JUDITH IRELAND July 26, 2012
Back to school ... Julia Gillard visited Black Mountain School with Katy Gallagher. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is rousing on the big bad states of Victoria and New South Wales today for not coming to the party on the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Lucky for the ACT, we're in the good books, because one of the three agreed trial sites is going ahead here.
Today, to applaud the ACT and continue to guilt trip the others, Ms Gillard visited Black Mountain School for special needs students in O'Connor.
But the ACT's moment in the progressive policy spotlight was overshadowed by a series of Prime Ministerial boo boos that could only leave one wondering: how well does she really know Canberra?
After touring the school and meeting students and staff, the PM began her press conference by mispronouncing our Chief Minister's name.
Gillard said she was "delighted" to be at Black Mountain School with Katy Gallagher, saying it with a hard "g" (just like the Oasis brothers).
While it's true that ACT Liberal Leader Zed Seselja makes a habit of mispronouncing Gallagher's name, it is not unreasonable to expect that Gillard – a fellow Labor leader – might get it right.
Next, Gillard moved on to introduce local federal MP, Andrew Leigh.
"I'm also with our local member Andrew Fraser," she said, before correcting herself. "Andrew Leigh, the member for Fraser!"
"You've been spending time in Queensland?" Leigh inquired, in reference to the former Queensland treasurer.
"No no," Gillard said in mild protest (she was there for a whole week earlier this month).
With that, the Prime Minister started her set piece on the NDIS.
"I am very disappointed that Premier O'Farrell in New South Wales would not step forward and provide extra money for extra care," Gillard said. "I'm very disappointed with [Victorian]Premier Baillieu."
This meant that the ACT Community Services Minister Joy Burch and Education Minister Chris Bourke – who were also standing next to the Prime Minister – did not get introduced at all.
It is not clear what the reason for the Burch-Bourke snub was. Maybe after two bungled attempts, Gillard wasn't game to try again.
Still, four strikes out of four aint bad.