On Gillard’s Misogyny Furore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jack Baker is a pseudonym

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


As the Poll Bludger succintly states:

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

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

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

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

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

Timothy W. Humphries is Assistant Managing Editor of Menzies House

Sockpuppet Diaries

Impressions of elections past and present are a mixed bag

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The two questions Q and A should have asked the PM

Question 1



Prime Minister. Please tell me what tangible effect a Carbon Tax of $25, $100, or even $1,000 per tonne, will have on Australia’s climate.  For example, how much of a reduction in temperature in degrees Celsius can we expect with the introduction of your Carbon Tax? Thank you.

Question 2 – the real important one



Hello Prime Minister. Under your proposed Carbon Tax, will Beer and soft drinks, be taxed because of their Carbon Dioxide content? Thank you.


Families can’t afford Labor

Cory-BernardiSenator Cory Bernardi discusses how this great new tax, concocted by the "bovine waste artists within Labor’s ranks" will seriously hurt Australian families – for nothing.

This week I have been travelling through regional South Australia. It is a vast land where transit from one destination to another can require many hours of driving. 

It is part of my second '200 town tour' in which I commit to visiting at least 200 South Australian regional communities between elections. It is amazing how much one can learn simply by talking to the locals, be it in the front bar of the pub or just calling in on small business owners. 

Having travelled from Mt Gambier in the south east through to Ceduna in the west, there are so many differences in landscape, lifestyle and location yet there is a common thread that links it all together.

Whether talking to a farmer from Cowell who has had the best ever cropping season in over 50 years or the supermarket owner from Ceduna, the constant reference is the cost of living for the average family.

Families are doing it tough. Everything they need is going up in price while the things they want seem to be costing less. 

The difference between the impact of the cost of wants and needs on the family budget are evident to everyone; all, that is, except members of the government.

Gillard and Co. continue to boast about 'inflation' as being within the Reserve Bank’s target band. Officially it is running at around 2.5 per cent. Unofficially, the cost of living increase is running much higher than that.

Electricity and utility prices are rising rapidly and are expected to do so for the foreseeable future. Food costs are sky-rocketing with meat, fruit and vegetables all jumping in price.  

Rents and mortgage rates are rising which only adds to the budget burden on many families.

These are all things that Australian families cannot do without – food, shelter and electricity. Yet these are the very things that Labor's new tax on carbon dioxide will impact most directly.

The bovine waste artists within Labor’s ranks maintain that because the new demand on your cash isn't being taken directly by the government from your pay packet, what they are proposing isn't really a tax. 

If you believe that then I have an excellent bridge over Sydney Harbour to sell you.

Frankly, the dishonestly named 'price on carbon' is a tax that will lift the cost of everything in the country. Anything that relies on electricity or transport or any manufacturing process will cost more to produce. Only the naïve or stupid would think that producers won't pass on these costs to consumers.  

That means, despite the words of Swan, Combet, Gillard and Wong, everything is going to cost more for you and me. 

After all, changing behaviour through price rises is exactly what Julia Gillard wants to engineer. The trifling matter, acknowledged by her former Climate Change (now Finance) Minister Penny Wong, that a tax won't cut carbon dioxide emissions seems to have little bearing on the justification to introduce this tax on everything.

Given her track record of 'engineering' government-led solutions over the past few years, we all know that the end result will not be in the taxpayers’ interests. 

We also know that this new tax won't be in the nation’s interest as it will place an additional burden on domestic industry and pressure future jobs growth.

As it won't make any difference to the climate and will not make a jot of difference to global temperatures, we can all be forgiven for asking 'why the heck is she doing this'?

The only logical answer is that this massive new tax is the price of being in government with the Green fundamentalists. 

Unfortunately for us all, as the cost of Julia Gillard retaining power, it is a cost she is more than willing for us to pay.

Senator Cory Bernardi is the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary Assisting the Leader of the Opposition and a Senator for South Australia. This article is courtesy of his personal blog which can be found at http://www.corybernardi.com.

A Faceless Strategy with a Public Face

Ben-Scott For a strategist that prides himself in statistical evidence and research methodology Karl Bitar listened too much to what he wanted to hear rather than what he needed to hear, writes Benjamin Scott.

“Just keep stirring the pot, you never know what will come up”, once quipped American political strategist Lee Atwater. Always a man to listen to the Republican supporter base and add a V8 engine to that research, these techniques delivered more than one American President for the Republican Party.

The Australian Labor Party is currently looking at a once pristine and all-Australian made V8 political machine which has been reduced to a Korean 4-cylinder.

It has been interesting to observe the ramifications of this as state apparatchiks and has-been hacks accuse the state and federal Labor organisations (and each other) of gross campaign incompetence. Much of this has been directed at current National Secretary or ‘Chief ALP faceless man’ Karl Bitar.

Karl Bitar is an interesting individual. An economics and research methodology graduate from the University of Sydney and former statistician at the Department of Education, Employment and Training during the Keating years, he knows plenty about political pain.

It may be surprising but the criticism levelled at him following the 2010 Federal Election surprises me. This is a political animal trained in the most hostile of political environments, with crumbling political power in his home state of NSW to a potentially disastrous scenario playing out in Canberra, yet he sought to ‘sandbag’ electorates and is now widely accused of doing so.  What is the big surprise here?

The big surprise was in the very sub-standard and inadequate results his usually impeccable research has produced for past ALP victories. Specifically for this occasion is the failed research they produced on his target…Tony Abbott.

From day dot, the ALP research and campaign machine sought to portray Tony Abbott as ‘unelectable’. This was a fatal mistake and it was a mistake that was recognised by their political opponents from a very early stage. This seemed to create a permanent ‘feedback loop’ to the remaining research and strategy for the ALP campaign. In political campaign terms, that in itself is like a cancer and is almost just as impossible to stop.

What is currently occurring amongst the ALP structure after this federal election is akin to removing a terminal cancer in a vital organ. If they fail, the ALP is facing a fatal outlook for future state and federal elections.

Perhaps the most ironic part of this clinical assessment is the fact that Karl Bitar is amongst the most intelligent and ruthless strategists the ALP may ever see. So why is he being crucified? The answer lies in research only just delivered to him. That he was listening to people who wanted to win rather than people who were telling him how to win. In other words and in a very crude sense, he listened far too much to ALP supporters rather than those voters in the marginal seats of QLD, NSW and WA that he was seeking to ‘sandbag’.

Of all things spoken about Karl Bitar both past and present, I doubt political commentators will accuse Mr Bitar of listening to the ALP base too much. But in reality, that is exactly what he did.

Benjamin Scott is the Inaugural Vice President of the Young LNP in Queensland, was an LNP campaign strategist in the last election and a former staffer to politicians at all levels of government. He now works as a Government Relations and Communications Manager in the private sector.