The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

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 »

A precedent set in Queensland abortion law, what next?

Posted by caitlinate on October 14, 2010

As many of you will be aware, earlier today Tegan Simone Leach and Sergie Brennan – charged with “procuring an abortion and supplying drugs to procure an abortion” – were acquitted at trial.

This is a fantastic result and one I’m sure the Cairns couple (as they seem to be universally known) were and are very relieved to hear. It’s also being hailed by feminists as a victory for reasons relating to the draconian laws currently in place in Queensland. Under the 110 year old law of that sunny state, abortion is illegal except to protect the mother’s life or her physical or mental wellbeing.

Which leads me to wonder if this is a victory not just because the couple have been acquitted but because of the legal precedent it sets. Apparently there is some feeling amongst those who have worked in women’s health in Queensland that an open challenge to the abortion laws currently in place would be a very precarious undertaking. That not only would any move to progressively alter the laws fail but that it might result in even more restrictive ones being put in place instead. There has been a lot of criticism heaped upon the Queensland Premier Anna Bligh (a self proclaimed feminist) for her failure to express solidarity with the Cairns couple or to undertake any party lead reform (she even went so far as to put a dampener on a colleague’s attempt to legislatively push for reform). I’m not necessarily adverse to criticisms of Bligh and I certainly don’t have much faith in politicians to actually follow through on their professed ideologies (though conservative politicians are generally more reliable on this account). What I wonder is if having this case go to trial and result in an outcome that declares that women in Queensland can take control of their bodies and their fertility without successful state persecution is better politically than a) the case being dropped or b) unsuccessful or further damaging attempts to legislate (without precedent).

I’d even go so far as to posit that the public outrage, media attention and political involvement of organizations like GetUp only came about because the case actually went to trial and that if it hadn’t we’d be stuck – loud in our feminist corners but still invisible in the mainstream – hailing that, rather than today’s outcome, as the victory it might not have necessarily been.

Obviously none of this might matter to Brennan and Leach who have probably had an unimaginably horrible time dealing with the public attention cast on them. I’ve read reports that they received death threats – a despicable and terrifying thing for both of them to have had to experience. I can only imagine the strain this would have put on their lives and their relationship and there is no reasoning that excuses or makes acceptable what they’ve had to endure. While I can argue that the way things panned out – while risky and awful for those directly involved – was a more successful route to change for feminists and women in Queensland, it’s distressing that no matter what path we take it still has to involve pain and suffering for those doing something as simple as seeking an abortion.

This wouldn’t have had to be the way change came about if members of the Queensland parliament listened to the 90% of Australians who believe abortion should be legal and stood together to legislate accordingly. As it is, my totally-not-legally-trained self sees this as a potentially good precedent. That’s really not enough. Let’s see the laws change now, before any more women have to stand trial.

Posted in law, Politics, reproductive rights, Women's Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Feminism Has Failed, not really, however, it will be debated tomorrow night

Posted by Rhiana Whitson on September 21, 2010

Don’t miss this event!

Tomorrow night! 6.30pm!

Feminism Has Failed

part of the Wheeler Centre’s Intelligence Squared debate series…

Featuring:

Author of The Feminist Denial Monica Dux, ABC journo Jennifer Byrne, journo Gay Alcorn and a few guys also…

I’ve gotta run, however, here’s what the Wheeler Centre has to say about tomorrow nights event…

After generations of effort, women still bear a disproportionate burden of domestic labour. Women are under-represented in the senior ranks of politics, business and the professions.

Women continue to be denied equal pay for equal work.

Perhaps more troubling still is the fact that the basic structures of power and influence bear the cultural marks of masculinity. In all significant ways, it remains a man’s world.

However, it could be argued that If feminism has failed, then it is because it has failed to mobilise women and that female acquiescence rather than male determination has preserved the status quo.

Or should feminists be celebrating a deeper victory in which a new generation of young men and women take equality for granted thanks to feminists who ushered in a deeper concern for justice – irrespective of gender?

Want more info? Check our Clem’s great interview with Monica Dux and Zora Simic posted here on TDC way back in 2008…

When?

Tomorrow night 6.30 – 8.30pm

Where?

Melbourne Town Hall

90-120 Swanston Street
Melbourne
Victoria 3000

Tix are  $20 full and $12 conc.

and are available online

Posted in Dawn Chorus Library, Interviews, Politics, reproductive rights, sex, Uncategorized, women we love, Women's Health | 2 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 »

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 »

Women in politics: Australia and the world

Posted by Nic Heath on June 29, 2010

Julia Gillard’s ascension to the position of Australian Prime Minister last week has generated news stories and comment around the world.

She made it to the top job via an unorthodox route, deposing Kevin Rudd in his first term. Whatever you think of this controversial manoeuvre, Gillard certainly showed her political skill and determination, and importantly, that she is supported and respected among her colleagues.

As Gillard joins the growing number of female world leaders*, many observers have examined again the place of women in politics in contemporary society.

Various commentators have noted that Prime Minister Gillard’s gender does not necessarily mean she will immediately set about redressing pay inequality between sexes and legislating a flexible workplace suited to working parents. An article by Nick O’Malley published in SMH quizzed UNSW academic Sarah Maddison on what it means to have a woman leading the country. She said:

while it never crossed anyone’s mind to ask if Rudd would act in mens’ interest, there is the expectation that Gillard should advocate for women. She argues that if people want to see politicians pursue women’s interests, they should elect feminists. ”I don’t think she will practise politics any differently to her male colleagues and I don’t think that women generally tend to. I think women and men in Australian parliaments are governed far more by their party discipline, their faction, their political ideology, than they are by their gender.”  

Irrespective of Gillard’s agenda there are other positive effects from having a female national leader. In the same article, Laura Liswood from the Washington-based Council of Women World Leaders highlights ‘a major benefit to all citizens of countries with women leaders’, what she calls the mirror effect:

Only when women take those roles are all members of society encouraged to engage in civic life. She notes that even though the US is yet to elect a female president, the work of secretaries of state Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton have changed notions of what women can do in that country.

In the Guardian Emine Saner also acknowledges the importance of the values of the individual when assessing the influence a leader’s sex may have on government policy. Saner cites the appointment of Icelandic Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir as an example of a leader with a feminist agenda focusing on women’s issues, such as the sex industry.

In the UK, only four women have been included in the new Liberal-Conservative government ministry. Twenty years after the reign of Margaret Thatcher it is clear that in the UK women are being sidelined in top level politics. On the other side of the chamber, the race for the new Labour leader came close to being all-white and all-male until Diane Abbot, the first black MP when she joined the Commons in 1987, confirmed enough numbers to secure her candidacy for the role. Harriet Harman, currently standing in as leader, is not in the running for Labour leadership, despite having regularly stood in for Gordon Brown during his prime ministership. Harman is a well-known advocate of women’s issues – such as opposing the proposed move to allow rape defendants anonymity during rape trials, and backing a plan that would see half of the places in the next shadow cabinet being reserved for women.

Implementing quotas to guarantee places for women in politics, such as the plan proposed by Harman, is a contentious issue despite the ongoing worldwide trend that sees women consistently occupying dramatically less positions in parliament than men. According to this graphic women constitute 27 per cent of the national parliament in Australia. New Zealand fares better with 33 per cent, while the US comes in with just 16 per cent. One country that defies the trend of male political domination is Rwanda, which with 56 per cent of its parliament made up by women is the global leader in female representation in national politics.

Writing for the Guardian, Mary Fitzgerald overcomes her misgivings about ‘positive discrimination’, such as all-female shortlists and quotas, when considering the situation in Rwanda. In Rwanda, the post-genocide constitution ensures a 30 per cent quota for female MPs, and according to Fitzgerald this

has encouraged many talented women to come forward – people for whom working in government, less than a generation ago, would have unthinkable. Female MPs now make up a record 56% of the Rwandan parliament – a higher proportion than anywhere else in the world – and there are eight female cabinet members. Having met many of these female parliamentarians, “window dressing” is the last description that springs to mind.’

Positive discrimination – suggesting that quotas for women in power will mean that unsuitable or unqualified female candidates will be installed in positions of power – ignores the fact that women are often overlooked for top level positions for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the workplace will have to become more flexible to accommodate working parents – no bad thing. Australian Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner’s resignation this week to spend more time with his family illustrates the difficulty politicians have in balancing a parliamentary career with family life. Perhaps more opportunities will have to be provided to women at grassroots level to allow them to rise on their merits – a positive outcome as well. As the situation in Britain shows, doing nothing means nothing gets done.

*From SMH: “26 female leaders in 23 countries, including three queens, four governors-general, 10 presidents and, as of Thursday, nine prime ministers, according to a researcher referenced by the parliamentary library.”

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Best of the rest on PM Gillard

Posted by Nic Heath on June 25, 2010

Australia might be ‘tickled pink at having its first female prime minister’, but what else is being said about the dramatic leadership change that saw Kevin Rudd suddenly ousted by Julia Gillard this week? 

Eva Cox at Crikey sees Julia Gillard’s achievement as the first step, rather than the end point, for those desiring gender balance in positions of power: 

‘We will know we really have made progress when women in top positions become normal and not worthy of comment. It will also mean we get better leaders, not just because many are women, but because we no longer exclude good people because of their gender.’ (register to read) 

Also at Crikey Shakira Hussein warns us that Gillard’s ascension to the top job means that some will think that feminism is finished: 

‘The danger now (well, one of the dangers) is that feminists will be told that the battle is won, that anyone who is still on the battlefield is just a whinger, that if a woman can become prime minister, then we have no further reason to complain.’ 

Annabel Crabbe acknowledges the sense of hope that has accompanied Gillard’s promotion:  

‘The approbation of her colleagues, seasoned with a groundswell of genuine delight at the elevation of Australia’s first female prime minister, give her an opportunity to make the sort of progress that eluded her predecessor.’ 

Catriona Menzies-Pike at New Matilda considers Gillard’s momentous caucus win and is left seeking answers: 

‘Once the fuss dies down, some of these questions will be answered and a bigger one will emerge: are Australians really ready to elect a female prime minister? 

‘There’s no doubt that Gillard’s promotion is an important symbolic victory for Australian women. But is this the exemplary trajectory for female success? To act as deputy until those whom you have vehemently opposed act to support you?’ 

 The Australian’s Caroline Overington sees evidence of change stamped all over our new PM: 

Julia Gillard is a woman, but that’s not the only extraordinary thing about her rise. 

She’s got a de facto. 

Imagine that, 30 years ago: an unmarried woman, living in sin with a man. Who is a hairdresser. And aspiring to high office. 

Leo Shanahan at The Punch believes Gillard could be the person to get the government back on track: 

Call me a honeymooner if you want, but in both policy and rhetoric Prime Minister Gillard made a lot of sense today, and that’s something that’s been missing from the Federal Government as of late. 

In Josephine Tovey’s piece at SMH, Gillard’s fruit bowl runneth over, Tovey wants women to stay on their toes: 

Just being a woman in power is not enough. There will be questions, rightly so, from women across the feminist spectrum. 

Will she, as Prime Minister improve the lot of other women, and make their paths to equality easier? 

But these are all questions for tomorrow. For now at least, we should all celebrate this landmark moment. 

 More excitement over at Femisting, with another reminder that all is not yet equal:

Julia Gillard, our new WOMAN PM – sorry, I can’t stop writing that in delighted caps – is a very impressive woman, and I have high hopes that this ouster will get voters’ approval in the upcoming Federal election. But one woman leader does not an egalitarian society make. 

At The Drum Helen Razer, enjoying ‘a little gynaecological bloat as Her Majesty’s female representative swore in the female representative of the people’, writes: 

‘A colony founded in masculinity, Australia can still feel like the land that feminism forgot. On this “historic” day, perhaps Overington, Wilkinson and co can be excused their greeting card gush.’ 

Mia Freedman briefed her readers about their new PM, adding: 

Julia Gillard is a remarkable woman. A fighter who has fought and won against many odds. A self confessed feminist and socialist, Gillard has survived the many attacks from the media and conservatives in Australia to become the Prime Minister of Australia, put in the position by the right wing factions that have previously tried to tear her down. 

Catherine Deveny sees Julia Gillard’s win as ‘a victory for all who do not fit into the category of white, middle aged, middle class, straight (or acting), god fearing (or pretending) university educated males granted a priority pass access to power (and therefore money, control, leisure and choice) at birth.’ Deveny affirms her faith in Gillard, writing: 

I believe in Julia Gillard. Not because she is a woman. But because she’s Julia Gillard. Smart, brave, strong, experienced and independent. I believe in equality and diversity. Which means knowing she can be a maggot and a mongrel when necessary. Delight and disappoint. Her promise not mine.  

  

If you have read any great comment or analysis that I have missed feel free to post it in the comments.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

The stigma of abortion

Posted by Nic Heath on March 4, 2010

I first heard of Angie Jackson over at Mamamia – [From Mamamia, which Mia found at The Frisky]:

“If I can’t talk about my first trimester abortion, which was legal and in my case life-saving, then who the hell can talk about her abortion? Or his abortion story, from the women he was with?…”

Angie has gained web notoriety for making her medical abortion public – on YouTube and Twitter. Aside from the issues that accompany such a public exposure of one’s private life, that sort of honesty takes immense courage, and like Angie says could help negate the stigma that surrounds pregnancy termination. I recently discovered a piece by Adelaide Advertiser columnist Clementine Ford written in 2008 defending her “pro-choice” views (although she calls it pro-life – focusing on the woman’s position in an unwanted pregnancy), and in it Ford writes freely about her own experience with abortion. 

My current views on talking about terminations in the public domain crystallised after reading Clementine’s column – and particularly this:

“I truly believe that women who have abortions are forced to feel shame over a decision that is both a) legal and b) so completely unconnected with the business of anyone else other than the woman and man involved.”

What else in our society is a legal act (in some states) and yet remains shrouded in shame? Public admissions of abortion are effectively taboo, and yet each year thousands of Australian women end unwanted pregnancy through termination.  I don’t recommend that women live-tweet their termination, but neither should they have to hide their decision under layers of guilt.

The abortion debate continues to incite extreme reactions from those against the practice, and it is inevitable that frank accounts like Angie Jackson’s further fan the flames of opposition. Tory Shepherd, for the The Punch, writes of a political party campaigning on an anti-abortion platform for the upcoming South Australian election, illustrating how controversial the issue remains in some quarters. In her piece Shepherd identifies one of the most frustrating elements of the abortion debate, which is that: 

“…the debate has not moved on in decades. The pro-lifers refuse to accept reality, and keep sparking these hate-waves, which in turn forces pro-choicers to reject their accusations, and so the vicious whirlpool goes.”

In 1971 French writer and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir composed a declaration signed by 343 women (Manifestio of the 343) in response to laws in France prohibiting abortion, in which the signatories attested to having had a termination. Are personal admissions to having had an abortion, made in the public realm, like this and Angie Jackson’s, necessary to reduce the social stigma surrounding it? Are they ultimately helpful? I acknowledge that for some women the decision to end an unwanted pregnancy is a traumatic one that they will never want to disclose publicly, but how do we stop women who are comfortable with their choice fearing public shame?

Posted in Politics, Women's Health | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

What the housewives of Australia need to understand…

Posted by caitlinate on February 8, 2010

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….

Or so said Tony Abbott today.

Because the only people that do ironing are housewives. In case you aren’t down with the lingo: woman housewife to Tony Abbott means someone who should be patronised and deeply condescended to. Apparently, women housewives are the disinterested and dim members of our wider society, best appealed to using only small words and simple examples they can personally relate to. Women Housewives don’t know or care about anything to do with climate change. All they care about is the tiny realm of household tasks they exist within (because you can be sure he thinks it’s a tiny realm). Lucky that the Mad Monk is here to inform women housewives about the really key and pressing issues of the day! Cos, you know, women housewives don’t need or want to understand anything about polar ice caps melting, rising sea levels, the increased risk of drought, fire and floods posed by global warming, the way changing ecosystems threaten the survival of wildlife, or the effects of this on the (indigenous) people living in the pacific region. Shit, all that information might explode the tiny, tiny brains of women housewives.

Nor does Tony Abbott believe that housewives would be interested in questioning the validity of the Rudd government’s ETS scheme because it does little to secure investment in alternative or renewable energies (and thus, our futures) or because it clings deludedly to the idea of ‘clean coal’. Nope, they only care about their fucking ironing.

Posted in Interviews, Media Watch, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments »

 
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