2011/17: Does the ABC's 'At Home with Julia' comedy series treat inappropriate material?
Introduction to the media issue
Video clip at right:
The ABC’s promotion for its comedy series ‘At Home with Julia’. If you cannot see this clip, it will be because video is blocked by your network. To view the clip, access from home or from a public library, or from another network which allows viewing of video clips.
What they said...
'Even politicians are entitled to a private life...'
Janet Albrechtsen, commentator for The Australian
'They're relatable characters with considerable heart'
Dan Barrett commentator from The Punch
The issue at a glance
'At Home with Julia' is a four-part Australian situation comedy television series which debuted on the ABC on September 7, 2011. It depicts a fictional representation of the relationship between the current Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard (played by Amanda Bishop) and her partner, Tim Mathieson (played by Phil Lloyd) and their life at The Lodge. The series' four episodes were titled, 'Date Night', 'Code Ranga', 'The Leaker' and 'Citizens' Assembly'.
It attracted criticism for taking too personal a view of Australia's first woman Prime Minister. The third episode caused particular controversy as it showed Bishop and Lloyd lying beneath an Australian flag after apparently having had sex. Critics variously regarded this as disrespectful of the flag, the office of Prime Minister, or of Gillard and Mathieson personally.
The series also had its defenders who saw it as personalising the Prime Minister and as being part of a long and valuable tradition of political satire in Australia.
Some of the discussion surrounding the series focused on its supposed misogyny and the extent to which it was part of a general hostility toward the Prime Minister based on her gender.