Julia Gillard – trial by gender. Verdict – exile!

THIS CARTOON, DRAWN AT THE END OF JULIA GILLARD’S TENURE AS PRIME MINISTER, WILL BE ON DISPLAY IN THE MUSEUM OF AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRACY AT THE OLD PARLIAMENT HOUSE IN CANBERRA.
THE EXHIBITION, TO BE KNOWN AS ‘WOMEN IN PARLIAMENT’ WILL COMMENCE IN LATE AUGUST 2018 AND WILL RUN FOR APPROXIMATELY 12 MONTHS.

It is as if the metaphorical media lens is a microscope, 1,000 times more scrutinising of women — indeed, less critical of men. If Julia Gillard had bat ears, it is unlikely she would have made it to the prime ministership in the first place.

A word of caution: If you happen to be a highly intelligent woman with deep philosophical convictions and passion for the future of Australia, and have aspirations to become prime minister, go for it. But only if you do not have any physical imperfections that make you lesser in appearance to Elle McPherson. But then again, if you are blond, the media will destroy you anyway.

As if looking back on the demise of Julia Gillard, Marilyn Lake wrote a piece for The Age, just one day before Australia’s first female prime minister was ousted by the Labor caucus, in favour of a … you guessed it … a male … who will, odds on, not be sexualised by Australia’s media and wider culture. By Bruce Keogh

An excerpt from Marilyn Lake’s article 25 June 2013:

How could we have foreseen what would befall her? The relentless persecution by senior male journalists, the vilification, the sexist mockery, the personal abuse and the contempt with which she would be treated. Between 2010 and 2013, the full force of Australia’s masculinist political culture would be brought to bear on this path-breaking woman.

It is now a truism that history will prove more sympathetic to Gillard’s prime ministership – and the policies she introduced – than contemporary commentators have been.

What will mostly attract historians’ attention, however, will be how she was treated, the rabid misogyny, the hysteria of men who could not abide the spectacle of a woman in power, who labelled her a bitch, a witch, a liar, a usurper, an illegitimate claimant who refused to bow down before her male rivals.

She has been sexualised in a way no previous prime minister has been sexualised.

In the past three years, obscenity has become a favourite mode of prime ministerial denigration.

Full column by Marilyn Lake who is Professor in History at the University of Melbourne researching the international history of Australian democracy.

Frydenberg on the line

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SHOCK JOCK: Tony Abbott, great to have you on the show again, mate.

ABBOTT: Thanks mate, always a pleasure to do interviews with intelligent, like-minded people of the right, like your good self.

SHOCK JOCK: I see you had a party room stoush with Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg over the National Energy Guarantee.

ABBOTT: Josh is cranky because I am leading an internal party revolt against his plan. My pro-coal Monash Forum is a faction that opposes action on climate change and wants new coal power stations. Craig Kelly and I have flagged we will cross the floor to oppose the guarantee.

SHOCK JOCK: I believe Frydenberg reminded you of your commitment as PM three years ago that Australia, as a party to the Paris Climate Agreement, would reduce carbon emissions by 26 to 28 per cent from 2005 levels, by 2030.

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Pauline Hanson… Burston out in tears

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JOURNALIST: Ms Hanson, your old familiar smile has returned after your recent tearful meltdown on Sky News. You were upset, claiming your One Nation Senator Brian Burston had stabbed you “in the back” for supporting the Coalition Government’s company tax cut policy.

HANSON: Yes, I am ecstatic over that performance. It was cameo Hollywood material wasn’t it? Brian had betrayed me despite his claims to the contrary. He maintains I had been contrary on the issue. Contrariness is my prerogative.

JOURNALIST: You are ecstatic. Why?

HANSON: Since that appearance, my staff phones have been running hot in sympathy and support of me.

JOURNALIST: And contrariness is your prerogative?

HANSON: I love to keep my opponents on their toes. It keeps them second-guessing on what I will do next. It destabilises them and I love that. I especially love the power of blackmailing the major parties on my preference flow decisions.

JOURNALIST: So, your Sky News meltdown was a charade masquerading as tears of betrayal?

HANSON: No, it was not. I have built my career on betrayal and I am so passionate about it. Betrayal is my mantra. I get very emotional about it sometimes.

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Malcolm turns up the bull

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JOURNALIST: Mr Turnbull, you are now staring at 33 consecutive Coalition Newspoll losses in a row. This surpasses Abbott’s 30 losses you used as a benchmark trigger for your successful leadership coup in 2015, does it not?

TURNBULL: Yes that’s true, but I recently expressed regret for leveraging that number 30. I won the spill and got to be Prime Minister — that’s all I care about. If you in the media think the number 30 is to be my nemesis, you are sadly delusional. I, on the other hand, am happily delusional.

JOURNALIST: Oh my God!

TURNBULL: Indeed. God willing, the Coalition would win the next Newspoll if only the public would start listening to me. Maybe they get distracted by my charisma and tune out in stunned awe of me?

JOURNALIST: Maybe your credibility is already ruined?

TURNBULL: I have apologised. For a prime minister to be so humbly apologetic is so refreshing in the public eye. So, my credibility has benefited from my brilliant bleeding-heart expression of remorse.

JOURNALIST: Are you surprised at your poor performance?

TURNBULL: Worse than surprised, I would say shocked. I did not expect to lose even one poll. By the way, how dare you call my performance “poor”?

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Palace letters whitewash: The time has come to ditch the monarchy

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Outrage was palpable on the steps of Parliament House on 11 November 1975 as Gough Whitlam supporters flanked the media scrum to witness the sacked Prime Minister’s famous speech:

“Well may we say ‘God save the Queen’, because nothing will save the Governor-General. The Proclamation which you have just heard read by the Governor-General’s Official Secretary was countersigned by Malcolm Fraser, who will undoubtedly go down in Australian history from Remembrance Day 1975 as Kerr’s cur.”

The man Whitlam appointed as the Queen’s representative in Australia, Governor-General Sir John Kerr, had axed his benefactor. The Dismissal of Whitlam and his Labor Government was always shrouded in mystery and intrigue. The real truth of the machinations leading up to this unprecedented coup remain cloaked in secrecy and that is because Australia is not yet a republic.

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Cash for trash and the Joyce affair: System bites the dust

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Our key instititions have failed us miserably.

Displacement looms for our wombat population as countless Australians seek out their holes to crawl into.

It is so hopeless that extrication from society seems the only option for anyone with a social conscience. Trust has bitten the dust and politicians are the major culprits.

One could have wistfully hoped that with the start of a new year, 2018 would bring just a modicum of improvement in the standard of federal government. Senator Michaelia Cash put an end to that and now we pessimistically await the next exercise in trashing our Parliamentary system.

The shenanigans surrounding Member for New England Barnaby Joyce and his pregnant ex-staffer were dreadful and the nation cringed in disbelief on many levels — betrayal of family, hypocrisy and appalling judgement. Behaviour behind closed doors was the root cause of Barnaby’s undoing.

Conversely, doors were wide open when Cash shamelessly launched her vitriolic attack in response to Labor Senator Doug Cameron, who had questioned the appointment of Cash’s new chief of staff.

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The fallout from the Barnaby affair

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Politicians cannot be trusted.

Tell us something we don’t know, you are saying.

Yes, it is a given, but the scandal surrounding Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and his pregnant extramarital partner Vikki Campion is about far more than trust. It encapsulates what is so wrong with our political and media modus operandi.

It is a minefield of personal failings on the part of the Nationals leader. It is a mainstream media disgrace.

Terms that have been bandied about in relation to Joyce’s conduct include inflated ego, betrayal, hypocrisy, deception, disingenuousness, cynicism, self-interest and poor self-control. We would expect that with high office comes a heightened cognisance of personal accountability. We might as well expect fairies at the bottom of the garden.

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WHAT’S IN A HARMLESS JULIE BISHOP CLOWN FACE MASK? PLENTY OF FARCE!

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Australian Federal Police have raided the parliament house gift shop. The raid followed a call to 2UE’s whisper line by an anonymous tipster citing inside knowledge and details of a plan by a group of “face-covered Moslems” to disrupt parliament. The call was heard by Channel 9, whose film crew promptly notified the AFP, then made a beeline for Capital Hill. Sound familiar? Deja vu?

Shop manager Flossie Fairweather politely informed the heavily armed anti-terrorist squad that she had sold out of the offending face coverings. “I sold the last 60 to that charming group of young people barely 30 minutes ago. They said they were Moslem but they did not look like terrorists to me. I think they were heading for the public gallery in that big green room.”

The squad then stormed the House of Representatives gallery with the order, “Remove all face coverings immediately.”

Childish laughter erupted as the group of primary school children removed their Julie Bishop clown face masks. A spokeschild piped up, “We just wanted to have a bit of fun at your expense. We didn’t think you would have learnt any lessons from the Burqa ban debacle last October. You idiots. And by the way, we are not Moslem, not that it should matter one iota. And yes, it was me who phoned 2UE. It has been a pleasure to make a laughing stock of the AFP, the media and parliament. Kids rule! We are the future and don’t you forget it.”

Tony Abbott reacted angrily to the incident, “There will be no more benefit of the doubt for children seeking to harm Australia. We are a free and fair nation, but that doesn’t mean we should let bad children play us for mugs. Let me be quite clear about this. All children, I repeat, all children will now be treated as terror suspects.”

According to Flossie Fairweather, “Sales of the Julie Bishop clown face masks have soared. For fun-loving visitors to parliament house, to not wear a mask in the public galleries is as un-Australian as banning the burqa.”

Rumour has it that an outraged Julie Bishop approached Ms Fairweather, demanding that she withdraw all masks from sale. “Why don’t you wear one of these love. It will be a much better look for you.” came Flossie’s response. A gun-shy, red-faced and highly nervous AFP has kowtowed to Bishop’s demand that the incriminating CCTV footage be seized, archived and marked “Never to be released.”

“I PUT IT TO YOU THAT THERE IS AN ELEPHANT IN THIS ROOM … “

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Riding his bike through the corridors of parliament house, wearing his fire brigade overalls with his red speedos on the outside, donning a hard hat and safety goggles, Tony Abbott stopped a cleaner to ask for directions, “Excuse me, I can’t remember where my office is. I’ve been so busy obeying Peta – running, cycling, life-saving, fire-fighting, kissing babies, visiting factories and gallivanting around the country – that I seem to have forgotten. She sends me here, there and everywhere to keep the media distracted from the real business of prime ministership. I happily use her fail-safe scripted verbatim rhetoric ad infinitum, ad nauseam. She’s a genius. I tried to ad lib a few times with my own ideas but those gaffes made me a laughing stock. Prince Philip was the barbecue stopper of the century. So I just do what she says and follow the script. She runs the government. I call her boss. That’s how I manage to keep my job as PM. Without her I’d be stuffed. I have the political discretion of a flying pink elephant on steroids, with a pretty face, if I might say so.

The ‘cleaner’ was an unrecognised journalist by the name of Paul Kelly, who promptly gave his name. “My word you are multi-talented – a journo, singer-songwriter and a cleaner.”

A hasty shower and a “help-me-get-dressed-and-choose-a-tie-please-boss” later, Abbott addressed the National Press Club with an unread speech prepared by hers truly.

When the people of Australia elected their prime minister they got one of the fiercest political warriors ever known in the history of federal parliament. I am in command and control of this government, and I am getting on with the job of governing our country.

There is absolutely no possibility of me losing my job, despite the wishes of the majority of cabinet and backbenchers who loathe and despise me. I cannot be sacked because I am the boss. Bosses don’t sack themselves.

So Julie, hate me as much as you like. I ain’t goin’ nowhere.

And if you or Malcolm or Scott think you can get rid of me, I’ve got so much dirt on you I could leak like a sieve all day everyday for years. I’ve had my spies planted in your offices and I know you are ratting on me. I eat rats for breakfast, so watch it!

Abbott: Whoops, I seem to have the wrong document. Are there any questions? Yes, you the cleaner I was talking to earlier.

Kelly: Mr Abbott, I put it to you that you have the right document, heinously contrived as a ploy by your chief of staff to look like a mistake but, in fact to shore up her position as pseudo prime minister. What you have just blurted out makes her untouchable. I put it to you that there is an elephant in this room and its name is Peta Credlin. It was you who was elected prime minister, not her.

Abbott: When the people of Australia elected their prime minister they got one of the fiercest political warriors ever known in the history of federal parliament. I am in command and control of this government, and I am getting on with the job of governing our country.

Kelly: Mr Abbott, those are Credlin’s words not yours.

Abbott: Whatever Peta says is true and I stand by her every word. You have my word on that. I put it to you that our discussion – when I said that she runs the government – was a figment of your imagination. I deny having the political discretion of a flying pink elephant on steroids, with a pretty face, if I might say so. With my looks and her brains we are a duumvirate with the intestinal fortitude you, as a cleaner, may never see the likes of again. Better fly now. Come on boss, let’s wing it back to our office. Thank God you know the way.

QUEENSLANDERS WITNESS A CONCESSION SPEECH DELIVERED BY A DYING TOAD

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Every morning, Campbell Cane Toad awoke, headed for the bathroom and kissed himself in the mirror. He then transformed into a besuited political being with the title: Premier of Queensland.

All was going well for Campbell until the 2015 landslide election when he lost his own seat, and with it his magic spell. Alas he could be humanoid no more. He was doomed, through the sorcery of the insidious LNP Panel of Evil, to become a squelched toad, with insidious consequences for the whole state. Dubbed ‘Campbell the Martyr’ by the panel, he was destined for sacrificial notoriety. The Panel of Evil was out for revenge in the wake the LNP’s statewide drubbing.

And so, on election night, stunned Queenslanders witnessed a concession speech delivered by a dying toad.

“My political career is over. I have been squelched. I am going to croak it. However, let me say it has been an absolute privilege to wreak havoc across this wonderful state in what has been an all-consuming passion for the past three years. If you think I’m on the nose, as your vote indicates, you ain’t smelt nothin’ yet!”

And with that, Queensland was slimed. Roads and railways became impassable, airports were closed, industry ground to a halt. ‘The Sunshine State’ slid to a standstill.

Then came the stench so great that Joh Bjelke-Petersen stirred from his grave gasping in awe at the devastation. “This is evil-doing on a scale I was never able to achieve in my time as a criminal lunatic corrupt premier. Oh such glory to the power of the vendetta for which I was peerless, until Campbell came along. I feel so inspired that I sense a reincarnation coming on. Don’t you worry about that.”

Eventually, Annastacia Palaszczuk and her team of Toadbusters formed a minority government and began to clean up the mess. Imploring Queenslanders to be on alert for any fresh outbreaks, the new premier launched into song:

If there’s something strange in your neighborhood
Who ya gonna call? Toadbusters!
If there’s something weird and it don’t look good
Who ya gonna call? Toadbusters!

Queensland is now ‘The Fickle State’. Palaszczuk’s pitiful infantile chant was inexcusable. “Far worse than being slimed, that was an undignified attempt to make Queensland a laughing stock. Joh could do it with such dignity. Oh for a return to the glory days of Joh.” lamented an entire state.

Breaking news! The LNP Panel of Evil has recruited Joh Mark II.