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The new art of ad feminam

G'day. This is Martin Spalding's first piece for Webdiary. The Australian article Martin is criticising appeared a week ago, and I should in fairness to Martin disclose that for various reasons it is my fault that the following was not published much earlier. But there is real grist here for Webdiarists, and a challenge to us in conclusion. Thanks Martin and welcome. Hamish.

by Martin Spalding

Probably the last thing Janet Albrechtsen needs is more attention. The self-styled Ann Coulter of the Australian media has made a fair name for herself from stirring the pot on the opinion pages of The Australian. Writing rationally and carefully would probably be detrimental for her career, as the flow of uncritical adulation and frothing outrage would both dry up. Such is the way in this hyper-renaissance of opinion over ‘straight’ journalism.

Knowing that questioning her arguments just plays into her hands, I have long switched off Albrechtsen's work altogether. What’s more, she has been badly caught out twice by the ABC's Mediawatch for some questionable journalism: once for using the words of a French academic out of context and for the opposite purposes to that intended (regarding Muslim boys and rape); and once for attributing a series of Iraq 'good news stories' to the Wall Street Journal when in fact the source was a little-known conservative blog only loosely linked to the WSJ. With this in mind and more, I have struggled to believe or engage seriously in her work.

But her article in The Australian on 15 March about Julia Gillard cannot be left to pass. This reaches new depths, not so much in journalistic accuracy but in sheer ad hominem brutality. Or should I say ad feminam. Albrechtsen’s attack is singularly bizarre and nasty precisely because it targets not just personal qualities but female ones. One strong-willed female lawyer attacking another strong-willed female lawyer. Never have I come so close to thinking of a woman’s writing as sexist towards women.

There's no attempt to hide it either. The seventh paragraph begins simply and ominously: 'First to her personal circumstances'. Except it’s not ‘first’ at all. Back in the second paragraph, Albrechtsen states: ‘Gillard is single and childless.’ Then after the template Latham put-down automatically used by News Ltd writers, she refers to Gillard’s ‘scary robot voice’. To run out of substance so early and fall back on schoolyard bitchiness is way scarier.

But now to the main course: Gillard’s lifestyle. Her unmarried and childless status is described as ‘austere’, by contrast with the ‘usual aspirations’ of settling down, getting married and having children. Never mind that choosing career over family has long been an acceptable choice for anybody, and that marriage and children are not within one’s total control. Albrechtsen has a funny and selective idea of when to invoke ‘choice’.

‘Her kitchen is bare. She struggles with tongs at a barbecue,’ Albrechtsen continues. Now it’s just getting silly. What is Gillard fighting for – a Federal Labor government or to be Australia’s Nigella Lawson? Was New Zealand’s Helen Clark required to meet such standards?

Then the caveats, as inevitable as the disclaimers on a lawyer’s brief: ‘try not to shoot the messenger here’, ‘there's nothing stopping the right single, childless woman…’. ‘Some of my best friends are austere’, you half-expect next.

But it’s not all ad feminam. Another target is tellingly there: Mark Latham. You barely notice it at first because of the focus on Gillard, but the former Labor leader’s name pops up a whopping 15 times in the 1,127 word piece. On a second reading, the second half of the article appears less concerned with Gillard per se, than the whole Gillard political ‘way’, which still bears Latham’s mark. Albrechtsen measures Gillard’s contributions first and foremost by their relationship to the Latham era. Gillard was, Albrechtsen writes, ‘one of the most prominent technicians behind the failed Latham experiment’. Tarring by association.

Albrechtsen of course has reason for grievance, for it was Latham who infamously called her a ‘skanky ho’ – perhaps the ultimate ad feminam putdown. The two have long loathed each other. It has shown in many of Albrechtsen’s columns, even after Latham’s resignation, and in The Latham Diaries (although it is interesting to note that Latham in that book put the ‘skanky-ho’ comment down to an ill-advised bet with a staffer, not knowing what the term meant. He regretted the incident as one of the stupider acts of his career, not that this is an excuse).

But the point is not so much who Albrechtsen’s focus is, but the very fact that her focus tends to be ‘who’ and not ‘what’. This is perhaps the hallmark of the Albrechtsen style. It’s also the feeling that accompanies the focus. There’s nothing dispassionate about her writing. Some would see this as a strength. But while passion makes for good copy, it can distort perspective. Albrechtsen’s passion comes a tad bitter for my liking, and hollow, as if there were no intellectual foundation to it, only. Which is strange for someone who describes bitterness as ‘an unhelpful quality’.

Many regard journalism as having undergone a revolution over the last 20 years, in which ‘straight’ grassroots fact-reporting has declined in favour of opinion writing. Both political colours have been part of this shift. Albrechtsen and stablemates like Greg Sheridan – who has also been embarrassed by some exposures of questionable journalism – still appear loud and proud on their opinion pages. So opinion is clearly good business, even if quality is found wanting. Either that or The Australian believes winning the culture war necessarily means dispensing with some of the ‘civil liberties’ of journalism. In any case, controversial writers can always hide behind the subjectivity inherent in the world of ‘opinion’.

So what does all this have to do with Webdiary? Well it’s clear that Webdiary’s participants, being the intellectual and reflective lot they are, have long been engaged in a search for the site’s identity and purpose, particularly after the departure of Margo Kingston. What do we write about? How do we write? What niche do we fill in the media environment? What do we stand for? The answer to this is complex and in a sense has been unfolding for several months. Can I add my contribution to the debate by suggesting that Albrechtsen’s attack on Gillard, and much of her writing, stand as an example of what Webdiary doesn’t stand for – polemic, rant, and particularly ad hominem/feminam attack. We’ve seen the tide towards opinion journalism, both in the mainstream media and the countless blogs. Let’s go against that tide.

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Typical media spin against Labor.

 I have always believed that attacking the Opposition in any Parliament is unproductive in that - if you are logical - that cannot resolve your problems nor improve your status or that of your family's. The current government, State and/or Federal, is the responsible authority for creating the standard of living and the security which all "democratic" voters expect.

Apart from the Howardistics of dividing the Nation - the object of every State and Territory governments should be to maintain and improve the social and international security of the people they represent. Just imagine that - in every State or Territory there was an independent TV or Radio Station and a major newspaper? Unquestionably the attitude towards the State or Federal governments of whatever colour, could be singing variable tunes?

It is reasonable to consider then that the concerted media attacks on everything "Labor" or "labour orientated" must have a central or at least a common objective of what THEY want? I believe that under the Howard government the old fashioned disputes between "Master and Servant" have regressed our workplace relations over more than 150 years.

Just imagine - that Howard's US directed intentions are to drag us back to the "bad old days" and be a cheap trade "client state" to the Chinese? Would that mean that the US trade would have at least a small "buffer" against the Chinese "Communist" industrial successes? And, God willing, when Howard leaves as the psuedo US style "President", whether by the true information of the people or by the removal of his Office as the Prime Minister of Australia, I ask the small "l's" to consider the future of their children and their children's children. This person is just a "peaceful" conduit for the interests of a foreign Nation and, as always, he will be rewarded for his service. Will he and Janette move to America?

Robust Roger

I should make clear that I have nothing but respect for Roger Fedyk's  vigorous debating style. The journalists mentioned could only benefit from his challenging but mostly very gentlemanly attentions.

Feed them to Fedyk

As someone who has discussed things with Roger Fedyk, might I suggest that "rogering" is more apt anyway?


Life is a constant struggle to reconcile competing interests. Here, the task might simply be to reconcile two things: the bleeding obvious and the obviously bleeding. As to the first, Miss Gillard [and don't you bastard editors dare change the "Miss"] will never be Leader of her Party because she is in the wrong (and minority) faction. As to the second, the decline in Australian journalism is attributable to the By-line. Reported "facts" don't need an identitiy, they simply need report. People who want to earn more money do so because they have a By-line. Take a look at papers from 30 years ago and you will find far fewer "personalities" expressing their wisdom about what it all really means. That is not to suggest that those reports were not biased or subject to proprietorial or editorial interference but there were far fewer children with yuppie PhDs telling us what we really should think. (Strangely enough, the yuppies I am thinking of with PhDs all happen to be women, all are childless and all would desperately like to have a normal fella and a couple of kids). The most vicious female journos I know are highly intelligent, good at reporting facts, frightful gossips and don't have PhDs but do have lovely kids. The exceptions that spring to mind are Paula Totaro and Miranda Devine but it's fairly easy to see where they are coming from.

News? Well you can forget that – we don't even wrap fish and chips in the discards any more. Reading between the lines is about the only objectivity that's left.


Malcolm, you and I will be found to be in agreement most of the time and if you have read my posts will be aware of what I think about "yuppie PhDs". However, I think you are being unduly harsh on the female journalists that spring to your mind. Are you suggesting that all they need is a good rogering? Sorry but that's the way it comes across. You might be right but with whom? (I'd put myself forward for a few of 'em but I digress and Miranda is definitely not one of them.)

Sexual dysfunction, unless pathological, is the result of stress, and that applies equally to both sexes. The declining birth rate in western society is testament to this. You mentioned their intelligence and I would point out that the more intelligent and aware are the most vulnerable. As an aside, the women having children are at the lower end of the socio-economic scale and that doesn't say much for the future of our gene pool. I live in a small country town where the best and fairest leave for greener pastures and I can see for myself the result.

To the point. I don't see "ad feminam" as a phenomenon; it is merely a tool to target that which is perceived as a threat or a reaction. I, who doesn't have a racist bone in his body, taller than most, blond, gracile, (I'm being generous to myself here, I've been called "skinny Pommie bastard" plenty of times) will still mentally apply epithets of black, fat, jock, wog to any who incur my displeasure.

Julia Gillard is a threat, all who oppose her agenda will seize on anything.

Passing knowledge

I've been having a quiet jar down at the Philosopher's Club with Locke who tells me young Duncan is a little distressed that he may have opened Pandora's box. Lovely girl, had tea with her only the other day.

Where was I?  Oh yes, Locke burbles on a bit, particularly about government but he wanted to make sure that no-one thought the lad was talking about waddyecallit - copulation - that sort of thing.   He just thought from talking to these young women, who, Locke, in the strictest confidence assures me, expressed not the slightest interest in the poor lad, that they seemed in a way yearning for the possibility of just settling down with a bit of a family.

So, I thought I'd just let you know that but have to rush - Beelzebub's just called first drinks. 


Ed, aren't you being a bit precious here? I wrote "root" not "rogering" and if you can tell me the difference I'd be interested.

Fiona: Scott, your comment came in just as I handed the editor's quill to a colleague. Thus it was Another who published it. Nevertheless, I did read it prior to publication, and distinctly remember the reference to rogering. So, sir, 'twas not I who dunnit. Nor am I prepared to hazard a guess as to the source of the substitution - unless the ether had something to do with it...

Guest Ed Ross. My change Scott. Simply because it is slightly less coarse and probably more meaningful to those from other countries.

It's RUT not root. Roots

It's RUT not root. Roots are things people trip over and die (at least in my street - the council took our footpath away as a result - so someone tripped over the safety barriers on saturday night - he lived but I had to respond to cries of help).

From MS Bookshelf (it came with Office 97 and you can install just the bookshelf and later office versions will pick it up).

rut rut,
noun the annual period of sexual excitement in male deer; also in other male ruminants, such as sheep, goats, etc.
verb intransitive to be in such a period of sexual excitement.
verb transitive (Dryden) to copulate with.
rutt'ing noun and adjective.
rutt'ish adjective (Shakespeare) lustful.
[Old French ruit, rut, from Latin rugitus, from rugire to roar]

(c) Larousse plc.  All rights reserved

Root has three meanings. Part of a plant, pigs looking for food, and barrack for a team.

Eats roots, shoots and leaves

Yeh, great David Candy we're all so much wiser now. (Tongue firmly planted between the molars.)


Apologies to all because this is way off topic but needs to be addressed.

I replied to my own comment on another thread with a "not for publication" caveat mildly protesting the change to my post, requesting that if it be deemed unacceptable in its original form then pull the whole damn thing,  I'll accept that and think none the worse of those who make the judgment but don't change my meaning and don't attribute words to me or anybody else that have not been uttered.

Censorship in this forum I believe is necessary and will accept it but this is falsification. In response to Syd Drate I used the word "species" quite deliberately and found that someone deemed it fit to change that to "category", indeed that was the heading given to my post which I had not provided. Is it necessary to provide a heading? I, by my own assessment am a gentle and moderate creature most of the time but can get seriously pissed off. I am. To whoever is responsible, consult with Margo or Jack if he's still around and pull your head in.

Fiona states that she doesn't know how the substitution of "root" for "rogering" originated and I accept that unequivocally. I know that my memory is intact in this regard as "rogering", a Pommie expression is simply not in my vocabulary. The credibility of Webdiary is at stake here.

Scott, I am responsible for the alterations to your comment to Syd Drate. I apologise for thereby causing you offence. Such was not my intention. In my opinion the comment as it stood breached the editorial guideline against personal attacks. However, I thought your comment was important, so I tried to find a way in which your point could be made without being in breach.

Again, I am very sorry to have upset you. The head is well and truly pulled in.

Censorship, not

Hey Scott,

Many internet users also use forums and each forum is run in it's own way. I've used quite a few and moderated a couple as well.

What I can say, personal view only, is that I do a little editing on WD and have not seen any deliberate censorship. There are stated standards and Hamish and all editors do what they can to stick to those standards. Sometimes we make different decisions but that's people.

I haven't seen anything but worry about offending people who post and to call that censorship is, I'm afraid, not even close. The standards are stated and available for perusal. Hamish has repeated most of them many times to various posters.

Other sites I have been with blatantly can and do delete posts if they feel like it and never acknowledge such. Yet others care not what is published and that's their choice. It's different on each site mate.

WD tries, from my own experience, to maintain standards both of honesty and restriction on abuse and offensive material.

As a part timer I'm not always thinking the same as the other editors and they too all think differently. As do you.

I did change one word in your post as I stated below. I was searching for a word that replaced what I saw may offend some, regardless of it being an older Australian use of the word root.

I could have replaced it with "a male and female uniting in glorious bliss" but that would have changed the meaning as it implies a different set of feelings.

As it happened Roger's name was on the page and it fitted with what is certainly aa British term, rogering. Apologies to Roger F.

By the way some of my own posts here are indeed changed or not published as I do have angry reponses sometimes and use language below the standards set.

No response required mate, all is well.


Ross, before I read your last post I had responded but it seems to have got lost. In brief, I said thanks, my faith is restored and now I feel bad about roughing you up.

I also suggested, (if you had  the resources), considering a message board so others wouldn't have to read this kind of stuff and break the thread.

Perhaps now my reply to Trevor Kerr in "Sobering thoughts" will make sense.

Hamish: we're considering the message board idea.

Art of ad feminam - suppl comments


A few supplementary remarks, having just had a chance to read everybody's recent comments, which I very much enjoyed reading:

S Marker's reference to Condoleeza Rice is apt.  I don't know how Ms Rice works a barbie or roasts a Thanksgiving turkey, but in many respects she is a living refutation of what Janet Albrechtsen is trying to argue.  Rice is unmarried, childless and hardly your epitome of the 'traditional' woman, and yet she has several groups in the US trying to push for her candidacy in the 2008 Presidential race.  And no, you will not see an Albrechtsen article cutting her down like she did Gillard.

Chris, Ernest, Steve etc:  you've got me thinking about the history of journalism.  I don't know whether there has ever been a 'golden age' of truth in journalism.  However my little reading on the subject has shown that opinion journalism and 'infotainment' is on the rise, and investigative journalism is on the wane. 

The reason for this is simply money: finding facts and conducting proper research is increasingly not cost-effective for a commercial paper.  I have no answers to this, other than what I hinted at at the end of my article - perhaps Webdiary can capture that niche of very dissatisfied intellectuals who want facts, robust debate and ideas - all of which seem to be disappearing from the commercial papers.

Syd Drate - you have thrown into the mix a number of Labor elements against Gillard: her 'ticker', the factions, Emerson's book, that other book.  But I sense you don't have a grain of sympathy or identification with any of them - so what weight do they hold as arguments against Gillard?  In any case, this is all pretty off topic.  My article was about aggressive opinion columns aimed at women, as showcased in one article.  Opinions on the Labor party can be aired in dozens of other places and posts.

Steve Wallace: I like your optimism and more concrete vision for Webdiary writers.  Don't let me pour cold water on your ideas at all - but just one point: surely the most accomplished of us is Margo herself, with her experience and her running of Webdiary.  The entire Webdiary was originally attached to and funded by Fairfax, and presented through the SMH website. 

So not only were Webdiary writers present within a major paper (online), there was a true relationship.  But the total and catastrophic severance of that relationship was detailed by Margo in her latest contribution, and elsewhere - I won't repeat any of it here.  With this history in mind, how do we think Webdiary and/or its individual writers can possibly find a place in the more established media, even if opinion is king?


 Since the name Albrechtsen has cropped up a couple of times, there is probably no point me relating the big win that she, Brunton and a whole stack of anonymous cowards hiding in the wings have had with that gormless creature Coonan's closing down of the staff position on the ABC board.

Perhaps AWB and  IR are getting too close for comfort and any remaining "leaks" need to shut down.

Answer - speed up the dumbing down and censorship of the ABC, now that the only people left running it are unscrupulous ideological stooges, bigots and ignoramus lackeys.


Think outside the Box!

Steve, I was interested in your statement that, "Now what people think is what matters. Only people who think matter. The better you think the more you matter."

While I agree with your sentiments, the only warning I would make is that thinking is, too often, narrowly focused rather than broadly focused. For example two people can go to a beach and argue passionately about the qualities and meaning of three grains of sand they've picked up and entirely miss seeing the whole beach.  

Too often in Webdiary threads people address issues from a narrow focus: either a religious one, or a strictly right or left-wing political one, or a legal one, etc. Such thinking, by definition, is limited.

Our world is full of problems. The solution to most of them requires expansive lateral thinking employing principles and relevant research from sociology, psychology, philosophy, economics, political science, education, medicine, etc, plus, most important of all: innovation.

Get a Hobby

Hello Martin. I agree that Janet's work is an excellent example of what Webdiary would strive to avoid. We are an open community still, and perhaps more tolerant in our attitudes. If Ms Albrechtsen wrote that type of thing here she would be torn apart. I can’t stand her, so my mind ran off in another direction immediately.

The standards of Webdiary are clearly superior to Janet’s and her employer. One of the reasons to remain in the Webdiary community is to get around the limitations of a News-centric world. I am left to wonder – if I like the comments of Webdiary contributors, would others? If I see opinion by Ms Albrechtsen in major dailies could I see comment by, say, Martin Spalding, Roslyn Ross and Stephen Smith? I have a private sport of sending rebuttals to articles that I see in the dailies (well, a bloke needs a hobby, you know). Could Webdiary become an original source for articles, vastly superior to Janet’s, of course, with our community on the receiving end of replies? Would somebody pay Webdiary money for this? Would that make David’s and Hamish’s job a little easier? Can we become a news outlet? Can we come out about ourselves?

Webdiary has a very skilful team of writers at its disposal; quite an asset in fact. Our opinions are at least the equal of Janet’s. Our manner of writing is at least as appealing. We have a virtual proof-reading service. Mainstream outlets need talent and content. Shall we write for money? It’s obviously worth Janet’s time, and it could turn a hobby into a cottage industry. From little things …

Sure, opinion looms large in today’s media. Facts, however, still provide the bedrock of its news reporting, and have been thoroughly subverted. For example, the Right Hon. J. Howard is quoted verbatim uttering something transparent. The young thing writing the article simply repeats his words, without question, as a feat of accurate reporting. That it is: accurate and useless. The value that I am looking for lies in commentary. I love it. News is dead. Comment rules! Comment, the thinking person’s alternative to news. News is so 20th century. Now what people think is what matters. Only people who think matter. The better you think the more you matter. Thirst is nothing. Thought is everything. Make a comment.

I’m starting by asking a few newspapers what they pay Janet, and if they would pay Webdiary. She’s not the only one, so there might just be an opening for us. Need a hobby?

Gillard for PM

I'm with S Marker on this. It's obvious why Julia has been targeted: she's a threat to the established order on both sides of politics. It's about time the Labor (hate that spelling) Party woke up to the reason for declining membership: the hi-jacking of the democratic process and the disenfranchisement of rank and file members by branch stacking and the endorsement of candidates with no experience of the world outside of politics. Quality aspirants who have worked their way to the forefront by impressing their fellows with commonsense and purpose have been replaced by self-serving "suits" with degrees in Law/Economics or something similar and a resumé restricted to being somebody’s staffer. Ditto the unions: no one reaches positions of seniority from the shop floor or coalface and the union bosses stood mute while the arch Quislings and renegades Hawke and Keating gutted them with the secondary boycott provisions. Whitlam was hobbled by factionalism: look at the dross he had to work with, making his government too easy a target for the Murdoch and Packer media. His problem also was a conceit that prevented him from understanding his vulnerability. Small wonder politics took a sharp turn to the right after that.

I read that generation "Y" is turned off politics for lack of choice. I don't blame them.

As a libertarian socialist I'm disgusted by he who flogged off the Commonwealth bank saying Howard’s destruction of our civil liberties didn't go far enough.

Time for the left to reclaim its own, and I think the only way to do it is to send a message to the Labor party that unless it reforms it is coming last on the ballot paper.

I loathe and detest Howard’s politics and methods as strongly as anyone but I will effectively endorse him for another term (the coalition will come second last,) unless this happens, and I urge all who are like-minded to do the same. Sounds like a campaign, doesn't it?

The only way this is going to happen is to get Gillard in as leader and now, to give her time.

I don't see Julia as Joan of Arc or anything like it, but she has nominated herself for the job and I for one charge her with a duty. She must decide for herself whether or not she's up for it.

Gillard for PM

Scott Dunmore, Gillard is not going to be PM. She has only just made MP. She will be cut down by the factions and I do not think she has the stomach, or the "ticker", for a fight.

Australia will not vote in Labor again for all the reasons you have mentioned.

By the way, the reason they spell it Labor instead of Labour is that “labour” means “work”, which is something the Labor Party have not done for ten years.

The unions were not gutted by Hawke or Keating. They did it to themselves. They worked hard to make themselves irrelevant in modern times.

Seduced by Opinion

Martin and Ernest, you have both articulated something that has explained my uneasy pleasure when reading opinion writers.

Once, a long time ago, I remember reading actual articles and not opinions. In those days, of course, the articles incorporated independent investigation and analysis. Gradually over time it appears that the newspaper article evolved to a warmed-over press release, with the occasional comment (always brief) from the opposition in the last paragraph. I have to say, though, that a major exception to this would be foreign correspondents such as Paul McGeogh, and Robert Fisk.

The letters page and the opinion page became the only place left where I could expect an in-depth and hopefully unspun perspective. I found I would turn to these two pages, and the sports section, and ignore the rest of the paper.

Some opinion writers still do it for me, such as Michele Grattan or Ross Gittins. However, more and more I am aware of the ad hominem/feminam attacks that Martin wrote of. The attack on Gillard is only the latest in a growing trend.

Why? I think it is clear that other thinkers more strategic than me saw the potential of the opinion writers at a fairly early stage and sought to create special, perhaps cosy, relationships which provided the writer with inside info and the insider with an outlet for spin.

Perhaps the letters page is the only place left that provides a relatively uncorrupted space for comment and analysis. And to a certain extent that is what Webdiary has become, an ongoing letters page discussion which allows for a multitude of views and perspectives.

The media and control

Martin Spalding, I do not have the media experience nor the insight into the workings of the press as you seem to have - however, I always write as I consider the "big picture".  The facts as I see them are : "There is no truth - only the powers that be".  The media, in its infancy, was a progress from the "Bell ringer" and  so dishonest that the people fought hard to learn the truth.  Whether the government controlled the media or the media controlled the government - by dictatorship or by communism - is irrelevant since the end result is the same.  The Howard government has (in my opinion) "laundered" enormous sums of our money, for no apparent reason other than to "pay for comment".  And I ask Australians - where do you get the information on which you judge our government?

J Gillard

That Julia Gillard has been a sudden target of venom from the opinion writers is no surprise. The pre-selection issues in the Labor party and the timing of the Australian Story episode were certainly not coincidental.

Ms Gillard would certainly be one of the most effective choices for a Labor leader going into the future and perhaps someone in the coalition thinks so too, or they wouldn't be sending their attack dogs in the media after her.

She's unmarried? So what. Condoleeza Rice is unmarried but I'm sure J Albrechtsen won't be writing any story on whether Condoleeza Rice is fit to be the US Secretary of State. I'm sure she wouldn't want to upset her paymasters.


S Marker, Julia Gillard will never become leader of the Labor Party. She has trodden on too many toes and has publicly stabbed her present leader in the back. If she can do this whilst in Opposition can you imagine what she would be like in government.

She should just sit down and write a book, this seems to be the current game with Labor MPs at the moment. Craig Emerson launched his today with the help of Bob Hawke, who said that "factionalism is good for Labor." So that's a kick in the teeth for Julia.

I would have thought they would be better off sitting down and writing policies, that's what the people want.

This whole business of changing the leader is becoming boring, why don't they put in place a system where they can all take it in turns each month.

The targetting of Julia Gillard

Over on Tony kevin's blog I just noted a new piece relevant to this thread, The targetting of Julia Gillard.

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