Yes that’s the French who with their laissez faire approach to fidelity actually have a president who left his wife for a model/singer/actress Carla Bruni, former squeeze of Mick Jagger and laterly some old dude who she left for his son–or maybe she left the son for the old man. Sacre bleu, that would never be tolerated in Australia, or would it?
Take for instance our Prime Minister Julia Gillard. She had an affair with married fellow Labor MP Craig Emmerson in 2003. He left his wife and children to form a two year relationship with Gillard. OK, so there is a school of thought out there that politicians private lives should be off limits. But this is my question. Does Gillard’s role in having a relationship with a married man give an indication of her character–the real Julia?
Oh, and by the way I’m putting two caveats into this. First, Craig Emmerson was the married one so the onus lies firmly with him and secondly, I do not deny for one minute that Julia Gillard is the only person, male or female, who has been in a similar situation. I’ll reiterate my question though–does her involvement in this affair speak as to her good character? And how important is the quality of good character in politicians?
I’m pretty confident of what Kevin Rudd’s response would be. Based on recent events I don’t for a minute think that he believes Julia Gillard is a person of good character.
So let’s discuss Bill Shorten here, and I’m going to because I firmly believe he will be leading the ALP into the next election. He orchestrated the downfall of Kevin Rudd and is, for now, supporting Gillard. He’s also got a new mother-in-law, Governor General Quentin Bryce. Shorten left his wife Debbie Beale to take up with then married Chloe Bryce who had two children from the marriage. Bryce gave birth to their daughter last year. Does the fact that he conducted an affair give suggestion as to his character? It certainly gives new meaning to the term marrying up. Ditch the Liberal party blue blood girl for the daughter of the highest officer in the land. Again, I think it does.
However Shorten has had a great role model in his union role model and former PM Bob Hawke, who conducted an affair with Blanche d’Alpuget throughout his term as Prime Minister if the recent telepic was any indication. And considering Blanche was a consultant on the film, you’d have to believe it was true. What a great bloke, cheat on your wife, who actually become one of the country’s Living Treasures (but surprisingly not Bob), and then ditch her for the slightly younger blonde with whom you’d been having an affair with for years. Yes, pose in tacky white bathrobes while your former wife succumbs to Alheimers. It’s very sad and I think speaks volumes as to Hawke’s character, or lack of.
I have a friend who is the daughter of a former prominent MP. She said that there was an unspoken rule in parliament that you never aired the other party’s dirty laundry as to private affairs. Sounds like a conspiracty of silence to me. I’ll keep yours quiet if you keep mine quiet.
So is infidelity the sort of behaviour we would tolerate from our friends. Probably not, and if you did, I really think your perception of them might change.
Luckily none of these people are in office in the US. They’d would have been kicked out at the first hurdle. For the US media enjoy nothing more than raking over the coals of a disintegrating relationship. They’d have a field day here.