Maris Beck June 09, 2012
Julia Gillard surrounded by Islamic College of Melbourne students. Photo: Simon O'Dwyer
ON THE sod-turning circuit in Melbourne's west, Prime Minister Julia Gillard was unable to resist a spot of friendly muck-raking.
''I hope you're not going to throw sand at journalists?'' she asked Premier Ted Baillieu.
He invited her to arm-wrestle over the impact of the carbon price.
They were in Wyndham Vale yesterday announcing that the final contract in the $43-million rail line to link Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat, would be awarded to Leighton-Downer.
The member for Lalor picked up another shovel at the site of a new Islamic mosque and cultural centre in Werribee, which the mayor said was ''the fastest-growing municipality in Australia''.
Across the road at the Islamic College of Melbourne, several hundred schoolchildren chanted Ms Gillard's name.
Her ginger bob just managed to stay afloat above the wave of children clamouring to shake her hand.
The Prime Minister herself plucked one child from the melee as he was nearly trampled.
Her minders - apparently more accustomed to shaking off poor poll ratings than hordes of enthusiastic young fans - appeared bemused as the star-struck primary schoolers cheered, ''Juu-lia, Juu-lia''.
She must have been wishing the voters would love-mob her like this.