Australia’s PM, Julia Gillard, displayed her playful sense of humour this week when she made a speech declaring the end of the world is coming. It was part of a promo clip for the radio station Triple J, and sees Gillard talk about a zombie apocalypse before making the final quip “at least I won’t have to do Q&A again”.
Gillard has often been praised for her ability to see the funny side of things, and many people claimed this spoof speech as further proof of the PM’s status as quick-witted feminist. Indeed, when Gillard accused Tony Abbott of sexism during a parliamentary debate in October, at times her speech was notably comedic, telling the opposition leader that if he wanted to find misogyny all he needed to do was look in a mirror. So although her feminist values have been disputed, Gillard is certainly one sharp woman.
The use of humour has long been used in politics as means of reinforcing a point or, for example, deflating the opposition. Obama gained many fans when he poked fun at the issue over his birth certificate, portraying his birth with a clip of the Lion King.
I personally hope we see more of Gillard’s dead-pan comedy. Not only does it disrupt the stereotype of feminists as being overly serious and highly strung, it provides an opportunity to engage with issues in alternative and interesting ways.