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Julia Gillard Dog Chew Toy #2014-0066

Julia Gillard dog chew toy. Soft polyester toy filled with stuffing depicting Julia Gillard in a blue dress suit.

History

The ‘Bony Abbott’ and ‘Droolia’ toys were both manufactured during the lead-up to the 2013 federal election which, it was expected, would be contested by Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott. The toys received some media coverage, reflecting the community attitude to the election. Polls showed high levels of dissatisfaction with both leaders, a situation which continued when Kevin Rudd returned to the prime ministership in June 2013. The use of a dog toy as a political effigy is relatively recent, but other objects have been used in the past, notably candles (the idea being to ignite the candle on election night and watch your chosen leader burn and melt as results came in!).

Julia Eileen Gillard (b. 1961) was the first woman 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 the first woman to be Deputy Prime Minister, serving under Kevin Rudd as deputy and Education minister. On 24 June 2010, Gillard replaced Rudd as prime minister following a leadership spill which Rudd did not contest. On August 21 a general election was held at 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. Gillard formed a minority government. The Gillard government won praise from supporters for resilience and longevity (no minority government had ever lasted a full parliamentary term), but attracted criticism, especially from the Opposition, over controversial policies such as the mining tax and carbon price, which saw a dramatic fall in support in the polls. Gillard maintained office after Rudd challenged her for Labor leadership in February 2012, but increasing tensions within Labor and continued poor polling, especially after the landslide victory of the Liberal National Party in Queensland in March 2012, saw her support erode further. On 28 June 2013, Gillard lost another challenge by Rudd, and elected to retire at the federal election of 7 September.

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Statement of values

The object has social significance as a contemporary expression of the attitude towards an Australian prime minister. Most Australians hold an opinion on their national leadership and, in this case, the toy is an expression of a negative opinion. The symbolism of having a dog chew on a toy shaped like a politician is obvious.

As a caricature, the toy incorporates features of Julia Gillard that have become heavily disseminated; her ‘misogyny speech’ in which she angrily accused Opposition Leader Tony Abbott of hypocrisy and misogyny in the House of Representatives. The speech went viral on the internet and was highly popular among her supporters and Abbott’s detractors. The doll is dressed in the same outfit that Gillard wore when she made the speech; she is depicted in one of her most famous appearances. The toy can therefore be said to represent a political figure as an Australian cultural trope.

The toy’s media coverage sparked some debate as to whether the depiction of Gillard with some exaggerated body parts was sexist. For her part, Gillard seemed to take it in good humour. A dog owner herself, she was photographed with the toy.

  • Julia Gillard Dog Chew ToyJulia Gillard Dog Chew Toy —

Details

Width 125mm
Height 320mm
Medium Polyester
Creator’s name Joseph Parsons Nominees Pty Ltd
Date created 2013