Aussie PM Julia Gillard launched a campaign this week under her own name, linking her political survival with the survival of pro-women policies.
At the launch she said that without her at the helm, Australia’s women would be at the mercy of male politicians.
She took flack for the attempt to categorise policy as a female versus male battle, but kudos to her bold and aggressive gamble.
Then, as if to prove Gillard’s point, from ‘nowhere’ was revealed a menu from a Liberal Party fundraising dinner. It featured a description of a meal using crude references to Gillard’s body parts.
It was a beautiful set up and strike. It turns out the Gillard has vicious political cunning worthy of any male adversary.
But her alignment with ‘women’ is an intriguing strategy.
I’m not aware of any previous attempt to run a re-election campaign based on sitting Prime Minister’s gender or other defining physical characteristic. I’m hard-placed to think of a way in which a PM’s re-election campaign has even been chain-linked to a particular voting group.
What disappoints me is that, despite being a professional politician, it was Gillard who organised and launched this campaign for herself. She lacks the sophistication to allow these things to be once or twice removed – to let them appear genuine and organic.
It is yet another example of how a politician sees themselves as embodying a group or ideology, rather than simply wanting to represent members of the public that hold that ideology.