T-shirt featuring caricatures of Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott #2012-0028
Large unisex white cotton t-shirt featuring a flattering caricature of Julia Gillard on the front with inscription ‘GO JULIA! 2010’ and an unflattering caricature of Tony Abbott on the back with ‘DON’T TRUST MR RABBIT’.
Julia Eileen Gillard (b. 1961) was the first female to become Prime Minister of Australia. Welsh born and raised in Adelaide, she was elected to Parliament in 1998 and was a shadow minister until 2007; from 2006 she was Deputy Leader of the Australian Labor Party. In 2007 she became Australia’s first female Deputy Prime Minister. On 24 June 2010, Gillard replaced Rudd as Prime Minister following a leadership spill which Rudd did not contest. On 21 August a general election was held in which Labor and the coalition led by Tony Abbott won 72 seats each in the House of Representatives, with the balance of power held by one Green and several independent members.
Anthony John Abbott (b. 1957) became Leader of the federal Liberal Party in December 2009 after defeating Malcolm Turnbull in a leadership ballot. Abbott had been a minister in the Howard coalition government from 1998 to 2007, notably Minister for Health. Abbott, having been raised as a Catholic and initially training as a priest, was noted for his conservatism and somewhat adversarial parliamentary style.
The 2010 election saw the first hung federal parliament in Australia for 70 years. It was also the first federal election since 1993 where neither leader had experience with leading their party to an election. The election was fought in the shadow of Rudd’s replacement by Gillard which was referred to by some opponents as ‘assassination’. The coalition campaigned heavily on immigration and climate change, pledging to halt unauthorised arrivals and act on climate change without introducing a ‘carbon tax’. Labor campaigned with the slogan ’Moving Forward’ and proposed its own climate change solutions, attacking Abbott for his conservative views.
The t-shirt’s reference to Abbott as ‘Mr Rabbit’ refers to Gillard’s unique pronunciation of ‘Mr Abbott’; the nickname was adopted by Gillard’s supporters to deride her opponent.