Cultural Revolutions

Aussie Election

Miss Julia Gillard (one takes particular pleasure in applying the honorific “Miss” to so stentorian and charmless a femocrat), the prime minister of Australia, faces an interesting challenge in her bid for reelection on August 21.  Goodness knows, the Labor Party that she now leads—and which has been in office since 2007—should win at a canter.  Not since 1931 have Australians thrown out a national government after a single term.  And Australia has coped with recession and the global financial crisis better than most other Western countries.  How much of this comparative success can be attributed to Miss Gillard’s predecessor as prime minister, Kevin Rudd, and how much to sheer luck, others must judge.  Six months ago, Rudd appeared unstoppable.  The opposition Liberal Party had thrown up (such gastric phraseology seems appropriate in the circumstances) its fourth leader inside two years; no obvious rivals to Rudd were visible within Labor itself; and Rudd commanded a healthy lead in opinion polls over every alternative.

Then it all went wrong for Rudd’s rule.  Tony Abbott, as newly installed Liberal boss, was by no means the New Class empty suit that his two immediate precursors, Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull, had been.  Along with bloodcurdling vulgarity of attire (Abbott saw nothing wrong with posing for the cameras in the most exiguous swimwear, known as “budgie...

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