Get real on our leaders
by Peter Switzer
Peter Slipper had to retire and it’s good to see that while his actions via texting show he has more imperfections than we’d like in our Speaker, he at least had the integrity to resign. Now what do we make of our national leaders — Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott — given their sideshow performances on the day Slippery Pete slipped out of centre stage?
Since the mistake of Alan Jones, there has been a focus on Tony Abbott’s link to the top radio host and there were significant criticisms over his lack of enthusiasm to admonish Alan Jones.
Meanwhile, while Ms. Gillard was hit below the belt with the reference to her Dad, the latest Newspoll has shown that the community has not changed its mind on her Government and their attitude to giving Tony Abbott’s team a shot at the top job, even though they think more of Julia as a Prime Minister than they do Tony.
The real Julia and Tony
From my experience, Tony and Julia have two things in common — a lot of people don’t like them until they meet them.
I always disliked Tony Abbott because of his tough guy, excessively conservative and seemingly inflexible inclinations towards socially progressive ideas. That was until I met him.
In reality he’s more open to ideas and willing to debate them — his expensive stance on maternity leave shows that. Given this, I find the witch-hunt by the handbag mafia who are running the show in Canberra and looking for misogynists (which reminds me of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible), a big worry.
Soon every bloke in a position of power will cop the question: “Are you now or have you ever been a sexist or a misogynist?” Thankfully most Aussies wouldn’t know what a sexist is, as defined by feminists, and they wouldn’t know what a misogynist is, and so they would say no to the question. But that would not get them off — tough girl feminists can charge you with thought crimes and that’s where most guys are guilty as charged!
Now to Julia. I did a dinner party for Today Tonight with the PM before she was leader and ahead of the Kevin 07 election. She impressed me as a hardnosed, union-bred lawyer but she had brains and had covered education issues pretty professionally.
I suspected I would find her a pain in the butt but she was intelligent and persuasive, had a capacity to listen and showed flexibility. Maybe I cut her some slack because I am a typical bloke who can be wooed by a smart woman. We’re hopeless like that — psychologists tell me.
Anyway, like Abbott, I liked her once I met her and by the way, in those days she was a favourite of a certain broadcaster called Alan Jones!
Hard to forgive
Since becoming PM, Julia has lost a fair bit of her appeal with the decision to break a promise to the electorate on the carbon tax being a big mistake, which I find hard to forgive. I think that’s why the polls say if an election was held now, even after the Jones hullabaloo, the Coalition would get 54 per cent of the vote on a two-party preferred basis, leaving Labor with 46 per cent and a decimated party in Opposition.
Julia’s biggest mistake was choosing the Greens over the people who voted for her. When the Greens said they wanted a carbon tax, she should have argued that she couldn’t break a key promise to the people. They wouldn’t have brought on a new election and she would have looked strong and honest. Her actions raised question marks over her strength as a leader, but there was no doubt over her honesty — it was shot to pieces.
This is why she and her cohorts are running this “Tony Abbott is a misogynist” argument and he’s a buddy of Alan Jones. But this is a dangerous game to play, given Labor’s associates and the people the PM should be bagging in public.
For example, the union movement has some associates from the underworld who I would not even name on fear that I could see reprisals! Labor in NSW has had an MP who was arrested for child abuse and I know of no federal politician who has publicly condemned this guy.
To ask people to name and shame others makes Australia seem like the town of Salem in the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller, where if people did not like you, you could be branded as a witch, or in Canberra’s case nowadays — a misogynist!
No longer pollie vs. pollie
I recently saw Tanya Plibersek, the Health Minister, on the ABC’s Q&A program give it to Liberal MP, Kelly O’Dwyer, who is a pollie on the up. O’Dwyer was making some debatable points but as Tanya had the usual lefty audience really onside, because she is impressive and is left of centre, she really treated O’Dwyer with eye-rolling disrespect.
It was churlish, it was unfair, and she tried to make out that O’Dwyer was a dope and she used the supportive audience to ridicule her. This was like schoolyard bully stuff, which you see in debating and you see in parliament, but it looks like its OK if a bloke does it to a bloke or if a woman does it to a woman but hell hath no fury like the handbag mafia if a bloke, especially a Coalition male, plays hard ball with an ALP or Greens sheila!
By the way, when the ALP’s Ros Kelly copped it over the whiteboard incident many years ago, there was none of this misogynist bullshit carry on then. It was just pollie versus pollie on the issue — that was a tough parliament but it was more fair dinkum than this one.
A Seinfeld comparison
When I reflected on Tanya’s ABC female bashing stunt, it reminded me of Elaine from Seinfeld who was shocked to hear that men, as boys, can give each other wedgies, where we drag up someone’s pants to wedge their undies in their crack. (Excuse the graphics but some people don’t understand wedgies.)
Anyway, Elaine was shocked to hear this but when questioned by Jerry about whether women do wedgies, she was insulted and said no, explaining: “We just tease someone until they develop an eating disorder”.
My final point relates to Penny Wong who I once criticized for being too negative ahead of a budget. I argued that small business didn’t need any more negativity. My initial heading was “A Penny for no thought” but sending it to my sub-editor I jokingly suggested, “Why Penny pisses me off!” They ran with it!
By the way, I concluded the article by saying that we didn’t need negative politicians, but positive and inspirational ones, and I suggested we needed inspirational heroes like Joan of Arc.
That afternoon at Sky News I was told that Penny’s staff was looking for my mobile number. On the next day I received a call and the caller commenced by announcing: “Joan of Arc here.”
Wong was good-natured, had copped the criticism and engaged in some intelligent debate on her views versus mine. It left me thinking that this was a leader worthy of being a representative of this great country.
Stay on track
The handbag mafia should rethink their witch-hunt on Tony Abbott and stick to the issues that people really care about. They forgot them a couple of years ago and they have been trying every trick in the book — bad and some good —to get back into our good books.
We do need Joan of Arcs, not snaky, unbalanced feminists permanently on the hunt for politically incorrect males. Our economy is faltering and we’re worrying about such unimportant issues. The irony of all of this is that some of the greatest misogynists or women haters in this country are women! Put a left-wing intellectual woman with a right-wing, Christian lady who disapproves of abortion and loves to dress in a very, very feminine fashionable way and see the discrimination that results. That won’t be pretty.
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Published on: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
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