Archive for October, 2012

October 24, 2012

What is the connection between Police dawn raids on Craig Thomson and the Media presence?

The Independent MP for Dobell, Craig Thomson, had his house on the NSW Central Coast raided earlier today.

The media was there to film it.

Is it usual that camera crews get notice of police raiding houses of MPs before the MP in question does?

Why was the media notified?

Craig Thomson has NOT been charged with anything. Allegations from Tony Abbott and the Murdoch media and Mark Scott’s ABC – and that is all they are, allegations – does not make some guilty. We do not have Trial By Media in this country yet, though, some manager directors of news organisations and editors would seem to think they are judge, jury and executioner.

New South Wales police have denied that it was them who informed the media, and have said “It is not our policy to alert media to such activity and no officer from NSW was authorised to do so.” (source)

And yet, the media was there to film it. Someone leaked information without authorisation.

Thomson’s lawyer, Chris McArdel has said “Someone is … seeing some benefit … in telling every journalist in the country that they’re about to conduct a dawn raid.”

In this interview, McArdel tells Tony Abbott and everyone else in the media to shut up or face defamation

We haven’t yet abandoned all rule of law in this country, until then, Thomson should be treated as Innocent Until Found Guilty. Anyone calling for an early election or trying to force Thomson out, is ignoring the voters of Dobell’s democratic rights.

When the day comes that the media and the Opposition decides who gets to innocent or guilty, and not a court of law, we will have achieved totalitarianism.

October 24, 2012

Trolls, haters, online bullies – a tale of two celebrities

Trolls, haters and online bullies – if you turn on a computer, it is a fact of life.

There are people who think if you engage in any kind of social media, you are giving them permission to make you fair game. However, Twitter, Facebook, forums, blogs – these are not “public spaces” although used by the public. These sites are owned by someone, it is their space, we are just visiting, the Users on social media sites are subject to terms and conditions of that site, as well as the all laws applicable in the relevant jurisdiction.

Russell Crowe recently tweeted support for Barack Obama, and that was enough to set the bullies typing.

hey haters..Every min u are harrassing me is another min u are distracted from spewing hate at people who are less resolute.Haha,God bless


Not all celebrities handle trolls and haters with such calm.

Don’t respond, don’t encourage, don’t give trolls the oxygen of publicity and validation they crave. Just ignore them, as Crowe did, and soon enough the trolls will find a new target, a new celebrity to engage with, one who will react.

Charlotte Dawson, who teamed up with a private investigator, a television network and a whole lot of self-righteousness and publicly named and shamed her online harasser on national TV. Outing a 20-year-old as a troll on TV, takes Gold, Silver, Bronze in all the trolling events.

How Dawson managed to fit it in, in between “a busy media schedule”, who knows. As the old saying goes ‘all publicity is good publicity‘, but this is from the woman who called teenage girls “dogs” on her previous television show, humiliating children is par for the course for a celebrity will all the power of entire media networks at her disposal over children with laptops and phones.
Source: Dawson defends decision to out trolls


While we should all be aware that there usually is a person at the other end of the words we read on a screen, and treat others the way we wish to be treated, the unequal power position should not be glossed over. A depressed teen in their bedroom sending out hate tweets will never be in the same position to attack as an international celebrity with a slavish media willing to demonise moody children, at their disposal.

October 23, 2012

When you are a Liberal propagandist, all you see is evidence of Tony Abbott under siege

When you are a Liberal propagandist, all you see is evidence of Tony Abbott under siege from ALP – even when he is the one doing the attacking.

There has been lots of talk about the Government’s adjusting of the ‘baby bonus’ (the un-means tested baby bonus, changes announced in yesterday’s MYEFO – Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook), a bonus which was nothing more than John hoWARd’s “cash for votes” middle class welfare scheme.

What got lost in the media outrage about “Wayne Swan attacking families” was the Liberals plan for removing the school kid bonus.

Instead we get soundbites and slogans from Tony Abbott “Wayne Swan is attacking household budgets so he can patch up the Federal Government’s ailing Budget. #MYEFO”

The removal of the School Kid bonus by a future hypothetical government will negatively impact the budge of a “family with 2 kids $15,500 over their children’s life.” Craig Emerson said.

The Liberal opposition are attacking the Government for adjusting the Baby Bonus while promising to remove the School Kid bonus – meanwhile these are all bonuses, not entitlements.

Apparently, one is so important for families, the other not so much, as Tony Abbott once said “This schoolkids’ bonus doesn’t have to be spent on schools… people could go and blow [the bonus] on the club, on the pokies’. Yes, the same could be said the Howard Baby Bonus… but never is.

Tony Abbott then turned this into an attack on the Prime Minister, and her lack of understanding families – was this another cheap shot about her recently deceased father or the PM’s lack of children.

text of tweet
‏@latikambourke Suspect Tony Abbott’s ‘if only the Govt has more experience in this area’ (families) line is retaliation for PM Gillard’s misogyny

Gillard’s misogyny attack? No, the PM was using Tony Abbott’s own words and deeds – and if some interpret that as a ‘misogyny attack’ perhaps that is because that is the truth of Tony Abbott.

Retaliation? Tony Abbott dog-whistles the Prime Minister about being child-free, and some how some political tweeters see that as an attack on Tony himself.

Suspect? Why ascribe malevolent motives to everything the government does?

Surely we in Australia deserve better than this – when the paid political reporters morphing into school yard social media butterflies and amateur bloggers and tweeters are looking more political and delivering more in-depth analysis by the day.

By the way, Tony, how many children does Julie Bishop, your deputy have? None, you say? can’t have much experience with families then.

text of image:
If people in the media cannot decide whether they are in the business of reporting news or manufacturing propaganda, it is all the more important that the public understand that difference, and choose their news sources accordingly.
Thomas Sowell

October 19, 2012

PM gives thanks as Australia win temporary seat on UN Security Council

Australia won through in the first round against Luxembourg and Finland with 140 of a possible 193 votes. A resounding win for a government that has achieved so much for this country.

Despite prominent “Lib-tweeters” implying there was a scandal because the Prime Minister did not thank Kevin Rudd, who has started this process, PM Gillard did thank Mr Rudd.

Images via Turn Left’s facebook page

Text of Rupert Murdoch tweet: Big deal! Australia gets temporary non- veto seat on Security Council. Cost big fortune in foreign aid all over the place No Aussies care
Source: here

October 17, 2012

A feminist response to That Speech by Julia Gillard

by 99, editor of Turn Left

Just about every Australian who is a regular use of social media has probably seen That Speech by the Prime Minister. A week later, people I know are still talking about it.

When Julia Gillard called out the Opposition leader for his sexism and misogyny – it changed everything. Almost everything, mainstream media dismissed it, and carried on with their tired old narrative that everything in this country is wrong, and can only be fixed by a change of government. (Well, let’s face it, that was the solution in 2007).

That Speech was a hit of social media. Watching the speech live and following the tweets, even as it was happening we knew we were seeing history being made. Gough Whitlam’s speech to the crowd on the day of the Dismissal, Paul Keating’s ‘Redfern Speech’ and speech for the Unknown Soldier. And now the Julia Gillard Misogyny speech.

The silence the following day, and days after, in our newspapers and on our televisions highlighted the huge gulf between old and new media.

For those of who watched the speech live, we knew how we felt as those words were spoken. We were discussing it and dissecting it as it was happening. And yet, the next day the political opinion writers of old media were trying to tell us we got the context wrong, we had missed the point, it was bad for feminism, it was… who knows.

The fact was, it was old media which had missed the point. They were trying to tell us that our lived experiences of watching the speech was wrong, our reactions were wrong, our feelings were wrong, our emotions were wrong, and that the experiences, reactions, emotions, feelings of those we talked to about That Speech were also wrong.

It was that moment that sealed the coffin on old media. The fact that they were trying so hard to convince us that what we knew was “wrong” was proof of Old Medias irrelevancy.

Like the Churches who said the Bible had to be in Latin, a language the population didn’t speak, in order for the priests to be the official interpreters of the Word of their God.

The Canberra press gallery are acting like old-time priests. They act like they are the only ones who can interpret correctly what was said in Parliament House. And like the Churches who lost power when the Bibles were printed in English and the people could read for themselves what the Word was, now people are getting their news direct from the source and the Press Gallery is surplus to requirements.

However, what is happening in Parliament House is just a small part of modern politics. Politics in this country is more than just politicians, it is in the home, the workplaces, the clubs, the social networks, it is the relationships between people.

Seventies feminists said ‘the personal is political‘, however, modern academics tells us ‘who cares what you think or feel, all that matters is that you can cite dead-white-European-males as a source‘.

During the battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2008 for the Democrat nomination, famous lefties denigrated Clinton on the basis of her gender – from Michael Moore calling Clinton a ‘bitch’ to Randi Rhodes using the ‘fucking whore’ slur. These are people who should have been on the same side.

Gender is both the reason for the personal attacks and the reason these powerful women are told they have no right to defend themselves.

They – whether the women of the Liberal party or the talking heads of MSM – tell us that Julia Gillard somehow betrayed feminism for speaking out.

Feminists fought for decades, even centuries, for the right to be treated as humans. Here was one, speaking up against abuse in the workplace and we are told that She should have kept her mouth shut.

‘They’ said the Prime Minister was wrong for playing the gender card, but the basis for personal attacks and death fantasies from Alan Jones, Tony Abbott, Graham Morris is the gender of the Prime Minister.

These men abuse and bully women, then continue the bullying and abuse because their victims speak out.

The pushback is so strong because the people who oppose a female Prime Minister or an ALP government because they know That Speech has had an impact. If the speech was meaningless there would be no need to keep telling people just how meaningless it is.

No matter how conservatives try to reframe That Speech as being insignificant we, who watched it, know otherwise. Only a weak man resorts to bullying and abuse against women when his intellect and policies (both lacking in the Opposition Leader) fail.

Now the story we are being told that is was not a moment for feminists to celebrate.

John Pilger wrote “Julia Gillard is no feminist hero” in The Guardian … Yeah, because nothing screams an understanding of contemporary Australian feminism like an old white male who abandoned Australia sometime in the previous century. Quite frankly, Mr Pilger, no one cares what you think. You are irrelevant to this debate.

To drag that speech out of Parliament and put it next to asylum seekers, single mothers on Newstart allowance, Gillard’s ‘no’ vote on marriage equality, jokes at CFMEU dinners and say those things cancels out the message of that speech. Put That Speech in with a whole list of other things doesn’t put it in context, it removes it from its context.

‘They’ say but look at all these other things first – therefore Julia is not perfect, and her speech is bad for feminism – but here’s the thing about feminism (at least my feminism) – it’s not about finding a feminist role model and then worshipping that person.

Apart from the fact that it tends to be the usual suspects – old white right-wing men – bitching about Julia Gillard’s speech, they fail to grasp what feminism is.

If someone is expected to be perfect, then they stop being human and become gods, and feminism is not a cult, worshipping Julia Gillard. Feminism is not about a set of rules where everybody has to all believe exactly the same things at the same time.

However, back to That Speech – Julia Gillard doesn’t have to be perfect for That Speech to have impact in the lives of women and girls in this country.

If a woman has to be perfect in order to be a feminist role model, then that would make her a not very good role model, no one is perfect, and since no one can be perfect, perfect people make bad role models.

After years of implied death threats and vile sexist abuse, Julia Gillard named it for what it was, sexism and misogyny. Incidents were no longer being dismissed with “boys will be boys”. Instead of convincing the entire country to live in some kind of silence about the abuse directed to the Prime Minister, which amounts to little more than “blaming the victim”.

We would not sit back and avert our eyes if this ongoing abuse was against any woman in a domestic situation, so why do we allow it in parliament?

This is what matters. Feminism is about choosing those things that making your life better, it is about not putting up with second class treatment based on gender, it is not accepting less than being treated like a human being, what it is not is following a strict set of doctrine.

If the only thing women and girls get from That Julia Speech is ‘name and shame’ people who use sexism – then that can’t be bad for women. But for those watching, it was more than just naming abusers, it was also naming the abuse for what it was, and not hiding in shame.

Our silence is consent, It’s time to say enough is enough.

The shame is not the Prime Ministers because these things are done to her, the shame belongs to those on the Opposition benches who engage in daily sexism and abuse.

This is good for everyone, except those who are invested in and benefit from keeping women down. And, in the end, the Old Media couldn’t care less about the context of the speech, they only care about bringing down a democratically elected government.

October 16, 2012

Oh Tony Abbott, why does Peta let you out in public?

Tony Abbott is striding across the world stage. Or strolling with that simian-like pseudo swagger.

Not content with the whole “shoes on the poor-people’s table” embarrassment Tony Abbott shows Indonesians his leadership style now comes the “see I’m tough” handshake with the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

image from Herald Sun

The man-handling and mauling of the Indonesian President, is reminiscent of the handshake Tony forced on Chen Deming, the Chinese commerce minster in july.

If Tony Abbott ever becomes (shudder) Prime Minister he won’t have time to repeal any of the ALP legislation that he promised – he will be too busy – inadvertently – starting wars with Indonesia.

October 16, 2012

Australian Parliament House magazine and Little Girls in lipstick

The latest issue of the Australian Parliament House magazine has an important story about “Parliamentarians from across the political spectrum [who] say more must be done to protect the innocence of our children” in Overexposed.

And to be really helpful, the article contains images of a young girl with flowing blond hair with lipstick and pink cupcakes and the legs of young girls with high heels on their feet – just in case anyone was in any doubt what the focus of the over-exposed article was about.

Even less helpful is the use of quotes from Sophie Mirabella.

October 16, 2012

The ‘repulsive’ Tony Abbott is a world-famous misogynist

The awesomeness of overseas celebrities calling Tony Abbott ‘repulsive’…

Tony Abbott always knew he was destined for greatness – he knew from a young age that one day his name would be known around the world – he knew that change society…

Although, being called out by a British comedian/actor/author was probably not how Abbott thought he would achieve world-wide fame.

text of image: @stephenfry
Im assuming that you’ve all seen Julia Gillard’a spectacular mauling of the repulsive Abbott in the Aussie parliament?

source: here

Little did Tony Abbott know that for decades to come he will be the “this man” Prime Minister Julia Gillard is referring to when she says “I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man”.

Maybe it is cultural-cringe – nothing validates Australians like having celebrities from elsewhere on the planet praise us (think of all those imported C-grade wannabes and neverwillbes that turn up for awards ceremonies and big events from judging TV singing competitions to the Logies to Meatloaf and Billy Idol at football grandfinals).

Regardless, it is one more nail in the coffin of the increasingly irrelevant Canberra Press Gallery who continue their failure to see how much of a game changer That Speech was.

October 15, 2012

Julia Gillard, sexism from the LNP ‘everyday in every way’

When Julia Gillard made “that speech”, something changed. Women around the country (and apparently the world) thought ‘finally, someone said it’. Men thought ‘that woman is shrill and out of touch’.

The old, white, middle-aged men – and many women – in the Canberra press gallery, dismissed what the PM said, as just another woman playing the ‘gender card’.

However, men tend not to be on the receiving end of sexism in the workplace. They don’t see the little things – and big – the sexism that permeates the workplace so insidiously invisible to the men (and women) who perpetrate it, as PM Gillard said ‘everyday in every way’.

The idea that the Prime Minister continues to be subjected to sexism from colleagues should horrify us – just as it should when any woman endures bullying sexism in order to earn a wage.

The fact that members of the Shadow Cabinet can treat the Prime Minister with such overt sexism IS a reflection on their character, not the Prime Ministers.

One example was recorded by Phillip Coorey, for Fairfax, in ‘Angry mobs ready to face off as MPs take leave of trouble‘ (August 22, 2011)

It was raining heavily in Canberra on Wednesday so, after question time, Julia Gillard walked the corridors back to her office rather than cut across a courtyard as she usually does.

As she strolled past opposition MPs’ offices, Christopher Pyne and Joe Hockey, like two schoolyard ne’er-do-wells, trailed about 10 paces behind, heckling. Hockey was bellowing the Engelbert Humperdinck lyrics: “Please release me, let me go, ’cause I don’t love you any more …” Pyne, doing his best to affect a menacing gravitas, was taunting repeatedly: “You’re drowning Julia, not waving, you’re drowning.”

By any measure, it was disrespectful behaviour towards a prime minister but Gillard

These acts are disgusting – whether made to the woman who works in chip shop, behind the counter of a clothing store or Prime Minister.

Some reading that could imagine that was not a rare occurrence, just one that happened to be recorded and published. When PM Gillard says ‘every day in every way’ many women can think of things that have happened in their own work places and then imagine the school boys in Shadow Cabinet doing them to the Prime Minister. It is not a pretty picture. It is not one of respect.

Keep in mind, Pyne’s comments about “not waving, you’re drowning” came after Alan Jones’ famous comments about putting the PM in a chaff bag and dumping her in the Tasman Ocean.

This is the mentality of the Liberal Party.

The Liberal Party at the moment, has three main contenders for when Tony Abbott is finally rolled – Julie Bishop, Malcolm Turnbull and Joe Hockey. The man who would subject a Prime Minister to such sexism is the alternative to the alternative. These men show no respect for the democratically elected Prime Minister, they show little respect for democracy.

And still, they have not managed to break the Prime Minister.

In a former work place of mine, after nine months of dedicated work, a new event was added to the work calender – every friday was now “slave day”. I was not allowed to speak to the rest of the staff, if anyone wanted to speak to me, they had to clap twice and say “oh slave” – and I was their section manager. That was not only bullying of me, but it can’t have been much fun for the rest of the staff. If I slipped up, they would dock five-minutes pay from my wage for every instance. It was a major charity that raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from the public and funding from governments. I lasted two weeks.

The Prime Minister has endured years of sexist harassment and bullying from people who are supposed to represent us. And she does it smiling.

The Prime Minister did not play “the gender card”, the Prime Minister finally said “enough is enough”.

A ‘gender card’ is not like Wonder Woman’s indestructible bracelets deflecting bullets, the ‘gender card’ does not deflect sexism, abuse, bullying and misogyny, even when it comes from the Leader of the Opposition and his Shadowy Cabinet.

Image of Wonder Woman used for illustrative purposes only, and does not imply endorsement of this post or blog from any of the copyright holders associated with Wonder Woman.

October 14, 2012

Tony Abbott is right – A woman’s place is in the House (image)

Tony Abbott is right:
A woman’s place is in the House… of Representatives