Dear Julia, it’s time for a dignified exit speech


Dear Julia, it’s time for a dignified exit speech

Date February 20, 2013 Category Opinion 437 reading now

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Alan Stokes

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I love you Julia Gillard, in a platonic ”gee you’re brave, wish I were as smart as you, you’ve done some great things, had a red hot go, our daughters will thank you, we’ll miss you, no one blames you for not being perfect, we’re all flawed and those flaws can take us a long way,” sort of way.

And what’s not to love about a politician such as you?

Stay and it’s harder for those who love you to … protect your legacy.

One who turns up in trackie dacks to a Chinese restaurant after a federal budget looking like your daggy sister who’s as shocked to be where she is as you are to see her there.

Missing all the signals … Julia Gillard. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

But Jesus wept, Julia Gillard, I hate you, in a fatherly ”why didn’t you just wait, the faceless men used you, your time would have come, why promise things then dump them, let the Greens and big business con you, put on a face, hide the warmth, lost your guiding light along the way,” sort of way.


And what’s not to hate about a politician such as you?

One so focused on the job, but caught up in the grief of how it wasn’t meant to turn out this way and it’s just not fair, that you are missing all the signals.

So with utmost respect, allow me to spell it out for you, as one pride-riven, deeply weakened individual to a far less flawed one.

Julia Gillard, it is time for you to make your graceful, dignified, humble, selfless exit from the prime ministership.

Stay and it’s harder for those who love you to save the furniture and protect your legacy.

Stay and you will hurt more.

Forget Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott. This is about you.

Forget the loss of face. Life’s too short.

Admitting the dream is over is painful. Maybe you have known all along. Maybe you did not want to let your supporters down. Maybe you owe it to your family. Maybe to your father.

Now, you know about grieving.

How at first you deny it’s happened and grasp every skerrick of how things were.

Then you get angry because you did not get to do everything you wanted.

Then you start bargaining for some sort of compromise – gimme just one last chance and I promise to deliver.

Then you get depressed when reality sets in. The pain won’t go away. You make silly decisions, won’t take wise counsel, won’t listen.

But, one day, you just have to realise that what will be, will be.

Let today be that day.

Take this chance to end the grieving over your dream of what Australia could have been had you managed just a few extra months.

You are now the adult. You are the one who has to lead the way, be the example, carry the secrets, dispense the wisdom, keep it all together.

Of course you cannot, not inside your head.

On the outside, though, you can deliver the most dignified of resignation speeches, one that digs up fond memories and spreads them evenly among the needy.

You are the only one who can, with a little help from Whitlam, Carr, Beazley, Keating, Hawke and, yes, even Rudd.

And it starts like this: Men and women of Australia, I shall call my Labor colleagues to Canberra on Friday to elect a new executive.

I myself will not be nominating for the position of leader.

There is never a perfect time in these things. Sharing this past weekend with Tim, we were impressed by the notion that you could spend more of your time in a nice way. And we’ve decided that time has come.

I thank you for your support but please don’t make this any harder than it is.

I’ve got to say that not once did I tackle and take on a second-best option, I never threw a policy fight, I always went … I always went for the big ones. In the end, it’s the big picture that changes nations.

Australia is now more outward-looking, more tolerant and competitive than it was when I came to office.

I’m proud of all we’ve done. What I’m less proud of is the fact that I have now blubbered.

I thank the Australian people for putting their trust in me.

And having said all that, folks, I’ve got to zip.

Such is life.

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