Misogyny, shame and Mr Slipper

It’s something we’ve all said: they should die of shame, I died of shame, I wanted to die of shame. But Tony Abbott should have known better.

Question Time on Tuesday quickly degenerated into a vigorous game of cat-calling between the federal government and its opposition when “Sensitive Tony” blew his cover, calling on the government to die of shame, echoing recent controversial remarks by shock-jock Alan Jones.

Julia Gillard didn’t miss the hint, shooting back with: “Well can I indicate to the Leader of the Opposition the Government is not dying of shame – and my father did not die of shame.”

It was a suberb move by the Prime Minister, who used Question Time to list the times Tony Abbott’s actions and words have offended her.

The barrage followed Tony Abbott’s motion to sack Independent MP Peter Slipper as Speaker. It was only narrowly defeated  when independents Craig Thomson, Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor and Greens MP Adam Bandt sided with the Government. Independent MP Andrew Wilkie voted with the opposition.

Four speakers from both sides of the house were allowed to speak on Abbott’s motion to sack Speaker Slipper based on his misogynistic inappropriate behaviour.

But it was when Gillard spoke that things became interesting.

I rise to oppose the motion moved by the Leader of the Opposition, and in so doing I say to the Leader of the Opposition: I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. I will not. The government will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man—not now, not ever.

The Leader of the Opposition says that people who hold sexist views and who are misogynists are not appropriate for high office. Well, I hope the Leader of the Opposition has a piece of paper and he is writing out his resignation, because if he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia he does not need a motion in the House of Representatives; he needs a mirror.”

The Prime Minister then detailed what she refers to as the “opposition leader’s repulsive double standards when it comes to misogyny and sexism” and finally tells it how it is.

Here’s a few of the best Gillard moments from yesterday:

  • In a discussion about women being underrepresented in institutions of power in Australia, the interviewer was a man called Stavros and the Leader of the Opposition said: ‘If it’s true, Stavros, that men have more power, generally speaking, than women, is that a bad thing?’ Then a discussion ensued and another person being interviewed said, ‘I want my daughter to have as much opportunity as my son,’ to which the Leader of the Opposition said: ‘Yes, I completely agree, but what if men are by physiology or temperament more adapted to exercise authority or to issue command?’
  • I was very offended personally when the Leader of the Opposition as minister for health said, ‘Abortion is the easy way out.’
  • I was offended when the Leader of the Opposition went outside the front of the parliament and stood next to a sign that said ‘Ditch the witch’.
  • I indicate to the Leader of the Opposition that the government is not dying of shame—and my father did not die of shame. What the Leader of the Opposition should be ashamed of is his performance in this parliament and the sexism he brings with it.

It is these choicest of grabs from a 15-minute impassioned speech from our PM that ultimately changed the political story of yesterday.

What started out as a day about the actions of Peter Slipper and the support the federal government has provided him abruptly changed and thrust the Opposition Leader into the murky media spotlight.

It could have all ended very-badly for Australia’s first female PM when she voted to retain Slipper as Speaker despite his notorious comments against women, including one which refers to female genitalia as “shell-less mussels”. But luckily for Gillard, Tony Abbott swooped in and saved the day, telling the government to die of shame. Abbott has attempted to deny his “died of shame” comments were intended to be linked to Jones’ comments but to no avail. Mr Abbott has now irrevocably aligned himself with the vile comments of Alan Jones even if the intent was not there.

For Julia Gillard, yesterday was a victory. She’s been applauded world-wide for her speech against Tony Abbott.

Yesterday, Julia Gillard came into her own, and as US women’s site Jezebel put it, she’s one badass motherfucker.

And in the aftermath of one of the most eventual Question Time’s in a long while, Peter
Slipper formally resigned as Speaker of the House last night. His former deputy, Anna Burke has stepped into the shoes becoming the second female speaker (the first was Joan Child), a real blow to misogynists everywhere. Perhaps in the case of the speaker, a woman, by physiology or temperament, is more adapted to issuing command and exercising authority than a man.

For a full transcript of Tuesday’s debate visit Hansard.

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2 Comments

Filed under Politics in a Pinch

2 responses to “Misogyny, shame and Mr Slipper

  1. And for those of you who are interested, check out this story about the redefinition of misogyny after Gillard’s speech.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-10-17/misogyny-redefined-after-gillard-speech/4317468

    The Macquarie Dictionary has broadened the definition of the word from a “hatred of women” (the current edition defines misogyny as) to include “entrenched prejudice against women”

  2. Geoff

    Well it’s hardly surprising that a “Uni” Dictionary such as the politically correct LW “Macquarie” has once again redefined something for purely political reasons. During the Hawke/Keating years it redefined racism and racist to enable the incorrect use of the terms. Personally I prefer using the correct meanings, the accepted English traditional meanings, not the altered or watered-down versions.

    First off Miranda, Abbott had no control over what Jones said. I’d even go as far to say he probably wished Jones never said it, in fact when interviewed by the highly opinionated Jones, it has been plainly obvious that Abbott has been uncomfortable on many occasions by what he has had to say. In fact the Coalition have been using the term “shame” regularly, so I doubt he expected the PM’s OTT response.

    Abbott never mentioned her father… but Gillard sure did. In fact the only time and it was very recent that Abbott mentioned her father was to say how proud he must have been of his daughter. So here we have Julia lying once again.
    You say;”It was a superb move by the Prime Minister, who used Question Time to list the times Tony Abbott’s actions and words have offended her.” Yet what we have is a tissue of lies. Superb lies to be sure.
    “I rise to oppose the motion moved by the Leader of the Opposition, and in so doing I say to the Leader of the Opposition: I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. I will not. The government will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man—not now, not ever. “

    Yet Abbott, a married man with 2 daughters and whose Deputy and Chief of Staff are both women, is clearly not a misogynist.
    Gillard says; “The Leader of the Opposition says that people who hold sexist views and who are misogynists are not appropriate for high office. Well, I hope the Leader of the Opposition has a piece of paper and he is writing out his resignation, because if he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia he does not need a motion in the House of Representatives; he needs a mirror.”
    The hypocrisy is clear as is the ad hom and hubris.
    You said; “The Prime Minister then detailed what she refers to as the “opposition leader’s repulsive double standards when it comes to misogyny and sexism” and finally tells it how it is.”
    Really? I’m here to tell you that is wrong.
    “I was offended when the Leader of the Opposition went outside the front of the parliament and stood next to a sign that said ‘Ditch the witch’.”
    Yet Abbott was not involved in the creation of any such signage. In fact the signs in question came up from behind him and he was unaware of their presence as any without eyes in the back of their head would be.
    I indicate to the Leader of the Opposition that the government is not dying of shame—and my father did not die of shame. What the Leader of the Opposition should be ashamed of is his performance in this parliament and the sexism he brings with it.
    As for the speech Abbott made before the PM’s shameful rant. I blame Peta Credlin for it. I blame her and her husband Brian Loughnane for many of the trip-ups of the Opposition Leader. Perhaps Abbott should look to new staff. Like I said I doubt the Jones link was made on purpose. It would more likely be an oversight than deliberate especially considering the ruckus over Jones’ idiotic comment.
    For Julia Gillard, yesterday was a victory. She’s been applauded world-wide for her speech against Tony Abbott.
    You say; “Yesterday, Julia Gillard came into her own, and as US women’s site Jezebel put it, she’s one badass motherfucker.” Yet when I went there I noted that the majority of comments were not pro-Gillard at all and the vast majority of comments from Australians who actually know what went on and what has been going on since Abbott became Opposition Leader and Julia called “game-on” were in fact negative.
    “So… I’m confused. Why is Gillard defending a person who may have sexually harassed a man? Why are we celebrating this?”
    “The media beat up of Gillard’s “speech” is laughable. A woman unhinged, losing the plot and throwing an irrelevant hissy fit in parliament is not “an impassioned speech”..The modus operandum is clear. “Whatever it takes” for her party to gain lost ground is a depth her party now knows well.”
    “Shame Gillard couldn’t have been as bad-ass in explicitly condemning the Speaker’s misogynistic text messages to an aide. But I guess it’s different when your government depends on keeping a sexist arsehole exactly where he is.”
    “Don’t get too excited ladies about this bastion of women’s rights – blink, and this woman Prime Minister will have her way with your husband. Also, in her student days she likened Married Women to being Prostitutes for their husbands. There’s more, but you’re probably not interested in facts, just her spin set up by this man who sets out to destroy good politicians with lies.”
    “While she may have looked “badass” to the uneducated in Australian politics, 99% of what she said was lies. The very question she was answering was about her support of a man (the speaker of parliament) who had said in text messages that female genitalia were like were like mussels in a jar and another female parliamentarian was an ignorant female dog. Let’s be clear here. The Prime Minister gave her full unreserved support of this guy despite these texts messages being uncontested evidence in court. The same man resigned because of these same texts a few hours later. The principle of the support of women went right out the door to support this guy. Imagine if a male PM had done the same? The PM may be “badass”, but she has done a disservice to the equality of women.”
    “After reading your ridiculously one-eyed article, I would say yes, Tracie, our slime minister IS “one badass motherfucker”. 75% of Australian women thinks she’s a disgrace to the country.”
    “Australians are not celebrating this Prime Minister. This finger wagging, petulant woman, sadly, is an embarrassment to our great country and it seems, will go to any length to stay in power. She cries foul while defending a man who has via text messaging defiled women in the worst possible manner. This comment was made by Speaker Peter Slipper regarding women, source: news.com.au. “Referring to women’s private parts, he said: “They look like mussell (sic) removed from its shell. Look at a bottle of mussel meat. Salty C..ts in brine.” This is the man that Julia Gillard was protecting while shrilly accusing the Opposition Leader of misogyny”
    Now I am no fan of Abbott. I don’t vote for personalities, I vote for policies. For the party I think will do the best for Australia and Australians. I am a swinging voter and have voted for Labor as many times as I have for Liberal and the Democrats etc. I used to be a big Gillard fan, (she was a great Deputy), but not any more, and this speech this day, was shameful and a disgrace. Many people will agree with me.

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