The week before last, I took part in a survey that put Julia Gillard well out in front as preferred federal Labor leader. Of the five names on offer, she got 35% of the vote -- and this from a sample of over 1,200 respondents in which men outnumbered women 2-1.
Then came Kevin Rudd with 20%, and after him, wait for it, Paul Keating with 15%. Kim Beazley limped in fourth at 10% -- less than the 12% 'uncommitted vote' -- and Bill Shorten barely rated.
So. Has it occurred to anyone else that the Labor Right's great big push to fast-track Shorten might be as much an anti-Gillard move as it is a pro-Shorten one? Is this a conscious move to defeat the Left, or the unconscious ignoring of the woman in the equation that most women over 40 have experienced at some point in our careers? Is the Right acting on homosocial groupthink, or on the unacknowledged assumption that a factional victory is more important than a Party one?
Either way, are they going to stuff up the most promising prospect of a female federal party leader that Australia has ever had?
And if they do, will we be surprised?