Ros Irwin, appointed Lismore’s first female mayor, not elected.
Ros Irwin, appointed Lismore’s first female mayor, not elected.

Positive, say our leading women

THE response from leading Northern Rivers women to Julia Gillard's appointment as Australian Prime Minister has been overwhelmingly positive, despite one quip from Liberal MLC Catherine Cusack that Ms Gillard had to stab Kevin Rudd in the back to get there.

But, politics aside, Ms Cusack, along with Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell, Lismore identityNora Vidler-Blanksby, and Southern Cross University lecturer in politics and former Lismore mayor, Ros Irwin, acknowledged the development as ‘momentous'.

Ms Cusack said Ms Gillard's ‘appointment' had detracted from the occasion.

“I had always hoped our first female prime minister would be elected and not appointed by stabbing her leader in the back,” Ms Cusack said.

“All of us girls have dreamed of having a female PM and, I have to say, that seeing herbeing sworn in by Governor-General Quentin Brice was a momentous occasion.”

In contrast, Ms Irwin, who was also appointed and not elected to her position as firstfemale mayor in 1997, said the speedy changeover showed democracy at work.

“It's an unprecedented change and people will always see negatives in it, but it shows our democratic process at work,” she said.

“It also shows that women can seek and gain the highest positions in politics, and I'm alsovery pleased that Julia is such a strong, capable leader.

“The whole process speaks to the strengths of the Labor Party that if they see a problem inleadership, they do something about it in a way that doesn't tear the party apart.”

Cr Dowell said, personally, she was thrilled, but that Mr Rudd's achievements should not be overlooked.

“I'm thrilled that Julia is Prime Minister, but it's unseemly to be shouting it from the rooftops,” Cr Dowell said.

“I do feel for Kevin Rudd. He has a lot to be thanked for in turning this country into one that is more hopeful. Julia Gillard has a wonderful way of communicating. She can laugh at herself, and relates to people.”

Ms Vidler-Blanksby des-cribed Ms Gillard's appointment as ‘history-making'.

“This is a huge achievement of Julia Gillard's goals,” she said. “She will bring a completeness of the highest possible way to this nation. We have a bright future with her there and she will be able to meet the criteria needed by all communities to gain their trust.”

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