Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Julia Gillard WAS unethical

This is a clear and unambiguous statement that Julia Gillard, Australia's Prime Minister, was  lacking in most commonly held ethical beliefs.  But first, so that I cannot be accused of bias, I need to assert that I am a near rusted-on Labor supporter. In the first version of this particular blog, I wrote that  that I would , with near certainty, vote for the Labor Party in the coming election.. That was when Julia Gillard was Prime Minister. I did vote that way, although Julia Gillard herself, had been deposed 

There is much evidence in support of my  assessment of Ms. Gillard’ ethical values. High on the list is her June 2010  deposing of Kevin Rudd,  then current Prime Minister. If  the institutions in a society are to sustain, economically and politically, a primary value held by anyone who elects their leaders must be loyalty to that leader. Chaos will reign otherwise.  Ms Gillard does not possess this virtue. Of course, any institution, and most of all the institutions that manage a country, must find for themselves the most effective leader possible. We have been told that there were many faults with Kevin  Rudd -  that he was a chaotic micro-manager, and rude to his staff . . None of us ever worked for Mr Rudd, nor did   the reporters who broadcast these accusations.  We, as did the news media, relied on those politicians who deposed him.  The politician who benefited most was Julia Gillard.

 To sum up in a basic moral though: If the people vote for a political leader, no matter how impossible to work with does  that leader turn out, then it is an undemocratic  to depose that leader. It is the policies he has broadcast that the people vote for, and their judgement on his ability to deliver.

The most damming of indictments against Gillard came in Peter Hartcher's analysis of the Gillard coup, presented in the Sydney Morning Herald November 18 issue.  Gillard  has always maintained that it was  a last minute decision on her part to issue the challenge , based onthe declining popularity of the Rudd government. Hartcher gives convincing evidence that Gillard instigated the coup well  before that meeting. Gillard denial is an untruth. 

Rudd was effective .It is easy to demonstrate. He ended 14 years of conservative rule by  John Howard. How many other Labor leaders had  tried, but failed? Kevin Rudd then gave us a series of decisions that still tell us why, in poll after poll, the Australian people prefer him as Prime Minister.

 First he gave us the apology to the aboriginal people, a defining moment in Australian history. Second he brought  this country through the Global Financial Crisis in a better state of economic health than most other countries. We have all benefited from Kevin Rudd’s decisions.  
He introduced the mining tax. It was supposed to raise $3 billion the first financial year and $10 billion over four years. His argument has undeniable validity - that the minerals under the ground belong to the Australian people, not the mining companies. The money could be spent on many needed services of government. In the face of fierce opposition by the mining industry, the mining tax was cut by Julia Gillard soon after she took over the top job. It has raised just $136 million.

It has been argued that even if she did  come to power by unethical  means , she has earned her position through the election held a couple of months later -  in August 2010, The  difficulty is that  her subsequent decisions exhibit the same  dubious values  that brought her to power. She first opposed voting for Palestine being given observer status in the United Nations , only partially caving in when facing opposition in her Cabinet There were  138 nations in favour to 9 against. Australia in one of its less glorious moments, abstained.   Regardless of your position in this dispute, it needs to be noted that both sides accept a two state solution. The observer position is a small step in that direction.  

Gillard has never back tracked on calling Julian Assange‘s release of the Wikileaks documents a criminal act, despite not being able to tell us what law he broke. Nor has she ever retracted this accusation.  

Then there was the crackdown on 457 visas – this is the visa that allows skilled immigrants into the country when there is a shortage of Australian Labour. Andrew Bartlett of the Australian Democrats put it neatly  in a post on  20/3/2013 in On Line Opinion  The Gillard and Hanson accord on 457 visas is a dangerous development

The cry that migrants are 'taking our jobs' is a myth with a long and ugly history in Australian political rhetoric.

 He went onto note– The fact that Pauline Hanson has come out in support of Prime Minister Gillard's pledge to "put Aussie workers first" starkly demonstrates the dangerous ground that the PM and a few trade unions have ventured onto with their calculated attack against skilled migrant workers.

Her record on combating corruption leaves much to be desired. Stephen Bartos, a former senior public servant, argues that corruption in Australia in the public service is most likely on par with that of other developed nations  (Canberra Times March 5, 2013) . He points to the current inquiry into the former NSW government as evidence, and the failure of the present Prime Minister- from the same political party, to commit to a crackdown on corruption.  Also that despite parliamentary committee recommendations there is no overarching federal anti-corruption investigative body; and that whistleblowing legislation had been inexplicably delayed for years, Australia is the only country in the developed world that provides no protection for its national government officials who  expose corruption

On the  list of unethical actions, but still not at the top of my   was the PM inviting   radio jock Kyle Sandilands to play the Easter Bunny at an egg hunt at her Sydney residence .This despite many of the offensive remarks that Sandilands has made .

The Sydney Morning Herald (March 27, 2012) told us that Kyle Sandilands breaching decency standards. The media authority, ACMA, has found the comments he made were deeply derogatory and offensive. From now on Sandilands will be prevented from broadcasting any material that is likely to demean women or girls or face a loss of licence. The egg hunt was for sick children, but the inviting of Sandilands puts at question her earlier “mysogony” attack on the leader of the opposition.

Her opposition to gay marriage would appear to be driven by poll opinions. The position is also at odds with very simple moral guidelines of equal treatment and justice for all in  our society.  

Near top of my  list, however   is that Gillard describes herself as an atheist. As such she has a special obligation to promote moral standards.  In an era of declining church attendance and increasing doubt about religious beliefs, atheists have a duty to endorse, even build on the moral values of our society. They follow a long line of humanists, extending back over the centuries.

Richard Dawkins, in The God Delusion (2006)  sets out ten commandments , which he found on an atheist website . They are sound commandments, enjoining us principally not to harm others in any and all matters, but also to think independently, questioning everything. They encapsulate the form of the Golden Rule that tells us :  “Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you.”  He then adds five more of his own, one of which asks us to leave unto others the freedom to enjoy their own sex lives, without discrimination. Gillard would not appear to follow this commandment.

Finally ( almost ) is the cutting off of the Deductible Gift Recipient tax status for donations to our ethical classes in schools  See David Hill’s condemnation of this decision in the Sydney Morning Herald on March 11, 2013 . Although not ostensibly a Gillard decision , she must be aware of the furore  it has created and  that has possibly resulted in the termination of the ethics classes in our schools.

For me, the issue at the top of the list is that she is a woman, - normally  the guardians and teachers of the moral values in our society. And that she is the first woman prime minister of our country.

Julia Gillard has tackled head on her principal perceived weakness among voters by framing the next federal election as being about trust. (SMH. March 27 ,2012 ), asserting “I am the one you can trust” , Can we ? 


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