Day 290 of 366 Blog Challenge 2012
Entering into political debate on my blog is not my usual style folks but today I feel the need to comment on recent happenings between Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott. Non-political comment that is. I just can’t help myself!
The reason I’m doing this is because I’ve not been satisfied with what I have seen or heard so far that expresses how I see things scenario (perhaps I missed it elsewhere?) and because I have been so confused myself. Writing has helped clarify my thinking folks.
(For my overseas followers, you may want to read the footnote explaining who is who at the bottom of this post and a link to some of Julia’s speech).
1. The Protaganists:
JULIA GILLARD: The Australian Labour Prime Minister
TONY ABBOTT: The Liberal Opposition Leader (Conservative)
2. A couple of dictionary meanings re terms used by Julia:
MISOGYNIST: (Macquarie) n. hatred of women
SEXIST: (Macquarie) adj. of an attitude which judges a person by sex rather than by individual qualities; a person who shows sexist attitudes
SUMMARY UP FRONT:
- I cannot see that Tony Abbott is a misogynist! However, is he a sexist? Does he make sexist comments? I wonder. More discussion about this one later.
- I believe that sustained anger (often justifiable) over a period of time at a number of people, mostly MEN was the motivation that led Julia Gillard to make her famous speech about Tony Abbott being a sexist and a misogynist. I will expand on this later.
Okay, let’s forget politics for a moment (is this possible? But please … try because I am trying!) Let’s look at what’s been happening:
Julia has had a bad time since the 8th September when her father died suddenly while she was overseas at a APEC summit in Vladivostok. What a nightmare! Fancy having to be on a flight home for upteen hours from Europe feeling sad and just aching to be back with your loved ones so you can grieve together.
Then, just when Julia comes back to work and dips her toe in the water, Alan Jones puts his foot in his mouth and says that Julia’s father ‘died of shame because of her lies.’ Julia, stays quiet and refuses to comment … but wouldn’t YOU be angry about this? Even if you control your emotions and keep quiet?
Next Julia has a birthday on 29th September, her first significant day without her father. Now we all know how significant dates in the midst of grief hurt us, don’t we? This is the first birthday since her father (who she says was ‘her inspiration’) died.
Now the Peter Slipper affair comes to a head; Julia’s master strategy of making him Speaker has backfired on her. Wouldn’t it be natural for her to be livid with him? However, she keeps her cool and supports him until the legal issues are completed (so she said). But, she wishes she could throttle him I am sure. I would have wanted to!
Her own bad judgement is showing and she is most likely angry with herself for not thinking the appointment through more thoroughly. The ‘Getting of Wisdom” is proving very costly for Julia.
Parliament resumes. Tony has been onto Julia for two years with every known ploy to get an early election (well, he is after all, the Opposition Leader right?) and tries to have Peter Slipper removed as Speaker of the House. This is fine and understandable, BUT he oversteps the mark and uses a similar praise to the one Alan Jones used. Tony says: “this parliament should ‘already have died of shame.’
Tony, always ready with a quick quip over the years, has made quite a few gaffes re women (and plenty about other things too). He doesn’t fit the misogynist image, but despite the fact that he is surrounded by women (wife, daughters, sisters) and seems to get on well with them too, he can be sexist – certainly in the use of language from all accounts.
Tony is from an era where men said things like “he (her partner) should make an honest woman of her (Julia). I know this use of sexist language well. I call to mind my husband, my three brothers and other men I know. They simply cannot help themselves and love throwing in a controversial comment or two to get a few laughs or just out of habit perhaps?
I believe folks that Tony feels he really is SPECIAL. He has been reared and adored by three sisters, loved greatly by three daughters and his wife gave a speech recently saying how wonderful and tender he was – and she meant it. Why wouldn’t he feel special? Good for him. And I think that he really likes women.
This however, doesn’t mean that he never ‘shows sexist attitudes’ my friends.
Now, Tony is a boxer and he senses Julia’s guard is down these last weeks and particularly now as the Peter Slipper affair hots up. He sees an opportunity. Tony cannot help himself and comes out with the very phrase thousands have been protesting against: “DYING OF SHAME.”
Frustrated that after two years he has been unsuccessful in bringing this government to its knees (remember he’s highly competitive) so he goes for the juggler, where boxers should not go. He said he didn’t realise what he said but really, can we honestly believe THAT? I would like to … and I am trying Tony, but sorry it just doesn’t cut the mustard with most of us.
JULIA SPEAKS OUT
Julia responds. By now she too has had enough. She’s got all the little peccadilloes that Abbott has been saying and doing through the years, ready on hand. The anger that has been building within her for weeks, must find release.
When she hears Tony use the phrase about SHAME, she explodes!! What happens next? She gives her impassioned ‘sexist/misogynist speech’ that went around the world on YouTube.
What she had intended as a defense of Peter Slipper led to her launching into an attack on Tony Abbott about his sexism. She had had enough! But had she had enough of Tony Abbott? Or had she had enough of a number of men eg Alan Jones, Peter Slipper, AND Tony Abbott? Perhaps she was actually saying this:
“Now listen here Tony Abbott and all you other men, I’ve had enough of your treatment of women! I’m as mad as hell with the lot of you sexists and misogynists but most of all, I’m angry with YOU Tony Abbott because you are here in front of me repeating things that I would rather forget because it hurt me, so I’ll let YOU represent the others who love to denigrate women and give you a serve. So here are a few examples in case you try to deny that you are sexist …”
Julia spoke from the heart. She was angry and her anger led to words that were strong and powerful. Whether you liked what she said or not, she meant every word she said and I do not believe it can merely be waved away as “a political ploy.” One can pick a phony a mile away and Julia was far too impassioned to be phony here.
Tony Abbott sat quietly as she launched into her impassioned speech. He KNEW he had overstepped the mark! She was finally addressing the issues which previously she had kept close to her chest.
And friends, no one who was truly listening could be mistaken that she wasn’t as angry as hell about lots of things that had been slowly building up within her.
What about Tony Abbott? He had not seen this coming. Julia must frustrate the living daylights out of him (and vice versa). BUT WHO WON?
Nobody won folks … but I bet Julia Gillard sure felt better after she got all that built up ANGER out of her system … justifiable in part.
And here folks, I will rest my case …
####Footnote for overseas readers:
Julia is our first female Labour Prime Minister.
Tony Abbott is our Conservative Opposition Leader.
Alan Jones is a radio commentator who often offends various people by his outspokenness.
Peter Slipper is a member of parliament who was appointed Speaker of the House of Representatives by Julia’s government, but he slipped up (excuse the pun) and was in court for sexual harassing a staff member.
Link to a little of Julia’s speech: