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Abbott’s joker trumps the gender card

In an astonishing admission, Julie Bishop told the Sunday Telegraph in February 2013 that she only agreed to pursue Gillard for her involvement with the AWU after the Prime Minister accused Abbott of misogyny.

“Tony had always given Gillard the benefit of the doubt, he’d always thought there was a line she would never cross,” the now Foreign Minister said.

“She crossed the line that day, and as far as he was concerned, all bets were off. So it ultimately backfired on her, because I would never have raised the AWU matter had she not done that.”

So are we to understand from that, that Ms Bishop, as a lawyer and a politician, did not consider the matter worthy of pursuit until Tony got miffed at being called sexist?  That because he got owned, they were prepared to use a 20 year old dirt file, spend weeks of Parliamentary sitting time, have police spend hundreds of hours investigating, and spend tens of millions on a Royal Commission, all of which found Ms Gillard not guilty of any wrong-doing.

This is an unbelievably vindictive abuse of power.

It is worth remembering what prompted Julia’s misogyny speech.

Abbott moved a motion of no confidence in the Speaker, Peter Slipper.  The following is an excerpt from his speech, the final scene in Ashbygate:

“These remarks of the Member for Fisher that were read into the court transcript, that are uncontested, that are now on the public record, are offensive. Many of them obscenely offensive. What female Labor Members would describe as sexist and misogynist if anyone else had uttered them.

This is a government which is only too ready to detect sexism, to detect misogyny, no less, until they find it in one of their own supporters.

Until they find it in someone upon whom this Prime Minister relies to survive in her job. Then, of course, no fault can possibly be found, no evil dare be spoken.

Well, the Australian public are not mugs. They know what is going on here.

They know that this Government is about to run a protection racket for something which is absolutely contemptible, for attitudes and values which are absolutely and utterly indefensible.

But it is not just the Speaker who has failed the character test. It is, indeed, this Prime Minister who has failed the judgment test.

This Prime Minister hand-picked the current  Speaker for the top job of this Parliament.

Every day this Prime Minister stands in this Parliament to defend this Speaker will be another day of shame for this Parliament, another day of shame for a Government which should already have died of shame.”

The blatant hypocrisy and deliberate offensiveness of this speech demanded a response and Abbott got one that was lauded around the world as Gillard eviscerated him.

“The Leader of the Opposition says that people who hold sexist views and who are misogynists are not appropriate for high office.  Well, I hope the Leader of the Opposition has got a piece of paper and he is writing out his resignation.”

Predictably, she was condemned by local conservative commentators for playing the gender card.

Paul Sheehan dramatically penned “The mask fell away” and Gillard came out “snarling, accusing Abbott of having a hatred of women, a man who unlike the Prime Minister, has raised three daughters.”

Miranda Devine spat “After rising to the top of her party through affirmative action, our first female prime minister cynically played the victim card. Her unscrupulous complaints about sexism and misogyny just empowered the worst kind of women to excuse their own failings, and justified every sexist stereotype”.

The Minister Assisting the Minister for Women, Michaelia Cash, last year described feminism as “a set of ideologies from many, many decades ago”.  Foreign Minister and deputy leader of the Liberal Party, Julie Bishop, told women they should “stop whingeing and just get on with it” and stop casting themselves as victims.

In the meantime, future generations are already internalising misogyny.

The following random selection shows how endemic sexism is in our culture at all levels:

In 2010, a group of university students at St Paul’s College in Sydney set up a pro-rape Facebook page.  The college’s “Define Statutory” group defined itself as “pro-rape, anti-consent”.  In 2013 Wesley College students distributed stubby holders bearing the words “It’s not rape if it’s my birthday.”

In 2008, mayor of Mt Isa, John Molony, called on “beauty-disadvantaged women” to consider moving to the remote Australian mining town.

In 2009, Strathfield Councillor Danny Lim, suggested local Labor MP Virginia Judge buy a vibrator to “stop screwing with the people of Strathfield and screw herself instead”.

In 2010, Joe Hockey said “[Treasurer] Wayne Swan is to surpluses what Paris Hilton is to celibacy”.

ABC Radio presenter Genevieve Jacobs asked Tanya Plibersek “Do you feel bad that other people are raising your children?”

In 2011, Herald Sun journalist Andrew Bolt said ‘Can the ADF afford this social engineering, in which gender becomes a qualification – and a fault line? What will this do to the tight mateship so critical to a fighting unit? Does a woman turn her male colleagues from warriors to escort?’

Miranda Devine used the news of Australian federal government minister Penny Wong’s decision to parent a child with her female partner as the basis of a column in which she argued that the 2011 riots in England were the result of a “fatherless society”.

In 2012, Basketball Australia sent its women’s Olympic team to London in economy seats while the men flew business class.

2GB radio broadcaster Alan Jones said ‘She [the Prime Minister] said that we know societies only reach their full potential if women are politically participating.  Women are destroying the joint, Christine Nixon in Melbourne, Clover Moore here, honestly there is no chaff bag big enough for these people.’

David Farley, CEO of Australian Agricultural Company, when demonstrating a machine in an abbatoir, stated, ‘it’s designed for non-productive old cows. Julia Gillard’s got to watch out.’

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell said “I’m not sure which other member could be the hooker, perhaps the Member for Canterbury [Linda Burney].”

Paul Keating left a planning meeting saying that “[Sydney Lord Mayor] Clover Moore couldn’t get a f*ck on a troop ship coming home”.

Bob Day’s Family First complained about a television ad for sanitary pads. NSW President of FF, Jason Cornelius, said the word ”vagina” was not one that should be used in general conversation and it could cause embarrassment to parents who have to explain it to young children.  ”I understand it can be used in medical discussions but it’s not appropriate in an ad when young ears are listening,” he said.

Liberal MP Kelly O’Dwyer said “There seems to be a campaign, a negative campaign that’s being run on Tony Abbott by female Labor politicians, who I’ve called the handbag hit squad because they get rolled out day in, day out to make these baseless attacks on Tony Abbott.”

In 2013, Mal Brough hosted a Liberal Party dinner whose menu featured ”Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail – Small Breasts, Huge Thighs and a Big Red Box”.

Janet Albrechtsen said “While lack of humour infects both sides of politics, the Labor girls in particular need to loosen their pigtails. In Canberra today, there are far too few Fred Dalys and far too many Tanya Pliberseks.”

In 2014, Piers Akerman said “The ABC has tried to foist its left-wing agenda on the nation. Even the cartoon character Peppa Pig pushes a weird feminist line that would be closer to the hearts of Labor’s Handbag Hit Squad than the pre-school audience it is aimed at”

Radio hosts Kyle and Jackie O asked Sports Journalist, Erin Molan how many sportsmen she has had sex with, whether she has had a boob job, and whether she has ever slept with a cricketer.

Christopher Pyne claimed that increases in uni fees won’t disproportionately affect women because “women are well-represented amongst the teaching and nursing students. They will not be able to earn the high incomes that dentists and lawyers will earn”.

We have heard of sexual abuse in the Australian Defence Forces, and the horrific history of child sex abuse exposed by the Royal Commission.  We know that domestic violence is a huge problem in this country, but we seem unwilling to question the inherent culture of sexism.

In summary, it was Tony Abbott that brought up misogyny.  Abbott’s actions were entirely politically motivated to try to gain power.  Gillard’s speech was from the heart, full of the emotion and the outrage that so many women feel at the subliminal, intangible, and overt sexism that is displayed by so many influential people in our society every day.

If drawing attention to sexism and misogyny is playing the gender card, and feminism is an outdated ideology, how are we to create change?

And if Abbott is prepared to waste the time of parliament, the police, and the Royal Commission to exact revenge for being called sexist, then he is playing the joker rather than leading.

 

housework

30 comments

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  1. Carol Taylor

    Abbott and “all bets are off” meaning how dare the “she” aka Gillard dare to point out the obvious, how dare a woman criticise HIM.

  2. babyjewels10

    It’s a shame we have to share the oxygen with such disgusting pigs.

  3. lyne fomiatti

    Take a good look at our Prime Minister and weep.
    Thank you Kaye Lee …

  4. olddavey

    That photo says it all, Bronny Bitchface, Sophie Mireball and Tony Scabbott.
    Almost makes me think that a revolution is called for!

  5. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    All round, politics has reached such a low point that I despair that anyone of integrity would even consider standing for a seat.
    I am sure there are some already in the House or the Senate who would be offended by my statement but if so – why are they not getting together and doing something about it.
    Robust debate is one thing – hurling savage insults is not necessary or desirable.

  6. rabiddingo

    Kaye you use the phrase “unbelievably vindictive” to describe Abbott and Bishop’s behaviour. I agree, but I would change the word “unbelievably” for “characteristically”….viciousness has become the hallmark of this government. The pursuits, for political purposes, of Gillard, Slipper, and Triggs; the use of refugee children as bargaining chips; the promotion of anti-Islam sentiment…one could go on and on…all epitomise the remorselessly vile character of this appalling government. A repulsive collection of the very worst Australian public life has to offer, enthusiastically led by the worst Prime Minister Australia has ever seen.

  7. Phi

    Of all the writing on this issue that I have read, Kaye, this article is the most illuminating illustration of the deep hurt that Australian male sexism imposes on women. That this rank and brutal sexism is so wantonly used by so-called ‘leaders’ is a shame on the nation.

  8. paul walter

    Look, have not read beyond the first para because I feel I’m being asked if I beleive it, or think its romancing or fantasising.
    Frankly, I think the woman wouldn’t lie straight in bad and feel am being insulted, if I’m expected to beleive it’s the truth.

  9. paul walter

    Having read the rest, I am in mind of that idiot set of Hansonist demonstrations today, the gullibility of sections of the public and the unrelenting black propagandising of the right wing msm that has so many people so thoroughly gulled.

  10. Kaye Lee

    Phi

    I could have gone on for much longer. Most of the quotes come from the Ernie awards

    2001: John Howard, Prime Minister: for saying that there was “no appropriate woman” for Governor-General.

    2002: Archbishop George Pell, Catholic Archbishop of Sydney: “Abortion is a worse moral scandal than priests sexually abusing young people.”

    2004: John Howard, for vetoing an ad campaign against domestic violence, arguing against paid maternity leave, wanting to change the anti-discrimination act, and opposing plans by the ALP to offer the option of permanent part-time work with holiday pay and sick leave entitlements for casual workers.

    2005: Sheikh Feiz Mohammad, Islamic cleric: “A victim of rape every minute somewhere in the world. Why? No one to blame but herself. She displayed her beauty to the entire world…strapless, backless, sleeveless, nothing but satanic skirts, slit skirts, translucent blouses, miniskirts, tight jeans…to tease man and appeal to his carnal nature.”

    2012: Senior Constable Cary Coolican, for saying “Many sexual assault victims were too drunk or stoned to remember the details of the attacks… we would be encouraging people to make responsible choices regarding who they drink with and the quantity that is consumed. Some decisions may result in risky behaviour and unsafe actions.”

    2013: Professor Paul Wilson: “My findings were remarkably similar to studies in California and Scandinavia which suggest child victims of adult sex offenders are generally willing or active participants, and that they not infrequently initiate the sexual relationship.”

    2013: Nick Riewoldt – said that team mate Stephen Milne who was charged with four counts of rape, should be allowed to continue playing because “Milney is the absolute heart and soul of the football club.”

    2014: South Coast Winter Swimming Association, for in response to women swimmers wanting to join the club moved the following motions: “That the name of the South Coast Winter Swimming association should be changed to the South Coast Men’s Winter Swimming Association. Member affiliation of the South Coast Winter Swimming Association is limited to males”.

    2014: Wicked Campers, for including slogans such as “Fat girls are harder to kidnap”, “In every princess, there’s a little slut who wants to try it just once” and “Life sucks if your girlfriend doesn’t”.

  11. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    To be fair, if you took the “sexual” out of S Constable Coolican’s quote, it seems to be universally sensible advice on personal risk management.
    I am much more likely to be assaulted if I am intoxicated to insensibility in dubious company.

  12. Kaye Lee

    I understand your point about risk management cb but the “sexual” is kind of important. It means someone thinks it is ok to take sexual advantage of a drunk person. If you get drunk is that something you fear? It is not so much his advice to take care as the fact that we have to.

  13. lawrencewinder

    You do have to wonder about the psyches of women in the Liarbril party…. what part of their humanity have they turned off or away from to be as complicit with this sort of behaviour?
    Why, if you had any integrity would you countenance belonging to such a vicious, tawdry and malevolent cabal?

  14. stephentardrew

    It is empirically provable women are treated like second class citizens.

    Until their is real equality we, that is left and right, are complicit in sexism.

    Only if we act together can we change this unethical farce.

    Sexism is a reflection upon our whole society while the majority fail to take action and make a definitive stand.

  15. Stuart mceacharn

    Great article.

  16. mark delmege

    I was going to make a joke about TAbbott having a short deck but it might be misconscrewed.

  17. eli nes

    A beaut read, you should apply for an advisers job with Labor.
    As long as god:
    decides only men can represent him on earth
    rewards murderers in heaven with women for their pleasure
    QED

  18. Terry2

    Pyne is keen to point out that with his deregulation of higher education women are the winners : his rationale is that they won’t have to repay their HECS until they are earning $50,000 or more and as everybody knows, in Abbott’s world, women will never earn that much so it’s win win isn’t it ?

  19. Kaye Lee

    Life is so much cheaper for the poor. That is why in Tony’s PPL scheme rich women get paid a lot more to have a baby. Nannies, designer baby clothes, and personal trainers are so expensive. And of course their mortgage will be higher than a poor person’s rent – owning a mansion and investment properties is a huge commitment.

  20. Möbius Ecko

    Then there’s the farce of Pyne’s $50,000pa statement.

    By the time a person enters university after Pyne’s policy is implemented and gets to employment, the average yearly earning will be around $60,000 going on the current slow wages growth.

    The most recent survey as of December 2014 for wages for university graduates shows their wages declining. Also starting wages vary depending on the degree obtained, anywhere from $40,000 (business and economics) at the bottom end to $65,000 (engineering and science) at the top end.

    The cost of living will be much greater so even someone earning the top end of the scale won’t have it easy, yet Pyne wants to lumber them with a much larger debt on top.

    As a footnote. I found in ironic that business and economics graduates earned the least starting out but I guess it’s believed they will be significantly remunerated later.

  21. CMMC

    What we are witnessing, with this regime, are the death throes of White Male/Anzac Delusional/Homophobic (but strangely attracted to the Homoerotic)/Managerialist Shitkicker.

    Dead White Male values of snitching and sniggering, Hyena bravado for the lack of masculinity.

  22. Kaye Lee

    The actual quote from Bishop’s interview said…

    “Tony had always given Gillard the benefit of the doubt, he’d always thought there was a line she would never cross,” says Bishop. “She crossed the line that day, and as far as he was concerned, all bets were off. So it ultimately backfired on her, because I would never have raised the AWU matter had she not done that. It hurt his family so much. His daughters were stung by it.”

    And then we have Joe Hockey….

    There is no doubting how upset Joe Hockey is. He has told the court of a tearful reaction from his father and how his daughter had been upset by the suggestion he was for sale.

    These people are like the mafia. Upset the famiglia and you will pay. Whatever happened to the right to offend that Brandis so championed? Think of the barbs that were thrown at Julia Gillard. Where was the sensibility for her family?

  23. stephentardrew

    Sad fragile little darling.

    Daddy’s widdle boy got hurties

    Those poor, and marginalised cannot imagine just how hard it is being privileged.

    Cry Me a River of Tears you fatuous mongrel bastard.

    Hockey is a sooky little school boy bully prat with a sense of elite privileged and an oh so brittle ego.

    Better pack the buffoon in a crate of soft feathers with a dummy to boot.

  24. eli nes

    Gillard, like many women, proved to be so very strong, calm and resilient!
    Like many men, abbott proved he could apply pressure using conjecture and outright lies but showed his weakness under pressure!
    The result, Gillard faced her attackers, alone, Abbott ran away and he has been allowed to run ever since. Why?
    Like many women frightened of being a token, bishop accuses women of being ‘assisted’. It seems obvious to me that abbott considered only mirabella exceptional and would have had no women in his cabinet except the party had appointed a token woman as deputy under the inept nelson and she, like most women in politics, grasped the nettle and is still stinging but usually away from the boys in cabinet.

  25. cowper133

    An excellent article Kaye! Your quotes & examples demonstrate a very deep and disturbing underbelly in Australian society. Is it any wonder that Australia is such a dangerous place for women? Domestic violence figures are alarming and our leaders,as you have quoted, are doing nothing to influence a change to support women’s right to equal respect & opportunity! Thank you for speaking out!

  26. Florence nee Fedup

    Sisterhood is not strong in Australian society.

  27. Carl Sudholz

    This article makes me think about the attitudes that come from calls for 50% women to fill corporate and government board positions. These positions should be on merit, not gender the arguments go. Well, in all my working life in both corporate and government workplaces, time and time again it is the women who outperform the men when it comes to delivering outcomes. I find professional women to be far more considerate of others in decision making, and more effective in building and working in productive teams. If positions of hierarchy were truly ‘on merit’, I expect women would out number men at the top of the tree. The fact that that is not the case, points to a culture of jobs for the boys in the hierarchy of both the corporate and government world.

  28. Ex Labor Voter

    No, what prompted this speech was Gillard’s need to defend a man who referred to female anatomy as mussel meat. Her need to defend a man who used his position to rip off the public purse. Her need to protect Slipper and Thompson, purely to save her own neck. Gillard has proven time and time again that she has no regard for other women. ask the wives of the men she slept with!

  29. Möbius Ecko

    Ex Labor Voter who going on the post probably never was or was a long long time ago, Gillard never defended Slipper nor Thomson so it would be good if you actually went back and listened to the complete speeches she made or read the total transcripts of her speeches in context.

    Can I please have the names of all the wives of the men she slept with so I can ask them as you request?

    Finally, written like a true rusted on lifetime right winger.

  30. Florence nee Fedup

    I suspect none of the wives would give a damn. All had moved onto greener pastures. All, men were separated.

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