I am incredibly proud to be Australian today.
Australia has a female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, after Kevin Rudd stood aside.
What a day for Australia and Australian women. We are a lucky country, with freedom incomparable to many parts of the world. But Julia Gillard's appointment as Prime Minister is great progression, for us and the rest of the world. It shows us as women, we can aspire to anything.
Though I do not profess to have knowledge in, or feign interest in politics, the events of today moved me greatly. I don't entirely understand what happened to cause Kevin Rudd's ouststing. I acknowledge that not all Australians agree with the way Julia Gillard was appointed Prime Minister - many call it execution, betrayal or divorce. It was interesting and exciting to watch the TV coverage and read the tweets of the rapidly unfolding events, even for a non politically savvy person like me.
It was particularly interesting to see what a role twitter played in the coverage. Journalists were tweeting observations and photos from the press gallery which them made it to media, and on one TV station, Mia Freedman was appointed 'Reporter of the Tweets', and tweeting herself. I saw a tweet from Yumi Stynes saying 'All the news coverage about the leadership spill is about tweets. Get over it! And get news the old fashioned way, schelppers!'
Another thing I found amusing, and slightly patronising, was that so much opinion about Julia Gillard is about her dress sense, hairstyle and colour (she had fabulous hair today!) and marital status. Call it a point of interest for women, and perhaps a 'human' part of her for them to grab onto, but would women be getting so interested in these aspects of her life if she was male?
I was on my way to the doctor, thinking I'd miss outgoing Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's speech. But I tuned into ABC radio and sat in the car listening to his emotional speech. I had tears in my eyes.
Considering he'd just been ousted by his own party, he spoke with such dignity, and from the heart. You can also view his speech at The Age.
He spoke of the achievements of the Labor Party in the time he was Prime Minister. When it came to talking about cancer treatment, organ donation and the stolen generation, he broke down. It was moving. The support from his family, particularly his wife Therese Rein, was strong
As Clem Bastow and many others tweeted, 'I am proud of the fact that Kevin Rudd is a human being'.
Despite the perceived failings of the Labor Party under Kevin Rudd's leadership, I believe he's shown great leadership in his exit speech. It was heartfelt, honest, huourous and apologetic at times. It would be pretty awful to be the leader of a country and turned on by your supposed allies in your party. I can't imagine how he couldn't take criticism personally in his role as Prime Minister.
The values that Kevin and Julia espoused today make me proud.
There were a few words in Julia Gillard's gorgeous strine-laden acceptance address that resonated with me. I believe these words are true resolve of great leadership and values:
'Can I say to the Australian people there will be some days I delight you; there may be some days I disappoint you.
On every day, I will be working my absolute hardest for you'.