Meeting the current Prime Minister was a buzz http://newsbytes.com.au/2010/08/no-dodgem-latham-as-gillard-moves-forward-into-sideshow/, not because she’s THE PM or famous, but more the process itself. I would trade any chance for a photo op with Julia Gillard to be poked and prodded in the notorious media scrums I read so much about. I’ve never been so grateful for my bony elbows and my short height. There truly is nothing quite like it, it was the first time I ever considered myself a real journalist.
As with many journos and their stories I got the story on her stoush with her old bud Mark Latham because I was in the right place at the right time, and to be perfectly honest – with the right person. I was oblivious to the line of 20 people staring at the gate in all the hustle and bustle of the Ekka until my boyfriend, Juan, asked “Why are there all those people lined up with media passes just there?” So I went and asked the person at the top of the line who informed me the Prime Minister would be there in five minutes. I placed my media pass around Juan’s neck like it was a prized medal and told him this is the most important thing I have ever asked him to do for me and will be the basis of how many children he will be blessed with. My wishes went something along the lines of “Look, this is really, really important. I need to take notes of what she says, so you need to take photos, please. I don’t care what you do or how you do it, but you need to get in front of everyone else with a camera and a video camera. You can have as many children as you want, seriously. This is really serious.”
When the PM got there 15 minutes later Juan and I saluted each other and set off on our separate missions. No, we didn’t salute, but I did stare at him meaningfully and mouth ‘seriously’. I gave one security guard a hard jab to the back, accidentally of course, because I was trying to gingerly worm my way past him and someone gave me a good push. I smiled apologetically and thought I was busted, but he gave me a little nod back and cursory flat-line smile and I figured ‘Hey, come on Emma, how dangerous do you really look with your purple ACDC tee and cons’. So that’s the point when I stopped squeezing and ducking and sounding like a broken record chorusing ‘excuse me, excuse me, excuse me…’, and started giving out a few strategic jabs here and there.
Although one person who wasn’t worried about excuse mes or strategic jabs was Mark Latham. I think he wasn’t worried about his reputation either, because he looked and acted like a big, pathetic bear roaring about a thorn in its paw. If that’s him being diplomatic then I’d hate to see him showing his true colours. He made Pauline Hanson look like Mother Teresa.
After he stormed off I tailed J-Gill for five more minutes, nipped in for a photo op and surprisingly wasn’t nervous at all because she seemed so unpretentious with her man-bag Tim looking around like a thoroughly amused tourist. I didn’t think I’d have the guts to do it but I thought of Desley’s ballsy attitude and before I could make a firm decision I’d jumped out in front her. I’ve always equated her with a stiff principal patrolling school corridors for any shirt tails not tucked in, but she was very pleasant to everyone – answering all questions, holding babies, all bright and breezy. Even when one man almost dumped three cappuccinos on her (see below). I even got my red hair complimented. I should have asked if Tim would re-do my roots. Let’s see if she’s wooed the people in Australia as much as she did at the Ekka in the polls tonight.