The dust is still settling in the Australian capital of Canberra, where former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd ousted his successor and bitter rival Julia Gillard last week, in advance of fall elections. Gillard executed a ruthless intra-party coup against Rudd in 2010 — now he’s returned the unwelcome favor.
As the conservative opposition — led by the Liberal Party’s Tony Abbott — accumulated its sizable lead, Gillard turned to a full-blown “war on women” narrative in an attempt to salvage her fate. Her cynical plot failed spectacularly:
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s attempt to marginalise the opposition by claiming it would change abortion rights and sideline women has backfired with a poll yesterday showing male voters are deserting her. Gillard, the country’s first female leader, last week reignited a simmering gender war by saying in a speech that government would be dominated by “men in blue ties” should opposition leader Tony Abbott assume office in September elections. “It’s a decision about whether, once again, we will banish women’s voice from the core of our political life,” said the embattled prime minister in the speech, desperate to shore up waning support. “We don’t want to live in an Australia where abortion again becomes the political plaything of men who think they know better.” But the ploy has backfired with a poll in Fairfax Media showing male voters are abandoning Gillard and the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and there is little sign of more women getting behind her.