oligarchy works, Jambe? or do you just prefer posturing as a bleeding heart liberal favouring any immigration of the “horribly stressed” to drive down local wages and conditions in your deregulated country, so that you can then condemn local battlers as racists as part of your class-based contempt for them? A sort of female Phillip Adams, in fact?

    Check out Thatchard’s relationship to Big Coal, Jambe: AU has now outdone Saudi as an exporter of imputed C02 emissions.

    For female readers: note that Julia Thatchard, at the top of her post-Clyde Cameron and Jim Cairns party, wears chalk pinstripe, whereas French female Parti Socialiste politicans such as Segolene Royal or Martine Aubry would not dare. Their voters would rightly smell a neoliberal rat.

    By your clothes shall ye know them.

    In closing, the business management-speak of this wannabe femocrat Jambe betrays her nicely: she “has dealt with the same career challenges”. Get your head out the income statements and rental returns on your property bubble real estate, Jambe, and ponder what Nobel prize winner JM Coetzee recently meant when he talked about the degradation of English in Australia due to businessspeak in the last ( as I recall) 15 years.

    Comment by Peter Lalor — June 26, 2010 @ 6:46 pm

  5. You miss the point, gentlemen, with all respect. You mistake a gracious welcome for condonment, and could it be I have not made clear my underlying anger at the status quo? Of course the unions and coal determine policy, and which of you in Queensland is busy lobbying sweet Anna about that?

    Julia is of course first and foremost a career politician, and therefore has indeed faced up to the big boys and all the bullying that goes with it. More than most, so she is at least a survivor. I know that sheer intelligence can’t substitute for whatever it is that lets some women gain power. No surprise then that she has ‘obligations’ in her ‘provisional’ role to the same groups that run the ‘permanent’ government, ie industry and unions. (that description is from John Raulston Saul)

    As for apparatchik? I’ve got just a speck of self-knowledge, since you choose to play the woman, to understand that there is no place for me in the power structures, especially not the public service. I got let go from my last contract because I kept asking for work, and then doing it quickly. Totally embarassing, for them.

    My attention is elsewhere. For example, the day long workshop on carbon accounting I attended yesterday,with instruction from a forestry economist and a carbon accounting researcher, among others. There I learned in greater detail about the sad intertwining of forestry policy and government blunderers. As a civic duty I’ll tell you more about that in due course.

    And you surely have been missing the point of much of my little essays: I am against immigration (except for a few refugees, and I think that and the resources it requires to be done well would be better spent on international arrangements to prevent the need for refugees). My views on the Aboriginal welfare state are certainly not printable.

    PS: I can post the lyrics to my song, it brought down the house. Just ask.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — June 27, 2010 @ 12:31 am

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