Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  113 / 164 Next Page
Basic version Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 113 / 164 Next Page
Page Background


Since the day I arrived at Ruyton, I have known one thing – Lauren

Yip would be school captain. The Year 12s have all known this deep

down, but imagine for a minute that she hadn’t been picked. Not

through any fault of your own, Lauren, but because the school had

decided they needed a celebrity captain who could boost the school’s

image in the wider community, and so brought back Olympian Kim

Crow to captain the school. Okay, obviously, this is utterly ridiculous

and is not a democratic process. But this is exactly what happened on

the national stage with former Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s so-

called ‘captain’s pick’ of indigenous Olympian Nova Peris. The

controversy and the consequences that have followed in the wake of

this decision only highlight that political parties must move away

from choosing celebrity candidates.

When Ms Gillard first announced in mid-January that the first

indigenous woman to compete for Australia at the Olympics would

become the first indigenous woman to be a federal senator, it was

hailed as the ‘righting of a national wrong.’ And while I admit that

the move looks good, once you get into it, it becomes clear that it’s

not all sunshine and rainbows. First of all, in order to select Nova

Peris for this senate seat in the Northern Territory, Julia Gillard had

to ditch Trish Crossin, the hard-working senator who’d held that

seat for 15 years. Crossin was ordered to fly to Canberra the day

before the media announcement and was told that she’d basically

been sacked. Ms Gillard saying, ‘I’m offering you nothing.’ Just like

that, Crossin was gone. I mean, she was free to run for the seat, and

she did, but Julia Gillard demanded Labor members vote for Peris,

and they did. That’s democracy for you.

But while intrinsically one would have thought Julia Gillard

would have been a better prime minister for having selected the first

indigenous Labor senator, her brutal method actually only damaged

her already bruised image. When she announced the selection of

Peris, she attempted to present herself as assertive and pioneering,

but her sudden cruel dumping of a hard-working local only fuelled

criticism from the media and even from within her own party that

she was dictatorial and showing ‘utter contempt’ for the Northern

Territory’s local processes. We could see this selection for what it

was; not as many had trumpeted, the ‘righting of a national wrong’,

but mere celebrity politics, designed to shore up Labor’s plummeting

numbers in the NT. Why else would a popular Olympian have been


Janet Davey

Alan Patterson Public

Speaking Competition