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We need a feminist

Australia now has a female Minister for Women. The only trouble is, she isn’t a feminist.

Now I know many people attach all sorts of connotations to the term feminist, many critical, but all it means is an advocate for women’s rights, something we desperately need more of.

Unfortunately, our new Minister for Women thinks “that movement was a set of ideologies from many, many decades ago now”, a view she shares with Miranda Devine who used her own delightful turn of phrase, saying “feminism is now well past its use-by date. It has just become an excuse for unhinged individuals with Daddy issues to indulge a mean streak.”

I guess the bar wasn’t set too high when our previous Minister for Women spent International Women’s Day at a local fire station receiving an award for his volunteer service.

Then again, both Ms Cash and her predecessor come from the party that chose to hold its International Women’s Day lunch at the men only Tattersall’s Club so nothing should surprise. In fact Tony Abbott said the women should consider it a victory that they were allowed to attend, a mark of how progressive the Liberal Party were at breaking down the bastions of male dominance…for one day, invitation from a male member required.

There are countless examples of why feminists must continue the good fight. Here are a just a few that were brought up at the recent Ernie Awards.

Take the Matildas.

The discrepancy between the Matildas and Socceroos was laid bare when it was revealed Australia’s national female footballers would be paid less in match fees if they made the final of the World Cup in Canada than the Socceroos get for a single group-stage game. As it turned out, they reached the quarter finals, better than the men have ever done.

National women’s soccer, cricket, and basketball teams are flown economy as a matter of course, while the male teams travel in business.

When Nick Kyrigos got a bit flustered in a tennis match, he went for the age old “I f*cked your old lady” sledge. Ok, that isn’t quite what he said – his pitiful outburst was even more cowardly.

Too often, when men fail, they need someone else to blame and so it was when our cricket team was annihilated in their recent bid for the Ashes. According to Ian Healey, it’s because having their wives and girlfriends on tour was a distraction. Funny how all the rest of us are able to go to work each day, focus on the task at hand, and then return home to our families in the evening.

With 63 women dead from domestic violence incidents this year, Australian of the Year Rosie Batty has had some success in bringing long overdue attention to this scourge. Her courage has been amazing yet she must endure people like Mark Latham whose many attacks include tweeting “@RosieBatty1 Australian of the Year dividing the nation on the basis of gender. You owe my wife daughter and mother a massive apology.” Seriously?

When much-loved and best-selling Australian author Colleen McCullough died earlier this year, the Australian newspaper published an obituary which began: ”Plain of feature and certainly overweight…” Will the peacock mentality never end? When will women be judged by their achievements and contribution to society?

If Malcolm Turnbull wants people around the world to say gee they really respect women in Australia, I would suggest our Minister for Women better realise that we need some advocacy to change the endemic disrespect and discrimination that is alive and kicking more than a century after the battle was begun.

We need a feminist.

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  1. Peter F

    I wonder when we will see reasonable people back as our representatives.

  2. Faye Cox

    Ms Cash disgusted me with her diatribe about Julia Gillard. She screamed, the veins stood out in her neck, she was jumping with rage. Not the actions I thought then and still do, those of a Woman who enjoys seeing a fellow Woman doing a brilliant job in the face of adversity.

  3. RosemaryJ36

    Why do so many politicians state opinions and personal interpretations as facts? Id it because they think we are fools incapable of forming our own judgments?

  4. Kaye Lee

    Watching that video again must make her cringe. “They didn’t have the guts to take her to an election”. Oh the irony.

  5. Christine Farmer

    Agree absolutely, Kaye Lee. Why is the concept of equality between men and women so difficult to understand? What a pity that Ms Cash and Ms Devine can’t be taken back to the fifties to see how women were treated then. I doubt they’d think much of being told to resign when they were about to get married, or being told they could only be allowed into certain parts of hotels, or needing a man’s guarantee if they wanted to buy property (that is, of course, if they could get a bank loan, which also couldn’t be done without a man as guarantor).

    The issues needing fighting for are different now, but for the Minister for women to suggest that feminism is “a set of ideologies from many decades ago” not only reveals her ignorance, but does not bode well for the future of Australian women. Perhaps Lucy Turnbull might have a word with her husband on the subject?

  6. kerri

    I have noted that Ms Cash has undertaken a “make over” since her promotion?
    Not that I would comment on her altered hairstyle for it’s sexist connotations in terms of appearance?
    But maybe the fringe is to fool those who remember “that video”?
    I know I will never be able to forget Michaelia Cash and all that she stands for!

  7. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Well done Faye. Keep the word Feminism and proud Feminist front and centre in all of our discussions. We must not shrink in the shadows.

    Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to keep Michaelia Cash in the role of Minister for Women just showed how cynical he is. It is almost as bad as the slap in the face that Abbott gave all of us – Feminist self-identifiers or otherwise.

    Michaelia Cash’s performance in parliament in demeaning Feminists should have been a Red Warning signal to Bad Mal but it seems to have been an incentive.

    With ugly underminers like these degenerates in temporary power, no wonder baby spoilt brats like Kyrigos think it’s OK to exploit the privacy of someone while women in sport and every other industry are denied equal pay for equal or better performance.

    If we must play lip service by instituting a Minister for Women, then we must make sure the recipient of this very important, affirmative and strident role is likewise able to perform in strident, affirmative action ways.

    If any party can’t fill the role with a worthy recipient, then scrap the role altogether coz the bottom line is women are equal anyway and have every right to access half of everything available while taking into account all of their particular societal roles, which build their power even more.

  8. lunalava

    Will support feminism when emotional abuse is rated as bad a physical abuse. Wimmin are good at emotional abuse, men respond with physical abuse. Of course the “evidence” always supports “physical” abuse. Emotional abuse is on the inside where the scars don’t show.

    Yeah there are nut job homicidal men and there are many women of the same bent. More babies die from their mothers than any other cause (look up the stats) but we don’t have a Royal Commission into infant deaths from mothers, or suggest a mother killer registry.

  9. Kaye Lee

    Promoting women’s rights does not mean condoing the abuse of men and children lunalava. Whether it is emotional, psychological or physical, whether perpetrated by males or females, it is not ok.

  10. Matters Not

    all it means is an advocate for women’s rights

    Indeed! But ‘the devil is always in the detail’. Personally, I have difficulty with the ‘women’s rights’ concept because it suggests that women’s rights are somehow different to men’s rights or indeed human rights.

    For me, the concept of ‘feminism’ is about females having an equal claim to human rights, with ‘human’ being the operative word.

    And given that point of view, I wonder how many men or women would argue that ‘women’ aren’t human and therefore not deserving of ‘human rights’?

  11. Kaye Lee

    How Turnbull could promote Cash and leave Sharman Stone on the backbench is beyond me. Do they want malleable non-feminists? Is Stone too opiniated?

  12. Matters Not

    Kaye, perhaps it has something to do with ‘deals’? Not that there are any factions in the Liberals and Nationals. ‘Factions’ are particular and peculiar to the Labor Party aren’t they? Shakes head.

    Seriously, when will some of the ‘insiders’ in the MSM tell us about those factions/groupings that imprison Turnbull and reduce him to the same level as Abbott?

    Is the ‘devil’ his new master? Given his recent conversion to the ‘fairy in the sky’ nonsense.

  13. lunalava

    Sure have never been against women’s rights but I am not against rights for men either. I want to see women acknowledge that they are equal partners in marriage. Women have more power today in marriage than at any time in history.

    Unfortunately, casting yourself as a victim gives you more “social” power and women know about the use of subtitle power, in general they are much better than crace men who resort to violence.

    Therefore the cycle of violence will continue because no one has the “guts” to look at the root cause.

  14. Kaye Lee

    Certainly the dinosaurs are roaring. I heard George Christensen making threats today that if they abandon the Bill to stop anyone except affected parties from appealing development approvals he will hold his breath till he turns blue. Actually he said he would introduce a private members bill. he also said if climate policy changes then the coalition will be dissolved. Yeah….right….like THAT’S gonna happen.

  15. Kaye Lee

    I think you are more looking for blame than causes lunalava. The ‘root’ causes for domestic violence are multitude. You have obviously had a nasty experience and for that I am sorry. What I want is for there to be no competition between us but for all people to show respect and for us all to offer support to each other when needed.

  16. lunalava

    My “nasty experience” has been reading the bullshit written by the current “fashion” in media, commentators not so dissimilar to yourself.

    I have been married to the same woman for 43 years and have always acknowledged her as my better (she may disagree).

    Kaye, I just want to expand the current “locked in thinking” maybe to accept that men and women are equal, but different.

    Demonising one or the other (men for sure) is just dumb and not productive (unless you have your own agenda).

    Maybe the dismissive attitude of the Liberal party is on the right track, unlike their climate change policy.

  17. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    Feminists believe in your rights too. Feminists believe men’s rights should be 50% and 50% for women. No arguments.

    This division of rights should be marked as statutory imperatives; and god help anybody who tries to do otherwise.

    But the fact is that that is not what happens. Unfortunately many men and some sycophantic women over time have allowed this fundamental principle not to be fulfilled. You’ve seen it, I’ve seen it, everybody breathing oxygen has seen it.

    So, instead of ignoring its malignant toxicity, start thinking about what can be done to put it right.

    You won’t lose anything. You will be in the position to applaud the advancement of women and girls which is good for everybody.

    Perversely, you might even find that surreptitious women who abuse protection services, might be less inclined to be deceptive in their manners, as they will see they have overt rights to seek redress where they feel they should.

    (The above was written before lunalava’s last comment. lunalava, start opening your eyes and ears.)

  18. lunalava

    Well eyes and ears open, women still kill more babies.

  19. Robert Lane

    Not being a great fan of football, I tend to miss most televised matches; well, except when the; Matilda’s are playing, for what a “Gutsy Team” that have the ‘Balls’ that the ‘Socceroo’s’ appear to be lacking… Not a level playing field..! and certainly a ‘Shameful Act’ to be treating this ‘World Class’ team in such a ‘Shoddy Way’..!! Also as the father of three fine women, I also have a personal interest here! Therefor having carried out my own research on just some of the ‘Offensive Ways’ that women are subjected to on a daily basis, I think this is the time now for a; ‘Fair Go!’ and I do not see this happening under this ‘Boys Club Mentality’ that is entrenched within our political parties.. Well, Feminism, but there I go under a different name…

  20. Kaye Lee

    “Demonising one or the other (men for sure) is just dumb and not productive (unless you have your own agenda).”

    Can you show me one example of me demonising anyone? (Liberal politicians don’t count)

    I have an agenda. I want the world to be a safe caring place for everyone. And your repetition of your point about infanticide with no discussion whatsoever about post natal depression or reasons that might contribute to this, or suggestions about support that should be given to new mothers, is questionable in its intent.

    Did you pay ten dollars for an argument?

  21. Kaye Lee

    Robert Lane, I think we can proudly call you a feminist 🙂

  22. jim

    Do you think the Liebral party would have a female leader, do you,?

  23. Matters Not

    Did you pay ten dollars for an argument?

    Please explain.

  24. lunalava

    Of course tennis, soccer and a few women’s pay issues (hope you go into bat for male strippers underpaided as they are) definitely trumps wimmin killing babies.

    If you are being paid as much as Chris Berg of the IPA, then you are worth missing the point, if not, go for Labor pre-selection the standard wimmin vote will support you. If not, do a Shorton and stand for nothing, that might help you get elected (but not change much).

    Domestic violence will still be around while we have politicians that support your kinda thinkin

  25. Matters Not

    lunalava, I suggest you take an early night.

    Don’t keep digging.

  26. Mark Needham

    Kaye Lee, after having watched the video above, ( good Hey!) amazing, that where ever we go, the conception is, that the argument we always have, is,that the other person is always talking Bullshit.

    @lunalava Exactly correct and right:-
    ” Wimmin are good at emotional abuse, men respond with physical abuse. Of course the “evidence” always supports “physical” abuse. Emotional abuse is on the inside where the scars don’t show.”
    The very reason, why my Father and Mother, at different times, suicided. My mother, even said, that she had to win, even though….

    Women, do not realise, the power of their emotions, over men.

    Men, do not understand, the emotions of women.
    I think, of this often, and it doesn’t get any better.

    Further, to the task of good conversation, I have replied elsewhere to a ‘story’

    Mark Needham September 29, 2015 at 9:15 am
    Let us, never enter the realm of a contra view.
    When it does appear, always treat it with utter contempt.
    For we, are right.
    They are wrong.
    I have never been wrong.
    I am always right.
    Mark Needham

    Civility, I am afraid, is dead.
    Mark Needham

  27. Ruth L

    Hopefully Julie Bishop will ‘open’ Malcolm’s eyes to what a truly awful woman Michaella Cash is,round about the same calibre as Indi’s Sophie Mirabella.
    Sharmane Stone would be a good choice.
    Some of the LNP women are as useless for Australia as are the men.

  28. John Fraser


    Apparently Barny Joyce has the answer.

    John Fraser ……. posted from Brussels, Belgium from where the Cons look and sound just as stupid as if I was right there.

  29. Kaye Lee


    Go to Bruges and get some chocolate. I love Bruges.

  30. Kaye Lee


    I cannot imagine how painful it was to lose your parents that way or the pain you endured because of their relationship. But your generalisations like “Wimmin are good at emotional abuse, men respond with physical abuse” are very concerning.

    I remember once a long time ago being in the middle of yelling at my husband for something unimportant and he looked at me quizzically and said “Hey, we’re on the same team here”. It really pulled me up and I think of it always.

    It disturbs me that this topic so often degenerates into a men vs women argument – who’s to blame, who’s the cruellest. We should be working together for change, not engaging in pointless tit for tat.

    Do you ever go beyond the hurt to look at reasons why people can’t cope and what we, as a society, can do to help support them through difficult periods?

  31. corvus boreus

    “More babies die from their mothers than any other cause (look up the stats)”.
    I did. Here is what the Australian Institute of Criminology had to say on filicide;
    “Gender differences were observed among offenders (Figure 2). While fathers were responsible for the majority of filicides in Australia (63 per cent compared to 37 per cent), in terms of absolute numbers, more four and five-year olds were killed by their mother (n=21) than by their father (n=16)”.
    The statistical graph on filicide by gender is at the bottom of page 3. Note the statistics for newborns. Admittedly, the information is a bit over a decade old, but, by the numbers listed, fathers kill babies more frequently than do mothers.
    If lunalava has more recent stats indicating that this has changed, he should provide a credible link.

  32. Kaye Lee

    Further on “men respond with physical abuse”….

    Men don’t have to respond with physical violence you know. Dealing with anger management is important for all of us. We all have the capacity to be cruel but do we all have the capacity to calm an angry person, to reassure a worried person, to forgive mistakes, to listen to each other and support each other before it gets to the stage of hurting each other, to seek help or walk away if needs be?

    My husband played rugby for NSW. I saw a guy headbutt him once. Hubby turned and looked at the guy and said what did you do that for? Instead of there being a big fight he made the guy look silly. Responding with violence never makes a situation better.

  33. Möbius Ecko

    Men respond with physical abuse as that’s all they respond with? What a false generalisation.

    Many men who are abusive to their partners don’t use physical abuse, they use psychological and repressive abuse.

    They make their partner feel worthless, ugly and unfit. They completely control the money, including their partner’s money, which is one of the greatest abusive controls they exert over them. Women who have since left their partners over non-physical abuse find themselves completely broke and in a system that doesn’t allow them to get their money back.

    Domestic violence victims subjected to financial abuse

    To attempt to paint domestic violence as black and white, where men physically abuse and women mentally abuse is too simplistic and disingenuous to what’s actually occurring. From what I heard on an ABC piece by far what women feared the most in an abusive relationship was not the physical violence, but the loss of control of their lives and the loss of financial control was at the top of that.

  34. Kaye Lee

    Very good point ME

  35. gonemango

    What an interesting discussion. I think if we all agree that women and men are, or should be, equal, then we can tease apart what goes wrong in relationships and start to talk about what happens when the power in relationships becomes unbalanced and disrespectful, It is when things tip to one side or the other that people seem to use whatever tools they have in their kit to pull things back into balance. Sadly it seems that most people’s toolkits are comprised of memories of their own families of origin, or what they see happening around them. And most of us are still operating from the basis of being brought up by non-Feminist parents (you can call it Pro-female, or Equalitist, Whatever!!!) The thing is, we don’t have a lot of role models of equal 50/50 relationships out there… In fact they may not be there if we can also agree that women have never had equal pay or equal opportunity…But back to the point, I think the teaching of healthy, respectful relationships in schools is incredibly important, as there are some kids in our society who have never seen one, wouldn’t know what it was, and wouldn’t be looking for one. Given that so many women and children are dying at the hands of men, and so many are reporting being scared and abused in their homes, we definitely need a Feminist Minister for Women, and when the balance of emotional and physical and financial power is returned to neutral, we can think about a man filling the position as the Minister for Equality.

  36. Kaye Lee

    Self-esteem is also an important factor. Our children must know their own worth and respect that of others even though they may be very different.

    And I too long for the day when we won’t have to discuss discrimination or abuse in any of its myriad forms. A tolerant, respectful world working together would be an awesome force.

  37. gonemango

    Wouldn’t it be great if we respected difference rather than feared and belittled it! Now that is something worth teaching. I teach at a Uni. It is interesting seeing the younger generations collaborate using social media. It is so incredibly powerful and they are so respectful on that platform. They know how to work together and maybe we can all learn from that. It is collaboration, respect, and supportive, mindful (not blind) positivity in the face of adversity and challenge that will pull us all forward into a decent future.

  38. Kaye Lee

    Hear hear.

    Difference should be appreciated, not scorned. That’s why we travel…to have new experiences…immerse ourselves in different cultures. Kids can talk online and I agree it is breaking down barriers. But we still have this current of violence that must be stopped. The resources devoted to and billions spent on defence is such a waste.

  39. Kaye Lee

    The science community offer a microcosm of what we should be striving for. Gender and nationality are no barrier in their collaboration towards shared goals. Most are motivated by discovery rather than personal gain or power. Truth is the most important thing. If you disagree with someone you must respectfully explain why. I suppose they have their problems with the few who falsify or steal research but they are nearly always found out and punished, not by violence, but by having their credibility doubted.

  40. Adrianne Haddow

    The new minister for women is toxic.
    Watching the clips of her stellar performances in parliament and senate estimates, thank you for the links Kaye Lee, it is obvious that she’s another Tony Abbott only with oestrogen.
    Is she channelling Margaret Thatcher or is that just the hairstyle?
    Or is the plan to undermine the voice of women by having this harridan represent us?
    She certainly fits all the stereotypes the conservatives hold regarding women.

  41. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    I agree 100%. I would even add that if we include in the school curriculum, teachings in gender respect and affirmative goals for girls and boys of what they can equally and realistically expect to strive for in their lives, then there should be no need for a Minister for Women, (Sadly, I am offended that we should need one at this present time anyway.)

    The sooner we can ditch the Minister for Women role because our society automatically builds into every decision and every project 50/50 representation and input of women, the better.

  42. gonemango

    Agreed Jennifer! The best, most sustainable, initiatives do themselves out of a job as they achieve their goals. But I guess those goals need to be achievable, and measurable. But before that can even start, they need to be defined and stated… And before any of that can happen, a woman a week will die, because she can’t find refuge… And that is in Australia! God Save the Women and Children Refugees, because no one can save the Ministers for Immigration.

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