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Gillard breaks her promise to Wilkie


Wilkie is only the most recent person to be betrayed by Julia Gillard.

So Julia Gillard has reneged on her pokies agreement with Andrew Wilkie, and Wilkie has responded by withdrawing his support for the government. This was always likely after the government installed Peter Slipper as Speaker, and therefore no longer needed Wilkie’s support to survive.

In my last post I referred to a small possibility that the government could yet fall over this year. That possibility is now greater. If Craig Thomson get charged, or some Government MP retires due to ill-health or dies, we will likely be back at the polls.

Whilst I agree with Wilkie when he says that “We should be able to trust our politicians to keep their word”, he didn’t feel that was such an imperative when he voted for the carbon tax that Julia Gillard promised pre-election that she would never introduce.

In short, Gillard betrayed the Australian people by legislating the carbon tax. Now she has also betrayed Wilkie. He shouldn’t be too surprised.

Does Julia Gillard’s words mean anything? Consider the number of times she has been unable to keep her word in just the last two years:

1) Said that she’d sooner become full forward in the AFL than roll Kevin Rudd, a few weeks before she did so

2) Said that “there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead” just before the 2010 election. The following year she changed her mind.

3) Promised to Wilkie that we would have mandatory pre-commitment nationwide before breaking that promise as well.

Here we have a Prime Minister who has consistently chosen what is in her short-term political interest over keeping her promises and other moral principles time and time again. The result is that she is regarded as unscrupulous and untrustworthy by many voters, and is desperate to avoid an election where voters will be able to pass judgment.

Ultimately, Labor will have to get rid of Gillard before the next election. This latest episode confirms that she is damaged goods and will only sully the government’s image. Labor must change leaders like one changes one’s clothes after rolling in the mud. A new leader will to some degree provide a fresh start.

In terms of policy, however, Gillard reneging of her agreement with Wilkie has positive unintended consequences. Obviously a pre-commitment trial is a wise step, as it would be reckless to implement mandatory pre-commitment nationwide at great expense without being confident that it will substantially reduce problem gambling.


  1. Ray Dixon says:

    The mistake she made with Wilkie, Leon, was promising him pokies’ reform in return for his support in the first place. Wilkie had no business as one independent to hold the government to ransom over a national issue, just because, well, just because he doesn’t like pokies … and just because he could. While his intentions might have been good the reality is that Wilkie hadn’t even thought through his own pokies’ policy before he made it a condition of his support. He’s flakey and naive. I think Gillard should have just said “No, go see if Abbott will do it”.

    As for your Gillard-bashing, we’re all a bit tired of it. Yes, we know she has no substance, no vision, no principles, etc, etc. She’s not a good leader, not a PM’s a*hole and even most ALP supporters dislike her. Look at the polls. Next ……

  2. Leon Bertrand says:


    I agree with you that Wilkie hadn’t really thought through with his gambling policy. Gillard should have stared down Wilkie, I think that like the Greens he was rusted onto Labor anyway.

    I’m sorry but I can’t help the Gillard bashing, for all the reasons you nominate. When she is no longer PM, I intend to slow down a bit.

  3. GD says:

    As you say, Leon, this ‘unintended outcome’ is really a win for the populace. Ray is right that Wilkie had no right to hold a government to ransom, merely because he held the balance of power. Thankfully he no longer does. I agree with both of you.

    Problem gambling won’t be fixed, or helped, by knee-jerk pokie regulation. It will only throw those problem gamblers over to the TAB or the online sites. Once again, a window-dressing gesture by Labor and rusted-on independents that won’t solve a thing.

    Meanwhile our national deficit grows day by day, as Labor spends the next generation’s inheritance.

  4. Richard Ryan says:

    Now Top This! When and if Abbott becomes the leader of this country, we will have “blood” on the streets of our Australian cities, along with strikes, civil unrest, and terrorism. This failed Catholic Cleric, will go down in political history as the mad monk. Shalom.

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