Just over one year on from the swift and ruthless Labor party room coup that saw her installed as Australian Prime Minister after deposing Kevin Rudd, and almost a year since her government scraped back into power and narrowly avoided being voted out of office after one term, the ABC has announced that it has commissioned a sitcom about Julia Gillard and her significant other, Tim Mathieson. At Home With Julia will be a four part comedy series depicting the trials and tribulations of Australia's (sort of) first couple.
This news comes on the same day that the latest opinion polls show that voter support for the Prime Minister and the federal government has dropped to record lows. Labor's decline in the polls began early last year, and the party thought that Rudd's removal would help to arrest this decline and turn around their political fortunes. Clearly they were wrong.
The next federal election is two years away. I believe in miracles, but as an armchair observer it seems to me that turning this situation around is almost impossible, and federal Labor are facing electoral annihilation. Already there are murmurings about toppling Julia Gillard and replacing her with one of her colleagues, but this brings to mind the cliche about rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic. As Prime Minister, she simply hasn't grown into the job, and her government is probably one of the most dysfunctional that Australia has ever had. Bear in mind that I was too young to remember the Whitlam government (1972-1975).
Unless Ms Gillard or her replacement bites the bullet and calls an early election, Australia faces two more years of political instability, not to mention tougher economic conditions as a result of the tenuous business and consumer confidence that this situation contributes to.