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A tale of two wrongs: A rape and the Prime Minister’s response

As if this government’s 8-year run of corruption, ongoing stuff-ups and persistently bad governance weren’t enough, now we have women being raped in the Defence Minister’s office. On her sofa, no less.

I find myself pausing as I write. I feel ashamed of my country. Well, not so much my country but on those who run it.

Our country’s prime minister asks us to believe that he knew nothing for two years about a rape that took place 50 meters from his office, no less. He turns to his wife for her sage advice. She tells him; Ask yourself, “what if it were our girls.” After consideration, he finds he has empathy for the victim.

He might have asked himself the same question. What if it were him? I imagine the pain would be similar. Do you want me to be more graphic?

That he even needed to confide in his wife is sad in itself that he required some explanation of a women’s fear of a man’s physical power over a woman is pitiful. The fragility of his character has been exposed to the world.

But still, he knows nothing. I see the emptiness of truth in the words that flow guiltily from his mouth.

He knew nothing is considered nigh on impossible by many of those experienced in government machinations. Misleading the parliament is a grave offence – even former Prime Ministers have expressed a view of disbelief at the Prime Minister’s response.

Former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd had a word to say.

“It doesn’t ring true that when you have a case of such gravity involving this young woman who is alleging rape in a ministerial office, that this wouldn’t have immediately been informed or provided as a report to the Prime Minister’s chief of staff.”

And Julia Gillard said she was “horrified both by the incident and the aftermath.”

Another former Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull was adamant that it would be “inconceivable” that Mr Morrison knew nothing of the alleged incident.

Even Peta Credlin, former Chief of Staff to Tony Abbott was on the attack, telling 2GB this week that Mr Morrison’s timeline “doesn’t stack up”.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said that a series of text messages contradicted Mr Morrison’s claim that his office knew nothing of Brittany Higgins’ claims until it was contacted by a journalist last Friday.

But back to the story and what we know so far. It seems to me that there are two stories in this remarkable event. Both are independent of the other and require the attention each independently deserves.

One is about political trust, accountability, transparency, compassion and fairness.

The first concerns the rape of a young woman, and the second is about why the government and the Prime Minister covered it up.

Morrison said that he and his staff knew nothing about the Higgins allegations of rape throughout the week. Well, until Friday 12 February.

This is patently untrue, unless Fiona Brown, Reynolds’ chief of staff, who now works for Morrison and was the first person Brittany Higgins told of her ordeal.

As is the case in matters of scandal, the evidence tends to linger before it lands. Such is the case with the revelation late last week that:

“… explosive text messages have cast serious doubt over the Prime Minister’s account of when he first learned of the alleged rape of a former Liberal staffer at Parliament House.”

An example of this is the story in Saturday’s Australian.

A second woman has come ­forward to allege she was sexually assaulted late last year by the same former Morrison government adviser ­accused of raping his female colleague in Parliament House.

Since the scandal broke, the Prime Minister has invoked the “I know nothing” defence.” At a doorstop press conference on Friday, Morrison repeatedly claimed he knew nothing of this heinous crime and repeatedly tried to shift attention onto the victim’s welfare for the purpose of moving it from himself.

Over and over, he has claimed that his office was unaware of any claims that his office knew about Brittany Higgins’s insistence that a colleague had raped her until a week ago.

He dismisses claims that he had any personal knowledge of the event until he was told last Monday. Yet all of these attempts at denialism fly in the face of a text message that suggests his office was told within a fortnight of the alleged incident. “If there was anything different here, I would like to know,” he said.

Yet again, he denied misleading the public and said his version of events was based on advice from his office. “I have asked the secretary of my department to actually test that advice,” came his response.

The facts suggest that its harder to find people in the parliament who didn’t know than those who did.

The texts are of an exchange between Ms Higgins and a fellow Liberal staffer and came to life on Friday.

The Liberal staffer in the message said they had spoken directly with a member of Mr Morrison’s staff:

“Spoke to the PMO. He was mortified to hear about it and how things have been handled,” he said.

“He’s going to discuss with COS – no one else. I flagged the need for councillor (sic) and desire to be closer to home during the election.”

(PMO refers to Mr Morrison’s office, and COS is shorthand for Chief of Staff).

Last Friday, the Prime Minister edged his way toward the truth, saying that the texts would be “within the scope” of a review of the response to Ms Higgins’ allegations by Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary Philip Gaetjens.

And guess who will conduct the review? None other than Mr Gaetjens himself. Yes, the same man who ran the internal enquiry into the Sports Rorts Affair and found that the Prime Minister had nothing to answer for.

So nothing will come of it.

There is much water to flow under the bridge of this scandal.

In my previous post on this scandal, I wasn’t backwards calling the Prime Minister a liar. I don’t detract from that; in fact, events since would seem to confirm my statement to be correct.

My thought for the day

A man who has mastered the art of manliness embodies many, if not all, of these manly characteristics:

  • He looks out for and is loyal to his friends and family. Does the right thing, even when it’s not convenient. He is proficient in the manly arts. Treats women with respect and honour.
  • Serves and gives back to his community. Sacrifices for the good of others. Works hard and seldom complains.
  • Exhibits both great courage and tender compassion. He has a confident demeanour but isn’t a pompous twit. Is witty without succumbing to sarcasm. Embraces instead of shirking responsibility.

Is that a man you know?

(Paraphrased from The Art of Manliness)

Another thought

At some time in the human narrative… in our history, man declared himself superior to women. It must have been an accident, or at least an act of gross stupidity. But that’s men for you.

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  1. Andrew J. Smith

    Unfortunately Christian nationalist political ideology and practice comes with misogyny, patriarchy and authority overseen by ageing white men and women in the LNP and media. Accordingly allegations of sexual assault on young female personnel and then nothing to see here, till there was…. interesting when Ashby claimed sexual assault some years ago the media and LNP were all over it?

  2. wam

    God made women from man in that sense man made the first offspring. God then made women not clean for 25% of the month so they cannot be equal. Almost all women are testament to that godly act. God then devised a reproductive system that was pleasurable but was unaware of lesbianism. The men noticed it but, so FGM was born. The bottom line for christian men is life is our sperm entering an ovum we are the spark of life whilst women just nurture our creation. Life is all around, lord, not just in the natural word but christian men, even some our age, slipping off to the philppines for breeding brides or spending ‘dirty water’ weeks in vietnam. Ah such activities are products of our hormones and raison d’etre for the rich and old. The rapes and sexual assaults are never far from reality with the influence of grog and misinterpretation of context. That is why we must teach our young men and the meaning of NO and STOP.

  3. Boe Rambaldini

    Evil will triumph while good people do nothing. Do all Australians accept this behaviour, a extremely serious crime has been alleged and needed reported to the proper authorities and this is far more serious then the matter that intervention of the Governor General and the Queen in the dismissal of The Whitlam government.

  4. Terence Mills

    There are many aspects of this case which have frustrated the forensic process that would normally take place after the report to police of a sexual assault. Unfortunately it seems that investigation was abruptly shut-down at the request of the complainant in April 2019.

    On Friday last the complainant announced she had “re-engaged” with police and was proceeding with a formal complaint.

    She asked that they handle their investigations in a “timely manner as to date, I have waited a long time for justice”.

    “I want a comprehensive police investigation … and for my perpetrator to face the full force of the law,” she added.

    Theses comments seem to be at variance with the facts of the matter. Had she not retracted the complaint in the first place, it would have been investigated thoroughly in accordance with forensic police procedures and would probably have resulted in the arrest and prosecution of the young man.

    To be now demanding that the police handle the matter in a timely manner is a bit odd particularly as the opportunity to gather and assess evidence has been prejudiced and the scene of the alleged crime was ‘steam cleaned’.

    Let’s just hope that these delays will not adversely impact on the justice process and that the publicity does not prevent a fair and impartial investigation and ultimately any trial that may eventuate.

    Badly handled all round !

  5. Joseph Carli

    Hate to raise a spectre or two on this “alleged rape” case, but there are a couple of “inconvienent truths” being overlooked…the first is that word : “alleged”….now unless there is incontrovertable evidence by ..say..CCTV in the minister’s office depicting the outrage, and as of yet I have not heard that there was so…I would love to stand corrected…then London to a brick the LNP lawyers would be at this very minute (so to speak) coaching the perpetrator in Q’ to plead “mutual consent” even under the fog of inebriation…and given that it appears that the perpetrator in Q’ has previous form in such outrages, you can bet he is practicing his lines.

    Secondly…The lady in Q’, upon reporting the outrage back in 2019..a week or so before that notorious “miracle” election,.would CERTAINLY have been informed of the possible consequences to the party and to the nation as a whole if such a scandal was to be exposed so close to the election…and indeed..her future prospects within the LNP “broad church” (and..I’d warrant..all affilliated donors ) would be severely limited should she go public. A situation she chose in the negative…and in doing so, denied both herself and over 50% of the electorate both “Rule of Law” civil justice and to us in the electorate “choice of voter” law in getting rid of the most egregious mob of arseholes this nation has EVER had the pain to tolerate…

    So not withstanding the lady’s suffering at the hands of her chosen patrons of employment…WE, the people have also had to suffer at the hands of her chosen party that rode into governance not only NOW on the backs of skewewed media bias and perceived electoral commission bias but also on the over-looked criminal investigation of several policing agencies and at the behest also of the victim herself! name just one more outrage..that Tamil family has had to suffer two more years of incarceration because of it.

    So I have grave doubts that much will come of this as the govt’ attempts to put distance between both the time of the “incident” and the magnitude of the outrage…give Crosby-Textor, the MSM and ongoing political blunders a chance to “work their magic” and we could be forgiven for seeing this current “merde moment” as a passing fancy to be ignored come the next election.

  6. Ross

    To add to Joseph Carli’s excellent post, a royal funeral may soon be in the offing. A funeral of such international significance the media avalanche that follows would go a long way in letting the government off the hook. If it happens the media storm will last for days and possibly weeks, if not the final outcome will probably pan out as Mr Carli explains.

  7. David Stakes

    Why are not the Murdoch press calling for his resignation. As they would if it was a Labor PM. Disgraceful from our Press is this double standard. Bordering on Fascism.

  8. Joseph Carli

    David Stakes..THAT is the supreme irony of the case…while the lady in question worked for, with and in assistance to those members of a party she no doubt was also a member of…and no doubt either approved of or at least had a benign attitude toward the vindictive nature of many of the LNP policies she would have helped promote…and then when she gets assulted by “one of her own” seems like it is the left-wing of politics who are doing most of the standing up for her and defending her principles and dignity…and certainly one would expect no less…but it is ironic to say the least!

  9. Michael Taylor

    Joe, no matter how hideous a crime might be, the word “alleged” is the legally correct term. It is only when the perpetrator is convicted in a court of law that “alleged” can be dropped.

    I often see comments across social media (as a common example) that John Howard is a war criminal. If possible, I remove the comment. John Howard has not been convicted as a war criminal and people making such claims could find themselves – and the publisher – facing legal ramifications.

  10. Michael Taylor

    One other point, if the lady is a public servant she is obliged to work for and support the government of the day. In a nutshell, be apolitical.

    I worked for Howard for a number of years. I hated the bastard, as did 95% of the public service. (The Monday after the 2007 election I noticed everyone had a spring in their step and smiles on their faces). Nonetheless, under the Act we had to ‘disregard’ who was in government and treat all governments ‘equal’.

    We just had to grind our teeth and do our job.

  11. Joseph Carli

    Michael…Ms Higgins was a Liberal Party staffer…and she at first did not pursue the complaint because; “. . . a decision she said was driven by her desire at the time to protect the Liberal party and her “dream job” on the eve of the election.” (from The Project).

  12. Terence Mills

    In an email Ms Higgins sent to the police on 13 April 2019, (seen by Guardian Australia), she stated she had decided “not to proceed any further” with the complaint because “it’s just not the right decision for me, personally, especially in light of my current workplace demands”

    It was at this point that everybody moved on : they couldn’t do otherwise really. Ms Higgins was by then working for Michaelia Cash.

  13. Harry Lime

    Ross, I hope you’re not suggesting that Phil the Greek has decided to lay down his life to protet the Liar?Morrison has had an ungodly number of timely diversionary events that have so far worked in his favour,which to this shitkicker at least,suggests the hand of the Devil himself.

  14. TuffGuy

    A question that keeps popping up for me is just who is this guy (the rapist)??? For just a senior advisor (whatever that really is) this guy seems to have a lot of high level people on his side, a whole lot of protection.
    From what I have read it seems they are saying this guy was terminated (but not sacked?) and appears to have gotten his full payout, 2 detailed references and assistance in getting that better job in Sydney. Seems he has received more help and support than Brittany. And then we have the office that was mysteriously steam cleaned, Brittany is basically threatened to shut up or lose her job, Brittany is then shuffled off to Perth (out of sight out of mind), the initial report to the AFP was mysteriously delayed for two weeks (enough time to perform cover-up actions) and was only provided then when the AFP started getting serious, Brittany and the AFP are denied access to CCTV evidence, the APH security boss quits because he is disgusted at how this has been handled, the LNP seem to have actively swept the whole mess under the newly steam cleaned carpet, and finally a co-ordinated and synchronised “deny, deny, deny” is issued from the mouths of the entire LNP with the exception of their likely scapegoat Reynolds.
    I don’t believe all this has been done solely on a Party embarrassment issue. With the added protection provided for the rapist, I think he might be related to someone very high in the LNP.

  15. Michael Taylor

    Thanks, Joe. I overlooked that.

    Having worked for a Liberal government I am all too aware of the threats made to people who try to cross them. They usually end with “… we will ruin you.” There are some very heavy thugs at the LNP’s disposal.

    Even I know stuff that would see me in jail if I opened my mouth. Our confidentiality agreement lasts a lifetime. It doesn’t end when you leave the public service.

    BUT … on another issue … you still have a right to a safe workplace, and infringements should be reported and dealt with immediately.

  16. Williambtm

    To think about all the hiatus that this government flap has provided us, yet with nothing really achieved by these L/NP transgressors? So, we have learned how the hierarchy of this failing vacuous political party has failingly governed our people and our sovereign nation thus far.
    Except it has cost a huge amount of taxpayer-funded governance revenues by their attempt to cover-up the increasing shortcomings that the Scomo mob had deemed appropriate. Fittingly a haughty Tomfool self-inflicted dilemma that knows no bounds.
    Meanwhile, how goes the transfer of the multi-billions of Australia’s GDP revenues to the American Arms and Weapons manufacturing corporations… that their Pentagonal military regime has advised us we need to purchase? Methinks it is time to seek a new military allegiance, as this present allegiance is far too expensive and demanding for this said allegiance to prove they are worth the cost and bother that they have inflicted upon Australia.

  17. Joseph Carli

    Agree, Michael..on your last “issue”…But that agreement comes with a corporate memory caveat..: and Yes, Terence…and the operative sentence in your post was : ” Ms Higgins was by then working for Michaelia Cash.”….Yes…working for Minister; Ms Cash….and if we vision off to Mr Google as to what comments and policies Ms Cash promoted in that year /election, we will NOT be amazed on her attacks on welfare people, Union attempts at wage theft, raids on The AWU offices and the throwing under the bus of another juniour staffer…and sundry other miserables…and then we have Ms Higgins working for Ms Cash as media adviser(?)…

    Now we have to be careful here about “clustering” behind our ” Personality politics”…ergo : “Young woman claims rape in minister’s office”….step up outraged Lefties demanding recognition of the failure of regulation on the behaviour of rogue males…fair enough…but here we have to take some care as you can bet London to a brick the LNP strategists are right now working to claim a “win” from this very “behind the eight-ball” position.

    How does one do that?

    Now, if it was me..I’d first apply the “both major parties have a culture problem with this issue”….that levels the playing field…perhaps one could release hints of certain members of the opposition party making sexual faux pas at times…the Murdoch media could come in just about here and post pics of the same..then you coax a smaller party with “warm-fuzzy cred” to step up to the plate and proclaim they have a bill to present to parlaiment that will solve the problem…but you just know the bill will be SO draconian and Torquemadian that neither major party could pass it in its present form without mass castration of ALL its members! Thus allowing the “warm-fuzzy party” to claim the moral high ground and declare the opposition sides with the misoginysts on every issue dealing with gender and equality, thus milking many votes to their side and destroying the margins in the marginal seats……You get Murdoch to pump the outrage and dissatisfaction to fever-pitch……..and then you call an election at the height of “personality politics” outrage, knowing that it is NEVER the LNP women who abandon their party for such will-o-the-wisp idealism..they like “strong men”…

    Oh..and as a by-line caveat on the subject of Young Liberals…you must remember those Young Liberals of The Gold Coast who posted that video mocking indigenous people back in 2019..:

    ” ‘Stop celebrating a culture that didn’t invent the wheel’: Young Liberals come under fire for publishing a racist Schoolies interview about Aboriginal culture on Facebook”

    Well, Ms Higgins was a Young Liberals member of that same Gold Coast chapter…we heard a lot about the racism endemic in the Liberal Party…but I never read of ANY young Lib resigning in disgust over it…

    But of course, ALL women have the right to a safe working/living environment..any sane person would endorse that sentiment…and full credit to support such a thing, but also remember just what organisation you are dealing with and use some caution before placing all those “personality political” apples in the one basket..after all, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  18. totaram

    Joseph Carli: Just a side issue that may be of interest, in connection with ” ‘Stop celebrating a culture that didn’t invent the wheel’”. We can also stop celebrating “western civilisation” (as is being funded bigly by the Ramsay Foundation). You see, “western civilisation” was unable to invent the positional number system that is used by everyone today.
    Until the middle ages, “western civilisation” needed great expertise to multiply two large integers, because they expressed all numbers using Roman Numerals. (Try doing this yourself). They were relieved of this tedium through the transmission of the positional number system to them, via Arab mathematicians, from somewhere on the Indian sub-continent.

    If I remember correctly, “western civilisation” failed to invent gunpowder too. But the point should be clear.

  19. leefe

    Neat bit of victim blaming going on here by a few blokes.

    Do any of you have any idea of the trauma involved in undergoing an experience like this and then the police investigation? There are good reasons why the majority of rapes are not reported to the police, one of the biggest being the stress of investigation and possible trial.

  20. Joseph Carli

    Leefe once again comes to the board with her blow-torch set on “High burn their nuts!” and missing the spot entirely…
    But hey!..if you are looking for victims, Leefy…the fact that the victim of the alleged assault did not report it to police out of concern for both her employment opportunities AND that it could (read : WOULD!) destroy her party of choice’s election prospects says a lot about “blaming”…especially when we consider the fact that 10 refugees tried to kill themselves after the 2019 Fed election returned The LNP…Let’s go to aged care..; ” “In the past 12 months (2019) 16,000 people have died while waiting [for services],” thank you ABC…now what about that Tamil family relinquishing at His Majesty’s pleasure (Dutton) on Chrissy Island because the LNP was re-elected in that Miracle Election..[THEY have had their lives “Rapined” from them for more than two years!!]…an election they surely would have lost IF the victim and other victims had come forward then to report rather than protecting the most bummer of a govt’ in Aust’ history…

    So seek not the splinter in mine eye . . .

  21. Michael Taylor

    Joe, I think that who she worked for, or who she voted for, or how long it took her to report the crime is not the point. The poor girl was raped. Raped.

    I’m also appalled that the crime was covered up by the Liberal Party.

    A friend’s young 16-year-old daughter was raped. If the rape didn’t distress the family enough, the investigation and the trial almost destroyed them. This young Liberal staffer has hell in front of her.

  22. Joseph Carli

    Michael…as my comments further up the board there show..I was NOT “blaming the victim”…THAT was Leefe’s delusional neurosis…SHE likes to gain vicarious sympathy by association…she has done it many times…BUT I would caution against…as I have written in a recent article AND which Arnd expanded most elucidely upon in his comment on that article.. ..placing all one’s sympathy in the one basket overlooks the broader damage done by clustering behind that one moment…

  23. Michael Taylor

    Joe, I may have misread you, and besides, I’m not here to argue. It certainly is a passionate topic.

    But I must say there’s no need for such language against another commenter (leefe). There’s no need to say that a person has “delusional neurosis” merely because they see things differently. We all see things differently.

  24. Joseph Carli

    Michael…this is the problem that arises when a “cabal” of posters on a blog-site “cohere” to form a confederacy of sympathetic agreement…there is a pause in the commentary while waiting for one..usually the most authoritative / outspoken one to post a comment…THAT creates both an opening and a direction for the others in the “cabal” to follow…rarely do you see commentary of original thought or opinion gracing their gravitar..certainly NEVER a singular article by themselves…just the continual seeking of ” vulnerable points ” to enter the conversation to invariably obfuscate the discussion or to wedge the topic …mostly to bring att’n to themselves…

    I would point out that I rarely have posters backing my commentary up…I am not afraid of making strong opinion…and most people on the site know I do not make frivilous complaint…I’ll poke fun now and then…but hey!

  25. Michael Taylor

    I see your point, Joe, and I have no argument (in principle) with that. But that one was a bit low. As a person who suffered with mental health issues for three decades let me tell you that can be more hurtful than you can imagine.

  26. Joseph Carli

    Michael…sorry to tell you this, but Leefe has made YOU the I cannot in all fairness to yourself and the trauma of the young woman, comment any further without sounding callous.

  27. Kaye Lee

    Sorry but I am chuckling.

    After telling us that “most people on this site know I don’t make frivolous complaint”, Joe goes on to his favourite rant about the cabal that conspire to stop him from the recognition he deserves, not that he’s trying to “to bring att’n to” himself or anything.

    And for the record, I also reckon there has been some victim-blaming going on. If I had left any job where I experienced sexual harassment, I would never have worked. Me staying there does not mean I endorsed the behaviour.

  28. Henry Rodrigues

    Michael…. The point I focus on is that a crime has been committed and it must be addressed. The victim needs to know that she is not alone and she is not forgotten, and despite this loathesome creature we call PM and his desperate attempts to sweep it under the carpet, we will shout from the rooftops until justice is delivered. As you stated, Rape is Rape. Every thing else is secondary.

  29. Michael Taylor

    I read the other day that only 10% of reported sexual assaults result in a conviction. It’s a sad reflection of our society that a man can rape a woman knowing that he has a 90% chance of getting away with it. And that’s if it was reported. How many aren’t?

    Another sickening statistic is that 31% of the reported victims are under the age of 15.

    I’ve mentioned the following case before – and I apologise for doubling up – but it is worth repeating.

    It was a case in Adelaide in the 1980s. A 4-year-old was sexually assaulted by a family ‘friend’ and told she would be killed if she told her parents. And he didn’t stop there. He continued to sexually assault the girl over the next seven years, and again, the threat of being murdered always followed the assault.

    When the girl was 11, she could contain her torment no more and told what had been happening to her for the past seven years. The rapist was caught, convicted, and jailed.

    And released.

    The mother of the child took her story to the media. She also provided evidence that people had served longer jail sentences (than this bastard) for not paying parking fines.

    It hurt to read that story.

  30. leefe

    Joseph Carli:

    “THAT was Leefe’s delusional neurosis…SHE likes to gain vicarious sympathy by association”

    If I want sympathy from people who are strangers I could get it without dragging anyone else’s trauma into it. This isn’t about me, it’s about Brittany Higgins, it’s about the second victim, it’s about all the other possible victims of this particular alleged rapist, it’s about the cover-up and the beginning of the inevitable smearing of those victims.

    Try to resist the urge to centre yourself in this. Because it isn’t about you, either.

    re “victim-blaming”: any comments that state or imply that a victim should have, or should now, behave in a specific way either to avoid assault or in response to assault, are victim-blaming. People react differently, they have different strengths and weaknesses, different capabilities, different ways of coping.
    People do what they can do or need to do to survive. If you weren’t there, in that moment, having that experience, as that person, you have no right to judge.

    re “SHE”: I prefer “they” if you don’t mind (yes, I know you do). But the deification implied by your method of address is entirely unnecessary. I’m as human as the next person (unless that person in a LNP pollie, in which case …)
    Oh, the username is not capitalised, either.

    Thank you.

  31. Josephus

    If the young woman had told the public at once about her rape in 2019 the current lot would surely have lost the election. Not excusing or denying her hell in any way, but seems she may have put her political loyalty and perhaps job security above justice, that is, a public trial and ruin for the scum who did it, and an electoral bashing for the Party that hushed it up for its own convenience and self interest. Perhaps , though, she was threatened with (more) violence if she spoke out.

    The LNP’s repulsiveness needs to be publicised again and again. Pity the ABC is so run down and depleted.

  32. DrakeN

    “Pity the ABC is so run down and depleted.”
    …and, to introduce an unfortunately timed parallel, equally in fear of its future and of its employees at the hands of the same raft of bastards who are responsible for suppressing the prosecution of the ‘alledged’ rapist, whether by direct action or implication of future loss to the complainant.
    “Federal ICAC Now” has a nice ring to it.

  33. Michael Taylor

    The latest Newspoll tells us that Morrison’s popularity is at 61%. Albo’s is in the 20s.

    Publicity and bullshit work well for Morrison.

  34. Kaye Lee

    The only reason Morrison has a high popularity rating is because he has stopped doing anything and the health experts and premiers have taken over. They are prematurely claiming credit for a vaccination rollout that has been entirely made possible by scientists and health professionals.

    Anything tricky that arises on the sidelines, he has no knowledge of. Just like he pretends he has no blood on his hands from the leadership spills.

    When it comes to the election, what has he got?

    Call me crazy but I still think Labor need to emphasise climate change policy – along with the need for a Federal ICAC and livable welfare payments and an Indigenous Voice and resolution for refugees in limbo.

  35. Michael Taylor

    Add another one that doesn’t get much of a run: equality. I think it’s a sleeping giant.

  36. Kaye Lee


    “she may have put her political loyalty and perhaps job security above justice”

    Many women who have been sexually assaulted do not tell about it right away, or have second thoughts about what they themselves will have to go through if they pursue a complaint.

    Some women feel shame and degradation and feel that it is in some way their fault that it happened. Morrison’s talk about Brittany “finding herself in a vulnerable situation” adds to that feeling.

    Being a supporter of the Liberal Party should not make you fair game for rape. As a young woman in the halls of power, being confused about how to proceed after you have been raped in your workplace is not a sign of putting self-interest first – self-preservation maybe.

    From personal experience, many women try to forget what has happened for their own mental health. The trouble is….you never really forget.

  37. DrakeN

    As we know well, Kaye Lee, elections are won on margins; hence an appeal to the mariginalised, to the climate conscious minority, refugees, youth with poor prospects, and to our traditional landowners might well win their vote.
    Appealing to the hip pockets of those subsisting on social benefits payments – especially those on incomes well below the ‘poverty line’ – would also interest a few more people.
    Last election failed miserably on these matters with no promise of better ‘welfare’ payments, no emphasis on climate heating, no improvements in health services, no mention of the job prospects in renewable energy endeavours, no …
    All critical ‘margins’ unaddressed.

  38. DrakeN

    Self preservation is instinctive in all of us, Kaye, especially in traumatic circumstances so it should surprise no-one that a victim of shameful assault makes no attempt at retaliation when the balance of power, as it was in Ms. Higgins’ case, is tilted against the victim.

  39. leefe

    There are now two more allegations of sexual assault against the same ex-staffer. Both pre-date Brittany Higgins’ experience. II will not be surprising if many others also now feel strong enough to come forward.

  40. Arnd

    “Being a supporter of the Liberal Party should not make you fair game for rape.”

    I don’t know of anyone who seriously suggested it should.

    The point rather is whether, considering the previous record of this miserable band of manipulative dementors, going all the way back to John Howard and Andrew Peacock (and probably before that, but that was before my time down under), it is at all rational to expect senior members of the Liberal party to provide empathetic support and unequivocal determination to establish the truth of the matter – and to be surprised and deeply disappointed when they don’t.

    Brittany did not feel supported by the party hierarchy … Well, take a number, and join the queue. It’s a long one.

  41. Kaye Lee

    If men exerting power over women was confined to the Liberal Party, it might be easier to deal with.

    And yes, the queue of women complaining about it is growing. Some brave women are no longer prepared to quietly take a number, or just hush as too many of us have done. It’s not surprising that women don’t feel supported. It has been the norm in the past.

    Change will come when individual voices combine to make an overwhelming chorus – it’s not ok.

  42. Joseph Carli

    “…and yet the man must go to the woman…he has no choice…he is mesmerised like Ulysses and the Sirens…”For their attractive beauty rose not solely from their form, but from a mothers dream sown deep within the male’s desire…”

    Forgive us..forgive us!”

  43. Kaye Lee

    Whilst you to continue to view women as objects for your pleasure, I doubt I will ever be able to forgive you Joseph. You don’t seem to understand how creepy it is for women going about their daily business, be it work or shopping or just walking down the street, to feel they are being ogled by men without any consent or encouragement on their part.

    Your “desire” is completely irrelevant unless invited and your idea about having “no choice” because of it explains exactly the problem women face.

    Icky ticky wuck chuck. Leave us alone.

  44. Michael Taylor

    Reminds me of a sad cartoon in one of my text books in my first degree on Aboriginal Studies:

    “If you ever want to know what a black fella wants… go ask a white bloke.”

  45. Joseph Carli

    Could it be at all possible, that when a woman heavy with child sleeps…..and she dreams…those dreams find their way and transpose her dream’s desires onto the unborn child’s psyche as a kind of blueprint of a first desire?

    Perhaps it can become a kind of mantra..: “The dreams a mother dreams maketh the child”.

    I leave you with that thought.

  46. Kronomex


    That’s hardly a new thought by any standards, it has been around for a long long time in many different forms.

    “The dreams a mother dreams maketh the child.” If you want to take that “mantra” to another level you could then ask what if the mother is a pyschopath and dreams of violence and murder? Will these dreams filter through to the unborn child and turn her/him into a version of the mother? That’s some really nasty thought in that case Joseph and maybe you should reconsider what you said.

  47. Arnd

    “If men exerting power over women was confined to the Liberal Party, it might be easier to deal with.”

    Though the the self-entiled reactionaries in the Liberal Party are setting the pace. Notwithstanding Joe Hockey’s exhortation that “The age of entitlement is over!” For some. For others, it looks like it has just begun. And yes, the other side of politics has its moments, too.

    “… the queue of women complaining about it is growing.

    Great! There were times during my younger days when I was struggling with the perception that, as it were, “nice guys finish last”. Took me a little while, and a little effort, to pick my way through these thickets of gender dynamics.

    There clearly are many men – genuinely nice guys – who seemingly have much more of a natural knack for successfully navigating these vexing halls of mirrors with self-assured grace. Of course, you never know what goes on behind closed doors.

    But it does not surprise me that many other men come to grief – and, more importantly, cause grief. And the aspect that Joseph Carli raised, is a powerful one. It just doesn’t do to studiously ignore it and pretend it doesn’t exist.

  48. Arnd

    “That’s some really nasty thought in that case Joseph and maybe you should reconsider what you said.”

    Joe is about to veer off topic. And he’s engaging in speculative conjecture that is … a bit out there!

    But that doesn’t seem to be your problem with his post, Krono. You remonstrate the nastiness of his thinking. Well, guess what: “nasty” does not equal “improbable”. There is a hell of a lot of “nasty” out there. If only more members of the gently chattering classes would remind themselves of this from time to time.

  49. Michael Taylor

    Do you think we don’t know that? Do you really think we’re blind to it?

  50. leefe

    “…and yet the man must go to the woman…he has no choice…he is mesmerised like Ulysses and the Sirens…”For their attractive beauty rose not solely from their form, but from a mothers dream sown deep within the male’s desire…”

    Forgive us..forgive us!”

    Are you seriously saying that men have no control over themselves? That they can not do other than submit to their worst impulses? That they are entirely at the mercy of the most basic animal instincts: eat, drink, fuck, sleep?
    Well, if that is the case, they are obviously far too dangerous to be left loose in a civilised society. Time they were rounded up and isolated until they can be trained to behave in a way that poses no risks to decent, responsible people.

    You can dress it up however fancily you want, Joseph, but you are still blaming women for the actions of men. Grow up and accept responsibility for what you do. And insist upon the same for all around you.

  51. Joseph Carli

    And here I was thinking that what these sad, angry folk need is a bit of poetic song in prose to lift their spirits…But wait!…perhaps better a song in rhyme?!…yes!!..:

    The Siren’s Song.

    The Siren sang her song.
    Irresistible in her comeliness.
    And yes..I answered..
    Along with others,
    But oh..;
    The clues were numerous,
    The seduction of her face,
    The perils of her warm embrace.
    Small things ; gifts and trinkets
    To secure her exclusiveness.
    Along with mine..
    Shipwrecked upon her palliasses.

    Now, behind cold glass,
    I touch her face,
    My fingers hesitate on lacq’d plate
    Of the silvered frame.
    She smiles out at me.
    Again the Siren song my heart fills.
    She is calling…!
    She is calling…!
    I cannot resist..does she love me still ?
    I am falling…
    I am falling…

    I am falling…

  52. Kronomex


    “…speculative conjecture…”? Both words mean basically the same thing so “speculative thinking” would have been more suitable.

    “That’s some really nasty thought in that case Joseph and maybe you should reconsider what you said.” Perhaps I could have worded that phrase better. Perhaps if he had started with “I leave you with these thoughts.” I might well have not been so harsh.

  53. leefe

    No Joseph, what we need we have already explained: stop deflecting, stop blaming women for what men choose to do and hold those men accountable for their actions. It’s quite straightforward.

  54. Joseph Carli

    Leele..and others…I wrote on this very subject several years ago…but your pride in yourself and the scorn you had for myself stopped you from reading it…so Here..I lay it at your feet yet again…see it as my gift to your better nature… 🙂

  55. Kaye Lee

    A gift to our better nature????

    An article that suggests gender relations can be summed up by dirty dancing???

    ” We see the complimentary movements of man and woman intertwined sylph like as two creatures of nature locked in ritual courtship. The woman enticing and alluring, the male encroaching and attempting to entrap and encompass … the woman then slipping from his grasp and out of his control, only to once again spin and twirl in voluptuous attraction to the man’s more brutish hunger … and if she decides to give herself to the male, it must be done on her own terms in her own good time … mesmerising!

    Such should be the natural ebb and flow of man to woman relationships..”

    Joseph, have you ever thought of a woman as a person or are they all categorised as fuckable or not?

    Do you think it is wrong for women to feel pride in themselves? Do you feel scorned if a woman disagrees with you?

    Sorry, your gift didn’t appeal to my better nature.

    Oy vey!

  56. Kaye Lee

    You ask where gender domination started and go back to Germanic and Roman times.

    There is a theory that it started long before that when men started accumulating possessions – a good tool or weapon or basket for example. Rather than living communally, they wanted to be certain that their possessions passed on to their bloodline descendants. Monogamy became a thing so they could be certain it was their child. The woman became another of their possessions. Men are usually physically stronger so could enforce their will.

  57. Arnd

    Hi Kronomex, and Michael Taylor,

    “Both words mean basically the same thing …” You mean, like “over-exaggerate”? Or “PIN number”? Personally, I think “Personal PIN Number” is better still. Just to be sure to be sure! To be sure!

    As for the rest: as someone who grew up in post-war Germany, I find the notion that some (putative) aspects of the human condition should remain beyond examination … irresponsible in the extreme.

  58. Joseph Carli

    I won’t go any further into the subject…it is getting too, too tragic…in a humanist sense…but if others wish to pursue the matter further, I did post a short story on this site back in 2017…on the subject…;


  59. Joseph Carli

    Arnd !!!!…I see thou too doest use the ellipse three dots as a breathing spacer…I LOVE using dots rather than the demanded comma…which I feel somewhat insufficient in certain circumstances…Oh brother!..On comrade!…I welcome you with open arms!!………………I – am – redeemed!

  60. Arnd


    “Are you seriously saying that men have no control over themselves?”

    Considerably less than seems commonly assumed! Mind, I am not just talking about that portion of males who violently act on their worst imaginations. I am also talking about men at the extreme opposite of that spectrum. Men who are pathologically shy and absolutely terrified of women. And everyone inbetween, including the generous ones, and the honest, friendly and supportive ones. And men who think and overthink matters, still arrive at the wrong conclusions, and haplessly fumble when they shouldn’t. And men who are helplessly driven to frustrated overreaction by circumstances they neither understand nor react to with any intuitive street-smarts.

    It is my long-standing conclusion, borne of many decades of on-again, off-again enquiry into concepts like justice and just desert (both legal and social), human agency, free will, precedent, acculturation and social conditioning, and the “Dictat of Reason”, that we habitually ascribe to ourselves and to our fellow humans far greater capacities for deliberation and deliberate action than is at all warranted.

    In short, I do substantially subscribe to Socrates’ “Virtue is knowledge.”

  61. Arnd


    “Sorry, your gift didn’t appeal to my better nature.”


    “… have you ever thought of a woman as a person or are they all categorised as fuckable or not?

    When it comes down to it, them’s the breaks. Have been, for a long time, and still are now. And not just for women, mind. Men are locked into the exact same game. Adding, over many millenia, multiple thick and matted layers of custom, culture, art, law, technology and whatever else, to the basic mechanics of sexual reproduction has not changed their basic function. No matter how much you wish otherwise.

    Exactly how crude and transactional are those mechanics? Well, evolutionary scientists will boldly state that, looked at from a certain angle, it is the genotype that is the main act, and the phenotype is a mere disposable carrier. That’s how inhuman things are – still are, despite many elaborate pretences to the contrary.

    Should it be so?

    I had doubts even before I was introduced to the “naturalistic fallacy”.

    The point is, though, that if we are serious about putting in the effort to change these dynamics, we must first recognise them for what they are. Mere wishful thinking is not good enough.

  62. Arnd

    “You ask where gender domination started …”

    Try Adam and Eve.

    One occasionally runs across notions about tribal societies with matriarchal structures predating the evolution of patriarchy. My thinking is that Genesis could well be an allegorical tale of that switch.

    Sure, men dominate women! But why? I mean, establishing and maintaining “domination” is pretty bloody demanding and labour- and resource-intensive. And can even be dangerous. It’s not something you’d do just for the fun of it! What’s in it for men? And for women, come to think of it. There are some interesting game theories out there which analyse, in very broad brush strokes, intra-gender (competitive mating) dynamics in dimorphic species. Including humans.

    It seems the gap between sticklebacks, and Trump voters and Liberal Party hacks is not yet quite as wide as some would have us think.

  63. Kaye Lee

    “When it comes down to it, them’s the breaks.”

    I vehemently disagree. I deal with many people, as do we all. By and large, their gender is irrelevant to me as are their looks.

    I have an amazing lifetime partner. He is the only person to whom my sexuality should be relevant. My gender was instrumental in the birth and feeding of my babies. After that, it is irrelevant.

    And I can assure you that it isn’t just men who are confused about how to proceed. (I hate the beauty industry and the damage it does)

    If we could start with women being people first would be great. If you could view us as partners in things other than sex might help relieve the burden men feel to “provide and protect”. Recognise we have a valuable contribution to make that has zero to do with looking pretty.

    PS “Sure, men dominate women! “?? Some may try….

  64. Arnd

    “And I can assure you that it isn’t just men who are confused about how to proceed. (I hate the beauty industry and the damage it does)”

    We are in agreement here! To a degree, anyway. But exactly how pervasive has it become. And why??

    “He is the only person to whom my sexuality should be relevant.”

    True! (Plus your doctor, maybe?)

    But just because something ought to be a certain way does not mean that it already is. And my point is that the discrepancy between actuality and desideratum is greater than widely assumed, especially amongst the PC brigade, who also habitually underestimate the effort that will be required to substantially realise their expectations. It will certainly be more involved than dispensing a few withering reprimands from the high moral horse.

  65. Arnd

    “?? Some may try….

    I stand corrected!

    But that gets us only deeper into the intra-gender dynamics as driven by the precepts of sexual dimorphism.

    Which are an interesting field for systematic enquiry – in which men and women could, and I am certain, have, participated as equals.

  66. Kaye Lee

    It flabbergasts me that women asking to be considered as people rather than sexual objects is considered PC.

    It’s telling that men dismiss women discussing how they feel as “dispensing a few withering reprimands from the high moral horse”.

    It seems you are right about having a long way to go. Obviously the men I mix with are not representative.

  67. Michael Taylor

    We may as well start racially vilifying Aborigines again. That’s the way it’s always been and those blacks just have to put up with it.

    I mean, I’m not going to stop being a racist prick just because it offends a few Abos.

  68. Michael Taylor

    Just so you know – from our Disclaimer page:

    The owners, the administrators or authors of this blog reserve the right to edit or delete any comments submitted to this blog without notice due to:

    3. Comments containing language or concepts that could be deemed offensive

    We consider the concepts of sexism and racism offensive. They can certainly be discussed, but we won’t tolerate them being exercised on this site.

  69. Arnd

    “We consider the concepts of sexism and racism offensive. They can certainly be discussed, but we won’t tolerate them being exercised on this site.”

    And what are you saying, Michael? That in acknowledging and endeavouring to examine sexism, and understanding the context of its continuing existence and its origins, I am exercising, and advocating and legitimising sexism?

  70. Trish Corry

    Hmmm. As someone who speaks to Joe on the phone and on Zoom for many years now; I really think it needs to be said that Joe’s stories and poems are his ART. If we kill off art – we are already dead.

    The same way that Stephen King is not an axe wielding sociopath who sees ghosts, Joe is also not a misogynist, nor a sexist. It is ok to be offended by Art, but a person’s art, does not characterise the artist’s persona. I find these accusations extremely uncomfortable to read, as I have known Joe for quite a whilie now and he is simply not the person he is often accused of being. I think sometimes people commenting forget it is an actual real person behind the screen.

    Another point is that some women never, ever speak up and never ever tell a soul. That has nothing to do with politics or anything else. Every woman who reports is a very brave person indeed. The burden and lifetime of flashbacks and PTSD is nothing compared to any ‘gain’ they could possibly get out of reporting.

    The role of women in society is an extremely complex one, including how we are viewed, as well as how we choose to present ourselves. That is why there are something like 16 different strands of feminism. My strand of feminism does not align with many modern feminists today. My strand of feminism centres around women and work (and unpaid work), and redressing discrimination via legislation and also importantly, personal agency. Other strands of feminism promote women breaking norms. For some women a single partner is the only person for them, for some women, they are very open about one night stands and being very positive about their sexuality. Some feminists believe in the traditional western role of women in society. We are not all in the same box, but power to us all.

    Whilst the comments deviated from rape to a discussion about sexual attraction – I think it is nonsensical to say that men do not desire women and women do not desire men (hetero-normatively speaking) however – sexual attraction has NOTHING to do with rape. Not a damn thing. Its about mean seeking power and control over women.

    Finally, regarding workplace behaviours – as in deviant behaviours, all theory tells us that the antecedents for deviant behaviour are embedded in the organisational culture. This is a failure of leadership. Nothing else. It is a failure of leadership to set the boundaries of acceptable behaviour, the vision and mission of the organisation as well as the ethical guidelines and philosophy of that organisation. The organisational culture of the Liberal party, is one that protects men and punishes women. It is a culture where women are afraid to speak up about even minor mistreatment by their male colleagues and such, let alone something as serious as rape. Lets not forget that attached to the Liberals is a very powerful media Although in this case a Murdoch journo broke the story, this is not always the case and a victim has so much to contend with, and the terrifying thought that the media may destroy her life, would be one of the very pressing concerns.

    Every person in a leadership position in that party is at fault. Developing a strong organisational culture, does not prevent all deviant behaviour in the workplace, but with the correct procedures you can weed them out upon entry, or during probation and discourage them from any such behaviour as they will completely understand there is zero tolerance.

    The brazen nature of these attacks and the similarities show that these are calculated assaults.

    They talk about what changes need to be made. One thing we do not need from this is the onus to be placed upon the victim, as some strands of workplace bullying promote. It should not be up to women to ask men to stop X behaviour. It should not be up to women to express to men how they feel about their behaviour. It is up to the Liberal Party – well every single political party and IND, to ensure that the behaviour does not happen in the first place and the consequences of termination and reporting to authorities are very clear.

    Margaret Fitzherbert gave a speech about the culture within the Liberals that is very unsupportive of women, many years ago. Absolutely nothing has changed. Let’s hope it does this time. I do not believe a damn thing will happen at all, because as John points out the bloke running it is just going to cover everything up anyway.

    The best thing women and men who support women can do is put the Liberal Party LAST on their ballot and be very vocal about why.

    Thank you John for your article.

  71. Michael Taylor

    Arnd, I don’t think you read what I said. I think I was perfectly clear. Racism and sexism do exist, there is no disputing that. We just don’t want them to be exercised on this site. That doesn’t mean we can’t talk about them.

  72. Arnd

    “It flabbergasts me that women asking to be considered as people rather than sexual objects is considered PC.”

    That flabbergasts me, too.

    Otoh, this:

    “If we could start with women being people first would be great.”

    indicates to me that we probably work off divergent views about the exact state of the human condition.

    The to my mind indisputable fact is that the practice of treating humans as objects – sexual or otherwise – is not just incidental, but is baked right through the substance of contemporary society, and has been for a long time. Throughout recorded history.

    Hence, “women being people first”, always, reliably, as the ubiquitously accepted default position, and not just in more or less frequent incidental and non-critical situations, is not a starting point. Achieving this goal will require very considerable and sustained effort. AND: the realisation of this goal – the removal of one of its baked in constituent aspects – will substantially reshape society. Or to borrow from Naomi Klein (in a different, but not entirely unrelated context): “This changes everything!”

  73. Arnd

    Michael, I don’t think you read my question. Why the hint that my comments may be deemed in breach of this site’s guidelines, unless you think I am exercising racism and sexism?

  74. Michael Taylor

    I think sometimes people commenting forget it is an actual real person behind the screen.

    Indeed, Trish. I couldn’t have said it any better.

    You can understand then my horror when Joe said that another particular commenter suffered from a “delusional neurosis.” Such a claim can be very hurtful to the “real person behind the screen.”

    I find that very offensive to suggest that someone has a mental illness. Inexcusable and indefensible.

  75. Michael Taylor

    Of FFS, Arnd. I never named you at all. Why do you think it’s about you?

  76. Michael Taylor

    Actually, don’t bother answering. I’m closing this post to comments.

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