All women are equal but some are more equal than others

by on 15 June, 2013

By Perkin-Warbeck

I bet you didn’t know that there are WOMEN and then there are women.

I have this on the highest possible authority – Emily’s List, no less – which proclaims in the preamble on its website, “A woman candidate, to be satisfactory, must be a ‘feminist’ in the best sense of the word…she should believe absolutely in the equality of status, liberty and opportunity between a man and a woman. A woman candidate that is shaky on this matter, or not sufficiently imbued with its importance to be able to speak convincingly on the matter, will do the movement towards establishing women in Parliament far more harm than good.”

Emily’s List is the ALP affirmative action crowd, the official sisterhood, comprising Labor women who presumably pass the “satisfactory” test. Prime Minister Gillard is a proud member.

Given Gillard’s recent attempts to paint Tony Abbott as some sort of primitive throw-back and a gross misogynist, you might have imagined that Emily’s List would be in the front row of enthusiastic backers.

Yet, curiously, they have not issued one single statement praising their star member’s recent forays in her contrived gender war campaign. In fact, they haven’t issued any media statements since 30 January this year when they issued two – one paying tribute to dumped Northern Territory Senator Trish Crossin and one congratulating Nova Paris on being Gillard’s “captain’s pick” candidate for Crossin’s Senate spot.

Just why these “satisfactory” women have remained silent for five months as Julia and her government sink deeper and deeper into a morass of their own making is a mystery.

I’m not surprised they said nothing following the death of former British Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher because although she was the pre-eminent female politician of the 20th century, she obviously wasn’t “satisfactory”. 

The utterly desperate stage of this government’s decline could not be better illustrated by the fact that not only are they trying to control their message but are even trying to control the way it is presented.

Last Sunday, Gillard staged a tea party for parents and children at Kirribilli House in Sydney to sell the Gonski school funding policy. Photographers and camera crews were admitted to take happy snaps but reporters with difficult questions were banned. On Tuesday when the PM spoke at the Women for Gillard launch, reporters with notebooks and pens only were admitted and photographers and camera crew locked out. Julia’s own office released the footage which, no doubt, was carefully edited.

Only a day or so ago, Fairfax journalist Jacqueline Maley wrote about Julia’s recent tactics. It was an assessment that “satisfactory” women would find unpalatable.

She wrote, “For the first two years of her prime ministership, Gillard was reluctant to identify as a ‘female’ prime minister. She said on the record this was how she thought about herself. She wanted to govern for all Australia.”

Noting that Gillard had “been responsible for moving thousands of single mothers off the single parenting benefit and onto the lesser Newstart (the dole), Maley continued, “Gillard refused to back the female candidate for Batman, despite the affirmative action arguments of Jenny Macklin and Penny Wong. She promised to call out sexism in public life, but stayed silent when Labor MP Steve Gibbons called Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop a ‘bimbo’.”

Noting Gillard’s outrageous assertion last Tuesday about how abortion rights would be under threat if Abbott was elected, Maley wrote, “She had no evidence for making the claim…She needs to scaremonger about Abbott’s true attitudes to women and women’s rights. She needs to paint Abbott as dangerously retrograde. She needs to because she is politically desperate.” 

It should also be noted that Gillard’s famous “misogyny” speech in Parliament last October that gave her a temporary boost, was in support of a Speaker whose own position was under threat because of his own blatantly sexists text messages. That Speaker, Peter Slipper, didn’t get any criticism at the time from Gillard because she needed him to help prop up her tottering regime.

Emily’s List as what could be politely described as a curious attitude to democracy.

Last March, when Anna Bligh’s Queensland Labor Government suffered an overwhelming defeat winning only seven seats in a Parliament of eighty-nine, Labor’s “satisfactory” women issued a statement bemoaning that, “Saturday was a sad day for the Labor Party in Queensland, but what has gone unreported is just how sad a day is was also for Queensland women.”

It was a “sad” day for Queensland woman, they alleged, and we all know whose fault this was because Emily’s List told us, “These disturbing figures were further evidence of the contempt the Liberal National Party held for women.” The voters had nothing to do with it presumably.

Seventeen Liberal National women MPs were elected in Queensland in that State election but, of course, they aren’t “satisfactory”.


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