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

AS PUBLISHED IN INDEPENDENT AUSTRALIA

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

AS PUBLISHED IN INDEPENDENT AUSTRALIA

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

AS PUBLISHED IN INDEPENDENT AUSTRALIA

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

AS PUBLISHED IN INDEPENDENT AUSTRALIA

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

AS PUBLISHED IN INDEPENDENT AUSTRALIA

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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