On Gillard’s Misogyny Furore

When Julia Gillard called Tony Abbott a misogynist in federal parliament
in October last year, it did a severe disservice to women everywhere, writes Jack Baker.

Attempting to bring Abbott to the lowest of the low for a political
stunt downplayed and minimised the seriousness of men who are actual
misogynists.

A misogynist is by definition a “person who hates women”. Gillard
has been read this definition several times in interviews. She has
had the opportunity to clarify her remarks and explain that she
didn’t actually believe Abbott hates women. Yet she has repeatedly
said that she stands by her claims. As a former lawyer, Gillard knows
that words are powerful. Yet she has shown a constant willingness to
mislead for attempted political advantage.
 

Men who perpetrate violence, hatred and sexual violence against women and
girls are the real misogynists. Abbott is clearly not one of them.
The fact that this needs to be said shows how out-of-touch Gillard’s
speech was.

Abbott has been married for over thirty years. His wife Margie runs a
community-based childcare centre, a demanding job as any childcare
worker knows. The couple have three daughters who unabashedly adore
their father, and whom he clearly loves and respects. Abbott’s
sister, who publicly disagrees with him on a number of political
issues, as happens within many families, describes how supportive and
respectful her brother is to her and her lifestyle choices.

Professionally, Abbott surrounds himself with highly competent and influential women,
whose opinions he values, and who respect him in turn. For the past
fifteen years, he has always had a female in charge of his office.
His current chief of staff is Peta Credlin, who has spoken about
Abbott’s compassionate support for her fertility treatments. His
deputy leader is the devastatingly effective Julie Bishop.

Naval Lieutenant Commander and Barrister Sophie York has known Abbott since
1999. She describes him as “a very genuine, kind, and refreshingly
forthright person. He pays you the compliment of fully jousting
political issues and doesn’t pull back because you are a woman,
which would simply be insulting”. She further notes that “he is a
remarkable listener and not ego driven”.

Now contrast these attributes and the way Abbott treats the plethora of
women in his life with the men who oppress women and girls around the
world and in Australia. Women and girls contend with a litany of
abuses every day. Offences include domestic violence, rape, honour
killings, and the abhorrent crime of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Placing Abbott on the same level as the men who perpetrate these
crimes downplays them in a horribly cavalier way. Calling him a
misogynist lowers the common denominator of what this term actually
entails, resulting in the above crimes seeming less important in
comparison.

The fact that Abbott has recently been polled as having higher approval
ratings among both women and men then Gillard shows that the
Australian population didn’t buy it. Nor should they! As
Julie Bishop said, it was a “vile charge” and “an utter and
absolute lie and the prime minister knows it”.
Let’s look at examples of actual misogyny.


Misogyny is when girls have Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) performed on them, which involves the barbaric practise of cutting away part of or the entire clitoris. 

The pain and subsequent medical conditions this
practise results in are horrific. Any backing down in relation to
this abhorrent practice and supporting a ‘ritual nick’ so that
this is done under controlled conditions, is tolerating and
encouraging those who practise this form of misogyny. It should be
opposed vigorously everywhere, in all forms.

Misogyny
is also where women are forced to completely cover their faces, concealing
their identities. This is what feminist Mona Eltahawy calls “the
erasure of women” and depriving “a woman of identity”.

Misogyny is when women and girls face physical abuse from intimate partners.
Misogyny is also evident in the rapes committed against thousands of
females in Australia every year.

Putting Tony Abbott or any other good, decent man on the same level as
the perpetrators of these crimes, is appalling. It is completely
false, and does a disservice to women and girls who are abused by
men. The Prime Minister should be ashamed of so brazenly misusing
such language.

Abbott is in fact an excellent example of how men should treat women and
girls. Australia would do well to have more men like him.

Jack Baker is a pseudonym

The one’s who flew over the cuckoo’s nest

I truly am amazed by the zany school yard stupidity displayed by the ALP


389063_10150942895539401_218324264_nI truly am amazed by the zany school yard stupidity displayed by the ALP, writes Assistant Managing Editor Tim Humphries

It seems appropriate with the events of the past week to reflect on a classic Jack Nicholson film. The one who flew over the cuckoo's nest perfectly describes the Australian Labor Party.

With the Nielsen polling showing the LNP is unchanged on 56-44, one has to question the semblance of sanity that may or may not exist within the Labor Party at the current time. 

Whilst I welcome the fact that Tony Abbott will be the next Prime Minister of Australia, I'm left troubled by the distinct possibility that the Federal Political result due in September may well mirror the routing that occured in Queensland.

Don't get me wrong dear reader, I love the idea of removing every last vestige of Labor politics from the Australian parliament. However the question remains who will step into the breach left by the blowing tumble weeds of the ALPs departure?

I spoke to a Labor supporter I went to school with a few days ago and admitted at human level I do feel incredibly sorry for honest hard-working Labor supporters who have been shafted by a sociopathic parliamentary party. A party that seems to think that it can fool everyone in the same way the 'Chief' successfully did so in the movie.

 

As the Poll Bludger succintly states:

Julia Gillard is down two on approval to 38% and up two on disapproval to 58%, while Tony Abbott edges towards respectability with approval up a point to 43% and disapproval down two to 53%. Toe-to-toe questions on the Labor leadership have Gillard leading Bob Carr 50-41, Bill Shorten 52-38 and Greg Combet 53-35. Among Labor voters, Rudd leads Gillard 51-48. Joe Hockey leads Wayne Swan as preferred Treasurer 48-40, which compares with 44-44 the last time the question was asked.

What's peculiar about the current political cycle is the high levels of disapproval for both leaders. However what amuses me most is the distinct disregard ALP strategists have in relation to Kevin Rudd. Secret polling revealed this week demonstrates Kevin Rudd's position could have rebounded had he not been knee-capped by the drones in the smoke filled rooms.  

Then you have the inevitable circus of a leadership spill that was but wasn't. Then Simon Crean jumping off the ship and politically detonating himself on the way down. This is the sort of stuff you'd see in a satirical piece of the 'Thick of It' variety.

I truly am amazed by the zany school yard stupidity displayed by the ALP! Who are these people running our country? Do we need Dr. Phil to run a counselling session for Carcas? Not thats not a spelling error! I'm no longer going to refer to Caucus as Caucus, from now on it's Carcas to me!

We are picking dear reader over the carcas of a once great political party that lost touch with reality at every level. It behooves us to remember despite their utter contempt for the Australian people, Judgement Day is coming and they will not be spared!

Timothy W. Humphries is Assistant Managing Editor of Menzies House

Sockpuppet Diaries

Impressions of elections past and present are a mixed bag

Impressions of elections past and present are a mixed bag, writes Tim Humphries.

Labor people remember fondly the 'It's Time' election and Liberal voters fondly remember the 'Dismissal'. I'm tempted to think Mark Latham was correct in reflecting on the 2007 election as the Seinfeld Election 

An interesting aside in this Cirque du Soleil game of politics is the trotting out of 'Infrastructure' as a vote winner. New connection roads and highspeed rail remain the ethereal non-core electoral drug of choice.  

Weirdly enough that particular project is actually progressing! Truth be told I won't believe it until I ride the train from my old digs right into the Brisbane, CBD and see pigs fly out of cannons at the opening ceremony.

To think people talked about that project right back when the horse and cart was still an acceptable mode of transportation. The truth remains there is a disconnect that exists between political meta-narrative and practical reality.

Any current politicians reading this should take careful note of what I'm about to say. The Australian people love the idea of big vision and big ideas for the long term. However they also like seeing a thing called 'deliverables' that communicates how it impacts them.

Deliverables need to be achieved through a budget that is atleast somewhat stable in its composition. Fitting within this is the neat process of politicians standing to a podium, delivering the orthodoxy of a message and then actually delivering through orthopraxy. Julia Gillard has failed on both fronts.

Bill Clinton said 'campaign in poetry, govern in prose'. The future of Australia will depend on the ability of leaders who can campaign on orthodoxy and deliver through orthopraxy.

What this country needs isn't mealy-mouthed promises and childish game playing around revealing all just before the election. This country needs throaty pronouncements, chest beating, soap box ranting and more importantly a vision that is easily accessible for those making the decision. 

The sort of word picture stuff you see in historical film archives. A time and place when curly Air Force style moustaches were all the rage.

The problem with modern politics is the microcosmic compressed reality of polling data, followed by panic, followed by polling data, followed by unceremonious removal of a leader. If we're honest with ourselves the horse race mentality isn't sustainable.

Hopefully election 2013 instead of delivering sockpuppet tomfoolery will instead deliver serious reform that can be communicated not just as possible, but deliverable. 

Timothy W. Humphries is Assistant Managing Editor of Menzies House. Tim is currently working on developing a television comedy.

U.S. Marine Veteran Exposes Mark Riley’s Manufactured Outrage

Somerville.profile Peter Somerville points out the errors in Mark Riley's smear of Tony Abbott: 

Putting troops in harm's way is no joking matter; in fact, it is one of the most serious decisions an elected official can make. It is therefore appropriate for Australians to place Tony Abbott’s recent remarks in Afghanistan under close scrutiny. The sacrifices made by the military deserve our respect, with special reverence due to those like Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney who have paid the ultimate price. With that said, Mark Riley’s recent 7News report  takes Abbott’s remarks utterly out of context, and asserts scandal where none exists.

7News seems to have greatly misunderstood the context and nature of the conversation that took place between Abbott and the soldiers in Afghanistan. In their story, 7News incorrectly transcribes what Abbott said to Riley when he was shown the video. They quote Abbott as saying "I was doing my best to support the soldier I was discussing with them." However, a careful listen to 7News own footage reveals that what Abbott actually said was "I was doing my best to support the soldiers I was discussing with then."

This difference reveals the nature of 7News and Mark Riley’s misunderstanding. In the video clip, we hear Colonel Jim Creighton say “Was it tragic? Absolutely, but we all live and learn. And all this stuff you see here, and more, was available that day.” It was to this that Abbott responded by saying “It’s pretty obvious, that sometimes, shit happens.”

Abbott wasn’t trying to make light of Lance Corporal MacKinney’s death. Can you imagine what the soldiers around him would do if that was his reaction? Instead, we see them all nodding their heads in agreement. Far from joking about death, Abbott was trying to console the troops. All combat veterans face survivor’s guilt – why did I survive, but my friend perish? – and you can see this etched on the faces of the diggers surrounding Abbott. The soldiers he was speaking with feel some responsibility for MacKinney's death. “Shit happens” is an inelegant turn of phrase. But clearly what Abbott meant was "War is tragic. No matter what you do, the enemy will always try to hit you where you're weakest, and sometimes he will succeed."

I know very little about Australian politics; when I saw this news story, I didn’t know who Tony Abbott was. Yet in Iraq, I served near a unit of diggers, who maintained a very high level of professionalism and earned the universal respect of my fellow United States Marines. Australians can justly carry a great deal of pride for the conduct of their military in Iraq and Afghanistan, and expect their leaders to treat the military with highest respect.

In the age of the sound bite it is tempting to judge a politician’s character on the basis of a few seconds of footage or a single news story. I could choose to read a lot into the fact that 7News spells Lance Corporal MacKinney’s name two different ways in that same news story. However, the responsible course would be to seek greater context before rendering judgment. I’m sure any of the soldiers present would be able to tell us how Abbott’s comment was understood… has Mark Riley spoken to any of them?

From 2004-2008, Peter Somerville served in the United States Marine Corps as an infantry officer, leaving active duty with the rank of Captain. His service included a combat deployment to Iraq as a rifle platoon commander. His comments do not represent the views of the United States Marine Corps.

The Left: Hoist by their own petard

Dan Nolan Dan Nolan on why the left on the internet is absolutely losing their minds, and why they brought this all upon themselves.

Were you to take at face value the grotesque outpouring of utter vitriol from the left-aligned members of the twitter cognoscenti, you would have thought Tony Abbott had taken up a policy of punching babies, burning down forests and beheading immigrants personally. At least, that’s what most sane people would take from the insane out roar of fury currently flitting around the twittersphere. Catherine Deveny, much reviled or revered for her candor even went as far as to state she would be committing suicide if Tony Abbott became PM. Though this does frivolously deal with the serious issue of suicide, such a statement is as utterly vulgar as it is utterly idiotic. You’d think the fact that Australians obviously thought both sides were pretty equal but wanted to put the boot into Labor for how they treated Kevin Rudd would be something people would be able to have a rational discussion about.

Though it is a trend for the blood to boil in all manners of politics, but these attacks on Mr Abbott seem to stem from the old-fashioned geek term of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt). Abbott is portrayed as some manner of religious fundamentalist, and insane free-marketer ‘brutopian’ fantasist, or as a complete idiot who will burn this country to the ground with a gigantic grin from ear to ear. Whilst his religious beliefs differ substantially from mine, I don’t find them disgusting or repugnant as most of the virulently atheist crowd do on twitter, simply because he tends to keep them to himself, or at least not vote entirely informed by them. To put it simply, he’s a fairly moderate Catholic, interested in issues of Social Justice, and as a Catholic, issues of contraception and abortion.

It’s utter idiocy to speculate that we’re going to move back to the 1950’s because he’s now a potential candidate for PM. The ‘insane free-marketeer’, well that’s spoken to by his track record, he seems to be quite economically liberal (small-l) particularly in issues of the maternity leave scheme. Lastly, the cry that he’s in any way an idiot is unfathomable, given his quite impressive intellectual track record, in particular his Rhodes Scholarship. I’ve yet to meet a Rhodes Scholar who wasn’t less than whip-crack smart, and I’d challenge anyone to point to one that is in the slightest bit intellectually deficient.

The reason for this hair-pulling and furious insanity is much the same as the uproar regarding the partnership between the Lib-Dems and the Conservatives in the UK. The Guardian, which had put its cards on the table and supported the Lib-Dems over New Labour in the UK had its blogs beset with furious commenters saying that the Guardian need to apologise to its readers, asking ‘do the editors feel ashamed of what they’ve let happen?’. Whilst those of us grin and bear it when we are led by those on the left, those on the left feel utterly betrayed and show a manner of paranoia and revulsion regarding leadership by anyone even mildly right-leaning.

Much as the Lib-Dem voters in the UK guaranteed New Labour’s defeat, those of whom voted Greens locally as their primary vote guaranteed Labor’s electoral calamity on Saturday. This would normally not be an issue, as we have constantly speculated that those who vote Green vote Labor secondarily, but it was an interesting issue in this election where the Greens decided to not hand out HTV’s that specified particular preferences. Even Bob Brown himself said that preferences (at least in the lower house) were not something he put much credence in. Were the preferences to flow the normal way that Greens/Labor candidates speculate, we would almost certainly be in a different position. However, based on the current statistics (and some speculation on my part, surely baseless) it would appear that the split on Greens preferences was somewhat equally Labor/Liberal.

What this tells us, at least, somewhat, is that the Greens instead of being the normal bolstering vote for Labor, was embraced by the Australian population as somewhat of a protest vote, but the form of which they preferenced around 50/50 to the Liberals as well as Labor. Not only did the Greens come into their own this election ( with a substantial senate tally (9 as of the current estimates) and their first Member of the House of Representatives elected at a general election) but their current vote breakdown showed that the traditional greens supporter is slowly becoming a thing of the past. I’d posit that a great deal of greens voters, though pushing through a protest vote, are environmentally interested (and as Daniel Hannan says, the environment is too important to leave to the left), but the claim that the Left has over the environment, or progressive social policy is utterly fatuous.

Again, this is all speculation until the true figures about the preference flow can be determined, but it is certainly something to reflect on. To the left losing their minds on twitter and facebook and all around the internet, you brought this upon yourselves. Either in the form of the Labor party’s absolute complacency in regards to the will of the Australian population, or in regard to your claim to moral authority and moral governance. Their uproar of repugnance at the concept of Tony Abbott as PM shows how far away the average left-wing individual is from the wills of the Australian electorate. Though many voters may like the Green’s stance on electoral-wildfire issues such as gay marriage, or the treatment of refugees, when it comes to sound economic management and sound governance they know the economy is better in the hands of the right than anyone else.

Dan Nolan is a Software/UX Engineer at the UNSW and an avid follower of the political landscape in Australia.

The Underestimation of Tony Abbott

James-Paterson Menzies House contributor James Paterson, writing in the Australian Spectator, shows how the media and the ALP have underestimated Tony Abbott

Just 24 hours after this edition of Spectator Australia hits newsstands, Australians will pass judgement on the Rudd-Gillard Government and Tony Abbott’s Opposition. Whilst the final outcome of the election is unclear, one thing is very clear: many in the media and the Labor Party completely underestimated Tony Abbott, with potentially disastrous consequences for the Labor Government.

If Tony Abbott achieves what many thought was unthinkable just a few weeks ago, and returns the Coalition to power after just three years in the wilderness, he will go down as perhaps the most successful Opposition Leader in post-war Australian history. Already at least partly responsible for toppling a Prime Minister who was once the most popular in opinion poll history, and forcing one of the most dramatic policy reversals in modern Australian politics, Abbott could also cement his place in Liberal Party history with a win on August 21.

Even if the Coalition falls a few seats short of government, as polling suggests, Abbott will have almost single-handedly delivered a result that few imagined possible only a year ago. Whilst it is certainly true that there is no such thing as a perfect political campaign, just like there is no such thing as a perfect football match, Abbott’s performance in the campaign so far has been disciplined, measured and almost error-free. Labor hardman Graham Richardson admits Abbott ‘has not put a foot wrong.’ Should the Opposition narrowly fail to win government, Abbott will have an extremely strong claim to remain Leader, and the Liberal Party would be wise to do everything it can to persuade him to remain so.

Less than a year ago, the thought of a Coalition Government by 2010 seemed fanciful. Newspapers seriously canvassed the prospect that the Coalition would lose up to 20 seats nationwide, reducing it to a rump of just over 40 seats in the House of Representatives. Articles were written about how the Coalition would lose a generation of young up-and-comers, including Peter Dutton, Christopher Pyne and Michael Keenan, if an election was held. Senior Liberal frontbenchers privately consoled each other that at least they had decent superannuation to fall back on when they got wiped out at the Federal Election.

Today it is widely accepted in political circles that Tony Abbott has done an exemplary job as Opposition Leader and has put the previously popular Labor Government on the ropes.

Continue reading this article at the Australian Spectator

James Paterson is a student at the University of Melbourne, a former advisor to a Liberal Senator, and  a former President of the Victorian Young Liberals.

Greens Policy 101

A Greens balance of power will lead to the Labor Party adopting at least some of their extreme agenda, writes Ron Thatcher.

Given the Labor Green preference alliance that could hand the Greens the balance of power in the Senate after the next election, I took some time to have a look at the Greens website, where I stumbled across their policy document.

It makes for interesting reading and should give rise to some serious questions by anyone considering voting or the Greens.

The Greens have already committed to supporting any scheme put forward in the next Parliament that puts a price on carbon. This in itself is astounding given they repeatedly voted against Labor's great green tax – the CPRS.

The Greens also have a policy of lifting the company tax rate to 33% and reducing tax concessions for companies. They want to lift the rate of tax on superannuation and establish a 50% top personal income tax rate. 

In a green world there would be a tax on family trusts and no concessional treatment of long term capital gains.

They also want to impose an 'estate tax' which is basically another name for death duties. 

Of course, this high taxing agenda would sit very well with Labor's own commitments to increase the cost of passports, alcohol, cigarettes, health insurance and mining. 

There might even be some agreement on what the extra revenue will be spent on.

The Greens for instance, want free gender reassignment surgery for those born with an 'intersex condition' even though 'intersex' would be recognised as a formal gender under green law.

They also want to prescribe heroin to registered users in line with the proposed 1996 ACT government heroin trial and introduce the regulated use of cannabis.

Now these are just some of their own policy initiatives that determine how taxpayers money should be best spent. 

In most other areas they are happy to outsource decision making to the United Nations. Yes, that's the unelected and hopelessly inefficient body that is dominated by the agenda of tinpot dictatorships.

The greens manifesto commits Australia to signing up to every protocol, agenda and agreement that this dysfunctional body cooks up – even the optional ones!

I noticed that Bob Brown's press release calling for a register of all businesses owned by citizens who subscribe to particular religious beliefs has been convientently greenwashed from the site. 

It makes you wonder how many other extreme green policies have been sanitised for this election campaign.

Handing the greens the balance of power would cost us all dearly and take Australia back to an age of socialism and extremism that the world had left behind decades ago.

Read more of their policy manifesto here.

Ron Thatcher is an engineer from Queensland.