Our touchy feely politicians


Julia Gillard

When I see our (Australian) Prime Minister, Julia Gillard on the news I quite often marvel at how she physically touches people and holds onto them in ways that I just would not have been able to do when I worked in the corporate world.  I often wonder what the people she touches are thinking about while it is happening.  It seems strange to me that it is readily accepted for a politician to go around touching people and picking up babies as part of their working day, yet for most of us touching someone in the workplace is something that you just would not do.  Not for fear of being labeled an abuser, a bully, or of assaulting someone although all of those things are possible – no, more that you just wouldn’t do it.

It is even more interesting to see our Julia, who is normally so emotionless and bland out there in the streets and shopping centres and hospitals patting people on the back or resting her hand on their shoulder while she talks to them.  I am trying to remember if this touchy feely behaviour is something that we see in most of our Prime Ministers or is it that Julia just annoys me more and I am noticing it when I never used to?  I am not even sure that she does annoy me.  I fact I am neither this way or that way about our Leader except to say that it is nice to see a female in the lead role for a change.  I wonder, did Kevin Rudd do the same thing?  Is it a Labour Party thing?  Did John Howard rest his hand on people he spoke to?  I just don’t remember.

I certainly know that if you are a man in the corporate world (from my experience, in the Corporate world that is; not being a man) and you put your hand or arm on or near a female member of staff you could likely be in all sorts of trouble, even if you are just trying to be helpful.   The same applies if you are a women, and particularly if you are a manager.  This is a big subject I know, but suffice to say “we just don’t do it in the workplace” so why does Julia?

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