Citizen Journalism

I can see clearly now: PM

In Margo Kingston, MSM, Press Gallery on February 2, 2013 at 6:46 AM

By Margo Kingston
February 2, 2013

The Prime Minister has made a bold, perhaps revolutionary decision that has already flummoxed the MSM and will be fascinating to watch play out this election year.

She’s detached herself from the 24 hour news cycle.

Alex Ellinghausen The Pulse/Fairfax Media

Alex Ellinghausen The Pulse/Fairfax Media

That’s why she looks grounded. Settled. Real. Her stridency has gone. She can even shed a tear in public, as she did today at her farewell press conference to two minister friends.

I reckon she began moving into this new phase of her leadership after the public’s overwhelmingly positive response to her misogyny speech compared so starkly to the Press Gallery’s overwhelmingly negative one. Despite the powerful media forces determined to crush her, lots of Australians hadn’t heard their narrative, or at least hadn’t been smothered by it. They were frustrated too, and their sense of release hearing her speech released her too.

In the two months I’ve been watching politics again I’ve seen her relax into the practical consequences of this moment of clarity. She has begun making public statements on twitter, cutting out the so-called messengers.

She began the year with her controversial captain’s pick, wore the yucky flak, and then made a huge captain’s call by completely freaking out the Press Gallery in her first public set piece. Election date set. Challenge thrown down to Abbott and the MSM to respectively announce and report some stories of substance.

She also chose that moment to begin wearing glasses in public. They symbolise her psychological detachment and her physical shield from the lemming-like ADHD madness of a media in existential crisis.

After the Thomson arrest, she again traumatised the MSM by not rushing in to comment on or spin it. She’d been busy with Bundaberg flood victims, she said, and really, this was a matter for police. Which it is. So they reported she’d ‘deflected questions’ on Thomson, and got their revenge by highlighting smears by George Brandis that night that she had prior notice of the arrest and had timed her election announcement accordingly. His un-interrogated nonsense was big news, her prior categorical denial of foreknowledge buried.


She wore it, and she’ll keep wearing it. And what will the MSM do then? Perhaps even fewer Australians will care.

Did you notice at today’s press conference that she gritted her teeth and set her jaw as the usual inane questions lobbed from journos? Contempt and endurance. And did you notice her wry smile when she said softly:

I note that there’s some speculation today about obligations about balanced coverage. Well frankly balanced coverage I think is a very good thing.

I would quite like to see around the nation an outbreak of balanced coverage. So if we do see that outbreak around the nation that will get a big tick from me.

What I would say about balanced coverage is it ought to bring to the Australian people the facts and the details that they need.

The Australian people are now in the situation where they don’t have to walk into a polling booth wondering.

There is a sufficient time and sufficient space for them to have every detail that they need, every policy detail, every costing detail, and the obligation is on every participant in the 2013 election to put people in that position.

And if they refuse to put people in that position, then I think people will be very, very suspicious why they are refusing.

She’ll keep showing up to Press Gallery press conferences and take all the questions, despite the fact that journos give her no credit for it and fail to protest when Abbott runs a mile from facing hard asks.

She will because she wants to keep proving to Australians that she’s up for it. Unlike Abbott, whose speech to the Press Club was designed to make the media like him, she’s transcended that tawdry goal.

Julia Gillard is going to do this year her way. Yes folks, she’s real and she’s free and she’s talking to us, not them. Weird.

Press conference transcript

Click here for a tribute to the Prime Minister’s Misogyny Speech

Click Here for a tribute to the Prime Minister’s Misogyny Speech

Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard – Misogyny Speech of 2012

  1. And, there is a subtext that says the mantle of PM has power and authority, which is not to be abused or used lightly. Are you prepared to entrust this to Mr Abbott.

    • That’s about how I would see it in a two horse race also. All Friar Tuck has done is disrupt, for as long as he has been in parliament.

  2. Well the PM does not need a make over to survive,

    Can move about the country without a family member to hold her hand.,

  3. Right right right Margo,and this is why Julia Gillard and Labor will win.The PM has given Abbott and his motley crew 8 months to lose votes,which is what they are best at.

    • Ha, ha, ha, what a hoot, hoo, hoo! :):):):):):) The landslide defeat for Labor is going to be breathtakingly historic and Abbott will be this nation’s leader for at least the next 20 years.

  4. Well said Margo, history in the making. We are the ‘Lucky’ country. Have taken the liberty of reblogging this observant piece from our Australian political history. Well said indeed.

  5. Very nice spin Margo. 24 hour news cycle is very much the Labor strategy. Their plan is to have a story a day. Fluffy ones with dogs and policy ones of course. But, these other nasty stories get in the way.. The perception is Labor are in deep doo doo and Margo I want you to get used to the idea of a Tony Abbott lead Government. A Government for all Australians no divisions. An end to the wars created by Ms Gillard’s chief media adviser…, the gender, race and class wars.

    • …… countering the 24/7 negative landscape of Ruperts maniacal Hyper-Venting Hordes, we shall move on. Good Luck Brad, you’ll need it.They don’t need you, but they will use you up.

    • Bradley,
      I want you to get used to the idea of an Abbott led government. A government where, if you are a political opponent you get accused of any number of crimes in the press with out recourse to defend yourself. Where state police collude with the Liberal party to achieve political outcomes. Where goons threaten your family if you cause any waves and where the Presumption of innocence is gone to those that don’t toe the party line. If they would do this to Thomson Or Slipper, federal MPs, do you think the arsehats would hold back for a pleb like you our me. I have never feared for our democracy, but now I do.

  6. One has to admire Julia Gillard’s strength considering what she had been through during the past two years and more. If it were Tony Abbott he would be in a straightjacket by now mumbling inanities.

  7. prime minister gillard will be returned to power, seeing australia develop,reform, and policies implemented, pm gillard is visionary. only just finding her political ‘legs’.

  8. @abcnews Greg Jennett’s take on her press conference: “These are the melancholy days fo governing”. Julia Gillard described it as “emotional”. A sad moment perhaps but melancholy is a negatively charged, emotive word that did not apply to the mood of the event or the PM’s week.

    It is instructive that the only time Abbott looked comfortable at this Press Club appearance is when he was on the attack, not about policy but about character. I think he was nervous waiting on the wink that the police had swooped.

  9. It stands to reason that, of all people, the Prime Minister is most awake to the media’s shenanigans. So setting an eight-month effective campaign would be a good strategy to smoke out the gormless Abbott.

    She won’t “do him slowly”. He’ll do himSELF slowly – or suddenly.

  10. Bradley,
    I want you to get used to the idea of an Abbott led government. A government where, if you are a political opponent you get accused of any number of crimes in the press with out recourse to defend yourself. Where state police collude with the Liberal party to achieve political outcomes. Where goons threaten your family if you cause any waves and where the Presumption of innocence is gone to those that don’t toe the party line. If they would do this to Thomson Or Slipper, federal MPs, do you think the arsehats would hold back for a pleb like you our me. I have never feared for our democracy, but now I do.

  11. Goldensmaug,

    Agree completely. I can see an Abbott-led government making full use of those “anti-sedition” laws that Mr Howard rammed through Parliament in 2005.

    Eh bien, at least it would give Mrs Rinehart her slave labour force.

  12. Big business want money, Liberals represent big business, Big business manipulate media to favor Liberals & Big business, democracy fails…..;(

    • Big Business pays for your wellfare state. You know, the handouts you run your business with. Remember those?

      • Are you sure, I seem to remember, back in the dark ages, when I attended Uni, this proposition was disproved.

        It appears that the lower income earners pay enough to cover their own welfare. It is a fallacy to say, that the upper income earners get nothing for what they pay. Look at the amount they get in rebates from super alone.

        Low income earners do pay their way, when it comes to taxes.

  13. Nice one Margo.

  14. A very accurate account Margo. The Press transcript clearly shows the PM will not be intimidated by a biased and negative MSM. This will further the Govt’s chances of remaining in Govt. Abbott is self combusting, he’s becoming more cringeworthy by the day. His reactions at The Press Council self explanatory. Not to dismiss his makeup for the day, plastered on like Tammy Baker.
    Keep up the great work Margo, spot on.

  15. Very well-written, Margo! It’s encouraging that so many people are now interrogating the MSM about their coverage, rather than simply swallowing whatever they’re fed. If nothing else, we might at least get a level playing field between the parties – and people can make a truly informed decision at the polls.

  16. Why isn’t anyone mentioning asylum seekers, offshore processing and children in detention?

  17. Margo, another fine article, and yes I also think that the PM will take control, and the differences will become more apparent as the election draws nearer. 😎

    It’s all a matter of leadership, and I have posted a poem on this very subject “Leadership LNP Vs ALP” : grin:

    Keep up the good work 😎

    Cheers 😀

    • You are talking about the Labor Pardy? Yes when/if she can regain control of the party maybe then but at the moment it would appear all she controls is a rabble. A leader who has contol does not need to threaten or insist on loyalty.

      • Big majority winner Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has demanded total loyalty from his MPs. Are you reflecting that he is not leadership material?

  18. I love you people. I love your boundless optimism and endless faith in Julia. Ill miss her when she’s gone from the lodge and has then up residence at a different establishment owned by her majesty. I’llcompensate myself with being free to speak, being able to spend the fruits of my labours and feeling safe in my own country protected by australians and our allies from external threat. But I’ll cope.

    • We love you back. Don’t be afraid to speak freely like you just did. Also don’t be scared of big bad forces threatening the lucky country. WW2 happened a while ago. now we have WWW. What you need to fear is fear itself. Optimism can help with that. It is never as bad nor as good as what you imagine. The main thing is to have fun on your journey to wherever it may take you. All the best.

  19. Hence her recent slump in the polls.

  20. Ha, ha, ha, this was the biggest load of gushing tosh i’ve ever read… great stuff Margo!!! The water coolers working overtime at the moment you can bank on that. I even saw some commenter here say something to the effect that “Gillard can move around the country without having a family member hold her hand” [sic] Couldn’t believe it, incredibly juvenile stuff as i’m sorry to say Margo so was your article.

  21. […] senior political correspondent Margo Kingston is no longer retired. Great news: she’s still the same old Margo […]

  22. Margo,

    btw, Australian for Honest Politics would imply calling out the lies, prevarications, mistruths and missteps of both the PM and the rest of the government (since they are the ones actually ‘running the country’) as opposed to sycophantic infatuation (BTW, whatever happened to that Latham chap ?) Much of this appears to be based on the ‘misogny’ speech. Ironically, this was written by McTernan (sp ?), the imported campaign manager.

  23. […] first political column in seven years – I can see clearly now E-book of Still Not Happy, John! now […]

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