Many victims of child sexual abuse are mourning Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s overnight defeat at the hands of the smirking, conniving, grey haired boys club. I suspect she knew all along her time at the top would be short and that she had a limited opportunity to achieve real change before she would be taken down for the crime of being a successful, assertive woman.
Unlike many of our underachieving politicians, Julia did not waste her time in power. She made a genuine, positive difference to so many people’s lives and to our nation’s progress towards being a humane society.
The people she aided were not the ones who would help fund a privileged retirement from politics. Rejecting self interest for social justice, Julia Gillard stood up for the rights of the abused, the neglected, and the deserving. And she did it with grace, with conviction and with calm determination.
It is undeniable Julia is no unblemished model of perfection. Unfortunately Australian politics is a dirty business and the route to the top invariably involves getting excrement on your hands. But instead of burying her face in the trough once there, Julia wiped her hands, rolled up her sleeves and got down to the business of being a true leader.
Blokey, misogynist Australia will never forgive her for that. For showing up their childish, self serving antics as not inevitable, but simply not good enough.
Julia made mistakes aplenty too. An example is her refusal to support heroic Australian citizen Julian Assange and protect him from bullying and possibly murder by the thugs of the US administration. I can only imagine what pressure was brought to bear to obtain such a betrayal.
But when she got it right, Julia got it so very, very right.
She is the only world leader in history to truly stand up to the might of the oppressively powerful Catholic Church hierarchy and insist they be held accountable, nationally, for their crimes.
Even the International Criminal Court in The Hague last week baulked at such a task, and indeed, dodged the responsibility, leaving Julia, and, hopefully, other world leaders who may follow her example, to stand up for the rights of abused children.
This is not her only such achievement, but for me, it is the one that makes so much difference.
I had the privilege to meet Julia at Kirribilli House in January, and discuss one on one her intentions for the Royal Commission. I saw a genuine desire to right this grave wrong, to uncover the truth, and to deliver some justice to those denied it so cruelly.
I have also seen first hand the workings of this Royal Commission, and met with those entrusted with this difficult and delicate task, and have full confidence this legacy has been left in good hands. There will be many who attempt to undermine the intentions of the Royal Commission, but I believe those at the very top are smart enough, talented enough, determined enough and empowered enough to get to enough of the truth that child rapists in priests clothing will never again feel so completely protected from Australian law as they have until now.
What does the future hold for the Royal Commission and those affected by its work? Will Kevin Rudd or Tony Abbott gut the Royal Commission or hobble its ability to undertake this vital investigation?
If they attempt to do so they can be sure survivors and the media will be watching closely. And if we do see corrupt attempts to once again protect powerful criminals and once again betray Australia’s children we will certainly not sit back and let it happen. We will not be silenced. We will never again be voiceless victims.
Stay safe everyone.