The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Archive for the ‘Media Watch’ Category

Loss of basic female skills or loss of basic journalistic skills?

Posted by Mel Campbell on January 31, 2011

(This post is cross-posted at Crikey.)

There’s an article by Helen Dow currently on News.com.au (originally in Queensland’s Sunday Mail) reporting on some findings from social research consultancy McCrindle Research in Sydney: namely, that Generation Y are losing basic skills of self-care and self-sufficiency. Here are some of the stats from the story:

  • Only 51 per cent of survey respondents aged under 30 can cook a roast, compared with 82 per cent of baby boomers.
  • Only 20 per cent of young respondents can bake lamingtons; 45 per cent of respondents aged over 30 can.
  • Only 23 per cent of young respondents can grow a plant from a cutting; 78 per cent of older respondents can.
  • And only 40 per cent of respondents under 30 can drive manual cars, compared to 71 per cent of older respondents.

Notice that I have deliberately elided the issue of whether the respondents were male or female, and I have not generalised out from the survey sample to the wider Australian population.

Looking at the stats alone, this could actually be an interesting story about our culture of affluence, disposability and general alienation from the means of production. Unfortunately, this report spuriously claims that these are “female skills”. (No, Sunday Mail, putting scare quotes around ‘female’ doesn’t absolve you of knee-jerk sexism, especially when you choose to illustrate your story with goofy pictures of women wielding cooking and cleaning equipment.)

This is a cheap, distasteful reporting strategy aimed at enraging readers who will circulate the story and comment on it, generating advertising revenue. At the time of writing, the story had 88 comments. However, rather than merely getting angry at the perpetuation of these cynically sexist ideas, it’s important to understand how stories like this are developed – and to demand better responses from journalists.

This story angle has most likely been generated by a McCrindle press release. The stereotypes about which skills are ‘male’ and ‘female’ were decided on by the research company and the angle was ‘packaged’ in the release.

Although there are no press releases on the McCrindle site pertaining to this research, another similar release came out from McCrindle on 29 November 2010, entitled “Men of 2010″. Obediently, both the Herald Sun (“Modern man is a bit of a drip”) and Daily Telegraph (“Men losing their traditional skill set”) reported on the decline of traditional “man skills”. The Hez story was a straight rip of the presser, while the Tele found a representative man to interview – probably via a site such as SourceBottle.

However, it’s the job of really good journalists to question the way PR-led stories are presented. The principles of journalism prize not taking things at face value: always getting two sides to any story and looking for the deeper causes of a situation. Rather than replicating the angle provided in the release, a much more critically engaged response from the journalist would have been to get on the phone and on the internet, and find out from independent sources whether the information is reliable.

For a start, I’d like to see some corollary statistics about the prevalence of automatic cars on Australian roads, the number of young people living in urban areas without gardens, the number of young people living at home where they’re not primarily responsible for cooking, and the consumer culture of disposability that means we think it’s easier just to buy things and throw them away rather than to make, maintain, fix and nurture.

If it’s difficult to find these statistics via the limited amount of research time that newsroom journalists have at their disposal, then they need to find an expert who does have access to them. A journalist could seek comment from someone not associated with McCrindle – perhaps an academic working in sociology or gender studies, or another social researcher who’s done similar work.

A journalist on his or her toes (and, sadly, they often seem to give this genre of story to female reporters) could even just call Mark McCrindle and ask him, straight up, to back up his claims with quantitative evidence: how did his company assign particular skill sets to ‘men’ and ‘women’? Did the survey respondents themselves associate certain skills with certain genders – or did the researchers design that association into their survey?

This story is the end of a chain of assumptions that nobody has seen fit to question. But the profession of journalism should make assumption-busting its first order of business.

Posted in Media Watch | Tagged: , , , | 13 Comments »

Would this fly if we had a male PM?

Posted by Mel Campbell on December 21, 2010

This cartoon by Bill Leak, published in today’s Australian, isn’t garden-variety media sexism. It’s an appallingly ill-judged combination of callousness and racism surrounding the Christmas Island asylum seeker shipwreck disaster, and to make matters worse, there’s a jocular rapeyness directed at the prime minister of this country.

Readers, I’m talking about this:

“A hell of a hammering”? It really does beggar belief that Leak could think of no better way to dramatise the political trials Gillard faces over Australia’s asylum seeker policies than to show the prime minister as a distressed, brutalised object.

Depressingly, though, I almost suspect that Leak’s editor at The Australian knew exactly how tasteless and dull-witted the cartoon was, and approved its publication anyway in order to court controversy, and hence, boost circulation and pageviews.

I really struggle to think of any other political cartoon that degrades the holder of the highest executive office in this country in such an ill-conceived, unfunny way. Imagery of shipwrecks and stormy seas has been used extensively in political cartoons in the past – especially in relation to asylum seeker issues – but even a besieged prime minister is usually depicted as a captain going down with his ship, flailing in the sea or clinging to a life raft. Not battered and bruised, on all fours. Not with a police officer standing there, coolly refusing to help.

This is the second time in two days the Australian media have disrespected the Prime Minister. Yesterday, actual airtime and column inches were devoted to gossipy speculation over whether the very publicly unmarried Gillard had finally got engaged, since she was spotted at a press conference wearing a large sparkly ring on her engagement finger.

When asked about the ring, Gillard made light of it. “We have got to that stage in a press conference where it’s got a bit silly,” she retorted.

“I have had that ring for a long period of time and I miscellaneously wear it on my left hand or my right hand, depending on how much handwriting I’m doing. … If it will make you feel better, I’ll slip it back on to the right hand.”

If a male prime minister were spotted without his wedding ring, would the Australian media interrupt a press conference about the National Broadband Network to ask him if he’d left his wife? Let journalists criticise Gillard’s policies all they like, but to discredit them, and her, on the basis of her gender is appalling.

Posted in Media Watch, Politics, sexual assault | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

What Does The Assange Rape Case Mean For Feminism?

Posted by Mel Campbell on December 9, 2010

I’ve been very uneasy reading the commentary about the pending rape and sexual misconduct charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Of course, I’m suspicious about the timing of Assange’s recent arrest in London, and the effort which international law enforcers put in to ‘catch’ him (whereas dude handed himself in, after keeping in touch with UK police for several weeks prior).

However, as Ms .45 has commented in relation to an earlier Dawn Chorus post, there’s been a pretty distasteful tone to the coverage. The media seem to want to both pruriently detail the allegations against Assange, and to suggest these charges aren’t that serious.

There have been various suggestions that the women were not really raped, but rather were embarrassed at having been ‘played’ by our snowy-haired Lothario (a media narrative we often see in allegations of sexual assault against famous men). Alternatively, they made up the rape allegations for political reasons: they want to ‘bring Assange down’.

Like Ms .45, I’m pretty disappointed that Crikey‘s WH Chong would think “the most sensible reading [of the ‘sex by surprise’ charge] comes from the mouth of babes, Assange’s son Daniel”. What? Someone on the other side of the world who knows as little about these incidents as anyone, and who hasn’t seen Assange for ages? Political commentary doesn’t suit Chong; he should probably confine his thoughts to arts and culture, which is the remit of his Crikey blog.

This Salon article is probably the best rebuttal of all the subtle, hearsay misogyny in other media coverage, while this Feministe post neatly rebuts all the disbelieving sniggering that’s been going on over the charge of “sex by surprise”.

But most troublingly for me, some media accounts have suggested that these vexatious charges could only have been laid in Sweden, where feminism has become institutionalised. As Salon’s Kate Harding sarcastically puts it:

The only reason the charges got traction is that, in the radical feminist utopia of Sweden under Queen Lisbeth Salander, if a woman doesn’t have multiple orgasms during hetero sex, the man can be charged with rape. You didn’t know?

The feminist project has long aimed to reach and reform the highest political institutions, and this has happened in Sweden, “where even conservative male politicians call themselves feminists”.

Swedish law has also eliminated many of the subtle anti-victim legal biases that we’ve previously documented here at the Dawn Chorus. The idea that women can withdraw their consent is the backbone of the ‘sex by surprise’ charge, and Swedish activists are now agitating for further reform which recognises that women can signal their non-consent in non-verbal ways.

But I’m getting the disquieting feeling that for the mainstream (and especially the conservative) media, Sweden is becoming a case study in the crazy, Kafkaesque shit that happens if we let those wacky feminists get their hands on the wheel. The central hypocrisy of the Julian Assange coverage seems to be that it’s a good thing for information to be free, but women should be kept down as much as possible – or where would society be then?

Posted in Media Watch, sexual assault | Tagged: , , , , | 10 Comments »

“Party rape”

Posted by caitlinate on November 24, 2010

[image caption: “Millionaire to stand trial – Melbourne property developer Paul Fridman accused of party rape”]

In case you were wondering, “party rape” is different to other types of rape. I’m not quite sure how but, there you go.

Posted in Media Watch, sexual assault | Tagged: , , , | 8 Comments »

Feeling assailed by feminism

Posted by Mel Campbell on September 28, 2010

As part of the Wheeler Centre’s merry non-question “Feminism has failed”, the literary centre asked Michaela McGuire to write a piece on questioning whether she was a feminist.

Basically, McGuire’s contention was that she doesn’t want to give much consideration to feminism, because in the past she has felt assailed and alienated by other women who called themselves feminists.

“This was the reason, I realised, that feminism, at least as I had encountered it, does not seem relevant to me. It has rules. Qualifiers. Hundred-year-old mottos that I am meant to apply to my own life.”

On one level, I totally get where she’s coming from. Several times in the past I have offered my honest opinions about women and have been greeted by a backlash from feminists whose views I found ideologically rigid.

I stopped posting on my personal blog for nearly four months after various people weighed in on this post, suggesting that I clearly didn’t love my vagina enough. (I’ve since switched commenting systems, so none of the Vagina Luv comments are there any more.)

And I stopped blogging at The Dawn Chorus for nearly a year after feeling as though the entire feminist blogosphere had turned on me because of this (admittedly, mischievously titled) blog post.

But these responses never led me to the conclusion that I wasn’t a feminist.

Here’s how I define feminism. It’s the belief that nobody should be denied dignity, respect or opportunities – personal or professional, in public or at home, as a citizen or in relationships – solely because of their gender. If you believe this, and you don’t like seeing people disrespected or disempowered because of their gender, you’re a feminist. That’s it. That’s the only rule. The only qualifier.

Most of all, feminism is not about consensus. Feminism is a personal commitment, and it’s worth pursuing even though individual feminists, and groups of feminists, may have vastly differing beliefs and engage in robust debate. Put it this way: men are not deterred from having convictions simply because not all men agree with each other.

I’ve felt assailed by feminists. I’ve felt personally attacked. I’ve felt crushed. I’ve felt ignored. But I have never abandoned my conviction that I am a feminist, or become less willing to point out and condemn gender-based inequity as I see it.

Posted in Blog Watch, Media Watch | 16 Comments »

Matthew Newton: He did it again

Posted by Rhiana Whitson on September 5, 2010

Matthew Newton has committed domestic violence. He is a criminal and needs to go to prison.
Matthew Newton is a drug addict and mentally ill. He needs our pity and our help.

I’m no psychiatrist, but I do know this:

However, troubled or drug addled Matthew Newton may be,  he’s committed a serious crime, and it’s not his first offense.

As we wait to see whether Newton will be held accountable for his latest actions, we should ask ourselves why a man who just three years ago went to court over a similar incident was allowed to re-offend, and, why he was allowed to grace our television screens.

Even before this latest incident, It’s been a sorry decline for Matthew Newton.

Not that Channel Seven seemed to mind. After checking himself out of rehab earlier this year, Channel Seven offered Newton a $200, 000 contract to host their brand new reality-TV series, The X-Factor.

How quickly the commercial networks forget!

The question posed by Media Watch is this: why was Newton offered the job in the first place?

Or indeed, any other acting jobs following his court appearance in 2007?

(If you haven’t already, make sure you watch this episode – it just confirms how lucky we are that journalism like this still exists to keep the mainstream media accountable, especially in the current climate of horse-race journalism)

Just in case you’re as forgetful as Channel Seven, here’s a refresher: in 2007 Newton was charged with two counts of common assault, one count of stalk/intimidate with the intent of causing physical/mental harm and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. According to media reports at the time, the catalyst for Brooke Satchwell to bravely speak out, occurred after she was repeatedly punched  in the head by Newton whilst she yelled for him to stop.

Um, Channel Seven, is this really the type of guy you want to host your network’s answer to Australian Idol?

Unfortunately, Channel Seven clearly held the same opinion as Newton’s star struck appeal judge.

What should have been an open and closed case, rather strangely (or perhaps not, considering Newton’s connections) ended with Newton walking away innocent man.

Newton’s lenient 12-month good behavior bond was quashed by a Sydney judge on appeal.

According to News.com.au the judge considered Newton an “utmost gentleman” who had committed the offense because of severe depression.

Apparently he was unlikely to re-offend.

The justice system’s handling of this case was another slap in the face for Australian women: the career of a well connected actor is more important than your right to safety.

At the time of the charges a number of recognisable faces sprang to Newton’s defense, offering character references for what they saw as an unfairly targeted Newton.

At the time of the court hearing, Newton was dating Gracie Otto, Barry Otto’s then 19-year old daughter.

Barry Otto:

“Matthew is a great friend and a great person. I don’t understand why people are trying to destroy his reputation with this sort of stuff,”

Sue Hill, mother of Gracie, wife of Barry:

“Matthew is the sweetest, nicest person in the world. He would never hurt a flea”.
“He would be absolutely devastated about all this becoming public.”

(How about the devastation Satchwell endured through firstly, the incident(s) itself,  facing the public with her allegations, and finally dealing with the miscarriage of justice performed by a  judge who rendered her abuser innocent)

The Otto’s must be eating their words now.

It certainly didn’t take the commercial networks very long to become convinced of Newton’s supposed innocence either.

Although, you’d think that even despite an overturned conviction, an actor who’s name had become synonymous with domestic violence would be enough to keep the commercial networks away…

As the saying goes, any publicity is good publicity – and with that, Newton’s career was resurrected to play the role of Terry Clark in Channel Nine’s Underbelly.

To tidy Newton’s image up, although as Media Watch pointed out, the role was rather apt,  News Ltd. got to work on some cross promotion last year with this hard-hitting piece of journalism.

It’s good to see Newton doing what he does best — acting. It’s easy to forget, amid the swirling controversy of the past couple of years, what a good actor he is.

Yes, indeed, great actor. The Hun’s Erin McWhirter sure fell for the shameless PR coordinated by the Herald Sun and Channel Nine.

Contemplating his life in the past two years has brought Newton some sense of inner peace. He hints that turning 30 has played a major part in turning things around.

‘‘Mistakes of your 20s, professionally or whatever, you just come into your own a little bit in your sense of understanding, ” Newton said.

Newton’s reintegration into commercial television was a success, so much so, Channel Seven chose to ignore a couple of tense moments between Rachel and Newton earlier this year and a stint in rehab when it decided they wanted him on board to host X-Factor.

Following Seven’s announcement, another bout of cross-promotion ensued, handy seeing as many Australian’s are unaware that mainstream media is pretty much completely owned by a couple of key players.

“My New Start”

“A changed man
. Putting the past behind him…
…a refreshingly honest interview…

— New Idea, 9th August, 2010”
(as cited on Media Watch website)

Today Tonight were keen to get in on the action also.

Matt White: You haven’t been boring, have you?

Matthew Newton: No, no… I’ve just always done my thing.

— Channel Seven, Today Tonight, 2nd August, 2010
(as cited on Media Watch website)

Why the soft treatment? Vested interests of course. Today Tonight, on Channel Seven. Who publish New Idea? Why,  Pacific Magazines, of course. And who are they? Why, they’re apart of the Seven Media Group.

Fair enough when you consider Channel Seven spent 22 million dollars to buy the rights for it.

But how’s the media treating Newton now? Surely he’s not going to get the soft treatment again?

Think again.

The lack of focus on domestic violence in the media since breaking news of Rome, has recast Newton as mentally ill. Apparently Newton has a series of problems stemming from his childhood spent growing up in the limelight. It’s all a bit ‘poor Matthew.’

A source quoted on the Herald Sun online even went as far as this:

“He’s just got that typical tortured artist’s mind.”

Oh god, really?

To summarise, I’d like to quote Neil (not in relation to ACA, but appropriate nonetheless) who left this comment on the Media Watch website last week:

Wonderful how the vested-interest media are turning “Matthew” into a victim here. “Matthew” now has a mental health issue and “We” in this country are not doing enough to help people with mental health issues. Cleverly, we’re now partly to blame for this maggot’s tanties.

Indeed:

‘Schizophrenia’ fears for Matthew Newton

UPDATE 12:49pm: TROUBLED actor Matthew Newton is suffering schizophrenia-like symptoms from dangerous use of hard drugs such as ice.
Newton, 33, who is undergoing treatment at Sydney’s Northside West Clinic, has been dumped by leading acting agency RGM, which represents Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne and Anthony LaPaglia.
It tops off a week in which Newton was sacked from the TV show The X Factor and dropped by his manager, Titus Day.
Newton is understood to have been taking a cocktail of ice, marijuana and cocaine.
His drug use was known to his family and to some senior employees at the Seven Network, when it hired him.

Absent from this update is any mention of the incident which sparked Newton being dropped from by his management. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
Because of this omission, I guess it’s no wonder Daryl posted this at the bottom of the article:

Daryl Posted at 4:47 AM August 30, 2010
Matt has taken a brave step forward and is getting treatment, good on him. As a sufferer of depression for many years myself, it’s not easy to admit to a problem and to seek help. Don’t give up Matt, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Channel Nine, aired this interview with Bert and Patti Newton.

I’m certainly not criticising Patti or Bert for sticking up for their son, after all they’re just being parents. Yet we should not let their parental defense cloud our view of what Newton has done, and therefore deride the seriousness of what happened to Rachel Taylor, Brooke Satchwell and other victims of domestic violence.

Yet, it seems ACA did exactly just that.
At the end of ACA Tracy Grimshaw says this:

We urge anyone suffering from mental illness or depression to call beyondblue or lifeline.

Absent from this is any mention of how women affected by domestic violence can get help.
Again, Bert is under contract with Channel Nine, so perhaps this is why Grimshaw gave the issue the soft touch, and after all, we can’t blame them for their sons behavior. However, regardless of the reasons, ACA is doing their female viewers a disservice by ignoring the issue of domestic violence.

Too many women die each year as a result of domestic violence. I’m hoping that this time around, we’re going to see justice served for Rachel Taylor and Brooke Satchwell (who must be observing the current events with sadness and anger – she knew the seedy underbelly of this “utmost gentleman” all along).
Like all men who abuse their partners, Matthew Newton should be held accountable for his  actions.

Because really, how many women does a man need to assault before he’s convicted and his celebrity career is over?



Posted in Celebrity, domestic violence, Family, Film & Television, Media Watch, Relationships, Sex And Love, Uncategorized, violence against women, Women's Health | 9 Comments »

The Twenty-Eighth Down Under Feminists Carnival

Posted by caitlinate on September 4, 2010

Oh my gawd, hi everyone. So this is the first time I’ve done a blog carnival and I put my hand up for it 6 months ago not realising that this was going to be like the busiest two or three weeks I would be having all year. So! There is no theme and things might be organised a little incoherently but I hope I’ve done a good job and you like…

WELCOME to the 28th Down Under Feminists Carnival!

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Announcements, Blog Watch, body image, domestic violence, Family, glbt, Interviews, law, Media Watch, music, Politics, porn, Relationships, reproductive rights, sex, Trans, violence against women, women we love, Women's Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments »

Lovett Rape Hearing: Once Again A Woman Is Asked What She Was Wearing

Posted by Clem Bastow on August 13, 2010

It’s a grim fact of life, it seems, that whenever a high-profile – or even one that doesn’t involve “celebrities” – rape hearing or trial is underway, details will emerge about the cross-examining of the alleged victim that are enough to lead you to think it’s not actually the 21st century, and instead 1950.

As the hearing regarding the alleged rape of the woman by sacked St Kilda Saints player Andrew Lovett continues, the media was today given access to the woman’s statement and a transcript of her cross examination – and what a surprise it was to read this detail:

Under cross-examination on Tuesday from Lovett’s defence counsel David Grace, QC, the woman agreed that on the night she met Lovett, she wanted to make herself look attractive and was interested in meeting men.

She agreed that she drank four vodka, lime and sodas and two shots at the Royal Saxon hotel that night but said she did not intend to get drunk.

Let me break this down very clearly to those who still, as it appears the defence counsel does, subscribe to archaic notions of what clothing or behaviour blurs the lines of what sexual behaviour is acceptable on the part of men:

IT DOESN’T MATTER IF SHE WAS DRESSED UP, IT DOESN’T MATTER IF SHE WAS DRUNK OR ON DRUGS, IT DOESN’T MATTER IF SHE “WANTED TO MAKE HERSELF LOOK ATTRACTIVE AND WAS INTERESTED IN MEETING MEN”, NONE OF THAT IMPLIES CONSENT IF SHE HASN’T VERBALLY GIVEN IT.

Posted in law, Media Watch, Sex Crimes, sexual assault, Sport, violence against women | 7 Comments »

Reasons to not vote for Tony

Posted by caitlinate on August 5, 2010

In no particular order…

“The problem with the Australian practice of abortion is that an objectively grave matter has been reduced to a question of the mother’s convenience.”

“If half the effort were put into discouraging teenage promiscuity as goes into preventing teenage speeding, there might be fewer abortions, fewer traumatised young women and fewer dysfunctional families.”

“Why isn’t the fact that 100,000 women choose to end their pregnancies regarded as a national tragedy approaching the scale, say, of Aboriginal life expectancy being 20 years less than that of the general community?”

- From an address to the Adelaide University Democratic Club, 17 March 2004.

“Since 1996, contrary to poltical correctness, the Australian parliament has overturned right-to-kill laws and (almost) banned gay marriage. Perhaps a political constituency may even be starting to emerge to ban abortions after 20 weeks. “

- From a speech delivered at the CIS Consilium in Queensland, July 31 2004.

“The problem is backyard miscarriages if unscrupulous doctors prescribe these drugs for desperate women. “

“If an application did come to me, I would have to satisfy myself that compelent doctors would administer the drug in safe circumstances to women who had fully considered the alternatives and understood the risks”

- On RU486, 6 February 2006.

“Even if dispossession is taken to mean that government has a higher responsibility to Aborigines than to other Australians, the production of beautiful art and connectedness to the land does not warrant the maintenance of a way of life also characterised by unemployment, substance abuse and domestic violence. If people choose to live in difficult to service places, that’s their business.”

- From an article published in The Australian, 27 June 2008.

“I know Bernie is very sick, but just because a person is sick doesn’t mean that he is necessarily pure of heart in all things.”

- Said to Channel 9 reporter about asbestos sufferer and social justice campaigner Bernie Banton, October 2007.

“…we just can’t stop people from being homeless if that’s their choice…”

- Said to a Catholic social services conference, February 2010.

“I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons”

- Quote from an undergraduate piece he wrote on feminism, featured in this GetUp ad that also highlights other quotes.

TONY JONES: So are you making a case against teaching in indigenous languages? Is that what – I’m trying to get on top of the point you’re making.

TONY ABBOTT: Well, I am making that case.

- From Q&A, 27 August 2009.

“You don’t have to be a Catholic to be troubled by the current abortion culture”

- From Sunday Profile, 12 June 2005.

“…Jesus didn’t say yes to everyone. I mean Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it is not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.”

“Now, I know that there are some Aboriginal people who aren’t happy with Australia Day. For them it remains Invasion Day. I think a better view is the view of Noel Pearson, who has said that Aboriginal people have much to celebrate in this country’s British Heritage”

- From Q&A, 5 April 2010.

“The Government accepts that some 14 and 15-year-olds might prefer that their parents not know about the medical procedures they have had or the prescription drugs they are on. But children should not be presumed to be the best judges of their own long-term interests and should not have the right to go behind their parents’ backs… The real issue here is whether 14 and 15-year-olds can make informed decisions about what is right and wrong for them. And if they don’t have that capacity, should they be allowed to operate in a moral and ethical vacuum?”

- On Howard legislation giving parents access data about government benefits provided to their teenagers (for example, young women’s Medicare claims related to contraceptive advice), June 2004.

“The point I make in the book is that a society… is surely capable of providing additional recognition to what might be thought of as traditional marriage…. Something akin to a Matrimonial Causes Act marriage ought to be an option for people who would like it.”

- On the reintroduction of at fault-divorce, July 2009.

On queer people being members of a Catholic congregation:

“…if you’d asked me for advice I would have said to have – adopt a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about all of these things…”

On aid to the ‘third world’ funding abortions:

“I just think that surely there are higher priorities for Australia than funding things like that.”

On whether a national celibacy campaign would be helpful to counter the rise in teen sexual activity, sexual infections and pregnancies:

“I think that it’s very important that we empower people to reject this kind of rampant sensuality.”

- From Q&A, 19 March 2009.

“It’s the responsibility of government to try to put policies in place which over time will allow people to improve their situation. But we can’t abolish poverty because poverty in part is a function of individual behaviour.

We can’t stop people drinking; we can’t stop people gambling; we can’t stop people having substance problems; we can’t stop people from making mistakes that cause them to be less well-off than they might otherwise be. “

“Western civilisation came to this country in 1788 and I’m proud of that…”

- From Four Corners, 15 March 2010

LIZ HAYES: Homosexuality? How do you feel about that?

TONY ABBOTT: I’d probably I feel a bit threatened…

“I’d always been against the death penalty but that contemplating the enormity of certain sort of crimes I sometimes thought that some crimes were so hideous that if the punishment were to fit maybe we were left with no alternative but the death penalty.”

- From an interview on 60 minutes, March 2010

LEIGH SALES: What was “threatened” referring to?

TONY ABBOTT: Well, there is no doubt that it challenges, if you like, orthodox notions of the right order of things…

- From an interview on Lateline, March 2010

Mr Speaker, we have a bizarre double standard; a bizarre double standard in this country where some-one who kills a pregnant woman’s baby is guilty of murder, but a woman who aborts an unborn baby is simply exercising choice.

- In Parliament (pdf), 15 Feb 2006.

Racism used to be offered as the complete explanation for Aboriginal poverty, alienation and early death. Racism hasn’t disappeared. Still, if racism caused poverty, why hasn’t poverty declined as racism diminished.

- From a paper presented to The Bennelong Society (pdf), September 2004.

“What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up, every year….”

- Previously covered here at TDC, March 2010.

” I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak”

- From Q&A, 19 March 2009.

Posted in Media Watch, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 77 Comments »

Julia Gillard Is Australia’s New Prime Minister

Posted by Clem Bastow on June 24, 2010

We’ll write more once the fallout from the spill has settled and we’ve had time to gather our thoughts, but – regardless of how it happened – Australia now has its first female Prime Minister. From The Age:

Julia Gillard has become Australia’s first female prime minister after Kevin Rudd stood aside at the last minute before this morning’s historic leadership ballot.

Ms Gillard was unelected unopposed, making her the nation’s 27th prime minister and its first female leader. She has chosen Treasurer Wayne Swan to be her Deputy Prime Minister.

Ms Gillard had the numbers – reportedly 74 of the 112 caucus votes – and the majority support of the party.

Yes, it would be nice – in an ideal world – for our first female Prime Minister to have been voted in by the public rather than a secretive party ballot, but Kevin Rudd has ended up a disappointment (not to mention certain election promises, like same-sex marriage, that evaporated completely) while Gillard has worked hard behind the scenes and will no doubt reinvigorate the party and government.

But quietly, we’re thrilled and moved that our first female PM will be sworn in by our first female Governor General, no matter how it happened.

Posted in Announcements, Media Watch, Politics, women we love | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 73 other followers