Julia Gillard has been sworn in as Australia’s first female Prime Minister after ousting Kevin Rudd in an unopposed Labor leadership battle. ABC explains that voters lost faith in Rudd after a series of bungles and backflips, including the shelving of the emissions trading scheme.
Slow TV profiles the outgoing Prime Minister in a superb conversation in which David Marr talks to Robert Manne about Rudd’s political journey.
What I’ll remember best is The Apology, a wonderful oration that said sorry to Australia’s Aboriginal peoples for the way the continent was colonized.
That said, words were not followed by integrated actions. A number of Aboriginal leaders have expressed frustration at the lack of follow-through.
In the field of tourism the offices of Aboriginal Tourism Australia were closed and Indigenous Tourism Australia has yet to hit its stride. There is no national policy promoting indigenous tourism despite the fact that numerous studies are showing that Australians themselves want their kids to learn about Aboriginal Australia.
That the emissions trading scheme failed is understandable given business as usual politics. I’d argue that it was also poorly articulated and too complicated for people to follow. Kudos to Bush Telegraph in particular for explaining the system as well as it could.
Foreigners, like myself, pay attention to Australia from afar, with a mix of admiration and confusion. For the next few weeks we will likely be more befuddled than ever. It will be worth the time to watch the transition and see how politics play out.