Australian Politics – Pluto Down Under

Australian politics compared to many countries has been relatively stable. Although the government is frequently made up of a coalition of parties, the years from 1975 to 2007 saw only four different prime ministers.

Australia

The Australian national chart contains an extraordinary stellium of 6 planets in the 10th house of government. Given this you would think that national politics would be a constant battle between many different factions. This is not generally how stelliums or multiple conjunctions work, however. A conjunction is about two factors joining together, it is generally a unifying force. There appear to be a lot of different players but they manage to get by in general agreement.

The role of head of state in Australia is divided between two people, the monarch  ( currently Queen Elizabeth ) and the Governor-General. The functions and roles of the Governor-General include appointing ambassadors, ministers and judges, giving Royal Assent to legislation, issuing writs for elections and bestowing honours. The Governor-General is President of the Federal Executive Council and Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Defence Force.

In practice, the selection of a Governor-General is in the hands of the Prime Minister and the post only exercises these powers on advice, the role is often described as a largely ceremonial position.

The office of Prime Minister is, in practice, the most powerful political office in Australia. Despite being at the apex of executive government in the country, the office is not mentioned in the Constitution and exists through an unwritten political convention.

The Cabinet of Australia is the council of senior ministers responsible to Parliament. The Cabinet is appointed by the Governor-General, on the advice of the Prime Minister. The Constitution does not recognise the Cabinet as a legal entity, and its decisions have no legal force. All members of the ministry are also members of the Executive Council, a body which is in theory, chaired by the Governor-General, and which meets solely to endorse and give legal force to decisions already made by the Cabinet.

All ministers are expected individually to defend collective government decisions. Individual ministers who cannot undertake the public defence of government actions are generally expected to resign. Such resignations are rare; and the rarity of public disclosure of splits within cabinet reflects the seriousness with which internal party loyalty is regarded in Australian politics.

Australian politics operates as a two-party system, as a result of the permanent coalition between the Liberal Party and National Party. Internal party discipline has historically been tight.

No wonder there are so many planets in the 10th house. They all seem to get along together pretty well in practice. This is no doubt down to the Sun’s conjunction with Saturn in Capricorn, a placing that insists on practical conventions that work and stability and longevity at the top.

Since 2007 however, all that’s gone out of the window and there have been 4 changes of leader. What could possibly have happened ? Anything to do with a little planet beginning with p ?

As we all know Pluto moved into Capricorn in 2008 but it was already having an effect by then.

Kevin Rudd

Kevin Rudd has the Sun and Mars in exact conjunction at 28 degrees of Virgo. Pluto has made two transits to this conjunction during his life so far. The first was by conjunction from 1969 -72.

In 1969 when Rudd was 11, his father, a farmer, died. The family was required to leave the farm amidst financial difficulty. This period was a turning point in Rudd’s life which would later define him as he joined the Australian Labor Party, “the party of social justice” in 1972 at the age of  15.

In December 2006, he successfully challenged Kim Beazley to become the Leader of the Labor Party, subsequently becoming the Leader of the Opposition. Under Rudd, Labor won the 2007 election by a landslide beating the incumbent Liberal/National Coalition led by John Howard. Rudd became Prime Minister as Pluto made its second transit to his Sun / Mars conjunction, a square in 2007.

Despite a long period of popularity in opinion polls, Rudd’s personal ratings fell in 2010 and there was growing dissatisfaction with his leadership within the Labor Party. Rudd’s deputy, Julia Gillard, announced in June 2010 that she would challenge him for the leadership. Knowing he would be defeated if he contested the leadership, Rudd resigned and Gillard was elected unopposed as the Leader of the Labor Party and Prime Minister.

Julia Gillard

Appropriately for Australia’s first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard has the Sun in Libra, the sign of relationship and balance between male and female in the 10th house of government.

Gillard was born in Wales, but migrated with her family becoming an Australian citizen in 1974 when Pluto was conjunct her Sun at the age of 13. On its own this would not appear to be a particularly life changing event but when seen with the next Pluto / Sun transit it obviously was. Gillard became Prime Minister in 2010 when Pluto was square her Sun.

The similarity with Kevin Rudd’s transits are compelling. Rudd also received a Pluto / Sun conjunction in his youth that set him on the road to becoming PM during the only other Pluto / Sun transit that he would have, a square the same as Gillard.

Rudd was promoted back to the Cabinet by Prime Minister Gillard until he resigned in February 2012 after an unsuccessful attempt to challenge her for the leadership. Following persistent tensions, Gillard announced another ballot on the leadership in June 2013, which Rudd won. He became Prime Minister for a second time but Labor was defeated less than three months later in the election.

Most political pundits have blamed the tensions and changes in the relationship between Rudd and Gillard for Labour’s eventual loss to new Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Many have taken one side or the other and Gillard received much of the blame for not supporting Rudd at the time he most needed it in 2010. Gillard insisted that she did nothing to undermine Rudd’s position, she was simply in the right place at the right time to take up the mantel. And anyway, Pluto was conjunct her Sun at the time so what’s a gal to do ?

The astrological connections between them are strong as both Rudd and Gillard have their Moons in the 7th house. The 7th is the house of partnerships and the Moon is essentially known for its changing phases. So this placing can create a close bond with a partner but also it indicates a changing of phases and positions within the relationship.  Change in partnerships is particularly relevant for Rudd as he also has Uranus there, the planet of unpredictable political change. Both have 7th house planets in square aspect to Venus. Rudd has Venus and Neptune conjunct in the 10th house which indicates an idealistic approach to his career that would bring success ( Venus ) but also disillusion and an unexplained loss of position and power ( Neptune ). This would be triggered by the square to Uranus ( unpredictable change ) in the 7th house ( of political partnerships ). So this suggests that his career would be undermined by his relationship with Gillard.

Julia Gillard’s 7th house Moon is also square to Venus which is closely conjunct Pluto which again suggests a sudden upheavals caused by a changing relationship with her political partner.

Mundane astrology is the study of nations and their relationships. Whereas individual astrology assigns the 7th house to one’s husband, wife or partner, mundane astrology has the 7th house linked to a country’s enemies. Of course for some individuals the 7th house can be a bit of a battleground at times, but it seems that political partnerships often point to opponents from within. With a 7th house like these two, who needs enemies ? They were obviously quite capable of defeating themselves.

Of course all this upheaval was occurring whilst Pluto was transiting the Sun / Saturn conjunction in the 10th house ( government ) of Australia’s chart. The peak period between June and September 2013, when Australia had three different Prime Ministers saw Pluto exactly conjunct Australia’s Sun. The beneficiary of this upheaval is the Coalition leader and current Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Tony Abbott
Like Rudd and Gillard, Abbott’s turning point was in his younger days as Pluto was conjunct his Sun.

In 1984, aged 26, Abbott entered training as a Jesuit priest. He did not complete his studies however, leaving the seminary in 1987 with the new aim of a career in politics.  He then married Margaret Aitken, in 1988. Pluto was conjunct his Sun from 1987 – 88.

Tony Abbott has an opposition between the Moon at 2 degrees Aries and his Ascendant at 9 Libra. Pluto was square his Moon from 2009 – 10. In November 2009 Abbott led a protest against Liberal party leader Turnbull forcing a leadership ballot. Abbott won and became Leader of the Opposition. He led his party through the 2010 election, which resulted in a hung parliament butPrime Minister Gillard formed a government after gaining the support of some independent MPs. Abbott was re-elected unopposed to the party leadership following the 2010 election.

Pluto went on to square his Ascendant in 2013 when he led the Liberal/National Coalition to victory and became Prime Minister.

Incredibly, there is still more. The current governor general of Australia is Quentin Bryce, the first woman to hold that office. Unfortunately no time is available so this is a noon chart

Quentin Bryce

Quentin Bryce has a Sun / Venus conjunction in Capricorn that falls exactly on the Sun / Saturn conjunction of Australia’s chart, so an obvious choice for Governor General.  If you are asking when she would become Governor General its possible that you haven’t got the theme yet. She was appointed in 2008 as Pluto was conjunct her Sun.

Capricorn is generally a sign that would be perfect for the role of governor general. They are usually very diplomatic and not inclined to say anything particularly controversial. This would not necessarily apply during a Pluto transit, however. Bryce’s time in office has not been without criticism.

In November 2013 with Pluto exactly conjunct Bryce’s Venus and Australia’s Sun the Governor-General made public comments widely interpreted as supporting an Australian republic and same-sex marriage. This is unprecedented in Australian politics and her directly political statements have attracted much criticism in the media.

Its particularly interesting given Bryce’s chart which contains a T Square with an opposition from the Sun and Venus to the Moon in Cancer which focuses onto an apex Neptune in Libra. Neptune’s energy is all about letting go of old habits and breaking down barriers that exist between people. So despite occupying an essentially conservative role ( Sun / Venus in Capricorn ) which has ties to the past through the connection to Britain ( Moon in Cancer ) she is suggesting that Australia let go of these ties ( Neptune ). The same T Square applies to her support for same sex marriage underlined by the fact that Neptune ( dissolving old outdated barriers between people ) is in Libra ( the sign of marriage and relationships.

Quentin Bryce’s term as Governor General is due to end in March 2014, but as her period in office has been defined by Pluto’s conjunction to both her Sun and the Australian Sun, her legacy will probably be the most outspoken and rebellious of all governor generals.

So Pluto’s short sojourn down under has caused 4 changes of Prime Ministers and 1 Governor General whilst creating leadership battles that have provided a great deal of entertainment and generated many strong opinions and quite possibly paved the way for Australia to become a Republic in the near future. And to think some so called scientists don’t even believe its a planet.

So what happens next ? Well who knows, Tony Abbott is not the most widely popular of leaders but Pluto is slowly moving away from the Australian Sun now so this period of upheaval is bound to calm down soon. If Abbott has any real political sense however, he will make sure he doesn’t repeat the mistake of his predecessor Kevin Rudd. If you’re planning to surf a Pluto transit into political power, don’t pick a deputy whose birthday is a week later than yours.

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5 thoughts on “Australian Politics – Pluto Down Under

  1. Great article. What happens next? Transiting Mars will square Australia’s Saturn/Sun around Xmas-should be interesting – the T Uranus and SA Uranus will front off with natal Pluto. But it does seem that T Pluto has done its work for now.

  2. What came next was “the mad monk” became “punch drunk”. He was a boxer once. He became the Minister for Women with only one woman Julie Bishop in his cabinet. He won’t say if he renounced his UK citizenship. He made a “Captain’s Call” making Prince Phillip a knight and a sir. He has outraged the United Nations with his treatment of refugees and Australia’s own indigenous people. What is driving him to these extremes? Ordinary Australians are called ‘Aussie Battlers”. It looks like his Pluto is unaspected and alone. Does Mars/Neptune add the touch of madness? J

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