If the Prime Minister was a man, would the national broadsheet be bothering his father?
Let me re-phrase that: Did journalists at The Australian ask the fathers of the previous 26 (male) prime ministers about their adult child’s popularity?
The Australian, in their continuing efforts to infantilise the Prime Minister, has published this rubbish: Julia’s dad sees turnaround for his embattled daughter.
The headline – calling her ‘Julia’ and not ‘Gillard’ or ‘PM’ – is about undermining her authority. The familiarity shows a lack of respect for her position. After all, Tony Abbott is always Abbott in headlines.
JOHN Gillard is optimistic his daughter’s political popularity will take a turn for the better soon.
That’s a little like implying he said, “Aww, chin up honey, the other kids will like you soon”. Also, there’s an undercurrent in this story that says women aren’t real adults – that they’re Daddy’s Little Girl until they’re married, then they’re Someone’s Wife. In both cases there’s a man there to guide her. If you believe that women can run a country and that they can make decisions about their personal lives, you wouldn’t be putting these questions to a female prime minister’s father.
He likes Tim Mathieson, the first bloke, but said it was not his right to comment on whether or not the pair should marry.
“It’s a decision that two adult people that have a loving relationship will make,” he said. “I think they can make intelligent decisions without asking their father.”
So, Verity Edwards thought it was important to ask Mr Gillard about whether his adult daughter should get married? Mr Gillard’s response was a polite way of saying “what a stupid question”.
Last week, Annabel Crabb wrote in The Drum:
Julia Gillard is the Prime Minister. She earns more than $300,000 a year, and she runs the country. She is nearly 50 years old. She can’t cook, sure. But she can scramble a jet, and get Glenn Stevens out of bed in the middle of the night.
Surely she has earned the right not to endure infantilising questions about whether she really loves her boyfriend.
Yes, she has earned that right. All women have. And we’ve also earned the right to be able to do our jobs without journalists asking our fathers about our marital status.