The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Posts Tagged ‘catherine deveny’

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 »

Christmas Chooks

Posted by hannahcolman on December 27, 2009

A Mom For Christmas!

Catherine Deveny, inaugural subject of The Dawn Chorus’ Women We Love bit, wrote a special Christmas message for Defamer Australia this year. You can read the whole thing here, and I strongly suggest you do, because Deveny’s yuletide musings are funny and relevant. I thought this part in particular would strike a chord with The Dawn Chorus readers.

I have for many years said having children and a vagina means December is spent being a slave and an emotional potty for most of the month. Yes that’s right. Christmas, turning back feminism 150 years.


The amount of unpaid labor done by women at this time of year is astonishing. The blokes may pick up the ice, mow the lawn and carve the ham but I challenge you to look around on Christmas day and seriously work out how much of the food, thought, purchasing, organizing, cleaning, wrapping and social lubricant is provided by the women. Take away the woman’s effort and then see what you’re left with. No wonder they all chuck barneys, do their block and double their medication.

Merry Christmas, ladies!

Posted in Blog Watch, Family, Parenting & Family, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Love & Marriage… Don’t Go Together Like A Horse & Carriage

Posted by caitlinate on September 16, 2009

So, I know it’s lazy to just post a link and say ‘go look here’ but I think this piece by Catherine Deveny in the Sydney Morning Herald today is a worthy excuse for such an indolent act. I also think it’s a good kick off for a fun TDC discussion about marriage and it’s place and purpose in our current day and age.

The article begins:

I AM against gay marriage. I’m against straight marriage. I’m against marriage full stop. Why are we hanging on to this relic of an anachronistic system (which still reeks of misogyny and bigotry), established so men could own women to ensure their estates and titles were passed on to their kids – sorry, their sons? Time to ditch it.

Go read!

Posted in Faith and Religion, Family, glbt, law, Media Watch, Parenting & Family, Relationships, Sex And Love | Tagged: , , , , , | 55 Comments »

Just How Much Does The Age Value Catherine Deveny’s Contributions?

Posted by Clem Bastow on March 18, 2009

Not a whole lot, it would seem.

Two weeks back, Deveny wrote – in honour of International Women’s Day – a stunning piece about the lack of female voices in the Australian media. Her weekly columns may be polarising, but there are many who turn to the Opinion page come Wednesday morning just to see what she has to say. Those of us who love her do so because we love her wit, passion and honesty. Two collections of her columns have been published. In other words, you could be forgiven for thinking that The Age would want to hang on to her for dear life – but you’d be wrong.

Since last Wednesday, Deveny has been on strike:

[New] editor Paul Ramadge declined to honour an agreement Deveny had struck with his predecessor Andrew Jaspan for a pay rise that, according to one Age insider, would have taken her into the stratosphere.

The Age (and Fairfax as a whole) has a recent and rich history of stuffing around its editorial staff, but such behaviour is even more injurious to its freelance contributors, of which Deveny is one. She is a contractor who recieves no super, benefits, holiday pay, maternity leave, sick pay or long service leave. The blokes at the top get paid performance bonuses for cutting costs. The last thing Deveny wrote about the was the lack of strong female voices in the media (and only 13 of the last 69 opinion pieces in the paper were written by women). Now she’s not there.

Complain and tell your friends – tell The Age (and Ramadge) that you don’t approve of their dealings: call 9600 4211 for reader feedback, or send a letter to the editor.

Posted in Business, Media Watch, Weekend Love-In | Tagged: , , , , | 24 Comments »

Catherine Deveny On The Olympics

Posted by Clem Bastow on August 13, 2008

I have been trying to put my finger on just what it is about Olympics madness that has been troubling me, and The Dawn Chorus’ inaugural Woman We Love, Catherine Deveny, has helpfully expressed it for me in today’s Age with her piece, “Taking A Sporting Break From The Great Issues Of The Day“:

Talkback is chockers with irate people still phoning in at what’s been called the sucked-ice-block fashion fiasco. What happened to the green and gold, the Akubras and the japaras? Wouldn’t the girls have looked nicer in skirts? Yet I’ve heard no talkback about the human rights abuses in Tibet, China’s environmental vandalism or the world just swallowing hook, line and sinker the Chinese press release about modern, free China.

It’s all just “Was the Beijing opening ceremony better than ours?” “Did you see that Chinese Nikki Webster? Sure she was cute, but it was our idea first. Maybe we can sue,” and “Do you think Stephanie Rice and her boyfriend will get back together?”

I had to laugh. Good on Stephanie Rice, but when I watched Seven News run a picture of the golden girl with the headline “Rice Cracker” I spat my long noodle chicken entrail soup at the telly. I thought they may open the news with “Ah soo, Chinese, Japanese, look at these dirty knees. Rovely news about Stephanie Lice. China! Dlagons and the Gleat Wall of China.”

Thank you, Catherine, for going there while everyone else is dicking themselves over how good the ‘Water Cube’ looks and how amazing the computer generated fireworks were.

Posted in Media Watch, Sport | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Inappropriate Google Advertising

Posted by hannahcolman on July 16, 2008

My inappropriate-interwebs-advertising-spotting editor Clem has already pointed out some corkers that she came across on Facebook.

Today I happened to be trawling the Dawn Chorus archives (we’re only 3 weeks old so trawling is probably a bit excessive), and came across the Catherine Deveny interview. I clicked the link to one of her controversial opinion pieces (‘Why do some wives still change their names?The Age, September 5th 2007). An excerpt: 

Whenever two parents are working and the child is propped up on the sideline waiting for its turn, why is it only the woman who gets bagged, as if the father has no responsibility for the care of his own child? Why, when a woman is working, does she always get asked, “Who’s looking after your children?”, but the father never does? We need to take the focus off the role of mother and put it on to parents as a team.

Imagine my delight when I scrolled down and saw which advertisements Google had strategically placed beneath the article.

Quick and Easy Tips for Mum? I bet Deveny would be thrilled with this. I somehow doubt there’s a ‘Quick and Easy Tips for Dad’ in publication.

10 Rules of Flat Stomach? Patronising and gramatically incorrect.

But the mind truly boggles at the final offering.

Chat To Married Women?  WTF?!

Posted in Media Watch | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Women We Love: Catherine Deveny

Posted by Clem Bastow on July 2, 2008

Welcome to the first in what will become a regular feature on The Dawn Chorus, Women We Love: interviews with women we find inspiring, be they trailblazers from back in the day, or those just now rising up the ranks. We hope that, you, too will be inspired by their stories and their fine work, no matter what field it’s in.

Catherine Deveny is one of Australia’s most noted columnists, and has also written extensively for television, and for her own stand-up comedy, as well as having published a number of books. The pieces she writes for The Age‘s Opinion page and Saturday’s A2 are frequently polarising and often controversial, but always delivered fearlessly and with a scythe-like wit. She is not afraid to attack the Government, the upwardly mobile, those who drive bigger cars than she does, or anything and anyone, really.

But what’s most remarkable about Catherine’s work, apart from its regularly sidesplitting hilarity, is that she isn’t simply a ‘shock hack’, penning up-yours columns to keep the lefties happy and the conservatives ropable – perhaps her most “shocking” attribute, in a market filled with cold and objective copy, is her heart. In pieces like ‘To everyday heroes: Just. Keep. Going‘ [The Age, May 28th 2008], Catherine imbues her writing with feeling and empathy, and you can’t help but be moved.

Catherine very kindly let herself be The Dawn Chorus’ inaugural interviewee, and attacked our questions with her trademark wit, always with that big heart beating just behind it – just the way we love her.

* * *

TDC: When did you decide writing was going to be “it” for you?
CD: “I have always written. Journals, letters, graffiti. I was never one of those kids writing their own fabulous adventure books. I was just writing letters to nana thanking her for the chocolate biscuits and the hand knitted jumper that looked like an abortion made of wool. I actually always wanted to be Magda Szubanski. But I can’t act. So writing it is. I never have a term with the label ‘writer’. For me it’s like girl, boy, short, tall, gay or straight. You either are a writer or not. There are people who write and there are writers. Big difference. Writers have to write. It’s like having a shit. And some of it is shit. Exhibit A: Every column I’ve ever written.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Interviews, women we love | Tagged: , , , , | 12 Comments »