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I just bought a copy of the Australian Women’s Monthly.

I didn’t want to, but the current edition hasn’t yet made it to the doctors’ surgery, or to the library.

Julia Gillard is made to look very attractive.

There has been a bit of photo-shopping. In the photos, this makes her look younger and softer. In the text, it makes her look more caring and trustworthy.

I asked a random sample of female friends what they thought of the article, and of Julia.

One answered that she was lovely, and it would be great for Australia to have a female Prime Minister, just like it is wonderful that America has a black President.

This respondent is obviously a complete dimwit.

I didn’t point out that Australia already has a female Prime Minister, or that voting for someone on the basis of race is, well, racism. And besides, that’s worked out just peachy for all concerned, hasn’t it?

My two other friends said the fact that Julia is a backstabbing schemer who may have broken up a marriage, isn’t able to solve any of the problems currently facing the government, and seems willing to promise anything with taxpayers’ money to stay in power, is more important to them than that she is a woman.

They weren’t impressed with her domestic arrangements either. How is her consort going to be introduced? Please welcome Mr Tim Mathieson, the guy who’s currently shagging the Prime Minister?

It may sound snobby, but most Australians won’t sit comfortably with the idea of the Prime Minister shacking up at the Lodge with her hairdresser boyfriend.

Is this fair? Should politicians’ personal lives be up for discussion?

Well, yes.

It is important that our leaders be intelligent, energetic, capable. Julia is all of those things. So was Kevin Rudd. So was Mussolini.

Those things alone don’t make good leaders.

People also want to know that the Prime Minister is stable, truthful, compassionate, willing to honour commitments.

If a politician is willing to deceive friends, betray colleagues, lie to partners, make promises he can’t keep, why should voters have confidence he will keep his promises to them?

If the Women’s Weekly really thinks that faithfulness, integrity, stability, and kindness are less important to its readers than having nice hair and a vagina, it has seriously underestimated the intelligence of Australian women.

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