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Power Rules, Men, Sex and Politics

sex harass Jamie Briggs, Minister for Cities and the Built Environment in the Abbott/Turnbull Liberal National Coalition Government resigned from the Ministry on the 29th December, 2015, citing his behaviour was an error of professional judgement. A female public servant has submitted a formal complaint, complaining of Briggs’ sexual behaviour. No one knows the exact nature of the complaint made, as we are not privy to any specific details at this time. Newspaper reports indicate that this complaint relates to unwanted sexual advances and/or sexual harassment.

Sexual Harassment by men is the “Unsolicited, non-reciprocal male behaviour, that asserts a woman’s sex role, over her function as a worker (Benokraitis & Feagin, 1995).

Seeking “The Wife’s Opinion”

A number of articles written in various newspapers seek the opinion of Jamie Briggs’ wife. I will not link these articles, as I will not reinforce this distraction from Briggs’ behaviour. In fact, Jamie Briggs’ wife should be left out of this altogether.

When I read the various articles in newspapers focusing on his wife’s opinion and acceptance or condemnation of Briggs’ behaviour, I cringed. My mind went back to late 90’s and Hilary Clinton immediately. Hilary Clinton is still harassed about her husband’s behaviour today. Hilary Clinton is still expected to take responsibility for her husband’s behaviour and men in politics try their hardest to use this as a source of shame for Hilary Clinton.

No sooner had the ink dried on Briggs’ resignation, the media immediately turned their attention to his wife.

In doing so, this takes the focus off the man’s behaviour. It gives us something else to talk about other than the man who used his power on a woman who did not consent, nor did she welcome such behaviour of a sexual nature. Briggs abused his position of power. His ethical behaviour is also questioned.

Public Hat or Private Hat

Many argue that Bill Clinton had his ‘private ethics’ hat on, in his interactions with Lewinsky. Many argue there is a fine ethical line between a private ethics hat and a public one for politicians. However, in the case of Briggs, his ethics hat at that time was a public hat, as he was representing Australia in all his actions at that time. His reflection that this behaviour was not up to the standard of a Minister is accurate. He has made the correct decision to step down from his position in the Ministry.

Power Rules

In all organisations, including politics, there is a system of power rules in play. These power rules, like most other rules in society, have been developed through the powerful positioning of white men over a long period of time. (Please note, this article is about the sexual harassment of a woman. The Author recognises such power rules can impact on men, women of colour, men of colour, LGBTI people and people with a disability and other marginalised and disadvantaged groups).

Some of the “Power Rules” in play for the case of Briggs are “Legitimate Power” (power given to a person due to their position) and possibly “Coercive Power” (this is power where the holder of this power may have an influence on career choices etc., Coercive power is often used in a negative way, such as threats of demotion or non-recommendations etc.,). This is a little more complex, as it has many dynamics. Even if coercive power is not direct; a woman needs to face the decision if her complaint will be detrimental to her work-life due to the coercive power of those associated with the aggressor. This is intensified when the aggressor displays the perception that they have such power, (perception of power) even if it is not legitimate.

Unwanted sexual advances and sexual harassment of women, intimidates and creates fear at a personal level and has implications at the work level. In cases where unwanted sexual behaviour and the workplace collide, intimidation and fear may also impact the victim’s work-life. Often, this is a source of non-complaint, where women feel reporting an incident of sexual behaviour is not worth the risk. The use of power rules, particularly coercive power in workplaces can have a dramatic impact on a woman’s self efficacy to report unwanted behaviour in the workplace. This should not be delegitimised by shifting the focus of attention to the opinion of the Briggs’ wife.

How women can be used to deligimitise other women’s experiences

Turning the focus to Brigg’s wife takes our attention off the victim. It takes the focus off the victim’s discomfort, powerlessness and distress. The victim should remain the most important person in relation to Briggs’ behaviour, not his wife, mother, aunt or any other women who may be used take the attention off Briggs’ own behaviour.

Also, bringing a third party (wife) into the scenario, this act of abuse of power resulting in humiliation, discomfort and distress, for the victim, diminishes Briggs’ behaviour to the opinion of the third party (wife) and not the opinion of the victim.

Turning the focus to the opinion of the wife, also diminishes the behaviour of the aggressor, when we ask, “What does his wife think about this?”

If Briggs’ was a single man would the media or other male politicians diminish his behaviour by using excuses such as, ‘he was only looking for a soul mate’ ‘She (the victim) must have read him wrong’ etc., etc., as we have seen many times before.

If the behaviour of sexual advance/harassment by men in power cannot be diminished or excused due to ‘bachelorhood’, the next step is normally, to seek to diminish the behaviour through the support of other women in their lives; usually starting with the wife.

As with Bill Clinton, question’s raised in people’s mind’s about Hilary Clinton, “Is it her fault?” “Is she not being ‘good wife'”, “Is the wife ‘not meeting his needs'” etc., etc., All these questions raised in various people’s minds puts the onus on a third party (wife) and lets the male aggressor off the hook.

Referent Power

All politicians and the people who market them desire for them to have ‘Referent Power.’ In a nutshell, referent power is about charisma and using that charisma to influence others and build loyalty (voters). When men are in public life, it is very important for others to try to re-establish referent power for the (fallen) individual male in question as soon as possible. The culture of sexual harassment is still dominated by the needs of the male (ie how complaints about their behaviour will affect their career. What will happen to the man now?). Seeking the opinion of supportive wives, other supportive women and supportive prominent men who may reinforce the ‘goodness and wholesomeness’ of the aggressor, reinforces this culture.

Focusing on male behaviour paves the way for a cultural shift

As a woman, I will not pass judgement on wives of men, where the men have a question of sexual behaviour or any other indiscretion associated with their power above them.

As a woman, I will not pass judgement on wives of men who are in positions of significant power. “Power Rules” exist in the wife’s external environment (political face and an extension of the husband’s work-life) and internal environment (power and control within a relationship). The layers of ‘power rules’ women, as wives of men in power must negotiate, is complex.

For people judging Briggs’ wife’s support for her husband, the illusion of how high her own moral bar is held, simply cannot and should not be judged. She could very well be subject to power rules and her ‘morals or ethics’ could be set at a very different level in private. (In saying, that her moral bar is completely irrelevant). In making any judgements about the wife’s opinion and her morals, we are simply condemning another woman caught in the same power rules as the victim. Power rules created by powerful men. We also remove support from the victim, by shifting our focus away from the unwanted, unsolicited sexual behaviour perpetrated by a man in power.

The only woman I have concern for, and the only woman who should be in our focus is the victim.

It should be continuously acknowledged that Briggs’ behaviour and men who display the same behaviours make women feel uncomfortable in their own spaces, fearful, frightened, powerless and even ashamed.

It should be continuously acknowledged that Briggs’ behaviour and men who display the same behaviours make women fearful, intimidated and distressed about how these unwanted behaviours will impact on their own career progression and work.

It should be continuously acknowledged that Briggs’ behaviour and the men who display the same behaviours view women, not as workers, but as sexual objects. This diminishes a woman’s entire gamut of knowledge, skills, abilities and personal attributes a woman possesses in her workplace. This in turn, diminishes the value of a woman’s labour at work. These men should not be part of public life, particularly where they influence legislation pertaining to women and work, such as Briggs was in the Howard era. (Chief advisor in the Prime Minister’s office on Industrial Relations / Work Choices).

(On an aside note, It brings to question, if Briggs’ Work Choices work, is the motivation for Turnbull promoting an Abbott supporting right wing man.)

Briggs, a man, so hell bent on the idea of Merit as opposed to Quotas, in particular really needs this reinforced over and over and over again, until he ‘gets it.’ Ironically, Jamie Briggs’ own behaviour makes him a shining example of why we do indeed need quotas for women in politics.

The focus in the case of Briggs’ resignation should always be about condemning Briggs’ behaviour and concern and empathy for the victim. Sexual Harassment by men, particularly by men in positions of power needs a cultural shift and that shift should start now.

Originally published on Polyfeministix


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  1. June M Bullivant OAM

    Code of Conduct is the most important part of respect, in the past 12 months I have witnessed intimidation, bullying, meeting stacking, lies, behaviour unbecoming the office the people hold. It has been entrenched for many years, people have held high office and still the stories of their past conquests, the sad part it is not part of a compassionate on nice society, I believe in Karma, and while this sometimes happens to the people who have dished out the behaviour and got away with it, there are rules to prevent this, but if good people sit back and do nothing it is allowed to continue. But lately a few good and brave people have risen up and are speaking out. It takes courage because the people concerned have entrenched themselves in every organisation, they create havoc every month, it is time to expose these grubs from society.

  2. Ian Sprocket Muncher Parfrey

    What is Briggs’ payout?
    People in his position, assuming they get a payout (of any denomination) really don’t give a shit as they just grab the money and run. No lesson learnt but indeed that behaviour is, in their mind, perfectly ok as they ‘..have the money to prove it”.

  3. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    True June, we need to expose the grubs who profit from others’ silence. I applaud the young woman for speaking out. I rejoice in Jamie’s shame. I want my daughters to be honored for their credentials and rewarded for their achievements.

  4. Jennifer Wilson

    Hi, Trish. I haven’t seen anyone seeking out Estee Brigg’s opinion of her husband’s behaviour, but I have seen reports in which she states, spontaneously I believe, that Turnbull’s sacking of Briggs is an “exaggerated over-reaction to a trivial incident.”
    For mine, this is Mrs Briggs negating the victim’s experience in order to salvage her husband’s reputation. It’s unnecessary commentary from her, and as she wasn’t present when the incident took place, she can hardly judge its seriousness.
    I understand Mrs Briggs also reposted the family Xmas card on Face Book following her husband’s resignation from his portfolio, as well as couple photos of the two of them. So it seems to me Mrs Briggs actively sought this focus on her opinion of the situation, rather than being pursued by others to provide it. It is quite newsworthy that the wife of a disgraced minister publicly tells his boss, the Prime Minister, that he’s over-reactive, and exaggerating a trivial incident.

    I take your point that we ought not to be distracted from Briggs’ behaviour and that Mrs Briggs is not responsible for his behaviour. She did have a choice though, as to whether or not to make public commentary, and in so doing, further denigrate her husband’s victim. Unless you’re suggesting she was somehow forced to make this commentary and post family photos etc, it seems to me Mrs Briggs voluntarily inserted herself into the story in order to attempt to salvage her husband’s reputation, and so is as subject to public commentary as anyone else in this affair.

  5. Jennifer Wilson

    I forgot to add that of course it is ridiculous that Hillary Clinton is still pursued about her husband’s past behaviour. It’s also true that at the time, Mrs Clinton was devastatingly cruel publicly about Lewinsky, but not about her husband. For mine, I would admire her more if she’d tackled Clinton’s abuse of his power, instead of going for the very young and very vulnerable Lewinsky.

  6. Sen Nearly Ile

    the ease with which the Australian media moved against gillard because she was a woman was symptomatic of a society whose women accept the male version of their incompetency and are suspicious of the talent of women like gillard and whose men are frightened that women will see how much better gillard was than the men in parliament and seek power that will allow them to act like men. I wish I could say what I feel. But briggs has the sympathy of more men and women than those who condemn.
    I cannot see anything less than white green and purple having any political effect.

  7. philgorman2014

    We can take it as a given that power corrupts. In most societies the vast majority of males still grow up assuming they are entitled by virtue of their gender to bolster their fragile egos by dominating and exploiting others. With few exceptions this has been one of the pillars of every civilisation. We still have a lot of evolving to do.

    Women are still placed among “the others”. This is a very deep seated cultural given. Brigg’s behaviour stems from his sense of entitlement. In male circles it is not only thought to be normal; it is actively encouraged by the male pack mentality. From street gangs, to the cabinet, to the college of surgeons they usually get away with it. Briggs would be considered as unlucky and hard done by. A woman had the temerity to call him out and someone else actually acted on it.

  8. Trish Corry

    Hi Jennifer, thanks for your comments. In my view the media have sought out his wife’s opinion as they are quoting what her ‘sources say’ and have enough interest to publish her opinion. They have enough interest to publish what she is posting on her Facebook page. The media consider’s her opinion valuable in the debate. I don’t think the wife’s opinion is newsworthy at all. That is my entire point. The debate where it relevant is about ethics and politics. Eg if Brigg’s has established his campaign of that as a good husband and family man.

    Newspapers have the power to decide what they publish. They have no responsibility to publish her comments or opinions. I have tried my hardest to get my local newspaper to recognise the cuts the Liberals made to disaster relief payments and they simply do not see this as newsworthy. Do we know without a doubt if she was not supportive, would it be published? Would it be a story? If the media wanted to show the Turnbull Govt in a good light, how would they consider her stance?

    As my article covers, her actions cannot be judged, whether she has made a ‘choice’ or not to actively respond, stand on the corner with a placard or shout it from the rooftops, or if the media came knocking on her door. As covered in my article, we are not privy to the complexities of power in the private and public sphere and secondly, the wife’s opinion of support to a husband, only takes the focus off Briggs’ behaviour. I have read comments on social media today about how the wife has no morals etc., etc., etc., standing by him. As explained in the section about the complexity of external and internal power she must face, I would strongly advocate, not placing any judgement on her, for the reasons stated in my article. I am arguing for a cultural shift. That shift is for wives to say “He does not reflect me, he stands on his own merit” and “he can defend his own actions, he does not need my validation” and the shift for the focus to remain on the aggressor and the victim and a shift to “not bring in other (supportive) women to try to delegitimise the actions of men”

    I made absolutely no assumption whether I think she is forced to make these opinions and I hope that clear in the article. I cannot make any assumptions or judgements as to why she has made any comment at all, due to the power constructs explained in the article.

    The section of referent power is also very pertinent to your comments above as it relates to returning the (fallen) individual male to a position of referent power. We do not know (as we are not privy to internal private relationships) whether this may be a motivator. And in saying that, it is completely irrelevant, because it should always come back to the focus on his actions and the concern and empathy for the victim.

    With regards to referent power, a huge example is although we could observe quite openly Abbott’s sexist behaviour, the media sought out supportive women (and the party sought them out) in an attempt to return Abbott to a position of referent power.

  9. Trish Corry

    Phil, I love how your comment addresses others. I am a fan of Erving Goffman’s work and stigma, where he discusses the same.

  10. paul walter

    Absolutely disagree wth Wilson re Clinton. The real criminals were Tripp, Newt Gingrich and their backers.

    Secondly, as Trish says, we know not enough of the incident itself.

    My guess is that the complaint is legitimate. However, I wonder if the bringing into the story of his wife is not some thing we get usually from the press and media. I don’t think the mention of Briggs wife is meant to deflect criticism of him, but is a ritualised shaming exercise for him demanded by the public, who are rightly sceptical of politicians and their truth claims about others and themselves.

  11. Roswell

    Gosh the lady writers on The AIMN are amazing. In total awe of all of you.

  12. Jennifer Wilson

    Hi, Trish, I agree with you on the complexity of power structures women face, however, I don’t agree that Mrs Briggs’ opinions of the situation are not “newsworthy,” for reasons I expressed in my previous comments.

    I think she made it clear that she is supportive with her comments that Turnbull’s actions are exaggerated and unwarranted because of the trivial nature of the incident. This wasn’t from any sources, it was a direct quote.

    The patriarchal structure in which we all struggle to survive is held in place with the co-operation of women: if women withdrew our labour and support it could not exist. We have to take responsibility for our part in maintaining a destructive status quo. The orthodox manner of wives and partners dealing with a man’s harassment of other women is to protect the man, and denigrate the other woman either by attacking her or trivialising the man’s actions. This maintains the patriarchal status quo.

    Women do have agency: we are not necessarily passive victims of power, as is so courageously demonstrated by the complainant in this situation.

    Women need to see what we are doing when we take a course of action that supports male exploitation of other women. Mrs Briggs could have refused all comment, in which case the media would have nothing to report. She made a choice to speak out in support of her husband, and in denigration of the victim. Other women in similar situations have remained silent, and others have left their errant spouses with or without public comment.

    Of course nobody knows what’s happening behind the scenes, and I make no attempt to guess. I’m arguing that if we are to bring about a cultural shift, women have to address our own ingrained culture: the one in which we traditionally publicly support the men we live with, regardless of the damage those men inflict on other women, by denigrating their complaints and distress.

    Women in relationships with powerful men enjoy many advantages. Perhaps we have to be prepared to relinquish some of those advantages by calling out the entitled behaviour of the powerful men who make those advantages possible for us. This would indeed be the start of a powerful cultural change.

  13. Kaye Lee

    Somewhat tangential to this conversation, but perhaps worth thinking about, is the increasing propensity for politicians to use their families as part of the ‘image’ thing, something I deplore. When political advisers took over from policy advisers, marketing took over from hard work and honest debate.

    Who else brings their family to work as often as politicians do? Who else drags their families to job interviews (campaigning)? Who, other than Julie Bishop, would give their latest boyfriend a seat at the official table at the UN? Should Lucy Turnbull be allowed to advocate for business enterprises in which she has an interest when she is accompanying her husband to official meetings? So many politicians have photos of their families on their pages – why?

    Mrs Briggs reaction to this should be kept within her own family. I don’t think she should be expected to publicly condemn her husband any more than she should publicly support him by posting schmaltzy family photos. There is a procedure to follow in such cases and quite frankly, her opinion is irrelevant.

  14. townsvilleblog

    I agree that men must take full responsibly for their actions, but I don’t agree that asking his wife how she feels about the situation is diverting attention away from Brigg’s behaviour . This bloke was by all accounts pissed and waving his warradonga around in the bar when he tried to crack on to the female public servant, behaviour that one might expect from a bloke in a local hotel but certainly not from a Minister of the Crown. People like my own federal representative LNP Ewen Jones has said the cream always comes to the top, in other words Brigg’s will be back. The exercise as I see it is not to dwell on Brigg’s misdemeanor, but to concentrate on the big picture of removing all of them from the government benches this year, in what will probably be an early election because they won’t want to have to release a budget before they go, and will want some excuse such as lowering penalty rates to fight an election on. I’m writing as many letters as possible to the nation’s editors in the hope that both sides of the spectrum may be heard.

  15. Jennifer Wilson

    Hi Kaye
    Perhaps if politicians are eager to use their families as propaganda and election fodder, it’s unreasonable to expect those families to stay silent when things go bad?

    And how can Mrs Briggs’ opinion be irrelevant when she, as well as the victim, are the two women whose lives are most seriously affected by this incident?

    I think Mrs Briggs or anyone else has every right to express an opinion on anything she wants to. We wouldn’t demand women keep their opinions about anything else in their own families, or I hope we wouldn’t.

    I wouldn’t suggest Mrs Briggs shouldn’t express an opinion, I’m arguing with the one she does express.

    I don’t see how it can go both ways: wives and families paraded as crucially important to the male who wants to be elected, and totally irrelevant when that male messes up.

  16. Rossleigh

    A politician’s wife (or husband’s) view is usually carefully crafted for media consumption. It’s rare that they’d say anything apart from putting their partner in the best possible light, so it’s almost a non-story in much the same way as asking an actor is the film they’ve just made is worth seeing. Occasionally, you may get an honest answer, but if the answer’s predictable, why bother printing it?
    The subtext of her response seemed to be: “I don’t mind what my husband does with other women, so why should they!”

  17. Zathras

    According to the sentiment behind the Government’s increasing surveillance of every citizen – “if you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about”.
    Perhaps they should heed their own advice for a change.

    Celebrities are keen for the world to focus on their lives when in suits but then scream for privacy when things go bad.

    What all men should remember – especially those in positions of power – is that every woman is somebody’s wife, daughter, sister or mother and should be treated accordingly.

    It’s really not that difficult.

  18. Kaye Lee

    Fair point Jennifer about a woman’s right to express her opinion, but Mrs Brigg’s opinion of her husband’s malfeasance is a private matter. She has every right to express her opinion about sexual harassment in the work place but how she personally feels about her husband’s betrayal is, in my opinion, not for public consumption.

  19. Backyard Bob

    […]and as she wasn’t present when the incident took place, she can hardly judge its seriousness[…]

    This is true, yet it doesn’t seem to have stopped anyone else.

    It’s entirely unsurprising that Briggs’ spouse has come out in his defense. It’s what happens and it’s to be expected, for what are fairly obvious reasons but also the perhaps less obvious reason that such an event, rightly or wrongly, reflects on her judgement also – “How could you be married to and have had children with such a wretched man?” Her defense of her husband is actually a defense of herself. It isn’t especially rational but it’s what happens. I think some slack-cutting is appropriate in her case. She is, in an indirect yet very real way, also a victim of Briggs’ buffoonery.

    Oh, and in the midst of all this social-media hand-wringing one positive aspect seems to have gone unnoticed – in this instance, the system worked. Briggs behaved in an unacceptable manner. The subject of that behaviour immediately exercised her rights, due process occurred and Briggs lost his position as Minister – and will almost certainly never regain it.

  20. Kaye Lee

    Another problem exposed by this matter is the alcohol consumption of politicians whilst on official business. We had the debacle of Tony trashing his office as a farewell gesture in a drunken night of debauchery. We had Bronwyn Bishop justifying her extraordinary use of private limousines by saying she often was forced to consume alcohol at functions. We had George Brandis’ wine bill for him and three mates – three bottles of 2010 vintage Tyrrell’s Semillon-Sauvignon, a bottle of upmarket Italian Vin Santo del Chianti Bonacchi dessert wine, as well as glasses of Laurent-Perrier Champagne. Tony Abbott even slept through the vote on Swan’s economic stimulus package because he was drunk. In 2003 it was reported that John Howard’s wine bill for Kirribilli was $120,000.

  21. Matthew Oborne

    We all know people who have had relationships end due to one partner being unfaithful or caught engaging in unacceptable behavior.

    I knew a few catholic men growing up who said roughly the same things to their soon to be wives.
    essentially take a good look because this is for life.

    some of them had a change of ethos and ended up having affairs and breaking marriages.

    You would expect someone with party interests most likely started a conversation with Slippers wife, with Thompsons wife and with Briggs wife with

    “as a ministers wife…….”

    We all know the saying that no person is an island and this effects The family of the woman harrassed as well as the Briggs family.
    The media should keep their nose out of family business and it appears the woman has either been told not to speak out for the parties sake or just wants this dealt with not by putting her in the spotlight.

    Briggs behaved illegally, a person was negatively effected, we dont know by how much but we can assume she may not get past this incident and may ask herself for years if her career took a beating over it, let alone her thoughts on working around other men with a power imbalance in their favour.

    I grew up in a town where one of Kerrs staff was shipped to keep her out of the spotlight.
    She came to our little coastal retirement town with a good job waiting but a dead end job as it was as far from Canberra as you could feasibly imagine in terms of the towns importance. Scandals are managed as this one is being handled.

    She may well want to speak out but is being handled, we may never know.
    What we do know is she was put in an awful position at a young age by some despicable lush and her life may take a path she didnt want.

    An unwelcomed Kiss of the cheek and a come on line would be more than enough to scare any person but it may well have been more than that.

    Why mention that the Kiss was on the cheek? was that an attempt to handle it? to diminsh it?
    If it was then clearly they dont understand how a come on can start.

    The article has a premise of saying it is only about the woman this was done to,
    I disagree on that point.

    If Briggs’s wife wants out of the marriage she has to face diminshed government support for her if she makes that decision.
    Single mothers have been squeezed unfairly putting them in awkward situations, some clearly choosing to stay with an unwanted situation rather than face near poverty at the hands of a government hell bent on punishing single mothers.

    When her oldest child turns 6 she has to actively look for work and when the youngest Turns 8 her payments drop.

    She is expected to look for any type of work including work not suitable to her role as a single parent, she would face arbitrary suspension of her payments that she needs to feed her family if she doesnt jump certain unreasonable hurdles.

    In short his wife may feel there is no choice but to have to stay with him because the very system her husband is a part of abandoned social responsibility towards women.

    Yes before anyone comments I know Julia also took a chunk off single mothers.
    In fact Julia’s action had consequences she probably was not aware of, there is a homeloan scheme in my state to get people of limited means into a home they own (paying off) and Julia’s changes reduced the loan amount single mothers could get costing many the ability to own a home for their family.

    Waiting for the media dead zone to announce this was in itself a horrible act that he avoided timely punishment to suit political agenda’s means righting wrongs even of this nature are subject to political opportunism.

    The message is clear rather than dismiss him immediately when it was known to be true they instead felt the issue was not serious enough to send a clear message that this behavior was unacceptable.

    I got the message loud and clear sexual harrassment is not that big an issue with the turnbull government so that it needs prompt unambiguous action.

  22. Kyran

    There are several aspects of this ‘situation’ that I find troubling.
    This fool went to a party in September to celebrate a coup, with another fool who had just been deposed. He then appears in a wheelchair and it is some weeks before he ‘comes clean’ to say he had drunk too much and tried tackling the other fool. The ‘situation’ had, apparently, been ‘managed’.
    This particular incident occurred in November. Whilst the PM described it as a serious incident, he didn’t see fit to act until after two ‘independent enquiries’ (some media outlets have also referenced a compensatory payment to the victim) had been conducted. As yet, I have seen no reports of this fool going to the PM with a ‘mea culpa’. The PM then ‘acts decisively’ in what was clearly a brough day at the office. The ‘situation’ had, apparently, been ‘managed’.
    Amidst various articles about the ‘politics’ of sidelining this fool now, so he can resurrect his career later, appear some brief articles of previous female staffer’s of his who suggest their tenure was best described as either ‘beauty queen or ironing lady’. Paraphrasing poorly, and, admittedly, one of them is now standing as a Xenophon candidate, against him.
    As a minister, he is typical of this government. Incompetent. Just goggle ‘jamie briggs Norfolk island’ to see his competence epitomised.
    As to the issue of women in the workplace and their right to work free of harassment, the issue hasn’t been advanced one iota, in my opinion, by this ‘situation’. I was waiting for the articles to appear detailing how her ‘piercing eyes’, or dress, or intoxication, or her something, had caused the incident.
    I did not see this one coming. Terry Barnes, ABC;
    “What’s more, ministers have a power relationship with public servants, especially more junior officers. That night, Briggs crossed a line and in the cold light of day knew he did so. Self-awareness does not excuse, but it offers strong hope he will learn from his mistakes if he aspires to return to the frontbench sometime in the future.
    There’s another factor, however: the public servant should not have been placed in that situation, not only by Briggs and his chief of staff, but by her own managers and supervisors. From Briggs’s explanation, it appears that she was a locally-based officer: her bosses should have ensured that she was not put into a position that risked compromising her. They failed her.”

    As an old, white bloke, that sounded like the most patronising, patriarchal crap ever written. And, yes, I’m assuming her ‘bosses’ were blokes.
    We have women in serious jeopardy every day through DV. We have an increasing gap in gender equality in wages. We have a previous minister for women who cut funding to essential women’s services. We have a ‘new’ PM who decries violence against women and says we must respect them, and gives back 1/3 of the funding, mostly through advertising campaigns. By his inaction on gender equality in his own government, he has done nothing of any substance.
    And we have a mindset that says this is ok.
    Having known many ‘power couples’, it always struck me that the ‘image’ was far more important to them than the ‘substance’ of their relationships.
    Ms Wilson made a comment in her article “We need to talk about what Jamie did”.
    With respect, we don’t need to talk about what Jamie (or his wife) did, we need to talk about ‘what malcolm didn’t”.
    “Ministerial standards are high”.
    With respect, ministerial standard’s are abysmally low. Our expectations of ministerial standards are unrealistically high.
    Thank you, Ms Corry (and Ms Wilson). Take care

  23. Matthew Oborne

    I decided to read the Australian’s take on it, it is as you would guess downplayed to the point where it is almost argued that this is acceptable behavior, citing he did it to someone else, asserting she didnt really have a problem with it and MP’s claiming it sets the bar too high to dismiss someone for an incident like this.

    They played it like it was a public Kiss on the cheek for the sake of public relations and diplomacy rather than an after work lush cracking onto some poor woman.

  24. Neil of Sydney

    Too funny watching lefties giving lectures on morality.

    Bob Hawke only stayed with Hazel because she gave him an extra 3% of the vote

    Hawke proposed to his mistress in 1978, but later withdrew the offer saying that a divorce from Hazel could cost Hawke three percent (3%) of the vote to elect the latter to a safe seat

    Keating was the same. As soon as Anita was no longer needed Keating got rid of her.

  25. Backyard Bob

    The committee, chaired by the Prime Minister, includes Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, Attorney-General George Brandis and Ms Bishop. Because of the gravity of the matter and concerns that any action taken against Mr Briggs might be seen as vindictive towards a supporter of Tony Abbott, the decision was taken in Mr Turnbull’s office to co-opt more ministers on to the committee.

    They included Peter Dutton, Scott Morrison, Michaelia Cash and Arthur Sinodinos. After reading the report, the expanded committee decided that Mr Briggs had to go.

    If that mob of scoundrels couldn’t find a way to get Briggs off then he really was a dead man walking.

  26. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Hear, hear, Jennifer Wilson @ 6.12am. Wrong-doings are wrong-doings.

    Condoning or ignoring the pain inflicted by a spouse on someone of one’s own gender (in this case, the wife’s) is one of the lowest forms of human behaviour, and I suspect a large portion of her attitude is based on economic self-preservation.

  27. Backyard Bob

    Yes, yes, in a perfect world where no-one has an ego and everyone is perfectly rational and has no social, familial or gender-role demands to protect, Briggs’ wife should have either shut up or publicly condemned her husband’s malfeasance. Instead she chose, in the midst of dealing with enormous media pressure and deep humiliation, to defend her husband (and as I’ve stated, actually defending herself). For me, given these facts, describing her response as “one of the lowest forms of human behaviour” is unreasonably severe and plain overwrought.

  28. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Yes, “plain overwrought” sums it up, thanks Backyard Bob. Overwrought by the double standards allowed for the likes of Jamie Briggs until the point where no matter how much sweeping under the carpet, can hide the oafish behaviour of an officer of the parliament, who is expected to uphold a high standard.

    I agree with the various arguments that Mrs Briggs should not be held responsible for her idiot husband’s behaviour but nor should she be understood compassionately for dismissing the level of disgust that a reasonable person would have for Briggs’ conduct towards the young woman.

    Briggs does not deserve to hold high office, which is unfortunate for Mrs Briggs as she is an unwilling casualty of this scenario. Any perceived defence of her husband for whatever reason however, is not acceptable and if that is “unreasonably severe”, so be it.

  29. trishcorry

    I really just need to clarify here for some comments above, that in no way, shape or form am I advocating that women (wives) should be told to remain silent and not express an opinion. I am not indicating in anyway suppressing freedom of speech. I do however question, why the media promotes this as newsworthy (and I do not agree a wife thinking her husband’s boss is over-reacting is newsworthy).

    Jennifer – You seem more concerned with the detail of if Mrs. Briggs was forthcoming or was sought out by the media. One article I read, clearly had the words “her sources said” It really is not a huge issue from where I sit, who went to whom. My article is about keeping the focus on the victim and the behaviour of the aggressor.

    You have said in your first comment that the wife is open to public scrutiny as she inserted herself into the debate. In my article I spoke about people condemning her for speaking out. Yes, women can and do have agency as you say; however, my point is that by this public scrutiny and social media comments about ‘her values or low morals’ are condemning someone when we don’t know the internal and external ‘power rules’ she is facing as a woman attached to public life. If she didn’t support her husband, people would condemn her the same “can’t even stand by her man’ I don’t think condemning a wife for support or non-support, adds anything of value.

    The focus should be on Brigg’s behaviour. As Rossleigh said, most support is manufactured (see referent power section) Condemning or scrutinizing the wife does two things: Judges another woman about something that may or may not be manufactured for the public and condemns a woman who has to navigate the public and private power that men have over women. I know it is a TV show, but if you have ever watched House of Cards it is a good example (underlying concept of the public and private power rules I don’t mean the drama).

    The other thing it does is it shrinks the space the victim should take up in the debate. Although the victim has agency by making a complaint, by wanting to remain anonymous, she doesn’t have agency to defend herself against the aggressor’s sympathisers, who reduce her experience and her distress. I don’t think the wife being “important” trumps this. I don’t think the feelings of the wife should take up space that could be used to reinforce the damage the aggressors do in this case. This is not just about Briggs, this is wider than that.

    What I would like to see as a change is women feel comfortable to say “he does not reflect me’ “he can defend his own actions.’ “His character will speak for itself, he doesn’t need my validation’ This would negate, the forced use of women in media to prop up men. (Women used by men to gain referent power). The merging of the boundaries of public and private. I am not saying she was forced, but indeed it is evident as in the comments above, some women are indeed used in this way.

    I understand you feel it is Ok to condemn the wife for speaking out because she has been forthcoming to the media and social media. However, the voice I use in my blog is my own and I am saying I consider all of these things that I have mentioned about condemning wives and their space in the debate, therefore, why I don’t condemn and why I don’t judge. I want to share with others, why I consider these things and choose not to react to commentary by supportive wives, mothers, aunts etc., amongst other issues concerning the case of Briggs and the issue of sexual harassment, power rules and women.

  30. trishcorry

    Roswell – I’m going to keep that comment forever. I think it is my favourite of all time. Thank you.

  31. trishcorry

    and the theme from the right wing commentary today is:

    “She should not have been in the pub at 2am in the Morning with these men.”

    I guess I better check what I’m wearing today before I step outside.

  32. Roswell

    Thanks Trish. I’m flattered.

  33. Matters Not

    the public servant should not have been placed in that situation, not only by Briggs and his chief of staff, but by her own managers and supervisors

    The link below reveals she is 26 and a Vice Consul. She occupies a fairly senior position and probably would resent being told what she should or shouldn’t do after work.

    and the woman, a vice-consul at the Australian consulate-general in Hong Kong,

    … Mr Briggs had first met the woman that afternoon, as he worked his way through a day of meetings with Hong Kong transport and city officials.

    The Australian consul-general to Hong Kong, Paul Tighe, had accompanied the minister to meetings with rail operator MTR general manager Victor Chan, environment undersecretary Christine Loh and transport undersecretary Yau Shing-mu.

    The staffer stood in for Mr Tighe at the last meetings of the day with banker HSBC and a government-appointed property group called Energising Kowloon East. When the alleged incident came to light, Mr Varghese had referred it to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, which engaged an independent official to investigate

    So the woman in question stood in for the Australian consul-general. She’s a Vice Consul. She’s occupying a fairly senior position. She was trusted to act in a very senior role.

    This link identifies the Hong Kong organisational structure. It even shows who’s married and who isn’t. (Never seen that before.) The chart reduces the identity to one of two.

  34. Jennifer Wilson

    Hi Trish, thank you for your comments.
    At the risk of being repetitive, my problem with Mrs Briggs’ comments, or alleged comments, is that they denigrated and minimalised the alleged victim’s complaints, with the purpose of supporting her husband, the alleged perpetrator.

    I can assure you I would have had no interest at all in Mrs Briggs’ position on the matter had I not read these comments. Like you, I think the focus is Jamie Briggs’ actions, and the circumstances of the woman who lodged the complaint. I don’t think denigration and minimalisation by anybody helps the woman concerned, or helps in a wider sense. It’s a despicable attempt to discredit and shame a victim, driven by self-interest and the desire for self-preservation regardless of the truth of a situation.

    It’s not at all uncommon for women to take this position against another woman in support of a man. It’s something that has to stop if we are to change the culture. It’s a central part of a dynamic that causes victims to be further abused. So I don’t agree with you that focusing on this aspect of the situation as well as all the others takes away from the victim as central, quite the opposite.

    Women also exercise power over other women. We are foolish if we attempt to deny this. IMO, if your abuser’s wife publicly invalidates your experience of abuse and you cannot defend yourself, or speak for yourself, she is exercising raw and intimidatory power over you, and she is further abusing you. There are three people involved in the situation, not just two, and it is a situation of two against the victim.

    Now of course if Mrs Briggs has been misrepresented and did not say these things or anything like them, we have no argument. I am only working from the presumption that the reports I’ve read are valid.

    I agree it would be excellent if women felt able to say “he does not reflect me” “his character will speak for itself” and so on.

  35. trishcorry

    I think where we clearly differ here Jennifer, is that I see and recognise the internal and external power rules wives of politicians or people in public life must navigate and you appear not to. I think from what you are saying, that as long as the ‘woman/wife’ says something that is supportive of her husband and she is not ‘sticking up for the victim’ it is ok to rubbish her, to judge her morals, her values. What I see happening there, is more and more women just get added to the pile being judged and condemned, because of the actions of a man and because they need to navigate the rules developed and set down by men, over a long period of time. Yes, women can use their voice to try to invalidate a woman’s experience and they can also be used by men to do so. In the case of women in public life, we can never be certain which one this is.

    “Women exercise power over other women and we are foolish to deny this”

    I see the wife as a woman as well, and I won’t judge her for this very reason. I judge the actions of Briggs.

    I note the pitchforks were very much more at the ready and much sharper for the wife (just in social media commentary I have read), than what they have been for the male politicians who have spoken up in defence of Briggs.

    By engaging in the judgements of the wife, more and more people come on board and the narrative then starts to be about the wife’s feelings, and what the wife thinks and feels, rather than speaking directly to the problem – the male aggressor.

    I would prefer to validate the victim’s experience by directly and loudly creating (hopefully) many voices about how wrong the actions of the aggressor were, rather than getting into narrative about why I think the wife has low standards.

    I also have a section in my article which covers women being used against other women. “How women can be used to deligimitise other women’s experiences” I’m not sure why you make a comment that it is not uncommon for women to come out in defence of a man, as I have covered this.

  36. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    good on you for speaking up for Mrs Briggs. Despite our political affiliations, she and her children do not deserve to be humiliated by the actions of dickhead Briggs.

    However, the internal and external power rules that wives must navigate work both ways. They reap the benefits while also facing the consequences. That’s the game their spouses signed them up to and it is up to them to agree or not. No change in culture in the LNP, Labor or elsewhere will happen unless all participants take responsibility for the conduct of the perpetrators where it counts.

  37. Backyard Bob

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith,

    Any perceived defence of her husband for whatever reason however, is not acceptable and if that is “unreasonably severe”, so be it.

    Well, I’m unable to respond to that with anything less than : you go, girl.

  38. trishcorry

    Jennifer, Meyer Smith, I’m a little confused with your comment. Are you saying that “Because wives of politicians get nice stuff we don’t get, it is Ok to ignore other power structures that may be at work, (ie power in an internal relationship, power/pressure from a party, power/pressure to keep a family face in the media spotlight) that is OK to condemn them? Is it not possible that these wives, as women are also victims of power implicit in rules laid down by men? If women ruled the world from day one, do you really believe that men would have this role in the world (the roles that women have now as an extension of a man in politics)? Are husbands of female politicians expected to save face for their wife, as we expect of wives?

    A fair while ago I said something about Peta Credlin on twitter and Jane Caro tweeted something to me about it.
    I tweeted back at her “My feminism does not include women who use their power to attack other women, like she has with Gillard”
    Jane Caro quickly responded “My feminism includes ALL women.
    She then reminded me that “The Buck Stops with Abbott”

    Well the Buck stops with Briggs.

    That was a real wake up call for me, because yes indeed it does. My feminism includes all women and I was so angry at the time, I forgot that it did.

    When Gillard said “It stops with me” I took that very seriously.

    People can make all the arguments to defend why they think it is OK to make public value judgements about another woman who is the wife of a politician. People can defend very strongly why they feel it is very important to create a narrative which has the very potential to build to the mobbing of one woman, because they think her responses are not what we think she should say. The potential to have more and more people coming on board and vilifying a woman on social media has been brought into the spotlight by Clem Ford, and just because someone ‘gets nice things because her husband is a politician’ doesn’t make it OK, in my very strong opinion.

    So yes, creating narratives of value judgements about another woman, scorning her, going to the heart of who she is ‘her values’ and saying they are not good enough, that she doesn’t measure up to other women – is no different than thinking it is OK for women to be abused, judged and defamed by men. But no arguments will persuade me that I should validate that, in doing so is OK. I support women completely to make their own choices, but for me, this is not one of them.

    If I were to do this, my feminism would not include all women…..and it does.

  39. Jennifer Wilson

    Hi Trish,
    I’m sorry you’ve found it necessary to attempt to belittle me and so advance your position by opening with the statement that you see something highly significant in the situation, while I apparently do not.

    I’d hoped to avoid this kind of thing in our, I thought, useful discussion between two women thrashing out different points of view of a situation.

    My disagreement with you does not indicate ignorance, or inability to grasp complex issues on my part. I simply disagree with you.

    No, I do not think it is ok to “rubbish” morals and values. It is ok and absolutely necessary to challenge and publicly discuss morals and values that exert influence over our lives, at times, robustly.

    I am acquainted with the theory of referent power, though my appreciation of power is more influenced by Foucault’s analysis.

    Of course wives of politicians are expected to conform to that culture’s power rules. Women in every area of life are expected to conform to power rules, indeed to belong in any culture or subculture one must at least appear to be conforming to its power rules.

    I may be misunderstanding you and if so, I apologise, but it seems to me that you are arguing for dispensation for women in public life who conform to the power rules, even if they resort to denigrating other women in order to maintain their own position. I don’t see this as feminist behaviour.

    The only way any advance has been made for women is when other women have refused to play by the power rules. Women in far more dire circumstances than politician’s wives have refused to accept imposed rules, and so we have the vote, we have voices, we have a great deal more than our grandmothers, even though we still have a long way to go.

    I don’t think women are beyond our critiique and analysis simply because we have a vagina in common. I think that power is fluid, not fixed, and when a woman exercises damaging power over another woman she is as accountable as is any man. The possession of a vagina does not exonerate us from the responsibility to do our best to be decent human beings.

    I can’t for the life of me understand why you are very happy to “judge” any man, but will not “judge” a woman because of her biology. This makes absolutely no sense to me and it isn’t what I call feminism.

    I have seen women navigate far more dangerous and challenging waters than the wives of politicians and public figures are required to navigate because of their choice of mate, and without any of those privileges to assist them.

    I don’t support a mobbing of anybody, woman or man. We do have social media which gives as many people as want it the opportunity to express their opinion and there are times when the majority of opinion is hostile to one person or situation. Is this mobbing? I don’t think so.

    I’m wondering if you’re arguing that it is OK for Mrs Briggs to disrespect her husband’s victim,even though the victim is a woman and you believe should be supported by other women on that basis alone, but Mrs Briggs must not be disrespected for denigrating a female victim because Mrs Briggs is a woman subjected to political power rules and so exempt from supporting other women. I can make no sense of this. Perhaps I am overthinking it.

  40. trishcorry

    “I’m sorry you’ve found it necessary to attempt to belittle me ”

    Absolutely, never my intention, and I find the accusation highly offensive.

    “I may be misunderstanding you and if so, I apologise”

    Yes, you most certainly have. If I have pointed out the very difference between our arguments, as I see it, and that is offensive to you; it most certainly is a misunderstanding. My explanation is purely theoretical (from the aspect of theory/constructs) and not a value judgement. You have also misunderstood the very heart of my comments in my last post, and are reading things into it that are not there.

    I have clarified this position even further, in my response to Jennifer M.S
    I am clearly stating MY personal opinion on why I will not judge his wife. I think I made that example, quite clear by using the twitter scenario with Jane Caro.

    I understand you are strongly arguing that it is OK to criticise his wife. That is totally your call. As explained in my previous comments, no amount of argument, will convince me that, should ever be my position. I am in no way making any personal criticisms of people if they choose to do this. As I said, I support all women to make their own choices. But this choice is not mine. I think that aspect was quite clear.

    I would never try to be purposely offensive engaging on a blog forum, particularly with a fellow blogger. I may disagree with a content of a blog post, but I would never personally disrespect another blogger and I would definitely not try to belittle them. I am not even like that as a person. You most definitely have misread my intentions. I won’t engage any further in this debate, as frankly, I am offended.

  41. trishcorry

    If you want to understand the theory of mobbing, read Leymann’s work.

  42. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Brickyard Bob,

    taken out of context, your quote of my final line would appear draconian to any fair-minded person.

    Congrats on that tactic. Not.

    However, considering we’ve been discussing the disgusting antics of Jamie Briggs, a Minister of Federal Parliament while on an official trip on behalf of Australia, who offended and sexually harassed a young woman, who was also representing Australia’s diplomatic interests, I don’t think my final line is out of proportion to the disgust everybody should be sharing publicly and privately, including Mrs Briggs.

    If Mrs Briggs has been manipulated by the LNP Government as a PR exercise to appear to defend her ugly husband, I feel sorry for her. If however, she did this out of self-interest and with little regard for the young woman victim of sexual harassment, I am less interested in defending Mrs Briggs’ interests just as I would be if any one of us were standing in Mrs Briggs’ shoes. My advice to Mrs Briggs and any other political spouse, if you can’t be honest and deplore the bad behaviour of your spouse due to family loyalty or security, then keep your mouth shut.

    Trish Corry,

    yes, my Feminism includes all women too. I must have confused you badly, if you would think I would think any differently.

    Jamie Briggs’ conduct was the cause of the problem; Jamie Briggs will pay the price with the loss of his parliamentary career, I hope.

    Mrs Briggs is not responsible obviously for his drunken conduct but she is responsible for her characterisation of it, as it has been reported. If she cannot be balanced and fair in her assessment of it, then she is wise to stay silent.

    Of course, these are great 20/20 rear-vision comments on my behalf, but I would have thought that for presumably such well-experienced and politically savvy people like Briggs and Mrs Briggs, for Briggs to be caught out in such a sexist, sexually explicit way, this was no cause for either of them to reduce its sexual harassment consequences experienced by the young woman.

    I expect the same level of self-awareness from anybody else too because my Feminism tells me the wrong was done to this young woman and I don’t want a similar wrong done to another young woman when a self-entitled and ego-centric man in a position of power (or not) thinks he has a right to sexually harass her.

    Mrs Briggs only is relevant in this because she allowed herself to be manipulated in a PR exercise to whitewash Jamie’s poor conduct that has ramifications in the context of the young woman and more widely for all of us, when pollies are seen to have done wrong and not paid the price, which subliminally reinforces the wrong.

  43. Jennifer Wilson

    Hi Trish
    I always find being offended a poor excuse for refusing to continue a debate, & question myself as to my real motive in wishing to withdraw.

    I don’t think I at any time described your argument as “offensive” to me: it isn’t, it’s merely different and I take no offence at difference.

    Which is why, although I found your attitude mildly unpleasant, I nevertheless continued a debate with you that I think has relevance to many women, including others on this site. Interestingly, the argument has much to do with “offence” and the relations between women.

    Thank you for your engagement.

  44. Jennifer Wilson

    Oh, I just saw your comment on the theory of mobbing. “If I want to understand it?” The presumption that I don’t? Again, the implication that disagreement correlates to lack of knowledge and understanding, and ultimately is offensive.

    Best wishes to you Trish. Jennifer Wilson.

  45. Kaye Lee

    I think Tony Abbott would describe the women on this site as “feisty” but would he think we had “sex appeal”?

    I remember a male colleague once asking me if I ever fantasised about workmates. I am wondering if Fiona Scott felt as uncomfortable as I did having to share a staff room with that man for the next three years. At least I could say to him ewwwww no while she had to publicly say she considered it a compliment.

    I don’t think people realise how pervasive and endemic this attitude is in our culture. This incident has made me remember countless examples in my own past of similar treatment. I have been forced to humiliate men to defend myself. Serving drinks to a friend of the hotel owner where I was a barmaid, him telling me he would like to stick his tongue down my throat, me smiling sweetly as I handed him his drink saying nothing would revolt me more. Being manhandled by footballers, me saying piss off, him saying I’m John Donnelly, me saying I don’t give a damn who you are get your hands off me.

    It shouldn’t still be this way decades later.

  46. Trish Corry

    You said it was not mobbing, so how is that demonstrated that you understand it? When hordes of people online denigrate one woman, through targeted, negative acts, this definitely is supported by mobbing theory. So if you state something is not something when it is, I would definitely come to the understanding that you do not understand mobbing theory.

  47. trishcorry

    “yes, my Feminism includes all women too. I must have confused you badly, if you would think I would think any differently.”

    Jennifer MS, I have responded to your comments that support it is OK to openly criticise, make value judgements etc., call it what you may of the wife. Which, does confuse me how this includes “all women” Namely:

    “However, the internal and external power rules that wives must navigate work both ways. They reap the benefits while also facing the consequences. That’s the game their spouses signed them up to and it is up to them to agree or not”.

    We do not need to actively contribute to these “consequences


    “Any perceived defence of her husband for whatever reason however, is not acceptable and if that is “unreasonably severe”, so be it.”

    I think it would be “unreasonably severe” if hordes of women and men online decided that it was OK to make multiple online posts about how terrible the wife is. What an awful person she is for defending him. What low standards she has. etc., etc., etc., Imagine if we didn’t have online, it would be the gossip around the town, ostracisation etc.,. All of these actions against a woman, can indeed have very severe consequences and to answer Jennifer W’s question before, yes, this is definitely supported by mobbing theory, as per Leymann’s definition.

    My ideal would be that after hearing the wife’s support, Brigg’s would stand up – acknowledge the support of his wife, and then reinforce that he owns the behaviour and his actions are his own. This would be a man, acknowledging his behaviour and validating the lived experience of the victim. This should counteract the voices of sympathisers.

    When sympathisers voices arise, if a male aggressor was not forthcoming, instead of focusing the attention on another woman, adding another woman to the pile of judgements; the focus could be on the male aggressor, demanding that he stand up and own his behaviour again and reinforce his actions are his own and they were wrong.

    As, per my comment to Jennifer W. I won’t be participating on this forum any further. I think my article has sufficient explanation and support for my arguments. As explained, I choose not to judge his wife, for the reason stated; and if other women choose not to because something I have raised, that is indeed their choice. If women choose to participate in judgements about the wife, that is also their choice. I am not here to tell anyone what choices they should make.

    This entire conversation has reinforced to me, why we do indeed need to focus on the aggressor and not women who support them.

  48. Jennifer Wilson

    I assume that comment is directed to me, Trish.

    I did not say that hordes of people targeting a woman online through negative acts is not mobbing. It obviously is.

    I said that if the majority of opinion is hostile towards a person’s stand or a situation, this is not necessarily mobbing, and it isn’t. It depends entirely on how the opposition is expressed. My use of the word “hostile” wasn’t the best choice in this instance – I meant it in an oppositional, not an abusive sense.

    Mobbing isn’t the same as overwhelming disagreement, and overwhelming disagreement isn’t the same as mobbing.

  49. Trish Corry

    “I said that if the majority of opinion is hostile towards a person’s stand or a situation, this is not necessarily mobbing, and it isn’t.”

    (Indeed it is, when manifested online, or in a community, or in a workplace, etc., etc., etc., )

  50. Jennifer Wilson

    Re your last comment to Jennifer MS: Do you honestly believe that men would get away with their aggression if women didn’t support them?

    Women have first to become aware of how we support male aggression, and then we have to take responsibility for withdrawing our support.

    But you aren’t participating in this forum anymore, I forgot.

  51. Jennifer Wilson

    Trish, really. Are you now going to argue that those of us who stridently opposed Abbott on social media were “mobbing” him?
    Social media has provided a platform for millions who’ve never before had a voice. Are you suggesting there should be some limit applied to the number of tweets a community is allowed to post before it is “mobbing?”

    Obviously mobbing is to do with the abusive nature of comments, and not the amount of dissent.

  52. Backyard Bob

    Jennifer Wilson,

    Are you now going to argue that those of us who stridently opposed Abbott on social media were “mobbing” him?

    That corollary is unavoidable, it being a corollary and all. But it does sort of make a mockery of the whole concept of mobbing as used by Trish. Just because someone wrote something about something it doesn’t follow that that something automatically has the status of the freakin’ Bible.

    ” as per Leymann’s definition” – defining your way to truth is a dodgy operation.

  53. Trish Corry

    Disregarding the supported definition (particularly by the seminal author) of a word and disregarding the theory, and just making up our own definitions, is how the Liberal party explain economics to voters. Now that is a dodgy operation. I think I’ll stick with supported definitions as explained through theory. Thanks though.

  54. Backyard Bob


    Leymann’s definition may well have reasonable theoretical and research based support, but the main issue here is context. Are the concepts of mobbing/bullying applicable to the new world of social media? Clearly, in an appropriate context they are because it is self evident that mobbing takes place on social media. 5 minutes on Twitter will confirm that. With respect to context, was Jamie Briggs mobbed on social media? Was Tony Abbott mobbed multiple times on social media? An answer to those questions would be appreciated as it will clarify your stance on the matter.

  55. Backyard Bob


    I need some clarification regarding your application of mobbing theory and social media. Was Jamie Briggs mobbed? Was Tony Abbott mobbed on multiple occasions? It seems to me that based on your application of the theory you can’t help but answer “yes”.

  56. mars08

    So when our Coalition politicians declare that “the age of entitlement” is over…?

  57. trishcorry

    I just left a comment explaining Bob, but I got an error when I hit post comment. I will try again.

  58. Backyard Bob


    No problem. Happens to us all. Btw, for the record I believe that both Briggs and Abbott – and numerous others – have been mobbed. However at the same time they have not been. There does exist, for me, a difference and I think a discussion of how we make that distinction is important.

  59. trishcorry


    For mobbing to occur there needs to be an individual target. With the intent to cause harm psychologically (ie abuse, denigrate, shame, humiliate etc., etc)

    For mobbing as opposed to bullying, this is done by a group, not an individual. Targeted repetitive behaviour is bullying. Although closely linked, there is that difference.

    Mobbing is multiple negative events, which result in negative affect for the individual.

    For mobbing to result in negative affect for the target, the target must self identify as a victim of mobbing or in the case of bullying, a self identified victim of bullying.

    So targeted, aggressive behaviour by groups of people online, with the intent to psychologically harm the target, whether it be Abbott, Turnbull, Gillard etc., could most definitely be described as mobbing behaviour.

    However, for the politician to feel ‘mobbed’ they must self-identify as a victim of mobbing. In a nutshell, they need to self-identify that the multiple negative events have caused psychological harm. Bullying and mobbing is subjective perception, so I cannot judge whether Abbott or others have felt ‘mobbed’ from an objective point of view.

    (Subjective perception is the very widely respected and accepted construct of this across organisational behaviour literature. To discredit this, or say it is something else, I would have a hell of a job on my hands, getting such work peer reviewed, because their research is extremely solid on this, so I will just go with this, whether that is accepted by anyone reading it, is not up to me).

    I gather this is why politicians and famous people have staffers to manage their social media accounts. I would also expect that politicians undergo some type of training to deal with this type of behaviour; either formal or mentored (I may be wrong, they may just get thrown in cold and have really crappy HR)

    I also expect this is why Clem Ford raises so much awareness of how this behaviour affects her. I also expect this is why so much awareness was made when Charlotte Dawson committed suicide.

    Before we get sidetracked and into a debate about whether or not we should participate in social media anymore because we may contribute to mobbing behaviour, I would like to focus on the subject at hand – the wife in this case.

    Disclaimer: Please note this is a hypothetical EXAMPLE. I am not saying anyone at all has done this, but I this example will show how online criticism has the potential for mobbing. The key word here is ‘potential’.

    Take this scenario for example. A person active on social media creates a Facebook post say on a public page (easily shared and this identifies the targeted ‘group’ to send the message to), with the intent to publicly shame, humiliate,tarnish her name, punish her for standing by her husband. We all know how social media reach works. This post is seen by many and many concur with the original poster and share this post a multitude of times and adding more and more and more negative commentary. Not only is this shared on FB, but the wife is tagged into posts, then the post is linked to Twitter and she is also tagged in there. Everywhere she turns, she sees this post. Then the group gets bigger and bigger and the comments get nastier and more aggressive with more overt intent to harm. ie “This bitch needs to go down” “I’ll give this bit of trash a piece of my mind” The group then starts to post to her own inbox and the threats get more judgemental, more personal and more abusive and even threatening with real life violence. The wife (target) is overwhelmed and self identifies that she has suffered severe negative affect and psychological trauma as a result of this behaviour.

    I do indeed see the potential for mobbing and severe psychological trauma as an unreasonable action because a wife stood by her husband; and no amount of excuses such as “she is a politician’s wife, this is the consequence” or “She didn’t stick up for her husband’s victim, so therefore she deserves it” will convince me that this is okay.

    I choose not to participate in online criticism of the wife, due to the potential harm this will cause her and various other reasons as I have already discussed. Others may choose to participate how they like.

  60. Backyard Bob


    Thanks for the explanation of things as you see them. I have no real quibble with any of it as it all seems rather obvious. For me, mobbing is a disturbingly frequent happenstance on social media. I have recently moved to delete my own Facebook page, in part, because of this.

    But it seems to me there are problems with regard to how we respond to the actuality of mobbing, or, in this case (Estee Briggs), the “potential” for it. I often like to judge a particular behaviour or response on the basis of “What would happen if everyone adopted it?”. While I respect your personal choice not to engage in any criticism of Ms Briggs, it must surely follow that you view that response as the most appropriate, therefore one you’d desire that everyone take. Logic would surely dictate that on the basis of the fear for the “potential” for mobbing, that no person will or ought be criticised online. I mean, that surely follows. But I’m sure you can see the obvious problem with that.

    I’ve always had grave reservations about social media and some of the ways in which it manifests. Twitter more often than not mortifies rather than entertains me. Although mobbing dynamics occur all too often, not every collective criticism or condemnation of an individual constitutes mobbing. It can be a difficult thing to assess because there can be mobbing dynamics occurring within the broader reality of a perfectly legitimate collective condemnation of someone. Jamie Briggs is a perfect example.

    I don’t think we’ve even remotely reached any sort of mobbing dynamic with regard to Estee Briggs and I’m not sure I see much potential for it. I think some of the criticism of her is overstated and a little bit sanctimonious, but I can see why people would be disappointed in what she’s had to say. I think perhaps we need to be cautious not to too quickly cast the shadow of mobbing over any social media event where a collective expression of disappointment or dismay or even disgust is an authentic expression of the community’s feelings on a given matter.

    One of the problems with silence is that it is all too often taken as a sign of assent. It perhaps should not be, but we know it often is.

    It would be wonderful if people were more reasonable and less vindictive than they often are (especially in the world of politics), but it’s not to be. How we manage that is a very large question.

  61. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Mobbing is a detestable thing, no doubt. The families and associates of politicians or anybody else in the public eye should not be subject to mobbing. Concerted warranted criticism however, is a democratic right, especially when that criticism is based on the words or acts of someone, which may condone or excuse wrong-doing.

    Another detestable thing is the “age of austerity” imposed by this LNP Government and largely paid lip-service by the Labor pretend Opposition. I am not condoning overly, targeted harsh criticism of specific people who make wrong decisions, but if those same people are the perpetrators (and/or the apologists) of their harsh political measures that bring misery to other people’s lives, then don’t be surprised by the vocal outcries of the commentariat or twitterati that is finding its voice and in its way, making politicians and MSM journos take note of community feelings.

  62. trishcorry

    Hi Bob & Jennifer MS

    Bob: “not every collective criticism or condemnation of an individual constitutes mobbing”

    Yes, that is correct. For mobbing behaviour to have an affect on the target, it is in general a targetted attack with the intent to harm and the target needs to have the subjective perception that this has caused harm. Harm can be from mild anxiety to suicide, so yes, mobbing can be very serious, if prolonged and particularly aggressive. The target’s own resilience to the attacks, also comes into play. Posts that would give rise to encouraging people to “let her know what you think” would most certainly be an active form of mobbing. When something is indeed a subjective perception, it certainly is more complex as a general rule. Mobbing or online bullying normally has a personal element to it. The aim is to harm the target.

    The reasons I have outlined in my article are not about mobbing, this came about because of the conversation in the comments. My issue more about keeping the focus on the behaviour of the aggressor. Instead of (women in particular) judging other women, who come out in support of the aggressor (adding another woman to the pile), women could just as easily stand up and demand the aggressor, reinforce that his behaviour was wrong, despite any support he receives from his personal circles.

    Jennifer MS
    “Concerted warranted criticism however, is a democratic right, especially when that criticism is based on the words or acts of someone, which may condone or excuse wrong-doing”

    I’m not sure if this is in the context of the wife; but again, why victimise another woman? If we really want male aggressors to own their behaviour, why would we not focus on making sure the aggressor is called upon to reinforce ownership of their actions, in light of all voices of sympathy, from the wife and others?

  63. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Come on Trish,

    unwarranted support for whatever reason is not acceptable. Stop using intellectual arguments that can fit the criteria of one of your academic papers to stymie relevant points about the accomplices to sexual harassment.

    In this case, unfortunately Mrs Briggs’ denials don’t do her or your arguments any justice.

    Your support of Mrs Briggs’ support of Jamie dickhead Briggs do none of you any credit.

  64. trishcorry

    Jennifer MS. Rather than resorting to personal attacks (again); maybe answer why you feel it is more necessary to victimise another woman, rather than calling on the male aggressor to reinforce his behaviour?

    Saying I support Jamie Briggs by supporting Mrs. Briggss, is absolute nonsense. Was it meant to purposely inflammatory? I think I am more surprised at the lengths that have been gone to, to defend the right to victimise another woman (the wife). Is this possibly because you have already done the same? As in condemned the wife online? Possibly even said harsh things about her? Or do you just think it is OK to attack the wife, instead of focusing on Briggs? Your own personal stake in your arguments may shed some light on the topic.

  65. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Your strategy isn’t working Trish coz Mrs Briggs must take some share of culpability as a secondary participant.

  66. trishcorry

    My strategy is to understand why you have been very PRO condemning Briggs’s wife; and supporting the sharing of online criticism of her. Could you please explain why this is important to you? You have spent a lot of time defending that this is OK and that my article is way off base as I advocate we should not condemn her.

    Please explain by victimising another woman, how this is progressive for women and why you think this is an effective thing to do, rather than focus on Briggs?

    Could you also please explain if you have indeed participated in any online shaming, condemnation of the wife, so I can understand if this is merely a personal defence of your own actions, or you have a wider argument that more and more women should jump onboard and condemn the wife for standing up for her husband and what result it is you think should be achieved by this.

  67. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Nup Trish, I won’t.

    Make the beneficiaries of power, political, economic advantages explain themselves.

    I’ll leave that to you, your academia and Labor comrades to prove.

  68. Matters Not

    Seems to me that there’s been lots of extrapolation but I, for one, am in search of some detail.

    Yes the woman in question (won’t mention her name and if you don’t know it then you haven’t been following the links) accompanied her boss to a series of meetings between Briggs and his advisors and interested parties. At the last official meeting of the day she was ‘in charge’ deputising for her boss while the Minister and advisers met with ‘others’, the identities of same are probably irrelevant. Nothing unusual at that point.

    Seems to me that the Vice Consul would have made notes re what was discussed, agreed upon and the like in preparation for a ‘report’.

    What I am interested in, is the nature of the ‘reports’ made by consular officials. Presumably there’s a ‘pro forma’ of sorts and while that may not be prescriptive, there’s probably a ‘common sense’ of what should be noted and commented on. I suspect that such reports go somewhat beyond the ‘facts’ and include ‘interpretations’. A type of intelligence gathering. Presumably, Vice Consuls aren’t just stenographers.

    It seems to me that the ‘timeline’ is significant. Also when the report of the last meeting of the day was filed. Next morning? A day or two later? When?

    Also, did her initial report make comment on the behaviour of Briggs? If not then why not? If so, then was it included in the report? Within the ‘body’? A footnote?

    The media suggest that her report re Briggs was ‘confidential’. Presumably all reports made by consular officials are confidential and not subject to FOI given there’s Commercial in Confidence provisions that protect such information.

    If her report was ‘confidential’ and separate from her report to her boss, then who ‘leaked’ it?

    One could go on. So many questions and so few answers.

    Could there be much deeper forces at play here that go well beyond an apparent sexual harassment incident in a Hong Kong bar?

  69. trishcorry

    Jennifer MS. Thanks. Possibly when you spend a lot of time arguing that the writer of an article is indeed wrong, have a reason for doing this or at least a sound argument why they are wrong and why your position is correct. Otherwise, it helps no one and particularly in feminist issues does not help progress for women, as nothing is really being debated except “you are wrong”

  70. trishcorry

    Matter’s not. – The complainant reported the inappropriate behaviour to her superiors. It is not a matter of leaking the complaint, but possibly a case of mandatory action under policy when a subordinate reports such behaviour. Sexual harassment policies are supported by a list of actions that need to be taken in line with legislation. The superiors then would have taken this to Brigg’s superiors who have indeed declared his behaviour was inappropriate. Briggs has also stated his behaviour was inappropriate.

  71. Matters Not

    Trish, I am into ‘nuance’ here. So when you say:

    The complainant reported the inappropriate behaviour to her superiors

    You might give me a link that goes far and beyond media reports.

    For example did she ‘note’ his behaviour or did she ‘report’ it as ‘sexual harassment’?

    Did she use words such as ‘sexual harassment’? Or is that the ‘concept’ we choose to employ while she may have used other words?

  72. Trish Corry

    All that has been reported is that she reported the behaviour to the supervisors. No one has access to the actual report at this stage. I would assume it would be in written form at some stage for the Liberal Cabinet to decide upon action for Briggs.

  73. trishcorry

    Normal HR Practice would be that if a staff member makes a verbal complaint, the superior takes a written statement from the staff member.

  74. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    don’t hide behind your academic arguments that need every i dotted etc. We all have been down that path and yes it is warranted.

    But I suspect your natural argumentative expertise is stifled by old rules that don’t allow for day-to-day discoveries.

    Yes, you’ve got something to lose in academia with antiquated rules, as well as the Labor Party but I don’t. Woops, you’ll probably start castigating me as a Nasty LNP troll now.

    Will just prove inconsequence of Labor and their blinded supporters.

  75. Trish Corry

    Really Jennifer, you need to get off the academic shaming. I am not employed as an academic, so this is some sort of weird personal judgement you are making. If my writing has an academic tone to it, it is because I have studied at PhD level and I do a lot of research and I don’t just write ‘opinion.’ I won’t apologise for that, or buy into anything you say that is attempting to shame me for that.

    I cannot see how you are arguing that I am being overly academic by asking you to defend your position. You have indeed been arguing at great length that the content of my article is wrong, correct? Surely, if you have spent so much time defending why my argument that the focus should be on the aggressor and not the wife is incorrect, you surely must have an argument for why your argument against this is much more sound.

    So if you could please explain why you believe it is important to attack the wife, to hold her to account, to publicly make judgements about her, rather than directing the focus to Briggs and asking the male aggressor to reinforce his behaviour, we may get somewhere rather than going around in circles.

  76. Matters Not

    All that has been reported is that she reported the behaviour to the supervisors

    Yes that’s what has been ‘reported’. No argument there re the ‘reporting’.

    Then you say:

    No one has access to the actual report at this stage

    Wrong! And in spades. There’s any number of people who have access to the ‘actual report’ and the actual words ‘chosen’ and ‘written’.

    All we have access to is the ‘meaning’ given by those who have read the actual report. You know their ‘interpretation’, which of course is free from ‘bias’? LOL.

    It’s their ‘meaning’ you are giving to me. I want to go beyond that. I want to go beyond their ‘spin’.

    That’s why I asked for some ‘detail’ above which you can’t give. And neither can I.

  77. trishcorry

    Sorry, Matters Not. I am not really sure what you are asking of me here.

  78. Backyard Bob

    I note the pitchforks were very much more at the ready and much sharper for the wife (just in social media commentary I have read), than what they have been for the male politicians who have spoken up in defence of Briggs.

    Yes, 2 of them (at the time of that post). Neither of them said anything to explicitly defend Brigg’s behaviour in the context we’re discussing. They merely expressed support for the man in very general terms. However dimwitted you might deem that to be it is not in the same category as Estee Briggs’ defense of her husband. She explicitly sought to mitigate his behaviour and make light of the incident. Neither of the Coalition MPs actually did that, however “off” their general defense of Briggs’ character may have seemed.

  79. Matters Not

    Trish, I wasn’t asking anything of you in my initial post. You bought into it.

    I was asking anyone with expertise in ‘consular’ matters to respond to certain questions.

    My concern is about how a certain ‘reality’ can be constructed based (perhaps) on a supposedly confidential report by a woman on her first posting and how reports are supposed to be written and what might be ‘noted’ and commented on.

    I suspect that the woman in question is in shock right now as to how her ‘noting’ or ‘reporting’ has been elevated to the level it has.

    If she sees herself now as a victim, I wouldn’t be surprised.

  80. Backyard Bob

    Your support of Mrs Briggs’ support of Jamie dickhead Briggs do none of you any credit.

    Wow, what a stupid thing to say. I mean, just stupid. I don’t entirely agree with Trish’s position on this but to suggest she’s doing this seems to indicate a monumental lack of comprehension. Geez.

  81. Trish Corry

    Okay. I do not have expertise in consular matters. I do have expertise in sexual harassment from a HR perspective. The complainant has a right to privacy, so if you expecting the report to be for public viewing, I don’t think that will happen, in my own personal opinion.

  82. Trish Corry

    Ok thanks Bob.

    In the quote you mentioned, who I was referring to as the pitchforkers were people on social media in various threads making comments.

    “….it is not in the same category as Estee Briggs’ defense of her husband. She explicitly sought to mitigate his behaviour and make light of the incident.”

    From your perspective, do you agree that it is important to victimise the wife, for standing by her husband, rather than asking brings to acknowledge the support of his wife, and stand up and reinforce that his behaviour is not acceptable from him or other men?

    What is the aim that is achieved by victimising his wife?

    Why is it necessary to add another woman to the pile of women being victimised because of his behaviour?

    These are the questions I am trying to get answered from individuals in the comments here that say my position on this is not correct.

  83. Backyard Bob

    Trish wrote:

    So if you could please explain why you believe it is important to attack the wife, to hold her to account, to publicly make judgements about her, rather than directing the focus to Briggs and asking the male aggressor to reinforce his behaviour, we may get somewhere rather than going around in circles.

    Ms Briggs made public statements. An analysis and critique of those statements doesn’t seem especially inappropriate. It’s a timeline thing. Jamie Briggs had already been tried and convicted, had he not (recent developments about photos notwithstanding)? His wife’s public statement followed that. I mean, the way you’re talking Trish, one could be forgiven for thinking you don’t think any female ought be subject to public judgement at all.

  84. Matters Not

    expecting the report to be for public viewing

    It’s the supposed report that’s at the heart of my concern. Did she make a ‘report’ in the sense of a stand alone document? Or did she simply ‘note’ it in a much larger report of her day’s experiences as the ‘temporary’ head of the delegation?

    From ‘media’ reports (unreliable) as they are she wasn’t in a great hurry to report/note same.

    Seems to me that she might have been reporting ‘intelligence’ re a ‘dickhead’ rather than reporting ‘sexual harassment’ in the sense that she was personally outraged. But perhaps not.

  85. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Well Backyard Bob and Trish Corry,

    you have maintained the position that Estee Briggs is not primarily responsible. No argument with that but when I’ve said it multiple times earlier neither of you have acknowledged that.

    I think we all agree one way or another that Jamie is responsible. But what to do with that glaring knowledge?

    Well the answer is to find solutions to plug such outrageous social holes in future!

    So, that’s what I do. I do it on any issue that calls for reform and Jamie Briggs and his ilk in parliament are prime examples.

    Jamie only gets to stay in such positions because people cushion his private and public life to suit. Hence, the focus on Mrs Briggs. Fair enough, if she is being blamed for more than her fair share of Briggs’s dirty political manueovring. I’m happy to point the finger at the culprits coz the focus is to expose lil’ Jamie.

    And, by the way Bob, your upholding of Estelle’s position as the supportive wife does not carry as much cache as you hoped it does, considering it was poor Estelle that he was attempting to cheat on. I’m surprised you find that alluring.

  86. Trish Corry

    I think the problem lies in that people may view a ‘small criticism’ as something that doesn’t matter. However, at a time of high emotions (as this case certainly can be one of those) these things can get highly inflamed.

    The assumption you make about I don’t think any woman should have public judgement is simply not correct and is a bit of a wide reach Bob. However, I do stand by that my article extends to all women in this situation, not just in this case.

    You haven’t explained why it is more important to victimise, publicly shame, or make online value judgements about his wife, rather than the focus being on Briggs to own his behaviour.

    Do you disagree that it would be effective for Briggs to stand up and say something like “I acknowledge the support of my wife, however, I would like to state that my behaviour was wrong and I have accepted the consequences. This behaviour towards women is not acceptable from me or any man”

    The result here, is that he reinforces his actions were wrong. He takes responsibility for those actions, further validating the experience of the complainant. The argument for attacking the wife, is sympathy invalidates the experience of the complainant.

    Why is that less effective than having a go at the wife online. What is being achieve by adding her to pile of women being judged for his actions?

  87. Backyard Bob


    What is the aim that is achieved by victimising his wife?

    Estee Briggs is not being victimised. Her public statements are being scrutinised, analysed, criticised and in some cases rejected. I don’t necessarily agree with the substance of all those critiques, but I understand why they are happening and I don’t think the reasons for it are altogether unreasonable.

    And can we lay off the use of the word “victim”? It’s so loaded and manipulative and overused. It almost has no meaning anymore. I feel like a victim of its exploitation.

  88. trishcorry

    “Estee Briggs is not being victimised” The language I viewed in comments on social media was victimising his wife. Some comments were speaking to her moral standards, her values as a woman, how dare she……. who does she think she is,

    What word would you prefer I use Bob? Complainant? That also could be seen as a loaded word to deligitimise that the ‘complainant’ has been harmed. Can’t please everyone. I’d get complaints from both sides, no matter what word I used.

  89. trishcorry

    Once again, you still haven’t explained why it is more important to victimise, publicly shame, or make online value judgements about his wife, rather than the focus being on Briggs to own his behaviour.

  90. Backyard Bob

    I think we all agree one way or another that Jamie is responsible. But what to do with that glaring knowledge?

    Um, squint?

  91. Trish Corry

    Well the position in my article is to progress so that men are constantly forced to accept and reinforce their behaviour as wrong, rather than deviating and attacking others, wives or other sympathisers. If men in public life were expected to stand up and denounce the sympathy and reinforce their actions as not acceptable towards women by them or other men, it would be a different world.

  92. Backyard Bob

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith,

    I’ve decided, on the basis of all present evidence, to treat you as entertainingly eccentric, as opposed to, you know, sane.

  93. Backyard Bob

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith,

    I’ve decided, based on all evidence presented, to treat you as entertainingly eccentric, as opposed to, you know, insane.


    I’ll respond to you tomorrow. You seem to have missed some of my posts on this issue and are therefore not properly seeing my position. It happens. See you on the morrow.

  94. Trish Corry

    Ok thanks Bob. I’m off to bed too.

  95. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Backyard Bob,

    actually Bob, I take exception to your offensive comment/s. (Not sure you know which one you meant.)

    I also find it is amusing coming from someone who seeks to take the measured, higher moral ground by treating Mrs Briggs with kid gloves, while hiding behind a pseudonym yourself.

  96. Backyard Bob


    Once again, you still haven’t explained why it is more important to victimise, publicly shame, or make online value judgements about his wife, rather than the focus being on Briggs to own his behaviour.

    Well, firstly, I have’t said anything remotely like that and nor has anyone else here. Bit of a strawman you’ve constructed there, Trish. People have responded to what Estee Briggs said publicly. Yes of course the usual online suspects have done so badly, but what are we to do about that given the nature of online public discourse? Some people are troubled by the nature of what Estee Briggs said; in my view perhaps more than they should be, but that’s ultimately their beez-wax. The reasons why some have found her statement[s] problematic seem pretty obvious. I don’t see why they are not entitled to say so. Responding to a particular statement by someone related to an offender does not take any onus or focus away from that defender. Given the nature of Ms Briggs’ utterances it could even be speculated that she might be something of a enabler with regard to her husband’s follies. They were pretty much enabling utterances.

    Basically, my position is that she made public statements. Whilst I think any analysis of those statements ought be reasoned and temperate, that analysis is legitimate. To suggest it “victimises” her seems grossly hyperbolic to me I have to say.

    On the subject of the use of the word “victim”, I feel it is entirely overused and tends to reinforce a mentality that may not be necessary or especially helpful. It doesn’t always help a person to make them feel like they are a victim. It isn’t always necessary to specifically label a person. That said, I appreciate our language doesn’t offer too many useful alternatives for these sorts of circumstances.

  97. Backyard Bob

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith,

    Take exception all you like. If you’re going to lie and misrepresent me and make cretinous observations about pseudonymity I’ll continue to label you appropriately. Btw, being an office bearer of a political party I hold you to a higher standard than most people here.

  98. Roswell

    Well I’m glad to know that at least I won’t be held to a higher standard than most.

  99. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Backyard Bob,

    I’ll leave it for others to judge as to whether I lied or misrepresented you on a public forum by making a comment about something that is obvious regarding your pseudonym.

    Also, I don’t recall allowing myself to be reduced to insulting language to yourself so I would call on you to act towards me accordingly.

    Finally, are you assuming that I am an office bearer to a political party? Maybe you know more than I do. No, I’m not. I am a free agent free to express myself as I see fit (within normal societal bounds of course.)

  100. Matthew Oborne

    Oddly enough Trish three of us had that very conversation at the markets yesterday.
    over 30 000 men in prisons in Australia a large percentage for crimes against women, as opposed to around a 1000 women in prison many from doing something a man wanted or in retalliation to.

    Up to half the young women at work suffer sexual harrasment. Most women will experience sexual harrasment during their lifetime.
    Then there is rape, violence towards women and powerplays.

    Something is criminally wrong with this picture and it is epidemic, If we had that sort of threat to the general population as opposed to just one gender it would be acted on.

    I argue the freedoms of women are curbed society as it stands with the statistics available clearly show that men are far safer and freer than women and that needs forced change.

    My state (south Australia) proposed getting men out of schools after horrific crimes against children came out.

    Many can argue that is too heavy a response but the evidence was clear that without men in schools children would be much safer.

    Yesterday we discussed curbing mens freedoms so women could have freedoms approaching what men currently enjoy now.

    It is very controversial but something does have to be done.

    I think an adult discussion on how to achieve a safer environment for women needs to take place and perhaps consider Golda Meir’s response to putting women under curfew after a series of rapes.

  101. Matthew Oborne

    I will make it clear for the conservatively challenged here what I mean-

    When Golda Meir was asked to place a curfew on women to help end a series of rapes, Meir replied by stating, “But it is the men who are attacking the women. If there is to be a curfew, let the men stay at home.”

  102. Kaye Lee

    I think this thread has become unnecessarily personal.


    You said “Turning the focus to Brigg’s wife takes our attention off the victim. It takes the focus off the victim’s discomfort, powerlessness and distress.”

    When Mrs Briggs dismissed the incident as trivial, she is dismissing the discomfort of the young woman involved. She is ignoring how awkward it would be for that young woman to have future dealings with Mr Briggs. She is tacitly condoning the behaviour.

    I will not condemn her because she was placed in an awkward position by her husband (and possibly the media) but her comment was unfortunate and perhaps best left unsaid. Even if that was her personal view, she made a poor decision to express it publicly.

  103. Matthew Oborne

    I think it is fair to comment on publicly made statements too, but I do understand the premise that others jumping in turns it into multiple targets, but I am also not sure that dilutes it, it merely shows just how many people want to diminsh a serious breach.

  104. Kaye Lee

    A slightly different aspect also occurred to me. The incident happened in November. The decision was made before Xmas but the announcement delayed to give Briggs “time to tell his family”. If my husband had been going through that sort of an investigation for over a month and not told me I would be seriously pissed off.

  105. Backyard Bob


    Well I’m glad to know that at least I won’t be held to a higher standard than most.

    I can smell your relief all the way down the street.

  106. Backyard Bob

    Kaye Lee,

    A slightly different aspect also occurred to me. The incident happened in November. The decision was made before Xmas but the announcement delayed to give Briggs “time to tell his family”. If my husband had been going through that sort of an investigation for over a month and not told me I would be seriously pissed off.

    I guess it could be said the investigation and the final decision to boot him were two different things.

  107. Kaye Lee

    I also note that there was no leak of this in the several weeks during which it was being investigated by an ever-increasing number of people which shows the discretion of the public servants involved.

    During that time Mr Briggs chose to circulate a private photo of the complainant. Obviously he did not choose well who to share with because one of them gave it to the press.

    They then have the hide to talk about high standards set for ministers.

    Surely we can hold them to the standards of their most junior public servants or is that too high for these lowlifes?

    And Bob, how long does it take to ring your wife?

  108. Matthew Oborne

    No media have asked if her silence is her wanting privacy or has she agreed to secrecy by duress or other?

  109. Backyard Bob

    Kaye Lee,

    I take “time to tell his family” to be code for – take time with his family to digest his sacking and work how they’re going to deal with the political and media shit-storm that’s about to descend on them. I don’t find that especially surprising or untoward.

  110. Backyard Bob


    I don’t see why we need to engage in that kind of conspiratorial speculation. Seems to me that standard departmental protocol would call for the privacy protection of a complainant. I would think complainant privacy is pretty standard for this sort of thing (in and out of the public service).

  111. Trish Corry

    To answer a number of people with regards to why I do not believe the wife should be attacked about her comments, I would like to clarify the following:

    Reason 1. The first reason I believe that the wife should not be attacked is because of the level of complexity of internal and external power rules, she must navigate. In public life, wives are an extension of the male politician. They are rarely seen as a whole person in their own right. The internal rules pressure can come from dynamics in the spousal relationship and externally from the party. My point with recognising these rules is as a woman and as a wife to a male politician, she is also a victim of these rules. For example, do we know for sure if she has to save face? If she wasn’t in the public view would she had more freedom to tell him to get stuffed? If she wasn’t in the public view, would the newspapers even be interested?

    So although I definitely have empathy for the complainant/victim in the case of Briggs, I also view the wife as having her own set of personal circumstances. It is Brigg’s actions that have caused her humiliation. If I cannot judge whether her support for Briggs is genuine, or the support is because of internal or external pressure; in that sense, I am judging a woman unfairly compromised by the rules of men? It is the acknowledgement of these male driven rules which underpins this. Others may think it is just her choice to speak up. However, I believe there is a conversation to be had about should we consider these additional pressures for women, before we make judgements about them? Could these rules compromise her agency?

    If people are opposed to this, why should we not consider internal pressures for women who are merely extensions of a man in public life?

    Reason 2. The other aspect is about online ridicule, condemnation, judgement of the wife and her comments. I started writing a different article on this topic and that day I viewed a lot of condemning voices about the wife online, scrapped it and wrote this one. Some of the comments angered me as vile and some unnecessarily judgmental. Some were reasonable and some were not. Earlier in the comments I explained online mobbing and the psychological damage this can have on a victim. I am not against free speech. However, my points are based on comments that are inflammatory. I think where this gets blurred is the language used when speaking out. I think when the language is particularly inflammatory, or where there are comments encourage others to speak up, this then develops the risk of the wife then becoming a victim of mobbing. I am speaking to the inflammatory comments that lead to this. Not carefully considered statements. My question is when considering how we speak out (if we feel we must) against a politician’s wife for their comments in defence, should we consider the risk that in the online world we live in that this woman could very well end up with severe psychological trauma due to mobbing and abuse online.

    Is it worth adding another woman to the pile of women being condemned because of his actions? If so, why?

    Reason 3. The other reason is that women are expected to wear the burdens of the actions of men, a lot. Kaye raised earlier about how as a woman, she has had to change her emotions (maintain positive emotions) due to encounters with men with vile behaviours; as have many of us. In that sense alone, women carry the burden of a man’s behaviour. We also see with Dutton, he has hit out at Samantha Maiden. How many other women are being blamed behind the scenes we dont’ know about? Indeed, if you read the comments on the Australian newspaper, the majority are placing the burden on the Complainant for being in the pub at that time. An article on the Drum indirectly blamed the victim for being in the pub, through poor management by her supervisors.

    Men are not expected to take responsibility for their actions. With all sympathizers, wives included, Men should take full responsibility. I believe we could progress in this area, if people calling to condemn the sympathizers, instead called upon the male aggressor to stand up and take ownership in light of the sympathy. If a male politician stands up with sympathy. We should be calling on Briggs to denounce that sympathy and reinforce his actions were wrong.

    For example, Briggs should stand up and denounce Dutton’s text, apologise to maiden and reinforce to the public he was wrong. I view this no differently than the wife’s comments. If truly believe if this was an exception from the public on men, when this behaviour occurs, progress for women could be made in this sense, as the burden will always be the aggressors.

    Often men get caught out, but our energy doesn’t last very long on them taking the heat. This is not just purely about the wife, but all sympathizers. If it was an expectation that men speak up and own their actions in a divisive debate, it would continually validate his behaviours were wrong and the experience of the victim would be recognised as valid. The more people we bring into the mix to attack, the less heat is on the aggressor and the discourse becomes more divisive, with the possibility of some people switching sides to stand with the aggressor.

    If people are opposed to this, the question I ask is why should the aggressor not be expected to own his behaviours in light of sympathy, every time?

    I hope that clarifies where I am coming from.

  112. Kaye Lee

    Trish, I haven’t finished reading your comment and I most certainly will in a tic but to start with “why I do not believe the wife should be attacked about her comments” is perjorative and a misrepresentation. No-one has in any way suggested attacking anyone.

    Ok, finished reading now. I understand what you are saying and agree to a large extent but it was the wife’s language that I am pointing at. She was not being supportive of her husband, she was being dismissive of the complainant. There is a big difference and that is what is causing most of the criticism.

    I also think it unrealistic to expect Briggs to stand up again and again and again every time one of these twerps comes out in support of him to say they are wrong for supporting him because he was a bad boy. He has already publicly admitted that what he did was wrong, inappropriate, poor judgement, below expected standards etc.

    I also think it is ok to empower women by saying you are not obliged to spring to your husband’s defence. You do not have to mop up his mistakes. You speak of women being an extension of their man. Well let’s help them realise this is not the case. You can be a partner, you can be supportive, you can help them, but you are not forced to cover up for their wrongdoing.

  113. Trish Corry

    Kaye, the impetus for my article was I saw comments on social media which were attacking the wife. Commenting on her values, her standards, some harsh slurs. I am not suggesting anyone in this thread has done that, if that is what you mean.

  114. Kaye Lee

    Fair enough (and sorry, I edited my above comment when I finished reading). I deplore that sort of language and behaviour too but unfortunately it happens about everything. Go over to George Christensen’s page and say anything about climate change and then duck. Or worse still, Muslims. This is a great concern about social media interaction. people are downright rude.

  115. Trish Corry


    It may be unrealistic to have men stand up again and again, but often prominent men have the benefit of having many come out and speak up in their defense, spinning their story this way and that, creating doubt about ‘how bad was he really’ So many factors go into this, including the reverence, we may have towards the sympathiser. Say if Waleed Aly came out and said Briggs was a good man and he knows him and it isn’t as bad as it sounds, (terrible thought I know), but I do believe because Waleed is well respected, people would then start doubting the woman, paving the way for slippery slope for victim blaming. I would absolutely love it it was a societal expectation if men had to stand up and denounce sympathetic words from peers and reinforce that their behaviours were wrong.

    Well let’s help them realise this is not the case. You can be a partner, you can be supportive, you can help them, but you are not forced to cover up for their wrongdoing.

    Yes, that is the crux of my question and much of the debate here in this thread. People in the comments have justified the wife should be held to account, because she has made light of it. How far should a wife be punished for speaking up for her husband? If we apply internal rules, we also have no idea what version of the truth the husband has expressed. The wife may be naive, she may be angry, she may be in denial, who knows? But with the harsh online comments I am talking about in my article, how far should this go? All the way to full blown psychological trauma of online mobbing? I think if someone doesn’t deserve that, a conversation needs to be had about how we are aware of the type of language we use to speak out, or if it is worth speaking out at all.

  116. Backyard Bob


    The problem I see with your approach is that if we cease to speak because of a vocal minority of idiots, then the only voice heard will be those idiots. I don’t see any merit in this. Mind you, probably 80% of my Twitter time is spent playing Devil’s advocate and remonstrating with people who go too far in their commentary, and that’s people on the “Left” I’m talking about.

    I think there’s a fine line between expecting an offender to continually relive the guilt of their offense by rejecting expressions of support and that dynamic becoming, itself, abuse and victimisation. Are you not concerned your idea can lead to offenders being persecuted far beyond the extent of their offense?

    For example, Briggs should stand up and denounce Dutton’s text, apologise to maiden and reinforce to the public he was wrong.

    Unless he was actually involved, no, he should do not such thing. He’s supposed to apologise for another’s actions? What?

    Kaye raised earlier about how as a woman, she has had to change her emotions (maintain positive emotions) due to encounters with men with vile behaviours; as have many of us.

    I have no doubt this is true. The reason I know this is true because many men have to do exactly the same thing every day, with respect to other men and to women.

    On Briggs’ wife, I largely agree with you regarding the considerations that should be given to the societal and psychological pressures she is almost certainly under – i.e. when it comes to any analysis or critique of her arguably misguided statements.

  117. Trish Corry

    Hi Bob. I suggested that for those who feel they should speak out, I think a conversation is worth having about the type of language we use and be aware about inflammatory language or language which encourages mobbing behaviour. You appear to be speaking from a freedom of speech perspective. It is not. My main concern is to mitigate unnecessary harsh attacks.

    ” think there’s a fine line between expecting an offender to continually relive the guilt of their offense by rejecting expressions of support and that dynamic becoming, itself, abuse and victimisation. Are you not concerned your idea can lead to offenders being persecuted far beyond the extent of their offense?”

    Yes, there could very well be a fine line. I can’t think of a scenario a man denouncing sympathy would lead to him being persecuted far beyond the extend of his offense. Can you think of one?

    “He’s supposed to apologise for another’s actions? What?”

    ….As a result of his behaviour……
    Considering the co-ordination in politics to return the fallen to a position of reference…..Yes, I do believe they should.

  118. Kaye Lee

    Which would mean he would have to denounce his wife and we do not know the internal dynamics within that family. It could really piss her off if he was to come out and say “My wife was wrong. This was not trivial and I have been sleeping on the couch ever since.” Perhaps he could suggest that his wife hasn’t properly considered the feelings of the other woman?

  119. Jennifer Wilson

    Hi Trish
    I actually cannot find one commenter here who says, or even remotely suggests, that it is: “more important to victimise, publicly shame, or make online value judgements about his wife, rather than the focus being on Briggs to own his behaviour,” as you assert.
    I don’t think that is what people are saying at all. My impression is that some are arguing that it is perfectly acceptable to challenge Estee Briggs’ position on the matter, which seems a long way from your interpretation of their observations.

  120. Trish Corry

    Yes great idea

  121. Trish Corry

    No but my article was Jennifer and much of the comments evolved to a discussion of mobbing

  122. Kaye Lee

    I am still astonished that so little attention has been paid to the fact that Briggs was pissed. Is this considered normal? His register of pecuniary interests show repeated gifts of cases of wine. We know he tried to tackle Tony (something we only found out after he lied about it for a goodly while) and was probably responsible for the broken table. I have cousins who do that….randomly tackle you….it’s always when we’ve had a gutful but it has never been in anyone’s house let alone workplace. Camping, all bets off, protect yourself.

  123. Jennifer Wilson

    The situation is now even more complicated by Peter Dutton’s abusive text to Briggs about Samantha Maiden, that he inadvertently sent to Maiden not Briggs.

    Maiden has this morning in the Guardian laughed off the abusive text, and stated that Dutton is a valuable minister who makes great contributions to government.

    Is it unacceptable for a feminist to criticise Maiden for publicly supporting the man who abused her?

  124. TurnLeft2016

    Jennifer “Is it unacceptable for a feminist to criticise Maiden for publicly supporting the man who abused her?”

    it is on my twitter feed – feminism is about women having choices, and if she chooses to make a joke of it, thats her right – as about 10,000 people have told me

    but has Maiden ever claimed to be a feminist? (i dont know, has she?) – why do feminists always get told they have to support the sisterhood of people who actively champion men who trash women

  125. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Good question also, TurnLeft2016.

    Women who support men who trash women need to take responsibility for condoning and contributing to a damaging, sexist mindset that keeps every inequity in place against women’s equality and equitable rights.

  126. Kaye Lee

    As I said elsewhere, Maiden cultivates sources. I would imagine Dutton is now in her….ummmm….debt? I would also laugh if I was her. I wouldn’t feel intimidated in the least. But I would also make him squirm. And that gets back to what I said before which you a little bit misquoted Trish. I wouldn’t really say I had to change my emotional state to deal with sleazy men. I had to belittle them and that is not a skill I like to hone. The pleasure I took in my one-liners is an ugly side of me that does not require encouragement.

  127. Trish Corry

    Okay. Sorry, I took it that you wanted to belittle them, but you couldn’t.

  128. Kaye Lee

    My first day of high school the toughest girl in our year said to me “what are you lookin at?” I said “I dunno I didn’t bring my zoo book with me.” She punched me in the face but I considered myself the winner on the day. But when we get past self-preservation, I know how destructive it is to humiliate people. (She did leave me alone after that though)

  129. TurnLeft2016


    imo, women aren’t obliged to support feminism, the same way workers aren’t obliged to support unions…. but when they go running to the sisterhood for protection when men turn on them, then I don’t feel obliged to support them – in this case I’m thinking of the way feminists were scolded by the right wing press for not supporting Peta Credlin when Abbott got dumped

  130. trishcorry

    Wow Kaye what a story. I have had a fair few instances of sexual harassment in the workplace. It was only until I was older that there was an avenue for complaint. When I first started work ‘it was just how men were’ and you just didn’t say anything at all. My first ever interview, I was asked did I have a boyfriend, did I ever sleep at my boyfriend’s house and was I on the pill, then I was asked to spell mortgage.

    I also remember when the sexual harassment policy came in, the men were up in arms complaining that ‘they would be sacked for giving a co-worker a compliment. One guy was genuinely very concerned about any of ‘us ladies’ getting our hair cut. If he said nothing, we would be upset he didn’t notice and if he said we looked nice, he would be in trouble.!!

  131. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    umph, I don’t pretend to be the Thought Police making women support Feminism. But, I do question their intellects. Any woman, young or old, who still conveniently dismisses the continuing importance of Feminism in our antiquated society, is a fool imo.

    Credlin is merely one example of how we can all be tested as to how deep our Feminist beliefs go. In my opinion, Credlin did nothing to support other women in her position of advising the most deliberately obnoxious Minister for Women (Abbott).

    In my opinion, it is simple. The world is made up of 50/50 women/men. Resources and opportunities should be assumed to be available to each side of the equation (and all who identify with either side) which means 50/50 opportunity.

    Peta Credlin failed the equality test by not advising for 50/50 representation in the Liberal Government, Public Service and private boards.

    So, in the real world, if one is not able to provide fair service to others, they should not expect it back. It doesn’t matter what the RWNJ’s say, unless they can answer this fundamental take on what is right and wrong in the pursuit of 50/50 access to resources and opportunities.

  132. Kaye Lee


    Both my mother and my grandmother were forced to resign when they got married. I was told during my training that I was not to wear trousers (though they relaxed that to allow slacks suits), I must wear stockings and lipstick.

    I was working as a full-time permanent teacher and my husband was working as a full-time club cellarman when we went for our first loan to buy a house. We were knocked back because they would not count my wage as I was married and of child-bearing age.

    I do not dye my hair and I have had so many people tell me I would feel much better about myself if I did. I keep reminding them that I can’t see myself so I would be doing it for their benefit, not mine, and if the colour of my hair makes a difference to them then we probably have different values.

    And they wonder why we are feisty when we are young and twitter and bisted when we are old. It’s a full time job not resenting a lifetime of discrimination. Forgiveness gets wearing.

  133. Kaye Lee

    This is an article I wrote a couple of years ago if you are interested and have time. The videolinks are classics.

    It’s a man’s world

  134. Trish Corry

    Thanks Kaye. I will have a read.

  135. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    your examples in Australia of gender inequality as in your, your mother’s and your grandmother’s experiences can be mirrored by many other readers on this site and elsewhere. You just happen to be a better storage of knowledge and story-teller to set the truth free.

    These are the times when blatant unfairness and gender inequality has been allowed and protected in this place, Australia, we call home.

    Can any of us truly call this unfair, inequitable and disparaging place Home. Really!?

  136. trishcorry

    Thanks everyone for your feedback over the last few days.

    Although there has been very little support for my article going by the comments on AIMN, I have had support from other posts which do give me encouragement that my points do have merit. I don’t accept that the status quo at present with regards to sexual harassment and particularly by men in power or public life is acceptable.

    I will be developing these points further reflecting on some of the points raised in the comments. As a feminist I am interested to understand, what consideration should we give to women in public life, or who are an extension of public life? Should we recognise that their lives may be more complex than women who are not in the public’s view?

    I am disappointed that the comments reflect quite strongly that it is quite fine to place the wife under the microscope and place judgements on her and very little consideration has been given to the power rules (internal and external) that we should consider (or should we)? Interestingly, responses I have had from other posts, have given me the general feeling that slightly more men are in favour of just leaving the wife out of it. Probably just a nudge more than 50% at a guess, without having a good look at it. That is a point of interest for me (this I would like to know more about).

    I think until I hear a strong argument of why this is a valuable thing to do (criticise/condemn the wife publicly), in terms of progress for women, I simply cannot see the value on what it achieves.

    I want to research this further, because I want to understand if women judge other women who stand up for male aggressors differently than they judge men who stand up for male aggressors and why? Do we hold wives and other women to a higher standard than men who speak up for their male peers who have had a fall from grace?

    As I am quite a qualitative person, I did indeed notice that the Jones and Cormann were condemned on Twitter, but the language about Jones and Cormann and were different than used when discussing Briggs’ wife..

    I will also be researching in general why women stand by their men, in cases such as the Briggs case and why some women don’t. Where does the empathy for the victim/complainant and the wife blur?
    Should we have any empathy for the wife at all, if she flips it all off and says it doesn’t matter?
    What is the depth of punishment a woman speaking out against such an event, deserve?
    What expectations as women should we have on other women, if any?
    Do we expect them to publicly condemn them? leave them? remain silent? All interesting questions to ask and reflect upon.

    Although comments do get quite robust at times and I clearly do not enjoy any comments which imply anything about my own person, comments are what they are and if questions such as those I have listed above come out of it all, in the end, that is what it is all about.

    My next article is about whether Turnbull is pro-community or anti-community. At the moment it is a thesis far too long to publish, I may need to break it up into different pieces, but I think this is something voters need to start talking about.

  137. Michael Taylor

    It’s been a tough couple of days. We are all passionate and we are all on the same side. We’ll be strong together when it really counts.

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