The ABC’s Four Corners revelation about the sexual dalliances of Messrs Christian Porter and Alan Tudge may have brought to light their inability to control their sexual desires but the reality is that the Liberal and National parties have always had a problem with women.
Well, to be fair both sides of the political divide have had their problems.
Bob Hawke was a known womaniser and had an affair with his biographer, Blanche d’Alpuget. Hawke always wore his heart on his sleeve and confessed his infidelities. And Whitlam minister Jim Cairns had a much publicised affair with Junie Morosi.
It was said that John Gorton had an affair with Ainsley Gotto, but Gorton was in fact having an extended affair with the widow of a “a very senior naval officer.” Democrats leader Cheryl Kernot had an affair with Labor’s Gareth Evans.
But I digress.
Tony Abbott often gave us the impression that he had a poor opinion of women. At university he referred to a women Chairperson as “Chairthing.”
He was accused of assaulting a woman at University and later acquitted. He was defended by a QC and the girl defended herself.
Another woman accused him of throwing punches; hitting either side of a wall she was standing against. He said it never happened but others corroborated her story.
And who could forget these?:
“I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak.”
“I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons.”
“I won’t be rushing out to get my daughters vaccinated [for cervical cancer], maybe that’s because I’m a cruel, callow, callous, heartless bastard but, look, I won’t be”
If you want to watch Julia Gillard’s famous misogyny speech fired directly at Abbott once again, go here.
It is the males of the Coalition who have had a long-established “masculine problem” of entitlement: specifically, a white male problem that believes they are allowed more superiority over women than women of today want to be subjected to.
It is the view of men who still cling to an age that no longer exists. These virile males are the ones who have never really grown up. The ones who have accepted the actions of the fathers or worse still the superiority of the male as taught in many churches.
Of course, the question arises as to whether it is any of our business as to what politicians or journalists get up to after hours.
The answer is yes and no. If a journalist writes about the moral standard of the community and in doing so identifies his or her own code of ethics, I think there is a public interest in disclosing what is happening in their private lives.
The same goes for the politician. If a minister or MP is in a position of power and in fact responsible for creating laws in the area of morality I would very much like to know what his or her attitudes are about their personal moral standards are.
If they are humping their employees on the side while working on legislation pertaining to sexual harassment then the hypocrisy should be exposed.
In a piece for The Daily Mail Paula Mathewson asked “…is it any of our business what politicians, staffers and yes, journalists, do in the privacy of their homes and hotel rooms?:
“Definitely not, says that bastion of family values, Barnaby Joyce, who claimed this week that former prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, introduced a ban on ministers from having sexual relationships with their staff simply to remove him from the Nationals leadership”
“Of course, Mr Joyce conveniently forgot to mention that it was the accusation of sexual harassment levelled against him by a highly respected woman in the rural community that sealed his fate, not Mr Turnbull’s ‘bonk ban’.”
Barnaby Joyce – you might remember – was at the centre of alleged serious sexual harassment and molestation claim dating back to 2012 involving multiple women, including a 17-year-old teenage girl in a toilet.
Tony Windsor tweeted how things work in Canberra:
An example of how power works….
17 yr old harrassed by Joyce in Canberra pub in ladies Toilet.
Mother LNP blind follower
Complaint shut down by Georgie Somerset
Quid pro quo
Somerset to ABC Board
J Bishops brother hi flyer in Clayton Utz
Girl now works Cl Utz.
— Tony Windsor (@TonyHWindsor) November 11, 2020
When politicians become involved in seedy situations such as an affair all sorts of things can happen. They leave themselves open to being denied a security clearance, they become an extortion risk, being denied access to classified information without having to get such a clearance and may also cause a conflict of interest if they have the potential to unduly influence a minister’s decisions.
Females are not well represented in Australian politics, particularly on the conservative side. Having said that, in my lifetime, their journey toward equality has been incremental despite their obvious intelligence. Much of this is attributable to what men take from the Bible about (taught or decoded) their superiority over women.
Sarah Hanson-Young, at 25, was the youngest women ever elected to the Senate. Like her politics or not, she has been subjected to more abuse than most men have to take. Interjections about her dress sense, her body shape and her sex life have been common. Usually from sleaze-bags from the right of the Senate chamber.
She usually ignored them, taking the moral high ground however last year she dug her heels in over a comment from one of these middle-aged white morons:
“It happened during a debate on women’s safety following a murder which shocked the nation. A young comedian walking home late at night had been killed by a stranger.
Ms Hanson-Young said women wouldn’t need extra protection if men didn’t rape them.
In response, an older male senator called out: “You should stop shagging men, Sarah.”
Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm – known for revelling in his controversial remarks – refused to apologise when confronted by Ms Hanson-Young, who is divorced with a child. He instead repeated his comments and other explicit claims in TV and radio interviews.
He accused her of hypocrisy. She accused him of “slut-shaming” – where slurs about a women’s alleged sexual activities are used to demean or silence her.
I decided at that moment I’d had enough of men in that place using sexism and sexist slurs, sexual innuendo as part of their intimidation and bullying on the floor of the parliament,” the senator [Hanson-Young] said in a later interview.”
She sued Senator David Leyonhjelm and received $120,000 for her trouble.
Sexism, sexist slurs and sexual innuendo is all part of the intimidation and bullying on the floor of the Australian Parliament. To say it is uncouth would be an understatement.
MP Julia Banks felt she had to act after experiencing vicious infighting and sexism so she quit. Julie Bishop, the Deputy Leader described the intimidation as “appalling” behaviour. The Minister for Women, Kelly Dwyer also backed the allegations.
There is nothing new here. Natasha Stott Despoja joined parliament in 1995 at age 26, and experienced her fair share of abuse. Sexism was “endemic” in the political culture, she said.
“It ranged from male senators saying to me ‘you really should wear skirts’ to another senator referring to me only as ‘mother’ once I had children,” she told the BBC.
It was Julia Gillard who copped the most abuse and when it became too much, she responded with a speech that reverberated around the world. She had been portrayed by conservatives’ politicians and the right-wing media as a modern-day witch.
Sometimes you have to wonder if history is just an ongoing commentary on the incompetence of men.
She was “routinely demonised” for being unmarried and “childless”. At various times she was called “a lying cow”, “a menopausal monster”, “deliberately barren”, a “bitch” and “Ju-liar”
The media had a strange fixation with her appearance which was at times simply lewd.
Then there was that Liberal party fundraising dinner with a ‘Julia Gillard menu’ listing overt sexual suggestions about parts of her body.
There is something about Australian culture that excludes women. One sees it in all facets of society. In sport, in business, in many professions including law.
These men, Attorney-General Christian Porter and Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge who have both spent their careers publicly espousing family values, should have been given the opportunity to explain and then sacked.
As former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told journalist Louise Milligan:
“Some of the most trenchant opponents of same-sex marriage, all in the name of traditional marriage, were at the same time enthusiastic practitioners of traditional adultery.”
Given that ministerial responsibility no longer exists … where to now?
My thought for today
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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