Glossy Talk: Julia Gillard prime ministerial material for Weekly cover?
"We are wondering when or if Julia Gillard should be a cover... How soon before she is PM?... Will she sell?". So tweeted Australian Women's Weekly editor Helen McCabe on June 8, followed by a second tweet on June 15 telling followers her July cover was sorted (three blocks of chocolate sacrificed in the process).
Could Australia's first female Prime Minister be in line for her first glossy cover in the lead up to an election? And, if so, will this publishing powerhouse help Labor seal the deal for another term? Furthermore, should a glossy be politically bi-partisan, and should it be running a candidate on the cover?
As far as middle-aged female constituents are concerned, the Weekly is as good a campaign platform as any other media. It has 2.19 million readers (14% of the population aged 15-64), but beyond that, it makes political waves across the media (see: Tony Abbott "virgingate"). Even more so, the requisite marketing paraphernalia that accompanies any new glossy issue (in-store posters and the like) would amount to free electoral advertising.
As Gatewatching posted in January: "The Weekly is a colossus, that really does reach an incredibly wide sweep of Australian voters. Looking bad in it means looking bad to a lot of people. For a man who is struggling with women voters, Tony Abbott has at the very least taken a huge risk with his comments. If they really were off the cuff, and really do hurt him, he will come to regret going unprepared to an encounter with the Weekly, one of Australia’s most important political publications."
Following the Twitter trail, The Weekly's associate editor Bryce Corbett suggests that a cover and cover story is in the works, but given the Weekly's July issue deadline and on-sale date (June 30), and, of course, developments in Canberra, it's more likely Gillard will make an August debut (issue on sae July 28). Still, we could be surprised: editor Helen McCabe, with her newspaper background, could pull strings. This is a MAJOR event as far as Australian women are concerned, though Gillard crosses demographics: her "femaleness" is not the key to her success.
Former prime ministerial wife Therese Rein made the September 2009 Women's Weekly cover, while Gillard was pictured looking saintly in a Christmas themed spread titled 'Magic Moments' in the December 2009 issue (above), far from the stern, businesslike Gillard we've seen pictured elsewhere in the press (it's the kind of softness we've seen the PM display since the spill; sigh).
Regardless of whether she gets a Weekly cover – which will be dissected and critiqued and widely reported – it's refreshing to be celebrating a female success story in the glossy-sphere not associated with weight loss.
For full spill/Gillard/Rudd coverage, visit our ABC.
Girl With a Satchel