AUSTRALIA is a a sexist country. There’s that phrase again. And with good reason.
Last Friday, one of the country’s well-known radio broadcasters, let fly a tirade against the prime minister Julia Gillard and women in general.
In the words of shock-jock Alan Jones, known for his sympathies to the conservative cause, the women he cited – he also mentioned Clover Moore, the mayor of Sydney, and a former police commissioner of Victoria, Christine Nixon – were “destroying the joint”.
Australia has a fairly decent number of women in positions of power – in addition to the three mentioned above, the governor-general is a woman, as is the attorney-general. There are a number of women ministers and plenty of women in public life. Many of them are capable.
But Jones is not required to substantiate his point; he just rants on and on and people do not bother to raise a stink about him.
This particular piece of abuse got him attention on the BBC, which was where I first heard it on a Saturday evening. It wasn’t particularly shocking as Jones has form on things like this, but it is a disturbing trend in a country where women are often treated as chattel.
Jones carries the can for the conservative opposition which is straining at the leash to get into power. Given the current poll ratings, they should take office when the next election is held, but that cannot come too soon for the likes of Jones.
Gillard has a tough gig. She is prone to talk in a patronising manner to people, as though she is talking to a two-year-old and that adds to her problems. Being a woman leader of Australia is not easy.
AUSTRALIA is a sexist country. This is something I’ve said before. It bears repeating in view of the behaviour of a Liberal party hanger-on this week.
Grahame Morris is a former chief of staff to John Howard, who held the office of prime minister from 1996 to 2007. For some strange reason, Morris, who is best described as a slime, is given lots of air by the radio stations and TV channels to comment on political matters. He is a card-carrying Liberal apologist but is still championed.
Part of this refusal to let deadwood like Morris go is responsible for what happened. The co-host of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s 7.30 program, Leigh Sales, conducted an interview with the Opposition and Liberal Party leader, Tony Abbott, last week. It was a good interview and Sales did what a good journalist is supposed to do – she asked tough questions.
Abbott had not done his homework and came off looking rather foolish.
A few days later, another ABC presented, Linda Mottram, had Morris on the line. She asked him about the interview. Morris response was that Sales tended to be a cow in some of her interviews.
But why was Morris on the line at all? Why are fools like this given oxygen.
Sales responded by calling Morris a dinosaur on Twitter. His sexism should have been dissected and he should have been given a blasting by the politicians whose arses he licks.
But nobody wants to point to the extent of sexism in this country – the last time someone did so was back at the time of the elections in 2010 when a survey clearly indicated that many people had not voted for Julia Gillard because she is a woman.
Fossils like Morris should be put out to pasture.