Imagine! Julia Gillard and Julie Bishop putting aside their political differences to take bloody revenge — with an axe, a sledgehammer and a vial of poison — on the red and blue-tied men who ruined their dreams and banished them to the wilderness. That’s the plot of Gone Girls, a “drag revenge fantasy” that opened on Tuesday night at the Adelaide Fringe. Starring Patrick Livesey as Gillard (Australia’s first female prime minister and first female Labor leader) and Annabel Larcombe as Bishop (the first woman to formally stand for the Liberal leadership, the party’s first female deputy leader and Australia’s first female foreign minister), the comedy starts in 1998 when both were first elected to parliament. Livesey says he was frustrated by the greater hurdles the pair faced because of their ovaries. “Definitely with Julia Gillard, the only impression people have of her is this almost grotesque version that we were spoonfed when she was prime minister,” Livesey told the Advertiser. “The big undercurrent is how female power is presented in the media and the way it is pigeonholed, in contrast to male power. ” The show comes with this warning: “Contains strong coarse language, both sudden and sustained loud noises, some infrequent/low pressure audience interaction, potentially triggering content or themes, including staged violence, sexual references, death, murder, simulated blood, use of replica weapons”. Sign us up.
On that theme, the real Julia has some news: she’s writing a book with economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Published by Penguin, Women in Leadership will feature interviews with female leaders including New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern, Hillary Clinton, former British prime minister Theresa May, Chile’s former president Michelle Bachelet, former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Malawi’s former president Joyce Banda, former Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg andEuropean Central Bank president Christine Lagarde. Each was asked the same questions by Gillard. The responses were then compared with what stats say about women’s access to positions of power, the trajectory of their leadership and the circumstance in which it ended (if it has). Research released last week by the Australian National University found the treatment of female PMs was getting worse. Gillard hopes the book will act as “an action agenda for change that allows women to take control and combat gender bias”. It hits shelves on July 12, with a recommended price of