The main problem with our Prime Minister is her gender. Australia still remains an "ocker" society where males see themselves as superior. Just how John Howard would have behaved in opposition to Julia Gillard is anyone's guess, because he epitomizes the Aussie male. Most lie in the center politically.
Australia's cultural heritage has left us with a very odd political system. There is a Coalition of a so called centrist party and a right wing party derived from pastoralists. Even in the centrist Liberal Party there are ultra-conservatives, mainly as they have nowhere else to go.
Labor is accused of being splintered into factions, but the Coalition is truly split between centrists and rightists. To put it bluntly they hate each other just as much as Labor factions. Some parliamentarians have left the National Party claiming that their rightist and in some cases center (tariff protection) policies are totally ignored by members of the Liberal Party. This is the main reason we have a Labor government. Two disaffected Nationals, now independents, joined with Labor to create the governing temporary coalition.
Getting back to gender problems, Joe Hockey, shadow treasurer, recently said about Julia Gillard that she “has never deserved respect and will never receive it.” This is arrogant. Even when John Howard ruled with an iron fist, he was respected by Labor politicians. Unfortunately, the present leader of the Coalition, Tony Abbott, tends to blatantly ignore Julia Gillard in parliament, sometimes not even responding.
Of course, he knows that he can behave this way. He has the next election in the bag. As a Labor politician said years ago: even a drover's dog could win.