Can I just say at the outset that the mainstream media’s analysis (and I’m using this term ironically) of yesterday’s performance by the Prime Minister is a glowing indication of what is wrong with their coverage of federal politics.
After two yeas of enduring a level of abuse with a certain level of humour and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of good grace, the Prime Minister rose to her feet and said ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
When reading Peter Hartcher’s article this morning in the SMH it would seem the underlying theme dominating his piece is that she, and presumably therefore women generally, are not permitted to complain of gender discrimination or abuse. BALDERDASH! Hartcher’s opinion piece like many others in the mainstream media peddling a similar line, says more about his character, his inner prejudice and bias than any attempted illumination on the issue of misogyny still so prevalent in all levels of our society.
To find some clear minded and cold blooded analysis of yesterday’s events I have to travel overseas and read comprehensive coverage in the New Yorker, NYTimes and other fairly reputable journals in the USA and UK. This failure on the part of Australian mainstream media makes me want to weep with frustration.
In fact it was the Prime Minister’s finest hour so far.
Can I clarify at the outset, just in case dear reader you think I’m so one eyed that I’m blinded to faults or points of disagreement with this Labor Government, I’m not. There are a number of policy and procedural matters with which I take issue with the Government and its leader. But you have to be deaf, dumb and blind to not see the gender based discrimination and abuse she faces daily, which wouldn’t occur if she had a Y chromosome and a dangly bit. Well, she may not have a dangly bit but she sure has balls.
Abbott’s wife’s performance in raising Tony’s feminine side on the weekend was part of the strategy that was designed to achieve a few things: it was the scatter gun approach. It was to further highlight his newly acquired feminist credentials, get rid of a Liberal Party traitor, and undermine the Prime Minister: all with the added benefit of making him more appealing to the large number of Australian women who think he is a controlling chauvinist shit.
He didn’t count on the Prime Minister reaching her ENOUGH IS ENOUGH line in the sand moment where she wiped the floor with him as he sat uncomfortably having to listen while the metaphorical mirror was lifted and pointed in his direction.
His use of the words ‘dying in shame’, words repeated three times in the one almost grammatically correct sentence, was gobsmacking. If he meant it, it was as nasty a piece of emotional abuse as I’ve ever seen on the floor of the House. He has said later in a radio interview that he had forgotten the significance of those words. This makes him either a man with the attention span of a gnat, or a deliberately emotionally abusive bully. Take your pick. Whether you believe it was deliberate or not, in either instance it makes him unfit to be Prime Minister.
Peter Slipper’s resignation from the role of Speaker was not unexpected.
Should the House have sacked him? Not while a court case is still being decided. Perceptions can also taint the system of justice and in this area it is better to be prudent.
Do I think Peter Slipper needed to go? Yes. There was too much self-inflicted baggage. It is unfortunate, as I believe him to be the best Speaker of the House I’ve seen ever. (and I’m old).
Do I think yesterday’s attempt to pass a motion of no confidence and censure against the Speaker was a wise strategy on the part of the Liberal thinkers’ brigade? No I do not.
What Slipper’s resignation has done is remove himself from being a problem for the Government. I can’t see him returning to the Liberal fold for any reason. They have crucified him.
Peter Slipper is now the Liberal Party’s problem. Irrespective of the outcome of the court case, questions of Mal Brough’s, Christopher Pyne’s and Tony Abbott’s involvement in, or knowledge of, the circumstances that lead ultimately to Peter Slipper’s downfall will bubble back up to the surface and they have to be praying that Ashby will hang tough. Gulp!
These next few months are going to be interesting indeed.