Labor of Love, A Dad’s Legacy.

These women in Labor are feeling no pain,
Find running the country’s no stress and no strain,
All were up-beat and their spirits were high
When at a Party event they explained to me why.

Working conditions have improved much of late
With their new boss who is efficient and straight.
Labor’s productive. It’s not at all hard
Conceiving new laws with PM Gillard.

Not just these women, but ALP men
Work well with her and if ever again
Rudd were to challenge and push came to shove
They’d vote for Julia.    Working with her is a Labor of love!


The death of Julia Gillard’s father this weekend had me thinking how proud he would have been of all that she has achieved. I had the privelege just a few days ago of meeting the Prime Minister personally at a community cabinet here in W.A. in nearby Kwinana. I just wish I could have let him know of the conversations I had with some of her colleagues at the less crowded social event which followed the public forum. All of them, both men and women, expressed admiration for her as a leader of Labor Caucus and as Prime Minister. The women expressed much more – affection, love and appreciation for her strength and her support for themselves and other women struggling to achieve more both here in Australia and in other less developed parts of the world.  Julia Gillard paid tribute to her Dad today and spoke of him as her inspiration.   For me that means all she has achieved for us in Australia and for less priveleged people elsewhere is a legacy from him.

Readers of this blog will know that I’ve long been an admirer of Julia Gillard because of what I’ve read and seen in our media. I jumped at the opportunity to observe her up close and personal, as it were, at the Community Cabinet last Wednesday 05/09/12. Here are the notes I made and posted at The Political Sword about that evening and how my experiences confirmed that admiration.

……..I”ve just spent a happy half hour writing about the ’real’ Julia whom I met last night in Kwinana at the Community Cabinet. Astonishingly fresh after a solid day’s Prime Ministerial work with Barnett on Gonski she stood up for well over the allotted hour, managed the audience of hundreds in the hall and fielded questions from the floor to herself and her Ministers, all seated alongside her by the way. Suffering the odd fool gladly with great patience she answered everything that was thrown at her or referred some to her ministers where appropriate. There were some answers that were not popular e.g. re asylum seekers, or FIFO work permits for mining companies but there was no doublespeak or efforts to placate.

Still unable to drive myself I had been given a lift from Freo by an ALP insider on condition I stayed on afterwards for the special invite for drinks with the PM. First time I’ve blessed that woman who knocked me down! WOW! I talked at length about the great things they’ve achieved to Nicola Roxon, Tanya Plibersek and Kate Ellis. All were really happy to hear how popular the PM is out here in the big wide world and promised to pass on those sentiments to her from me, with all of them having something to say themselves about how sensational she is to work with! A staffer standing with us then suggested I should tell the PM myself how I felt! Which I was able to do! I had been reluctant to intrude on her time since she was being extraordinarily generous with the scores of people lining up to get autographs or photos with her. But I couldn’t l knock back the offer of a personal introduction, could I? Imagine being hugged by the PM herself! I found myself willingly hugging her back! What’s all this nonsense about her being cold and wooden?

By the way, she doesn’t hog the limelight and went to extraordinary lengths to draw in her team, give them credit and encourage general mingling before she exited at a very late EST hour. Which is how I came to spend quite a while talking to Chris Bowen who seemed something of a social recluse, but was interesting to listen to as he responded to more than one person joining us and commiserating with him about the lousy job he’d landed. Someone has to do it, he said. “We are all volunteers, after all.” And there are rewards with many of his clients. And yes, there are some who bring out the cynic in one. Nauru is almost ready to go by the way, but PNG is a bit slower and neither of them are just refurbishments of the old detention centres. The plan is for them to be quite different. All of SHY’s worst expectations won’t be realized.

Altogether a very cheering and uplifting experience. Hardly a mention of the Opposition, even when the LOTO came up by name – the almost uniform response was a raised eyebrow, wrinkling of the nose or just a grimace and then the subject was changed. As if they just don’t want their personal space polluted with all of TA’s toxic negativity.

23 comments on “Labor of Love, A Dad’s Legacy.

  1. But hey!…beyond all the usual political mendacious “spews limited” spin, we all really knew that! When Julia Gillard negotiated the prime ministership with the independants her patience and dedication and skill were there for all to see.
    Condolences about her father, but then, he did have a damn good innings!….RIP.

  2. Well said Pat I hope to be in a similar situation when her new Ministry is sworn in by he GG after the next election. Both mine and my OH parents have passed on many years ago and we still miss them. Hope you are mobile soon, my OH was wheelchair bound for some period after breaking both ankles so she will never run a marathon nevertheless she gets around. I use to smile years ago when I saw oldies out shopping holding hands, now I understand why its to keep us both upright.

  3. Pingback: Women In Labor | polliepomes

  4. Patricia, how very exciting for you to meet the PM…I should imagine that out of our fellow contributors that apart from Migs, that you are the only other to have done so.

  5. Great story Patricia…… thanks.
    I was very saddened to here of Julias’ dads passing, I am sure that many here at CW feel the same. …. again, thanks Pat for allowing us to share your experience of meeting this great lady and her crew.

  6. LOVO, thank you for expressing this, something I have been remiss in mentioning. The loss of a father is a tragedy at any time, but I should imagine most especially given that Julia was on prime ministerial duties at the time. A long way from support of her loved ones, I should imagine.

  7. Patricia, many of us are proud of her, but it could surely not have matched her father’s pride.

    I’d still like to know if she asked after me. 🙂

  8. Iain, I was afraid you might find it difficult to refrain from attacking Julia Gillard even on a post dedicated to her on her tragic loss. I thus appreciate your kind words to her.

  9. Sorry, Migs! I forgot to mention you! And limping little old white haired ladies don’t look likely associates of handsome influential blogmasters!

  10. Well said Iain. Your post shows admirable restraint.

    The ABC TV News actually did well reporting it last night – and Putin did well too (assuming the translation was correct!)

  11. Lovely article Patricia. I have extended my condolences to the PM by letter, however is nice to see the comments here and the countless number on Twitter

  12. Patricia
    Another great poem,and what an inspiring night for you.

    I hope you get that privilege and will expect a report on that event.

    I am glad that the PM’s dad got to see his daughter as the elected PM. The PM has always said she learnt her values in the family home and that she has wanted all Australians to have the opportunity for education, work and a fair go.

  13. Patricia, one line from your poem that I particularly enjoyed is:

    Conceiving new laws with PM Gillard.

    Which brought to mind the “deliberately barren” accusation against the PM.

  14. Thanks for your comments, all you lovely friends of Julia. Let’s hope we get a softening towards her out there in wider world as her true character gets a chance to shine through without the usual Opposition negativity.

    Min, I’m glad you picked the fertility metaphor which I tried to bring in to the whole “Labor” and “Love” theme when I started with my original polliepomes title “Women in Labor” but I changed it for Cafe Whispers so that it was more suitable for marking the death of John Gillard.

    That ‘deliberately barren’ comment says more about Bill Heffernan than our PM. Don’t we all know the odd mother or two who are cold selfish bitches while we also know lots of warm, loving spinster aunties who from choice or chance are childless.

  15. Patricia, so very true. Neither the ability to give birth nor the desire to are a mark of love, compassion, patience nor any other indicator of the qualities one usually associates with being a good parent.

  16. What a beautiful article! Thank you, Mangrove Jack. The opening sentences expressed exactly how I reacted on hearing her sad news. The rest of the article rings true…….well worth setting aside for a second reading.

    Like many Australians, my hand flew to my chest when I heard about the death of Julia Gillard’s father. I was touched to hear that he was her inspiration and the source of her work ethic and passion for education. I love that they spoke every weekend and were incredibly close.

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