Betrayal and backstabbing in politics

Credit: Fairfax Media

For the past day, Australia has been on a high about Julia Gillard becoming Australia’s first female prime minister.

With that aside, I’ve realised that you just can’t trust anyone if you work in politics.

Gillard did not become PM because the Australian public voted her into office. It was a case of Rudd’s own party members disliking their leader and subsequently plotting his downfall in a drive to ensure an election win. There is no better illustration than that of a playground squabble.

It’s a description that many people use to portray the world of politics. Politicians are like kids fighting against each other in a schoolyard brawl. Similar to the different cliques in schools, there are different parties in parliament.

What I never realised was how much backstabbing can occur within a party. This was exactly the case with the Labor Party where little groupies formed and members were either pro-Rudd or anti-Rudd.

In the end, the anti-Rudd group won and put Gillard into power. Gillard supported Rudd on all his policies, but then when the opportunity arose to take his position, she took it and challenged him. Don’t forget, Gillard was the person Rudd chose to be his deputy PM. What a way to model loyalty. Screw that! It’s all about achieving success for oneself, regardless of what needs to be done to achieve that.

The now deputy PM, Wayne Swan, did the exact same thing by switching his allegiance to Gillard’s. Swan and Rudd were actually friends and they even went to school together. “Sorry, Rudd. This opportunity is too good to miss. This is about power and I want it.”

Now, Gillard has said that she wants to maintain a friendship with Rudd. If I were him, I would be questioning that. Of course, Gillard is obligated to say that. Think back to all those celebrities and prominent figures who end up in divorces but insist that they remain mutual friends.

You can totally imagine this in a school situation. A, B and X are friends with A being the “leader” and B their best friend. X rises in popularity and steals A’s thunder. B knows that by being Z’s friend, they will benefit. B and X become friends and A eventually falls and loses everything.

Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan make their way to the caucus meeting Credit: NineMSN

This morning, Swan and Gillard walked together to the caucus meeting. Kevin was alone. I felt bad for him. He was about to be stripped of his title and he had to face the fact that two key players in his team had dumped him. No, no, they betrayed him.

Politics is nasty business. After today, politicians should make sure they’re always watching their back. Their least concern is someone from a rival party. They should be worried about people in their own party. Everyone has something to gain by knocking down an opponent.

Doesn’t this all sound so Mean Girl-ish?

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About Brendan
Journalist

2 Responses to Betrayal and backstabbing in politics

  1. Rebecca Wheller says:

    Until today, i never took much interest in the politics of my own country but after the events that have transpired today i think my attitude has been greatly changed. Brendan, i think you are totally right to comment on the fact that parliament seems to be an arena similar to the playground. With cliques and popularity ruling instead of friendship and support of one another within the same party. I understand that politicians are supposed to debate, but what i see when i watch question time in parliament is not rational debating for the sake of a better outcome for our country. Instead it is a platform for childish name calling and a battle of he said she said. There is a difference between debating and arguing.

  2. Brendan says:

    Great point Bec and thanks for commenting. I appreciate that.

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