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The Prime Minister of Australia stands up for the women of her country
October 9, 2012 4:58 AM   Subscribe

"I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man, I will not. And 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 got a piece of paper and he is writing out his resignation." - The Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, takes the Leader of the Opposition to task over his sexist views (link includes extracts and video of full fifteen minute speech)

Tony Abbott, the Leader of the Federal Opposition in Australia, has a problem with women.

In an effort to improve his image in this regard, his wife has offered a passionate defense.
posted by crossoverman (207 comments total) 57 users marked this as a favorite

 
So this is ultimately about Peter Slipper, the Speaker, who has now resigned over things he put in texts - is that right?
posted by Segundus at 5:13 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


She fucking humiliated him and he had to sit there and take it like he had a boiled egg between his cheeks... But I also wonder what non-Australians make of this, and wish we could keep our embarrassing and degenerate polity to ourselves.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:16 AM on October 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


This speech made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up today. "Finally" I thought - "the PM is making it clear what she believes and what she stands for." It was truly inspiring and the look on the Leader of the Opposition's face as she tore him to pieces was priceless. He had the look of someone who had just realised that the game he has been playing has real impacts on people, real consequences, and she was giving him a lesson in the responsibilties of public office.

It was magnificent, and put into stark perspective the cost of living in a misogynist society.

Sadly, the two responses to this speech seem to be: "Wow it was amazing", or "Haha, the PM got caught out".
posted by awfurby at 5:16 AM on October 9, 2012 [19 favorites]


Jesus that was incredible.
posted by litleozy at 5:24 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some missing context here btw is that recently a shock jock broadcaster (Alan Jones) was reported as telling a Liberal Party fundraiser that Gillard's father, who recently died, had "died of shame". Tony Abbott made a direct allusion to that in Question Time saying that the Government should have "died of shame". So it's pretty much: you insulted my father, prepare to die.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:25 AM on October 9, 2012 [27 favorites]


I'm firmly on the "Wow, it was amazing" side of the aisle.
posted by jaduncan at 5:25 AM on October 9, 2012


Fiasco de Gama: I also wonder what non-Australians make of this, and wish we could keep our embarrassing and degenerate polity to ourselves.

Please don't, it's awful fun to watch from afar. You guys are almost as crazy as the Canadians!
posted by Kattullus at 5:25 AM on October 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Now, that is how you address hypocrisy amongst politicians. Fantastic.
posted by jontyjago at 5:28 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was kicking around posting this, so thanks for solving that issue.

I have not seen her speech yet, but I remain amazed that Abbott pulled out the "This Government should DIE OF SHAME" line. And I remain sure the "She did not cry, she is a heartless monster who is not fit to be a mother" line will out.

But the thing is, this will resonate with women, which is assuredly the point, reinforcing the Abbott has an issue with women line which was so firmly on Q&A last night. Watch it if you are able. It was something. Especially the odd Downton Abbey asides.

I don't think this is about Slipper, at all. He's just part of a very wide-ranging definition of misogyny (I can't see his comments at The Oz), and there is all kinds of odd gay subtext with him and Alan Jones which is noise to the signal. Also: media wars.

But Australia is having a very colourful debate over the role of women in public life, the likes of which I have not seen in many a year.

I'm hoping to see JG's speech on Lateline later on, though. I think it will be one for the history books.
posted by Mezentian at 5:30 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


You guys are almost as crazy as the Canadians!
Those crazy Canadians with their gun laws and sensible medicine and rule of law!
posted by Mezentian at 5:31 AM on October 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


I loved at the end, when Abbott was looking at his watch--

"He's looking at his watch, for a woman's been speaking too long."

Fiasco da Gama, the PM humiliated him? Called him on his actions, more like. Considering the bad taste of his comments not very much earlier about the how the government should "die of shame".

This statement which directly reflects on that situation with Alan Jones commenting on Gillard's father "dying of shame" at her actions, who died after a long illness. At that same Liberal function in which a chaff bag jacket was auctioned off, referencing Jones' tasteless comments of last year in which he said she should be put in a chaff bag and thrown into the sea. Which resulted in that particular supermarket chain's high-ranking staff member who donated the jacket being relieved of his position, and the shock-jock's radio station losing many of their advertisers.

Liberal party affair, and very little being said from the Liberal party about this matter.

Abbott's repeating of "died of shame" is very probably why you could hear the emotion in her voice at the beginning of her speech. She practically shook with it.
posted by owlrigh at 5:33 AM on October 9, 2012 [11 favorites]


his comments not very much earlier about the how the government should "die of shame"

Colour me astonished he went there. This is completely beyond the pale.
posted by Wolof at 5:36 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Lovely.

Back when Abbott was Health Minister, Gillard always had his measure in Parliament. It's been a long-standing source of amazement for me that he's had such a dream run from her since becoming Opposition Leader. Good to hear her back on form.

Julia Gillard:
... not the kind of double standards and political game playing imposed by the Leader of the Opposition, now looking at his watch because apparently a woman's spoken too long.

I have had him yell at me to shut up in the past but I will take the remaining seconds of my speaking time to say to the Leader of the Opposition I think the best course for him is to reflect on the standards he has exhibited in public life, on the responsibility he should take for his public statements, on his close personal connection with Peter Slipper, on the hypocrisy he has displayed in this House today.

On that basis, because of the Leader of the Opposition's motivations, this Parliament today should reject this motion and the Leader of the Opposition should think seriously about the role of women in public life and in Australian society because we are entitled to a better standard than this.
Tell it, sister.

It's a pity I'm the only person I know whose car radio is permanently tuned to the Parliamentary broadcasts, because that makes me the only person I know who believes that Peter Slipper was a bloody good Speaker. He had made great strides toward lifting the standard of debate in the Parliamentary playpen before the Tory machine found a sensitive spot to kick him in; hearing a Speaker actually exercise his powers to warn and exclude disruptive MPs brought joy to my cynical old heart, and I'm saddened that he did turn out to be such a goose outside the Speaker's chair.

Colour me astonished he went there

If you'd spent any serious amount of time actually listening to Abbott in Parliament, astonished is the last thing you'd be. The man has no judgement. None. He's a rank and shameless opportunist with a long track record of speaking without thinking first, and would make a drop-in replacement for Alan Jones.
posted by flabdablet at 5:41 AM on October 9, 2012 [13 favorites]


The way Julia Gillard has been treated is shocking, as seen here previously; I'm not that surprised those douches would go that one step further and attack her using her dead father.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:41 AM on October 9, 2012


I don't always agree with Julia Gillard, I think she maybe plays the political game a little too ruthlessly, but there's no denying she's magnificent at it. And political game-playing aside, that was a great speech. About time someone stuck it to Abbot, and even better that it's her.

It's a pity Slipper resigned as Speaker anyway.
posted by Xany at 5:42 AM on October 9, 2012


On the one hand, it a shame that our public discourse should come to this, that the disrespect is so dire that Julia Gillard finally has to say ENOUGH!! On the other hand, I am so glad that she did. If that's the world we live in, then let them have it with both barrels. Well done Prime Minister.
posted by adamt at 5:43 AM on October 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Peter Slipper

Is this Australian slang?
posted by three blind mice at 5:43 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


No, it's really truly the name of the ex-Speaker in the federal House of Representatives. It is, however, an absolute gift to sub-editors.
posted by flabdablet at 5:48 AM on October 9, 2012


Dear Prime Minister Gillard:

Please, if your schedule permits, come to America and show our leaders how to do this also.

We have a spare bedroom in our apartment, I make great coffee and my girlfriend usually handles breakfast. Okay, for you I'll go to the bakery and get the best coffee in town and bring you a delicious scone or something.

Or anything, really. Just let us know when you can make it and the whole town's yours.

I believe in you.

Sincerely yours,

LT
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 5:49 AM on October 9, 2012 [28 favorites]


But I also wonder what non-Australians make of this, and wish we could keep our embarrassing and degenerate polity to ourselves.

I live in the US, but I know where you're coming from.
posted by TedW at 5:51 AM on October 9, 2012


I watched the rundown on this on Lateline tonight. That was one of the best speaking performances I think I've seen from Ms Gillard. Seeing her speak with such eloquency, passion, honesty, courage and yes, rage against the mysogonistic hypocrisy of Abbot had me pumping my fist along with her.
posted by michswiss at 5:58 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Please, if your schedule permits, come to America and show our leaders how to do this also.

She was just here in NYC about two weeks or so ago. I wish this had happened before her visit as she possibly would have been a bit more in the public eye.
posted by newpotato at 6:01 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


But I also wonder what non-Australians make of this, and wish we could keep our embarrassing and degenerate polity to ourselves.

I'm an American and my take is the same as Lipstick Thespian's. I got out of this not "embarrassing and degenerate polity," at least not more embarrassing and degenerate than all the other English-speaking democracies (I single out English-speaking only because those are the polities I'm aware of), but an awesome, righteous reprisal, and I wish Obama would be able to recapture some of his 2007/8 magic - remember when we were all twitterpated at what a dazzling speaker he was - and give it to Romney like this in the next debate.
posted by mreleganza at 6:04 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


You all love Jules this week when she's the "battered woman", but let us remember:
1. She is prime minister because she backstabbed the previous PM
2. She voted against gay marriage.

I mention these things because, among people I know, they are important, and Non-Australians should be aware.
posted by Mezentian at 6:09 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow Mezentian, way to cloud the issue. And offend. Battered woman? Did you really bloody just type that? Did you really?
posted by taff at 6:13 AM on October 9, 2012 [27 favorites]


Seriously, Australians -- I'm an American, and I think this speech is awesome, and regardless of whether I agree with all of her actions or views (I'm a strong supporter of marriage equality, for one), I would like to see your PM give our President some debate pointers.

There are viciously hypocritical politicians and misogynists everywhere, but there aren't that many people willing and able to call them out so directly, with such style and force.
posted by BlueJae at 6:14 AM on October 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


That was pretty damn fantastic.
posted by rtha at 6:16 AM on October 9, 2012


You all love Jules this week when she's the "battered woman", but let us remember:
1. She is prime minister because she backstabbed the previous PM
2. She voted against gay marriage


Julia Gillard is still the lesser evil. Now if the Tories replaced Abbott with Turnbull (who recently stated that (a) Alan Jones is not a victim of bullying and should shut up, and (b) the proposed data retention/surveillance bill is unacceptably authoritarian), she would actually have to work to remain the lesser evil.
posted by acb at 6:19 AM on October 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


This is brilliant for a number of reasons. Not only is it a fantastic, impassioned, courageous speech, calling out Abbott for heinous behaviour that he's got away with for far too long, but it's also a shrewd political maneuver. This question time was all about Peter Slipper and the Opposition accused the Government of hypocrisy for not condemning him as a misogynist but Gillard changed the terms of the argument so effectively that every headline will be "PM calls Abbott misogynist" (or some backwards misinterpretation of events in the Tele perhaps). She had all his old missteps written down, then he put his foot in it once more with the 'died of shame' nonsense (what was he thinking?) and Gillard let him have it. No hedging, just up against the wall. Trotting out Margie Abbott isn't going to work in the future, I don't think he can go near that subject again, the Govt have made it clear that he's given them enough ammunition that he'll be flattened if he steps into the ring.

I almost feel for the bugger. He had no idea he was about to be so eviscerated. It's good to see JG with this much power in her again, she's been pretty sporadic with her public appearances during her term. She deserves better than she's been treated and it's great to see her give it back.
posted by notionoriety at 6:20 AM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is no one working these days? Or are they all too busy, fondling their phones?
posted by Carol Anne at 6:21 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


European here, and all I know about Australian politics is that there are other issues with Gillard but damn. I watched that entire speech, and when she was done I wanted to stand up and cheer! Could we have more of this awesome calling people on their bullshit everywhere, please?
posted by harujion at 6:21 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Blue Jae, I abhor her stance on marriage equality. The only small redeeming feature of it is that she allowed her party a conscience vote in parliament. The opposition leader, a very devout catholic, did not afford his parliamentary colleagues the same opportunity.


And she didn't need to backstab the previous PM, he was about to be stoned to death by the Caucus and all the federal public servants.
posted by taff at 6:22 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


what was he thinking?

Mu
posted by flabdablet at 6:25 AM on October 9, 2012


Now GIFfed and postered.
posted by notionoriety at 6:32 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


What's in those pirate treasure chests on the table?
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:35 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Combine the Parliamentary style of government and this (ever entertaining) style of calling people on their bullshit with a little of the honesty on issues and commitment to problem-solving shown in the recent Stewart vs O'Reilly debate, and that might actually make a halfway decent government.
posted by olinerd at 6:39 AM on October 9, 2012


I know nothing of Australian politics and knew nothing of the back-story to this particular speech. I just want to add that this is the second time I've seen an Aussie hand someone their ass without the use of swear words, the first time being at work. Both occasions were delightful to behold.

Having said that about her father, he deserved to have her walk across that table and kick him in the balls.
posted by double block and bleed at 6:40 AM on October 9, 2012


I just watched the video. That little wink he gives her at the beginning is so condescending and nasty that I'm amazed she didn't throw something at him. After that it was a pleasure to watch her rip him apart.
posted by Forktine at 6:50 AM on October 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Wow Mezentian, way to cloud the issue. And offend. Battered woman? Did you really bloody just type that? Did you really?

I did. I typed that. I may be wrong.
I also put it in inverted commas.

I assume you, like, I, am aware of what has been going on more intimately than our international audience, and I read it as some odd "beating down" of {powerful} women.
You might not, and fair call.
This might be my Downer moment.

And she didn't need to backstab the previous PM, he was about to be stoned to death by the Caucus and all the federal public servants.

She was the hand that twisted the knife. I will agree to many things, but Gillard's rise to the PM seat was so ill-considered, it is close to the Dismissal.
You might disagree, and I have friends who do, but I think it was a bad idea -- and the polls appear to have supported that, gender politics or no. And I used to love the Gillard/Abbott fights in the old days.
posted by Mezentian at 6:50 AM on October 9, 2012


How can this Abbott character be in charge of anything? Isn't he the same who just stood staring at a journalist instead of answering questions on casualties in Afghanistan?
posted by brokkr at 6:51 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Isn't he the same who just stood staring at a journalist instead of answering questions on casualties in Afghanistan?

He's in charge because apparently the Liberals don't want Turnbull, who all the Labor Tweeters want. And so we can't have a scheme to deal with carbon emissions.
posted by Mezentian at 6:53 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


This might be my Downer moment.

Stop digging.
posted by kmz at 6:55 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


[Yeah, let's please pursue the discussion without snide "battered woman" comments or similar? This sort of conversational tack is derailing and toxic.]
posted by taz at 6:55 AM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't think female politicians dare to use the word "misogynist" in the U.S, at least not any more. It might hurt someone's feelings, not to mention the women out there who think that feminist = Andrea Dworkin.

Looking forward to watching the video when I get home tonight.
posted by Currer Belfry at 7:04 AM on October 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Is no one working these days?

Ha. That ship sailed ... ~20 years ago.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:12 AM on October 9, 2012


I don't think female politicians dare to use the word "misogynist" in the U.S, at least not any more. It might hurt someone's feelings, not to mention the women out there who think that feminist = Andrea Dworkin.

I don't think it's about hurting someone's feelings, it's about the army of talking heads the right would deploy to earnestly explain how they were the ones being discriminated against.
posted by hoyland at 7:12 AM on October 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


Is she, uh, looking for a job? Because I believe we're about to have an opening...
posted by Mooseli at 7:32 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


hoyland, I probably should have used the hamburger tag on the "hurting feelings" part, but the outcome you predict is highly likely!
posted by Currer Belfry at 7:37 AM on October 9, 2012


It's a pity Slipper resigned as Speaker anyway.

It is really? Honestly, is there are good recapsule for those of us not as familiar with the harassment charges?

an absolute gift to sub-editors

I didn't find many good ones ...

from Rupert Murdoch:

* Sinking in the Slipper - Nov. 24 '11
* New speaker’s slack clobber, old speaker clobbers slackers - Feb. 8, '12
* It’s no longer about the majority, it’s about integrity - Apr. '12
* The Speaker slips away… - Oct. 9, '12

and from (everyone's favorite person) Gina Rinehart:

* Labor totters on a high wire but keeps its unslippered feet - May 9
* Brough, government go toe to toe over Peter Slipper affair - Jun. 18
* Text trail a portrait of divided loyalties - Aug. 11
* Scores of Slipper sexts revealed - Oct. 7
* Slipper moment of clarity closes ghastly spectacle - Oct. 10
posted by mrgrimm at 7:39 AM on October 9, 2012


The only reasons to regret Slipper's departure are that this great speech was partially given for the purpose of keeping him, and that it's going to make the government's majority harder to hold onto (which is why they're defending him and the Opposition attacking him so hard, whereas normally the bloke would have been cut adrift months ago). His appointment was a bad idea from the outset, made to secure the govt's majority.
posted by notionoriety at 7:47 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


His appointment was a bad idea from the outset, made to secure the govt's majority.

That's what I got as well from my extremely cursory reading. Oops.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:49 AM on October 9, 2012


She's awesome.
posted by Argyle at 8:06 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


HOT DAMN! those are the most beautiful 15 minutes of parliamentarian outrage i've ever had the privilege to witness. that was just amazing. good on Gillard.
posted by liza at 8:10 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know enough background to be able to judge Julia Gillard as a person (though I can damn well judge the hell out of any jerk slimy enough to use a parent's death as a slur). And the information that she didn't vote for (voted down?) gay marriage is not helping. But that speech? That was a thing of true beauty. That was the real life moment that is usually reserved for film or episodes of the West Wing, the kind of gorgeous eloquent "justified vengeance moment" that we all dream we should have when attacked, let alone attacked by a hypocrite.

Standing Fucking Ovation.
posted by synapse at 8:20 AM on October 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


This has been going around my Twitter all morning and I finally watched it, and immediately came to MeFi to see if it had been posted.

That was fucking beautiful, holy crap. I feel all shivery and kind of choked up. It shouldn't be so unexpected and surprising to see a member of parliament stand up so firmly for the rights of half of the population and call out hypocrisy, but it is, and I loved every moment of that. The way she stands firm and proud despite the heckling from the opposite bench, the way even the opposite bench is groaning at some of the quotes she's pulled out on Abbott, the resounding agreement from her side. I know from MeFi that many people are not fans of Gillard's policies, and I'm off to read up on them after this, but "we are entitled to a better standard than this" indeed.

Obama could do to learn a thing or two from this speech.
posted by Phire at 8:45 AM on October 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


Oh man. There hasn't been justified rage this beautiful on the floor of either House of Congress since Rep. Anthony Wiener's career went to the great legislature in the sky.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 8:46 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


The only reasons to regret Slipper's departure are that this great speech was partially given for the purpose of keeping him

Seriously, did you ever listen to any Parliamentary debate that he ran? In thirty years of being interested enough in politics to listen regularly to Parliament I cannot recall a Speaker more willing to do his actual job of keeping order in the chamber. Peter Slipper was a tremendous Speaker.

Unlike his predecessor (Labor's Harry Jenkins) he appeared not to care much about staying popular with other Members (understandable, given that even his own party had him down as a defecting rat for accepting the Speaker's position in the first place*) and I suspect that this, along with the right wing's usual perception of unacceptable bias against it from anybody genuinely even-handed, was behind the Christopher Pyne Whispering Department's machinations against him.

What is regrettable is that he didn't have the nouse to see them coming and adjust his publicly discoverable behaviour accordingly. I am constantly amazed at the feckless crap people are willing to text and tweet. People who have no clue that anything you write down and send to somebody else might get published worldwide should not be allowed the use of a mobile phone.

I strongly doubt that his replacement will demonstrate the same guts (or was it in fact pure naivete?) that made Peter Slipper such an effective Speaker, and I think Parliament will be the worse for his departure from the chair.

*For non-Australians: the Speaker only gets to vote at all when the numbers are equal, so the party the Speaker belongs to is effectively down one vote. In a hung Parliament where no single party has a majority, such as Australia has right now, that one vote can be crucial. It's customary for the party that forms Government to provide a Speaker, which Labor initially did (Harry Jenkins); but Jenkins retired (many think he was "helped" with that decision) and the Government offered the job to Peter Slipper, an Opposition member, effectively gaining two more votes. Slipper accepted because he was unhappy with the way his party had been treating him, the machine men having stacked his local branch to helicopter in their preferred candidate for preselection.
posted by flabdablet at 9:03 AM on October 9, 2012 [15 favorites]


I am dying to watch this video, but I can't just yet for work reasons. I am not at all versed in Australian politics, but from these articles it appears that Prime Minister Gillard is my hero today.

Also: Not the kind of double standards and political game playing imposed by the Leader of the Opposition, now looking at his watch because apparently a woman's spoken too long.

All the terms for this sort of slap are pretty sexist, but wow do they apply to that one. This woman's awesome.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:15 AM on October 9, 2012


All the terms for this sort of slap are pretty sexist

"straight between the eyes with the cluebat" works for me.
posted by flabdablet at 9:19 AM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


But I also wonder what non-Australians make of this, and wish we could keep our embarrassing and degenerate polity to ourselves.

This non-Australian wishes more American politicians would step up and show backbone like your prime minister just did.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:23 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


This Australian wishes our Prime Minister would step up and show that much backbone on refugee policy; refusing to play the Tory game of calling it "border protection" would be a good start. I've generally been about as disappointed in our nominally Left Faction PM as a heap of Americans apparently are in their nominally Democrat President.

But that speech was a corker. Usually when the PM gets up and spends her whole allocated time bagging the Opposition instead of speaking directly to whatever motion I'm all "oh for fuck's sake can we please just drop the playground taunting and concentrate on issues like adults" but in this case she just absolutely nailed it.
posted by flabdablet at 9:31 AM on October 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Kudos to flabdablet and others for framing this so informatively and interestingly, I hope that we American mefites do half as good a job at framing US political posts (or explanatory comments) as...again, interestingly and informatively as you have done.

One question: So I understand why slipper accepted the Speaker posistion. Why did the Government offer it to him in the first place, if it costs the party in (nominal) power 2 votes effectively?
posted by mreleganza at 9:34 AM on October 9, 2012


Oddly, I'm told that the Australian MSM summary is that she lost control. Proves her wider point about sexism I suppose. It's clearly a calmly furious and reasoned takedown.

If you want to see genuine sweary parliamentary losing-of-it, I recommend this from the Dail. It turned out not to be unparliamentary language, too, formally.
posted by imperium at 9:52 AM on October 9, 2012


mreleganza, as I understand it it was in the Government's interest to offer Slipper the Speaker position, since he's in the Opposition party. They gain back the Labor vote that they lost when there was a Labor speaker, plus they effectively deprive the Liberals of Slipper's vote.

(Largely ignorant of Australian parliamentary process, this is just how I parse flabdablet's explanation.)
posted by McCoy Pauley at 9:53 AM on October 9, 2012


One question: So I understand why slipper accepted the Speaker posistion. Why did the Government offer it to him in the first place, if it costs the party in (nominal) power 2 votes effectively?

The government gained two votes in this case.
Usually the speaker comes from the majority party, in this case he came from the oppositions which means that the opposition loses a vote while the government keeps the vote it would otherwise lose for a net gain of two votes for the government.
posted by atrazine at 9:54 AM on October 9, 2012


Can someone explain the "dying of shame" backstory?
posted by sauril at 9:55 AM on October 9, 2012


imperium: "Oddly, I'm told that the Australian MSM summary is that she lost control."

Wait, what?? Do you have any links for this? Because if this is "losing control", man, a lot more liberal politicians could stand to lose it.
posted by Phire at 9:58 AM on October 9, 2012


sauril: "Can someone explain the "dying of shame" backstory?"

owlrigh has a good explanation up top.
posted by Phire at 9:59 AM on October 9, 2012


"The gentleman will sit! The gentleman is correct in sitting!"
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 10:01 AM on October 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Have to admit I have never really been impressed with Julia Gillard, even when she was in opposition, and I don't think she is a very good PM, for reasons already mentioned in this post and others.
But all kudos to her for this great speech. Not only for it being full of passion and eloquence but for finally calling out a hypocrite as a hypocrite, and backing it up with quotes, facts and logic. If only more politicians everywhere could do the same.
posted by Megami at 10:26 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, that was really impressive. I personally didn't see any look of 'realisation' by Abbott, but I wouldn't have expected it.
posted by jacalata at 10:31 AM on October 9, 2012


As an American, that looks to me like a Jodie Foster movie clip, TBH: it's too hard to imagine that actually happening in the U.S. :7(

Go, Australia!
posted by wenestvedt at 11:25 AM on October 9, 2012


This is in the grand tradition of the inimitable Paul Keating. A Prime Minister who thought nothing of referring to the balding leader of the opposition as "curly" or a "perfumed gigolo". What a total star. Aussie politics is like the Brit House of Commons - hardly surprising - but without the restraint (!). Aussies should be proud of it - it's very healthy indeed.
posted by MajorDundee at 11:41 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Two things impressed me about this speech.

1. It has been a long, long time since I have heard anyone have a new arsehole ripped for them so eloquently and so deservedly in any public forum; and

2. In Australia, evidently, legislators actually sit quietly and listen more or less respectfully, even under very trying conditions.

As someone only familiar with the Canadian House of Commons, I am gobsmacked.
posted by dmayhood at 12:17 PM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Seriously, did you ever listen to any Parliamentary debate that he ran?

Sorry, I somehow framed the question in my head apart from how good he actually was at his job rather than as a political asset. I've got to stop talking about things in those terms. Australian politics! Still mostly rubbish.
posted by notionoriety at 12:40 PM on October 9, 2012


I would love to be a fly on the wall in Nancy Pelosi's office while she watches this speech. I wonder if she has dreamed of doing something similar.
posted by ambrosia at 12:48 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


But I also wonder what non-Australians make of this, and wish we could keep our embarrassing and degenerate polity to ourselves.

Well, this non-Australian (who has been here for a couple of years) thinks it was amazing. I am a political news junkie even when I have no personal stakes in the system, and I haven't seen anything like this before. Abbott's reference to the "died of shame" bit was really, really disgusting. It is one thing for people like Alan Jones to say such vile nonsense, and completely another for the Leader of the Opposition to do the same.

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I met Rudd once. I was amazed at how smart the guy is, and came away from the meeting terribly impressed by him. It was sometime later that it struck me - how smart does one have to be to outsmart Rudd, and to do that while being his deputy and being directly responsible for many of the things that the administration is considered guilty of? That's how smart and politically savvy Gillard is.

I've seen other speeches of hers in the Parliament and elsewhere (I recall especially the recent presser where she refused to move on before all questions on the issue of her lawyerly past were exhausted). But this.. this was just amazing. It should be mandatory viewing for politicians in all parliamentary democracies.

Incidentally, Gillard and Abbott weren't always like this apparently. The ABC reporter on radio last night mentioned their appearances together on the Today Show, so I looked it up. The phrase to google is - Gillard Abbott Flirting.
posted by vidur at 12:48 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here is a video that shows the "died of shame" context.
posted by robcorr at 12:49 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Your reaction to the link: extensive debate about Australian politics and gender equality and the like.

My initial reaction to the link: "Huh. This 'Slipper Affair' turned out to be considerably less salacious than I might have imagined."

This is a fine example of why I don't post much on Metafilter.
posted by Slyfen at 1:02 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is there some secret reason why Jodie Foster hasn't bought the rights to The Julia Gillard Story? It would be best I guess if Mel Gibson played Abbott. He could use a proper slippering.
posted by chavenet at 1:14 PM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


I would like to believe that if the Prime Minister's hold on her position wasn't quite so tenuous, then we'd see her being a little more progressive on the issues of refugees and gay marriage. I truly think we'll see some change in her policies if she gets a second term. But leading the country with such a slim margin - only in the Office due to the will of some Independents, she's become far too conservative for my tastes.

But this speech, this speech was amazing - and I wish I'd done a better job of putting it all in context before I posted it. But it feels like this has been a long time coming and to put it into a proper context would have taken a lot more work, a lot more links - where the speech itself is pretty clear in its objective. She calls Abbott out for being a misogynist during Question Time. I really can't believe it happened, whatever the context.

So I may not agree with some of her policies, but I love that she had the courage of her convictions yesterday and said what needed to be said.
posted by crossoverman at 1:33 PM on October 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Despite decrying him as a misogynist (was it only yesterday?), the Coalition has today stated that they will now accept Peter Slipper's vote - so I feel a little justified in my cynicism on that matter. Still, I'm mystified that even in other countries people are hailing this speech for what it is, yet in Australia's media today the PM is largely derided for losing her temper - or more confusingly, not having done enough to defend women? Oh wait, basically all of our papers are owned by Murdoch, I forgot. Here's the report from the most widely-read newspaper in the country, see if it matches your opinion of the video.
posted by notionoriety at 2:02 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't know anything at all about the politics in Australia, but that speech is going down in history as one of the great ones.
posted by SLC Mom at 2:14 PM on October 9, 2012


What's in those pirate treasure chests on the table?

Those are the despatch boxes. I don't think the Australian version has anything in them.

2. In Australia, evidently, legislators actually sit quietly and listen more or less respectfully, even under very trying conditions.

This is not usually the case. I imagine the Opposition realised that the usual heckling of the Prime Minister while she was in the middle of a speech about the misogyny of the Opposition would not be a good look, and so enforced strict discipline for this occasion.

how smart does one have to be to outsmart Rudd, and to do that while being his deputy and being directly responsible for many of the things that the administration is considered guilty of?

Gillard wasn't responsible for leading the push against Rudd. It was a party room revolt against someone, whom by all accounts, was an autocratic leader who alienated all of caucus. It doesn't matter how smart you think you are; if you go against your party, and don't have the polls to support you, you're not going to last long.

This might be my Downer moment.

It's the little things that matter.
posted by kithrater at 2:44 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Still, I'm mystified that even in other countries people are hailing this speech for what it is, yet in Australia's media today the PM is largely derided for losing her temper

Have you met the Australian media? It's so twisted it makes me want to tear my ears off. Gillard shows fine form tearing Abbott a new arsehole for being a cynical misogynist, and how do the papers report it? "Look! See, see, she's just a shouty uncontrollable emotional woman!"

"Losing her temper" my arse. That's not what losing your temper looks like. Punching walls is what losing your temper looks like.
posted by Jimbob at 3:15 PM on October 9, 2012 [12 favorites]


BREAKING NEWS: Homophobe lectures Sexist Homophobe about the Evils of Discrimination
posted by smithsmith at 3:20 PM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


> I would like to see your PM give our President some debate pointers.

Be careful what you wish for.

I can't wait for the day Gillard breaks from tradition and says "No" to America. Her heart will be in it.
posted by de at 4:07 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Christopher Pyne, speaking to reporters outside the Parliament this morning (it was live on ABC news), referred to a "handbag hit squad". What's that all about?
posted by vidur at 4:37 PM on October 9, 2012


The "handbag hit squad" is a derogatory term for feminists, or even just women, who use community action to criticise those in the public eye for behaviour they find offensive. The use of the term shows pretty clearly where Pyne stands on this issue.
posted by notionoriety at 4:42 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


"handbag hit squad"

It was a phrase used by Julie Bishop a few weeks back. See this article for more, including a great photo of Bishop and Pyne.
posted by kithrater at 4:50 PM on October 9, 2012


Sorry, the phrase was used by Kelly O'Dwyer, not Julie Bishop. Julie Bishop was acting Opposition Leader at the time, and quickly picked up the phrase over the next few days.
posted by kithrater at 4:52 PM on October 9, 2012


Thanks. Quite weird that he would use the phrase, especially given current context. None of the reporters called him on it.
posted by vidur at 5:21 PM on October 9, 2012


The New Yorker has put up a blog post that might help flesh out the issue and surrounding events for those not familiar with Australian politics.
posted by adamt at 5:38 PM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't necessarily like or respect someone who makes idiotic "like a bivalve, amiright!" jokes, but I am far less bothered by a man making grotty, schoolboy type comments about female genitalia in a private communication, than I am by institutionalised contempt and dislike for women.
posted by thylacinthine at 6:09 PM on October 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Here's the report from the most widely-read newspaper in the country, see if it matches your opinion of the video.

I read that Hartcher piece last night, it's such a colossal load of shit. Obviously threatened by a discourse that is breaking outside the gizzard-augury the press gallery likes to indulge in, Hartcher desperately tries to pull it back into the horse-race fuck-trash that is all he's capable of.

We expected more of the Prime Minister? Please. I certainly did, generally, but in this context she has gone above and beyond, and defending the right of someone who was by all accounts a very good speaker from having to resign - as a result of an unresolved civil matter (that stinks more than a fishmonger's drainpipes, I might add*) - is an ornate display of Victorian prudishness, and more hollow than a Faberge egg.

I loved, especially, how Gillard becomes the Ur-Woman, representing all Australian femininity, whilst Abbott represents... all men? What?

I agree (in some respects) that the Speaker's office has been ill-used by both parties (what's new?), but comparing Slipper's private texts (for those that don't know the sexists comments were 1. calling Sophie Mirabella - Australia's Michele Bachman - an "ignorant botch" and 2. a reference to vaginas as "shell-less mussels". This is out of hundreds of private messages, btw, not to condone it of course) to the institutionalised, public, widespread use and advocacy of the most degenerate sexist slurs against the prime minister is like comparing a waterslide to a frigging tsunami.
posted by smoke at 6:26 PM on October 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


Oh I forgot my asterisk:

*The former staffer suing Slipper for sexual harrassment has been investigated for statutory rape of a fifteen year old boy; was fired from his job as a radio DJ for anonymous harrassing phone calls to a rival; was in regular contact prior to the lawsuit with the man who wants to replace Slipper in his seat; also met more than once with members of the Coalition shadow ministry to discuss the issues (Slipper's political enemies); is being represented for free by Harmers, the Liberal party house law firm; and has already had to withdraw one of his suits.

When he voiced concern at Slipper's language and behaviour with him, Slipper immediately withdrew and urged all communication to go through another staffer going forwards. I'm sure the courts will get to the bottom of it, but there are certainly many, many elements to the suit that lend it an appearance of premeditation, ulterior motive, and exploitation.
posted by smoke at 6:32 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


adamt: that blog post ends:
After his performance last week, supporters of President Obama, watching Gillard cut through the disingenuousness and feigned moral outrage of her opponent to call him out for his own personal prejudice, hypocrisy, and aversion to facts, might be wishing their man would take a lesson from Australia.
Believe me, Obama already has. Mr President follows Gillard very closely. Trouble is, Gillard conveniently defers to aspects of American policy that are -- surprisingly -- an antithesis to her very history, and her Elder-Labor advisors.

Some of us are waiting eagerly for that particular speech. (A seat on the UN may help her be heard internationally, or at least lobby globally for consensus.)

Meanwhile, crossoverman, I couldn't agree more:
I would like to believe that if the Prime Minister's hold on her position wasn't quite so tenuous, then we'd see her being a little more progressive on the issues of refugees and gay marriage. I truly think we'll see some change in her policies if she gets a second term. But leading the country with such a slim margin - only in the Office due to the will of some Independents, she's become far too conservative for my tastes.
... except Gillard had a little more help (toppling Rudd and) getting into Office than simply support of some Independents. If Gillard gets a second term in her own right, and I believe she will against all odds, she's sure to show the courage of her convictions quite a deal more -- internationally. Hold on to your seat! Fun times ahead. (Ask Rudd.)

Ms Gillard's a world changer; she has no intentions of losing Office for at least a decade.
posted by de at 6:37 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I dream of a day when Gillard can wrest herself free of being chained to the SDA, the NSW Right faction and the tenuousness of a minority government. Imagine what she could do.
posted by notionoriety at 6:41 PM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


So true, smoke. The whole thing stinks to high heavens and I feel like the press is BADLY out of touch with how the public have received the speech. Their irrelevance in today's society has been highlighted, they are desperately trying to spin this as bad for the PM but the cheers and vindication that thousands of women (including me) have felt about her speech suggest that they got it wrong.

I don't care if someone describes female genitalia in unflattering terms in private messages. I DO care about the sexist diatribe that the PM is subjected to on a daily basis.

Having the Leader of our country stand up and loudly proclaim that sexism isn't ok means a lot to me as a woman. We SHOULD stand up and demand better from our leaders than misogyny and sexism. Look at how Kate Ellis was talked over on Q and A on Monday night.

It's time for us to stand up and say, NO MORE and I felt that from the PM yesterday.

I have never been so proud of her - even though she's flawed and has so many stances that I disagree with - as I was yesterday.

Tony Abbott should resign.
posted by jonathanstrange at 6:44 PM on October 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


Having seen Gillard speak in person at the National Press Club in Canberra, and having followed her career with interest for many years, I want to point out that she is an incredible orator and always has been. It has pained me that, since she became PM, Gillard has toned down many of her speeches to be more neutral - the woman is an amazing speaker, the likes of which we haven't seen in Australia since Keating or Hawke. I am just SO, SO glad to see our PM, an Australian woman, stand up to the bully boys of parliament and tell it like it is.

As a side line, two points that I'd like to make as someone who follows Australian politics:

1) Re. PM Gillard's current policy on same-sex marriage. I'm pretty sure that this is the first minority government Australia has had, and nobody was quite sure how it would work at first. I have no doubt that if Gillard gets another term with more stable numbers in the house of Reps (and I hope she does) then same-sex marriage is something she will support. But for now, she's fighting feminist battles first (both politically and personally) - she can't do both at once, or she'd be destroyed by the likes of Abbott and Pyne.

2) Quit it with the backstabbing comments. I've drunk beers with Rudd's former staffers and the man is by all accounts a micromanaging control freak. He's known for screaming until he spits on people. Gillard challenged the leadership with the support of her party, and won. Remember that when Rudd challenged Gillard, many senior members of the party publicly declared that they would not work under Rudd - that he was incapable of governing. Gillard and the Labor party showed professional courtesy to Rudd during the leadership challenge by saying that the government had "lost its way" but the truth was that Rudd was fucking things up. In any case, Australia has had leadership spills before (e.g. Hawke and Keating) and nobody kept calling Keating a backstabber for the duration of his leadership.
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 7:22 PM on October 9, 2012 [12 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that this is the first minority government Australia has had

This is incorrect.

I have no doubt that if Gillard gets another term with more stable numbers in the house of Reps (and I hope she does) then same-sex marriage is something she will support

Unlikely. The Labor party has been forced to support a number of left positions due to the Greens' increased leverage from their seat in the House, including the carbon tax, the mining tax, and dental care. When that leverage becomes significantly reduced after the election, why do you think Labor won't veer back to the right?
posted by kithrater at 7:43 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Please don't, it's awful fun to watch from afar. You guys are almost as crazy as the Canadians!

I don't know, the amount of casual misogyny on display in Australian politics has no counterpart that I know of in Canada. Sure, politicians may make misogynistic remarks in Canada, but they are not tolerated.

The Conservative government in Canada may be full of closet-Creationists and oil-lobby lackies, and the front bench is still manned by incompetent nincompoops (Harper doesn't like to show weakness by shaking up Cabinet), but we certainly do not spew an Australian amount of vitriol. We're boring - we're Canadians, after all.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:43 PM on October 9, 2012


Alan Jones thought it "an unfortunate choice of words".
posted by Wolof at 7:54 PM on October 9, 2012


I've drunk beers with Rudd's former staffers and the man is by all accounts a micromanaging control freak.

Astonishing, isn't it, how not a single one of them - not even one - has been willing to go on record with their appalling treatment by Rudd's hands, especially given how such a thing would likely increase their career opportunities with the anti-Rudd Labor party.

Equally astonishing is the fact that such outstanding treatment resulted in a turnover in his office absolutely typical of a PM's office, and you have luminaries like Faulkner and Tanner (who I'd trust a damn sight more than the rest of the front bench put together), both supporting Rudd and saying that the govt was running relatively smoothly given the momentous events such as GFC etc. Of course, James Button has also said in his recent book and interviews he never had any issues, either. Also, on record.

All this in context that Rudd's polling was higher than Gillard's has been for circa 80-90% of her term, and absolutely fine for a first term govt at that stage of the electoral cycle, and that Gillard and co. were staunchly on the side of canning carbon tax etc etc.

Rudd might be the biggest arsehole who ever walked the Earth but a) I don't care, I just care if he was a good PM - and neither did much of Australia going by Gillard's reception ever since (especially in QLD where, duh, Labor support is kinda critical) and b) let's not rewrite history like Feeney and his bottom-feeding colleagues. Gillard would never have gotten up without the support of the Shoppies Union, the most antediluvian, retrograde faction there is.

Rudd was disposed of in a way engineered to make it difficult to support him, and with the inevitability of hurting the party whether he won or lost - hardly the selfless actions of shining heroes. The reasons - and the only reasons - that caucus were willing and able to remove him is because they didn't like him, and he had no factional backing. This nonsense about governing and terminal polling is just rationalisation. It's not the worst thing that's happened in parliament, but it was certainly not a selfless act of bravery and sacrifice, and electorally it was suicidal.
posted by smoke at 8:04 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


The clearest account of what happened yesterday, and the surrounding context, was published by The New Yorker.

As to why the Australian media is so rubbish on this and other political stories, read Tim Dunlop.
posted by robcorr at 9:00 PM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have no clear idea if the current Australian PM is a good or bad one, the usual political scum or a notch above, but that 15 minutes was spectacular.

It is so heartening to see that there are still righteous folks who have the skill, the spine and a fire in their bellies strong enough to just stand up and eloquently defend the good and crush the weasels. [in this case the good being women's equality, the political details of the actual situation aside]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:34 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here is a brilliant article by Anne Summers on the media's response to Gillard's speech. Anne also wrote a withering speech about the sexism that Gillard has been subjected to.

This makes me weep for humanity.
posted by jonathanstrange at 10:44 PM on October 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Summers is spot on.

There is much to criticise about Julia Gillard's Prime Ministership - half hearted support for refugees and flat refusal to deal sensibly with the no-brainer gay marriage issue spring to mind - but such matters of principle have long seemed completely beside the point from the Canberra press pack's point of view.

I have watched in dismay as the gallery has abandoned its former role of offering genuine political commentary and analysis and sunk inexorably into its present slough of poll-augury despond. Not even the formerly estimable Michelle Grattan has anything worthwhile to say these days.

So it's terribly sad, but not at all surprising, to find that when Julia Gillard delivers a principled, reasoned, evidenced and incontrovertibly *correct* broadside against the poisonous nonsense the press has allowed Tony Abbott to get away with for his entire term as Leader of the Opposition, the commentariat should so comprehensively miss the point.

What's even sadder is that there are enough Australians still willing to have their opinions spoonfed to them by these clowns that their witless maundering will still shape the result of the only poll that actually *counts*. I look forward to the impending Abbott Government with no small measure of trepidation and disgust.
posted by flabdablet at 11:52 PM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hear! Hear!

A tremendous speech, delivered with great aplomb.

In support of Tim Dunlop's piece referenced by robcorr, I'm seeing a lot of commentary on Twitter, particularly by women, about how the "Main Stream Media" have completely misread the public reaction.

Then again, there is at least one person who agrees with them.

How they can agree when journalists publish this kind of thing the day after this speech just astounds me.
posted by But tomorrow is another day... at 1:14 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Huh. I did not know that Dragonista was a former staffer, or that she was still blogging. Have been to Dargonista since 2004 or so. I felt like her post was typical "Insiders" guff; attempting to deny reality in favour of a typically staffer-esque game theory view. Sad really, in demonstrating how out of touch the political class are with popular sentiment.

I note her reference to Labor being split regarding the wisdom of the speech is wholly unsupported.
posted by smoke at 1:45 AM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


That "at least one person" is a self-described former political staffer, and her analysis (just like that of the MSM she's defending) is an entrails-reading augury on the possible political consequences of Gillard's speech.

And she, just like the News pundits, has nothing useful to say about whether the points Gillard raised about the standard of Abbott's public utterances were actually valid:
What Abbott did not expect was the damning words that the PM levelled at him during her speech; a speech which appears to have divided Labor supporters due to its visceral content and emotive delivery.
Never mind the quality, feel the width...
Some have voiced concern that the speech was not befitting of a Prime Minister and that it might be seen by casual political observers as an intemperate outburst.
Ah, the old "some say" manoeuvre - which raises the obvious question: could this piece possibly have come from somebody inside the incestuous Canberra churnalism club? The answer is unsurprising.
posted by flabdablet at 1:50 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Abbott now says his he was oblivious to the context of his "dying of shame" comments.
It's almost funny.

I had occasion to watch this speech over lunch today (I missed the news and Lateline last night) but it was a glorious 15 minutes of fame shame on Abbott's face. In fact, the whole House seemed to be in awe. I guess that was the Real Julia. One we haven't seen since before the Night of Long Knives.

But tomorrow is another day...
Oh my. God. Paul Sheehan is a disgrace.
posted by Mezentian at 1:56 AM on October 10, 2012


Bernard Keane, as ever, offers a more nuanced view - albeit one I don't entirely subscribe to.

Also, as ever, consider skipping the worthless Crikey comments.

I don't know if it's just me, and I'm a total chauvinist neanderthal, but given the context of behaviour surrounding Slipper - most notably accusations of physical sexual harrassment of a male staffer - I find it genuinely bemusing that calling a vagina a shell-less mussel and Sophie Mirabella an ignorant botch* are the things that inspired Abbott and co to the heights of frothing outrage.

I mean, I know Abbott's unsuccessfully fending off accusations of sexism and whatnot. But really, a private text between to people with an off-colour remark about vaginas? I kind of feel like it trivialises sexual harrassment, which is about a bajillion times more unethical, illegal, harmful etc. Also I note the outrage doesn't extend to refusing Slipper's vote, the hypocritical scumbags; they certainly didn't want the govt taking Thomson's.

Something else Keane points out - and the opposition have already been burnt by this in relation to the Slipper affair - is that any private communications they share will now be considered fair game by press and political enemies alike.

Typical destroy-the-village-in-order-to-save it Abbott mentality - his determination to secure the prime ministership has so degraded the institution it's scarcely worth having - but I believe very foolish in the long term. The Gallery scarcely need any encouragement to descend to tabloid gossip as is.


*don't know about the latter, but suspect many on both sides would agree with the former.
posted by smoke at 2:23 AM on October 10, 2012


Aside from those grandfathered in from the pre-Fox era when The Australian was still a respectable paper of record, being a shameless disgrace is pretty much a necessary qualification if you're going to write opinion pieces for News Limited.

It's just occurred to me that the vision statement hidden in plain sight in that organization's own name must be the closest it's come in recent memory to publishing anything truthful.
posted by flabdablet at 2:31 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I've tried to keep an open mind with Dragonista, but so very often she seems too eager to loudly denounce others with cries of 'bias!' whilst remaining wholly ignorant of her own.

I agree with smoke that Bernard Keane has pointed out an interesting aspect on the pure gamesmanship side of politics from this point. Like we needed any further encouragement to descend into populist faux-outrage at every turn.

The PM's speech was a moment, however brief, where standing up for what's right with passion and eloquence outshone the sneering cynicism of the recent past. I can only hope it isn't the last.
posted by But tomorrow is another day... at 2:53 AM on October 10, 2012


Oh my; I've just shot myself in the clown shoes again. Sheehan is Fairfax's creature, not News's.

Pity. I was quite enjoying being able to think worse of Rupert's lot.
posted by flabdablet at 2:57 AM on October 10, 2012


Sheehan is Fairfax's creature

I honestly don't understand why they give him the room to bleat about whatever sand there is in his knickers on the day that they do. He's not been worth reading for years. Today's spray is a new low in his inestimably crap œuvre; it is completely obvious he has no idea what misogyny looks like in practice.

Back to writing about the magic water, Paul.
posted by Wolof at 3:33 AM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


flabdablet: Seriously, did you ever listen to any Parliamentary debate that he ran? In thirty years of being interested enough in politics to listen regularly to Parliament I cannot recall a Speaker more willing to do his actual job of keeping order in the chamber. Peter Slipper was a tremendous Speaker.

Yeah, Slipper was a great Speaker. Probably because he had nothing left to lose (politically, anyway - he may have a great deal to lose out of certain pending court actions). He did crazy things like making Ministers actually answer the questions they were asked, telling people to sit down when they rambled into off-topic talking points and kicking recidivists out altogether at a far higher rate than previous speakers.

Another few years as Speaker and he might have turned the House into a genuine forum for holding the executive to account, instead of the freakish media sideshow that it is now.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 4:06 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is in the grand tradition of the inimitable Paul Keating. A Prime Minister who thought nothing of referring to the balding leader of the opposition as "curly" or a "perfumed gigolo". What a total star. Aussie politics is like the Brit House of Commons - hardly surprising - but without the restraint (!). Aussies should be proud of it - it's very healthy indeed.

It goes back further. In the 1970s, a member of the conservative Country Party, who were in opposition, was delivering a long and self-important speech, and at one point said “but I'm a Country member”. The PM at the time, Gough Whitlam, immediately interjected with “We do remember”, at which point the House broke out in uproarious laughter.
posted by acb at 4:48 AM on October 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


>the vision statement hidden in plain sight

Woah.
posted by panaceanot at 5:10 AM on October 10, 2012


This is in the grand tradition of the inimitable Paul Keating.

I'm not so sure about that. I'd actually rate this one rather higher than anything I recall hearing from Keating in Parliament.

With Keating, I always got the impression that even at his bucket-tipping best he was still playing the game of political invective as if he felt somehow above it; the game always remained a game. Keating was never backward about speaking his considerable mind, but Julia Gillard delivered this speech in a way that made it clear that her heart was in it.

She took the same steel as was on display for the Slater & Gordon press conference and tempered it with a fury so beautifully controlled and yet so clearly genuine as to make any amount of bleating about "unparliamentary outbursts" reveal itself instantly as the worthless, lazy schlock it is.

I've listened to a hell of a lot of Parliamentary speeches. I'll remember hearing this one.
posted by flabdablet at 5:25 AM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


And The Piping Shrike notes the grand irony of the day's events: Gillard makes a blistering attack against misogyny while cutting benefits to sole parents.
posted by kithrater at 5:28 AM on October 10, 2012


Gillard makes a blistering attack against misogyny while cutting benefits to sole parents.

Sole parents needn't be women. And it's reducing benefits once the youngest child turns eight.
It needs to be said.

I tended to be in favour of this issue, until I looked into it. And it seems like the realities are that 8 is about four years too young.
posted by Mezentian at 5:31 AM on October 10, 2012


Slipper's texts are just awful. Here's the "mollusc" ones, because I haven't seen them quoted anywhere else. In deference to worksafeness, I have obfuscated one of the words.

1:39:17PM AEST Fully how we say that a person is a c*nt when many guys like c*nts!;)
1:43:49PM AEST They look like a mussell removed from its shell. Look at a bottle of mussel meat! Salty C*nts in brine!

I can't agree with the consensus here: these texts show a shocking degree of misogyny, and their author is unfit for public office.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:52 AM on October 10, 2012


Thanks for that Joe. I had been waiting to see the actual texts.

I agree with Jane Caro on The Drum: They're not the best texts, but they're private communications, between two people (apparently or allegedly of like-minds) and they're pretty far from being the worst of the worst OR shockingly misogynistic.

I'd be willing to bet there's not a person here who hasn't said something off-colour of this nature, that out-of-context, could not be used against us.

Hell, the vibe of both texts I've heard before from all sorts of people. I think, if you're going to prove Slipper's misogyny, you have to first look at his record as speaker, and as I learnt from this thread it's quite good, (and anecdotally, I have heard more of Shouty Bourke than Prissy-Robes Slipper, and I do enjoy a good QT) and then at his 20 years as a Liberal foot soldier.
posted by Mezentian at 6:01 AM on October 10, 2012


Just saw this on twitter: @Frankasaurus7: @ArachnidDentata @clementine_ford @brocklesnitch it's not misogynistic to say that fannies are funny looking, I'm pretty sure all junk is.

For our American members, in Australialand, a fanny is a vagina.

This is why we laugh when you say fanny-pack/bag. Or sweet fanny Adams.

We can be a bit juvenile.
posted by taff at 6:34 AM on October 10, 2012


I'm fairly sure that "sweet Fanny Adams" comes from the name of a child murder victim some centuries ago, and that they used to refer to tinned fish as "Fanny Adams" in Victorian(?) Britain, in a sort of gallows humour.
posted by acb at 7:10 AM on October 10, 2012


I'm having trouble hanging on here...the Labor party is the more left leaning group, policy wise? And the Liberals are....conservative?
Help, somebody, please?
posted by SLC Mom at 7:33 AM on October 10, 2012


Correct.
posted by de at 7:42 AM on October 10, 2012


And Gillard has just gone viral.

> "Hello World"
She's only just begun programming campaigning.
posted by de at 7:46 AM on October 10, 2012


It must be because of the different hemispheres, like summer/winter, winter/summer.
I will try to keep up. Thank you de.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:18 AM on October 10, 2012


SLC Mom: Yes, Labor is (was) the party of the working class, socialism, and the eight-hour day. The Liberal Party was formed from a coalition of conservative political groups to combat the ascendancy of the Labor Party, which worked surprisingly well. Mind you, Australian politics as a whole is more left wing than USAn politics; the Liberal Party might think it's ideologically aligned with the USAn Republican Party, but in actuality its platform would be a better fit with the Democrats.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:22 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Liberal in many contexts is referring to economically liberal, i.e. free markets and such. That's the case in Australia, yeah?
posted by gaspode at 8:51 AM on October 10, 2012


Now that we've gotten 100+ comments of "wow, great speech!" etc. I'll piss in the cornflakes. I wasn't that impressed. It seemed more manufactured than genuine to me.

I can't agree with the consensus here: these texts show a shocking degree of misogyny, and their author is unfit for public office.

I was interested in the contents of the text myself, and it's surprisingly hard to find a database with all of them.

I think the biggest complaint against Slipper wouldn't be the "misogynistic" remarks, but the harassment of his employee:

Extracts from court documents, obtained by News Limited, allege that in January, Mr Ashby drove to Mr Slipper's home to take him to meet some of his constituents. They stopped at a coffee shop where Mr Slipper allegedly asked him: ''Have you ever c--- in a guy's a--- before.''

Mr Ashby replied: ''That's not the kind of question you ask people, Peter.''

In another incident, Mr Slipper questioned why Mr Ashby did not shower with the door open.

The documents also claim that Mr Slipper allegedly sent text messages with ''x'' and ''xxx'' and in other texts Mr Slipper says ''U getting roks off. Pity''.

It is also alleged that on March 20, Mr Ashby was in his office and Mr Slipper ''walked into the office and said 'Can I kiss you both'''. There was no other person in the office, the documents said.

- source


I do find it a bit amusing that the first graph of his Wikipedia article says "On 9 October 2012 Slipper resigned as Speaker of the House after personal messages were revealed in which Slipper referred to female genitalia as similar to mussels."

It was the mussels that were the final straw!
posted by mrgrimm at 8:57 AM on October 10, 2012


The harassment charges are in court. Thy are allegations at the moment. The texts are in the public record because of that case. I personally think the case stinks to high heaven, but regardless, I don't believe that Slipper should be sacked for allegations. I also don't think he should be sacked for private correspondence before he became speaker.

I'm not offended by the text messages at all. I've heard grosser vag jokes that haven't offended me. Tony Abbott's attitude to women in authority offends me. I'm much more concerned with raising public misogyny as an issue, because in a society where misogyny towards our leader isn't challenged and is fostered and encouraged, the misogyny trickles down.
posted by jonathanstrange at 2:20 PM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I can't agree with the consensus here: these texts show a shocking degree of misogyny, and their author is unfit for public office.

Lordy Joe, no offense, but I don't really see what private texts have to do with public office, and I certainly hope you never see the inboxes/phones of any politcians you admire. This is not to excuse the remarks but I've seen far, far, far worse in my time from public figures.
posted by smoke at 2:36 PM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sole parents needn't be women.

They needn't be, but most are.

And it's reducing benefits once the youngest child turns eight.

Not quite: what the bill is doing is changing the eligibility rules for a grandfathered group of low income parents who had been receiving the Parenting Payment prior to 1 July 2006, and who would have continued to receive the payment until their youngest child turned 12. That is now reduced to the age of 6/8, the same as the non-grandfathered group. The estimated result of this is to reduce welfare payments to low income parents by some ~$700 million over the next four years.

Now that we've gotten 100+ comments of "wow, great speech!" etc. I'll piss in the cornflakes. I wasn't that impressed. It seemed more manufactured than genuine to me.

It was a good speech, as far as speeches go, but it doesn't achieve much. Slipper resigned as Speaker all the same.
posted by kithrater at 3:00 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Slipper is a side-issue, for me. He was an opportunistic choice by the government to add to their buffer of seats. The people celebrating him as a fine speaker (which he was) didn't have any time for him 18 months ago. The issue is simply the degrading, dishonest lowering of public debate by the LNP and media commentators, and and the only possible logical reason I can see behind it is Gillard's gender.

The Right in Australia basically took a look at what's been going on in the US with the Tea Party over the last four years, an instead of turning away in disgust, said "Right, we'll 'ave some of that!". Barack Obama is a pretty middle-of-the-road Democratic president. There's only one thing that makes him different, only one thing that leads to accusations of fake birth certificates, and FEMA camps, and all that bullshit, and that's the colour of his skin. Julia Gillard is a pretty middle-of-the-road Labor leader. There's only one thing that's different about her as well.

I mean, the whole carbon pricing issue is pretty directly comparable to the GST, as far as I can see. A "big new tax", that the leader of the party claimed he would not introduce, then did introduce it, and got it passed with the help of the cross-benches. But I recall the debate regarding the GST to be a pretty fair, economic one. We didn't have talk-back radio hosts doing to Howard what they've been doing to Gillard. I mean, I know Howard was disliked by the left, but the tone of the debate both inside and outside Parliament was incomparable. If anyone has evidence to the contrary, I'd love to see it.

So I tuned into Question Time yesterday, wanting to hear some more fireworks, and Abbott launches off by presenting an electricity bill from a pensioner, that doubled in cost from last year to this.

My first thought, as I assume was the first thought of anyone who's ever actually paid an electricity bill in their life, was "So many many kWh's did she use this year, compared to last?"

Abbott didn't mention this. When asked to table the bill, he responded "The cost doubled, what more do you need to know?!"

And, of course, it turns out the pensioner's usage had doubled in that period. Maybe she used the increased pension payments the government has introduced to buy a stack of radiators.

This is lying. You can't call it anything else. It is blatant bullshit presented in black and white ink on a piece of paper in parliament. Going to bet it's not something anyone on 2GB is going to discuss this morning.
posted by Jimbob at 3:42 PM on October 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


That, and Bishop rose to her feet and asked the Prime Minister did she think it right that Union funds, members' contributions, should be used to purchase houses for Union staff. That was a loaded question much as die of shame was loaded.

I'd love to see leaked private correspondence between Abbott and Pickering, and Abbott and Jones. Don't suppose there'd be a paper trail.
posted by de at 3:55 PM on October 10, 2012


Where's Assange when you need him?
posted by de at 3:58 PM on October 10, 2012


The word "liberal" comes from the same root as "liberty": its general meaning is something like "appropriate to, or characteristic of a free man as opposed to a slave or a common laborer". Its primary meaning was once the sense in which we describe the liberal arts as opposed to mere technical education; the things (e.g., philosophy and literature) which were and ought to be studied by people who don't have to worry about where their next meal is coming from. This meaning shaded into the behavior expected of a free man (women didn't really come into it): free men were open-handed, generous, unstinting. The negative side of liberality is also taken from the idea of freedom: freedom from constraint, from the need or desire to be prudent.

This leads to the political idea of liberality: on the one hand someone who is liberal will be inclined to allow liberty to others, particularly those who are legally or effectively constrained by unjust laws or poverty; on the other hand a liberal may be someone who indulges such people; he may be lax or encourage parasitism. This negative implication dominates in the USA: I understand that in politics being identified as "a liberal" is nearly a sentence of death.

The Liberal Party of Australia actually gets its name from the earlier definition. It sums up the values expressed in Sir Robert (Bob) Menzies' famous speech The Forgotten People, which is an explicit appeal to "the middle class": people who cannot live off their capital, but have aspirations beyond their work; what (he claimed) communists would call the bourgeoisie. It's worth reading the speech: it's a very cunning positioning of his new party at the centre of politics, because it implies that everyone outside the "middle class" either lacks ambition or is some sort of pampered aristocrat. Anyway, he gives four characteristics of this class, and two of them are about intellectual life: a love of science and the arts; and a commitment to study. He explicitly rejects the elements of political liberality that were compatible with his political enemies' program: state welfare, and freedom from constraint.

Anyway, this is why conservatives in Australia describe themselves with a term that would be political suicide in the USA: the Australian party was formed as a reaction against communism and organised labor; while the USAn liberals defined themselves in reaction to harsh laws and social stinginess. They're both valid definitions, but I suppose it is a bit confusing.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:02 PM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


However, the current Liberal Party would be alien to Menzies. I went looking to see if I could find a policy-type response to gaspode's question. I ended up lost in the Institute of Public Affairs -- the Liberal's think tank site, reading through 75 radical ideas [for Abbott] to transform Australia.

There's no way Abbott hasn't perused this list and while he can keep focus on reverse-sexism, lies, Union theft, incompetence, student socialism, and whatever other distraction he can dream up, there's no way the next election will be fought on competing policies. Australia would never give Abbott a mandate for right-wing reform.

Abbott would be taking a liberty.
posted by de at 5:28 PM on October 10, 2012


Australia would never give Abbott a mandate for right-wing reform.

Which won't, of course, stop him repeating endlessly tht we've done just that.
posted by flabdablet at 5:52 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


It was a good speech, as far as speeches go, but it doesn't achieve much. Slipper resigned as Speaker all the same.

Presumably, because he has not be written off by Labor, Slipper will still vote with the government though. That is a success.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:56 PM on October 10, 2012


Presumably... Slipper will still vote with the government though

Labor loses a guaranteed vote in exchange for a possible vote. That's not a success.
posted by kithrater at 6:29 PM on October 10, 2012


Labor loses a guaranteed vote in exchange for a possible vote. That's not a success.

Still a better situation than they were in pre-Slipper, when Jenkins had the chair, if my math is correct. I doubt Thompson's going anywhere.
posted by Jimbob at 6:41 PM on October 10, 2012


Yeah, not even the NSW Right would have the cheek to put Thomson up for Speaker.
posted by flabdablet at 7:27 PM on October 10, 2012


Christ, how deep do we have to go...

Is The Social Media Fury At The Press Gallery Misplaced?

First Gillard made a speech. Then people liked the speech. Then the media said the speech was actually shit and people didn't really like it. Then people said the media were talking out their arse. Now the media (well, that segment who claim to the the groovy, funky cool kids) are writing about how the media wasn't actually talking out it arse and the "social media fury" was misplaced.

Going to go debunk Keane's article now, just to keep the cycle going on for a few hours more.
posted by Jimbob at 7:42 PM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


^ Keane writes: "A female Prime Minister has directly, fiercely, attacked her opponent for misogyny, in a way, clearly, that no male politician could ever have done."

And it's in the Hansard. Could Abbott have thought anything other than "uh-oh" when he saw Gillard rise to her feet?
posted by de at 8:02 PM on October 10, 2012


Could Abbott have thought anything other than "uh-oh" when he saw Gillard rise to her feet?

Going by his expression at the start of the speech, he certainly did.
posted by vidur at 8:39 PM on October 10, 2012


From Keane's subsequent piece: The press gallery doesn’t see its job as analysing the social significance of politics. Its focus is on political tactics — what works politically, what doesn’t, what impact political performances will have on the functionality of the government in the short term and, over the longer term, its prospects for re-election”

But the irony there is they are almost utterly unqualified to assess what works politically and what doesn't - and their reaction to Gillard's speech just demonstrates this. They are still obsessing about point scoring nonsense with Slipper - nobody gives a shit, especially compared to the pervasive and all-consuming chauvinism that Gillard confronted head on, not as Prime Minister, but as a woman in Australian society, in her speech.

All this talk about "functionality of the government in the short term" is poppycock. Slipper's removal changes absolutely nothing in real, actual terms if you look at how cross-benchers are voting. Now, Labor need one more vote from the cross-bench, so what? They've got them all virtually wrapped up on 90% of their legislative agenda, anyway, thanks to the Coalitions successful campaign to alienate Oakeshott, Windsor et al.

And finally: "over the longer term, its prospects for re-election"

This is the most laughable line at all. The gallery's prognostications on this score are terrible, and further, their use of the words "longer term" and "prospects for re-election" present an oxymoron of Homeric proportions. It's the metaphorical equivalent of driving a car by looking in the rear vision mirror, because what's just happened is probably what will happen in the future.

The incessant, irrelevant race-calling that is seemingly all the gallery's capable of these days is redundant, insular, and myopic. The reaction to this throws this disjunction (between reality and the parallel universe they, and most politicians move in) into stark relief, and they are embarrassed and - as ever - threatened when the public takes hold of the discourse and dares to disagree.

In my opinion. I have a pretty low opinion of the Press Gallery, as you can probably guess. I thought Mr Denmore got it right.
posted by smoke at 9:41 PM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


they have become an irrelevance, a bunch of scribbling note-takers and thumb-sucking drones with the attention spans of cordial-fuelled toddlers and the horizons of lab rats

Oooh, harsh.
posted by flabdablet at 10:02 PM on October 10, 2012


While I don't doubt the PM's anger was genuine, and her wrath deserved (it's almost unimaginable for such conduct to happen in Canadian politics) it does seem to have allowed her to sidestep condemning Slipper, in order to avoid alienating him. For example, he seems to have voted in favour of the carbon tax.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:27 PM on October 10, 2012


KokuRyu: I note with interest that Abbott hasn't refused to accept Slipper's vote (as if refusing a vote was constitutional). But then that means that we might not get any gazelle's floating around our parliament* who actually think they are worthy contenders for high office.

*This was in order to escape being tainted with the evil Craig Thomson's vote. And apparently the Liberal MP trying to court his vote was just signing letters without reading them. He didn't *actually* mean to try to get his vote for the Liberal Party. Of course.
posted by jonathanstrange at 10:48 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


What is this "refusing to accept a vote" and "locking the doors"? Does this exist in other Westminster-style systems? I don't think it exists in Canada.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:55 PM on October 10, 2012


I think (but this is just a vague recollection) that a party can refuse to accept a despised MP's vote by instructing one of their own MP's to abstain whenever the other one votes in their favor. The net effect is the same as if they could actually stop him or her from voting.

Of course, nobody would seriously expect this to happen when a single vote potentially makes the difference between being in Government and being in Opposition.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:18 AM on October 11, 2012


Most Parliamentary votes are carried on the voices; the Speaker says "I think the ayes have it" or "I think the noes have it" and if nobody objects then the result gets formally declared and that's the vote all done. But if anybody does, then the Speaker says "Division required, ring the bells for four minutes". Alarm bells then sound throughout the building to call absent members to the chamber. At the end of the alarm period the chamber doors are physically locked, at which point only members physically present inside the chamber are entitled to vote and are in fact compelled to do so. Wikipedia's description of the process is correct and clear.

Refusing to accept the vote of another member is a stunt performed by physically fleeing the chamber before the doors are locked in order to neutralize that member's expected vote. I suppose Abbott and Pyne thought their attempt at doing that (see the "gazelle" link above) might make them look principled.
posted by flabdablet at 12:21 AM on October 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Gillard's a clever woman, and experience is starting to show. I think she's developing a prime ministerial sophistication internationally, denied her at home.

I don't think she was angry, she was performing. She had notes, she knew what was coming and was lying in wait. It was a form of damage control: kill or be killed; and Gillard had lethal ammunition.

Independents Oakshott and Windsor were negotiating Slipper's resignation before the vote. Gillard would have been informed of that.

Abbott must have immediately known he was for both barrels. Extremely funny, really. I'm to the point now where I laugh thinking about it.

Gillard's changed. She's grieving - of course, but she's been busy representing Australia's interests internationally, getting warm receptions, and she's grown. It suits her. Suddenly Abbott is looking less and less like an alternative prime minister. He must sense it. I haven't seen him hanging around the local butcher lamenting the price lamb with Senator Michaelia Cash-Price nodding over his shoulder like an intellectual, for months.

Interesting year ahead (especially if Obama wins).
I'm warming to Gillard.
posted by de at 1:05 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


What is this "refusing to accept a vote"

Others have explained it, but I'm pretty sure it didn't exist as a concept until about 6 months ago when Abbott and Pyne literally sprinted for the door of the chamber. And it's a ridiculous concept - voting for a motion, then seeing someone you don't like is voting the same way as you and trying to get out of it. School-yard stuff.
posted by Jimbob at 1:07 AM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


It is also impossible to maintain in practice - the LNP had been droning on about Thompson and demanding the ALP disown him for months. But they didn't want his vote aligning with theirs either. There's only two choices, aye and noe, what the hell's Thompson supposed to do?
posted by Jimbob at 1:09 AM on October 11, 2012


Oh they wanted Thomson's vote to unseat Slipper.
posted by de at 1:11 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Could Abbott have thought anything other than "uh-oh" when he saw Gillard rise to her feet?

I like to think it was more "ruh-roh Raggy" when he saw Gillard rise to her feet.
He does not do criticism.
posted by Mezentian at 4:18 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Abbott is looking less and less like an alternative prime minister.

God.
He has never looked like an alternative PM.
He has made it look like he might be viable, but he has never evidenced a shred of prime ministerial behaviour. Not one.
It might be to the ALP script, but he clearly wants power.

Nelson and Turnbull were better leaders, and even Howard (Mr 18% for those who remember) were better communicators.
posted by Mezentian at 4:21 AM on October 11, 2012


He has never looked like an alternative PM.
He has made it look like he might be viable, but he has never evidenced a shred of prime ministerial behaviour. Not one.


To the Blue and the inner-city university-educated Crikey-reading small-L-liberals, Abbott's a joke. In the suburbs and outside of the left-leaning filter bubble, Abbott is a lot less unpopular, and Gillard is loathed, largely due to the Murdoch/Rinehart/Stokes press white-anting her government and painting her as an "un-Australian" extremist. (See also, Barack Obama, the extreme socialist Muslim atheist from Kenya.) And, of course, the Greens are really Communist "watermelons" (green on the outside, red on the inside).

I have relatives in Australia who swear up and down that Abbott is a pillar of the sort of integrity that the Labor Party (with their professional Slater & Gordon lawyers who have never run a business in their lives and thus are unfit to run a country) lack. I understand that their views are not some minority crackpot view but are in fact shared with large segments of Australian society.
posted by acb at 5:03 AM on October 11, 2012


For me, while personally a Greens supporter, I feel your comparison between Gillard and Obama is apt - particularly as I see a lot of parallels between Abbott and Romney. I feel like Abbott/Romney's support is basically taken up by people who want to see Gillard/Obama out of office; they don't necessarily think Abbott/Romney are the best leaders for the parties they support, but at least they aren't Gillard/Obama.

The major difference I see is that Romney will face Obama in an election. I don't think Abbott will face Gillard at the next election; I think Turnbull will be back.
posted by crossoverman at 5:22 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]



The major difference I see is that Romney will face Obama in an election. I don't think Abbott will face Gillard at the next election; I think Turnbull will be back.


I'm not so sure. Abbott gets the bogans fired up, he's good on hippy-punching culture-war issues (he wrote Howard's script there), and he looks like sweeping in to power easily without lifting a finger to appear more centrist. Given that Murdoch and the mining lobby control the information most Australians make their electoral decisions based on, there is a strong bias towards the conservatives, and a bit of rallying around the "we are real Australians, not the refugee-hugging latte-sippers"

I suspect that the bogans are more electorally important than the university educated progressives to whom Turnbull would appeal more.
posted by acb at 5:50 AM on October 11, 2012


I'm not so sure. Abbott gets the bogans fired up,

Don't sell his electorate short. It's not just bogans. Middle-class retirees and dumb-fucks are into him to.

I suspect that the bogans are more electorally important than the university educated progressives to whom Turnbull would appeal more.

Until recently I thought Abbott had the next election in the bag. I am not so sure.
I suspect he will romp home next time, but I have a sliver of hope. He's a mean and spiteful figure, and I think even the chattering classes for whom ACA and TT are High News Content are a bit iffy.

It will probably come down to the marginals in Qld (hey Campbell!) and western NSW, and for the first time I think that makes the next election to close to call.
posted by Mezentian at 7:29 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hope you're right.

And there's a lot of overlap between the bogan and dumbfuck demographics, IIRC.
posted by acb at 8:33 AM on October 11, 2012


> I don't think Abbott will face Gillard at the next election; I think Turnbull will be back.

To my mind, it's almost like Gillard vs Abbott is the election we have to have.

Gillard will be able to articulate plans and policies, while Abbott talks about roll backs, redundancies, and buying drones for boarder protection.
posted by de at 11:04 AM on October 11, 2012


oops 'border' protection

Rudd may make moves again, or he may focus on swaying Queensland.
posted by de at 12:26 PM on October 11, 2012


I suspect that the bogans are more electorally important than the university educated progressives to whom Turnbull would appeal more.

It's a shame that pretty much everyone who wants to see Turnbull back leading the Liberal party (like me) would never in their life actually vote for the Liberal party (like me).
posted by Jimbob at 12:43 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have relatives in Australia who swear up and down that Abbott is a pillar of the sort of integrity that the Labor Party (with their professional Slater & Gordon lawyers who have never run a business in their lives and thus are unfit to run a country) lack

I live in a bubble where I don't talk to these sorts of relative more than once a year, so I'm probably ignorant on this point...but what business did Abbott run, exactly?
posted by Jimbob at 12:45 PM on October 11, 2012


Abbott is a pillar of the sort of integrity that the Labor Party lack?

I suspect Canberra is one lively city. You often hear rumours and innuendo that don't make the front page. There must be some bipartisan pact between politicians, and journalists: What happens in Canberra stays in Canberra; but only last night in Canberra there was a joke go horribly wrong:
A COMPANY representing a comedian has apologised to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and his chief of staff Peta Credlin for what Prime Minister Julia Gillard has described as an "offensive" joke.
Cameron broke the news first. He strongly disapproved of the joke, and spoke up. Gillard had already left the function. But she's done the right thing this morning and spoken up.
posted by de at 1:46 PM on October 11, 2012


Cameron is a legend, and unfortunately a dying breed.
posted by Jimbob at 2:06 PM on October 11, 2012


I suspect Canberra is one lively city.

Politically, perhaps. But I lived there for a couple of months while working on a project back in the mid 90s, and 'lively' was not a word that would have sprung to mind, at least then.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:51 PM on October 11, 2012


Peta Credlin used to be the Director of a division I worked in many years ago (actually, the job that I discovered Metafilter in!).

I can't say I have a very high opinion of her. The job was toxic and a lot of the toxic atmosphere was actively promoted by her. I remember her coming down and screaming at my department because someone who was having a slow work week was helping out someone who was flat out with work. Apparently co-operation and teamwork was not allowed.

Not that I'm condoning rude jokes about her, I just can't stand her.
posted by jonathanstrange at 4:31 PM on October 11, 2012


That was the Keating era, stavros. Hawke had left town. Things may have been quiet.


If there's any truth to an Abbott-Credlin affair neither will want to write a book and fail to make mention. Some journalist -- or slipper of sorts -- will be only be too happy to set the record straight.

> ... a lot of the toxic atmosphere was actively promoted by [Credlin].

That's interesting. Perhaps she's behind the hatred between Gillard and Abbott. I don't condone the joke either, but notice the rude joke is said to be on her, and not him? Sexist reporting.

Deep down I feel the joke was a deliberate leak. The gloves are off and Abbott's now on notice.
posted by de at 5:27 PM on October 11, 2012


I suspect Canberra is one lively city. You often hear rumours and innuendo that don't make the front page.

Here's a great pamphlet that really shows off just how lively a place Canberra can be.
posted by kithrater at 5:45 PM on October 11, 2012


Here's a great pamphlet that really shows off just how lively a place Canberra can be.

I had no idea Canberra was so...orange.
posted by Jimbob at 6:33 PM on October 11, 2012


I think it's more that the 1970s were orange.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 7:06 PM on October 11, 2012


I was interested in the contents of the text myself, and it's surprisingly hard to find a database with all of them.

Found.
posted by kithrater at 7:14 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I live in a bubble where I don't talk to these sorts of relative more than once a year, so I'm probably ignorant on this point...but what business did Abbott run, exactly?

LOOK EVERYBODY IT'S A LATTE SIPPING ELITE

QUICK, QUICK, IGNORE HIM AS LOUDLY AS POSSIBLE
posted by flabdablet at 7:23 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


This latte-sipping elite tends to mostly drink Blend 43. Although I do work in an ivory tower.
posted by Jimbob at 8:58 PM on October 11, 2012


Is it poor form to want to know what the joke was?
posted by taff at 9:13 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


but what business did Abbott run, exactly?

He's worked outside politics for a living, primarily as a journalist. I think it's a pity that so many MPs have basically gone from interns at Party offices to jobs as political aides, and then entered Parliament. From the Wikipedia article on him, I suppose you could characterise his time as a plant manager for Pioneer Concrete as running a business; alternatively his time as head of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy would probably count.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:22 PM on October 11, 2012


> Is it poor form to want to know what the joke was?

I'm curious. Can't imagine it was that obscene, just inappropriately suggestive.


> Here's a great pamphlet ...

Aww, that was Gough growing the public service.


>> I was interested in the contents of the text myself ...
> Found.


The Pickering series of Gillard cartoons that were spammed to MPs daily were more damning than that steam of text messages.
posted by de at 10:33 PM on October 11, 2012


alternatively his time as head of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy would probably count.

Oh come on. If that counts, running a trade union counts as "running a business". And how many Australians actually own a business anyway?
posted by Jimbob at 11:38 PM on October 11, 2012


According to Wiki, not only was Abbott a journalist (a loose term, who for? I have no idea), but he also "briefly ran a concrete plant".

I'd have to read his bio to find out.

I find this scuttlebutt about an affair between Abbott and Credders curious. Is it purely MeFi gossip, or more widespread?
posted by Mezentian at 5:16 AM on October 12, 2012


Abbot worked as a journalist for The Bulletin and The Catholic Weekly.
posted by Wolof at 6:22 AM on October 12, 2012


I think the worst things about these texts is that it drags in people who are not Slipper or Ashby and makes them public.
And that Slipper uses txt spk 2 tlk lol.
posted by Mezentian at 7:01 AM on October 12, 2012


It's a shame that pretty much everyone who wants to see Turnbull back leading the Liberal party (like me) would never in their life actually vote for the Liberal party (like me).

I don't know; if it was a choice between Turnbull and Rudd, with each being in control of their party, my preference may be with Turnbull. At least he's a moderniser.
posted by acb at 9:14 AM on October 12, 2012


The affair rumour is all over twitter, too. Dunno how true it is, but my evil side thinks it would be great if it comes out that it is true!
posted by jonathanstrange at 3:03 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have spoken to someone who was at the function and heard the joke. Although he said it was less a joke and more a rambling story that, yes, repeated a notorious rumour --- and that's why the papers won't print what was said, because it would be defamatory without proof.
posted by robcorr at 3:27 PM on October 12, 2012


> The affair rumour is all over twitter, too.

It appeared on-line years back as a small comparison part of some other newsworthy story, pre-Twitter's rise, and quickly disappeared from sight/site. Perhaps Abbott has taken defamatory action in the past.

What else can the Liberals do now but make it appear Labor is indulging double standards at Credlin's expense? Deny the rumour in public? No, no ... damage control: this is a joke gone wrong for Labor.


November 2011: No sooner had Slipper quit the Liberal party, Jenkins up and resigns as speaker. Slipper, the then deputy speaker, takes the chair. Labor's numbers improve by one.


February 2012: Speaker Slipper warns adviser Credlin over House interjection
If Credlin interjects in The House once more she will be removed from The House for the duration of Slipper's Speakership.

April 2012: ... in a strange turn of events Slipper is removed from The House for the duration of HIS Speakership. *boom boom*

fast forward

9 October 2012: Abbott Credlin wants Slipper sacked.
Slipper's the misogynist, says Abbott Credlin. Slipper finally resigns as Speaker, while Gillard does her Abbott smack down.

10 October 2012: The old Credlin/Abbott rumour becomes a last minute addition to some comedian's Labor/Union Function routine. *boom boom*


Affair or not, it's time Credlin was run out of Canberra for the duration of Abbott's political life. Too many of us are sick of toxic Government. A vote for Abbott is a vote for Credlin (it seems).

What is this thread about again?
posted by de at 6:56 PM on October 12, 2012


Never knew about Credlin. It's all interesting, but the fact I knew nothing about it gives me a warm fuzzy glow of pride that I'm not an obsessive Canberra insider.
posted by Jimbob at 8:16 PM on October 12, 2012


> ... the fact I knew nothing about it gives me a warm fuzzy glow of pride that I'm not an obsessive Canberra insider.

Now that I know about Credlin and her husband -- along with Jones and Pickering, it makes my blood boil. It's been depressing to discover the mastermind behind Abbott's unmerited success as the opposition leader. Thanks for the heads-up, jonathanstrange.

Turnbull would find it difficult to mount a challenge. He demoted Credlin last time around; that opportunity's unlikely to come his way again, unless Gillard and her handbag-hit-squad get the better of Credlin. What are the chances? None?
posted by de at 11:55 AM on October 13, 2012


It's been depressing to discover the mastermind behind Abbott's unmerited success as the opposition leader.

I wouldn't give The Lady and The Voice that much credit.
Abbott has just tapped into the rich vein of HATE in Australia that we all know is there, and has been there since we were subordinate to the British.

It's a curious, uniquely Australian thing. I can't describe it, but it's the same thing that makes the Tall Poppy syndrome unique (even if other nations have it).
posted by Mezentian at 2:37 AM on October 14, 2012


It's a curious, uniquely Australian thing. I can't describe it, but it's the same thing that makes the Tall Poppy syndrome unique (even if other nations have it).

The crabs-in-a-bucket mentality?
posted by acb at 4:31 AM on October 14, 2012


That's pretty close to it, except Tall Poppy allows the "crab" to get to the top of the bucket, is cheered on, and is then pulled down, with glee.

Oh, huh.
posted by Mezentian at 4:42 AM on October 14, 2012


> I wouldn't give The Lady and The Voice that much credit.
Abbott has just tapped into the rich vein of HATE in Australia that we all know is there


Abbott? Tap? Only at Credlin's behest it would seem.

Abbott's not quite fully contrived -- more a wolf in sheep's clothing, than a crab in a bucket, but he still has image problems with women. Abbott's noticeably being groomed (while rank outsiders like Jones and Pickering do the dirty work).

Mrs Abbott was trotted out last week with an entourage of family women including a feminist daughter and a lesbian sister; and all to no avail now that Gillard has hammered home the misogynist and sexist nails.

Gillard crucified him.

Never mind. Credlin will think of something while the affair-rumour dies down again.
posted by de at 9:04 PM on October 14, 2012


if it was a choice between Turnbull and Rudd
If that's the choice I'll raise the black flag, spray paint a big circle-A on my house and never vote again. Uggghhhh.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 10:44 PM on October 14, 2012


You can not vote again. You just have to turn up and get your name crossed off.
Of course, in that case, by choosing not to vote you (generic you) need to STFU about anything political again.

I'm not sure that we need to get all up into blaming Credlin for "destroying the joint". If we remove Abbott's agency to be a dick, that's just another form of this women-hating agenda.

Sure, she might be an evil backroom girl, but.... Labor has them too. We just need to out them all.
posted by Mezentian at 2:10 AM on October 16, 2012




You know you've received an ass-whooping when the Macquarie dictionary gets in on it the action.

Rudd on the exchange:
TONY JONES: So do you buy the argument that he's a misogynist?

KEVIN RUDD: I believe his attitudes and policies belong to a different century, possibly not even the 20th century, maybe the 19th century. I don't believe they form part of a future modern Australia. But I go back to my earlier point about the nature of the political debate in Australia today.

What people are hungering for is a policy-based debate. What is the shape and content of our policy on universal paid parental leave, a reform which we put through in the period that I was prime minister, against what he offers as an alternative. Given he said, not that many years ago, that it would be over his dead body that we had anything like that. I think a very antique view of the role of women in our society.
posted by kithrater at 4:10 PM on October 17, 2012


Gillard quizzed about misogyny speech on India trip.
They love her.
posted by de at 6:10 AM on October 18, 2012


I wonder whether the obvious set that the local press has taken against our PM is at least partly a case of shooting the messenger.
posted by flabdablet at 4:38 PM on October 18, 2012


The UN security council, India ... Gillard is turning the ship around, with brute negotiation.
It's a pleasure to watch. The local press may change attitude, yet.
posted by de at 12:43 AM on October 19, 2012


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