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Don’t these guys ever shut up? How Tony Abbott reignited the gender debate without realising it

Opposition leader Tony Abbott seems to have done the job. Some judges reckon the Oxford boxing blue endured nothing worse than a split decision points loss. Others credit him with delivering a “knockout…

Tony Abbott may have subconsciously revived the gender debate in Australian politics when he asked if Kevin Rudd ever ‘shuts up’ in last night’s debate. AAP/Alan Porritt

Opposition leader Tony Abbott seems to have done the job. Some judges reckon the Oxford boxing blue endured nothing worse than a split decision points loss. Others credit him with delivering a “knockout blow”. Fans think Abbott spoke for the common man when he asked of Kevin Rudd: “does this guy ever shut up?”

The phrase “common man” is neither a typo nor sexist slip. Abbott has reawakened the gender war, this time dragging the media into the frame. The question is: will anybody notice? When it comes to television, the answer is probably not. Because blokes like Abbott have ever been its stock in trade.

Some of this isn’t about Abbott. Or this election. Or even Australia. It’s about the medium that is still central to media politics.

Television still exerts a mythical power over elections. Looking at last night, it’s hard not to think of the Kennedy-Nixon US presidential debates in 1960. Then, so the story goes, television’s capacity to unravel politicians with its inquisitorial live-to-air stare changed history. Whether that’s true or not is immaterial: it is widely believed.

So it’s likely that Abbott’s put-down will pass into the history of Australian media politics. As we’re in the process of making myths, let’s get back to gender. Abbott’s crack speaks to a less visible television trend that doesn’t bode well for Australia.

Much has been made in this campaign about how our parties have looked to America for their strategies. Barack Obama’s social media capabilities are the talk of the town, but the US president understands the power of televised taunting only too well. Ask one-time White House hopeful Donald Trump.

“The Donald”, darling of the “birther” movement, was left literally speechless during a televised roast, where Obama offered this bon mot in reference to Trump’s television show, Celebrity Apprentice:

You, Mr Trump, recognised that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately, you didn’t blame Lil’ Jon or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey. And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night.

But the advent of the stand-up comedian politician speaks to less savoury developments. What we saw last night is the comedy of conflict. And even some of its most skilled performers are uneasy.

Daily Show host and American comedian Jon Stewart has previously asked right-wing political commentators in the US to “stop hurting America”. This wasn’t an ad hominem attack; more a plea to abandon a particular style of political commentary whose goal it is to demonise and demean opposing views.

Stewart’s fears took a grave turn in 2011. When US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in an attempted assassination, prominent media commentators wondered if they were somehow to blame. Political commentator Keith Olbermann publicly accused male media presenters of debasing politics to a slanging match between blokes. It wasn’t surprising, to him, that a woman had been hurt in the fallout.

One could argue that the incident summarised a history of US television. In a series of “violence profiles” conducted during the 1970s, academics found screen conflict was mostly about gender and power. Back then, TV told the same story over and over again: the world was a dangerous place, and women were most likely to be its victims. The only people who were likely to survive the screen were “white, middle aged men in the prime of life”.

Former prime minister Julia Gillard was subjected to unprecedented sexism during her term in office. AAP/Lukas Coch

At face value, these look like dated arguments: media are full of all kinds of women, doing whatever they like. In television and film, at least, there are no limits.

But former prime minister Julia Gillard’s experiences suggest that the medium’s old reflexes are still there, like some sort of patriarchal Arthurian legend, ready to go to work when the situation demands. The fable goes like this: women, stay where you are, keep society as it is, we will protect you. And you will be punished if you try to be different.

Whatever your political persuasion, it’s hard not to see that in Gillard’s political demise. Australia’s first female prime minister was subjected to unprecedented personal ridicule, and her deceased father was insulted. When she complained of gender bias, this was dismissed as nothing but the forlorn hope of an opportunist who had run out of luck. The idea that she might have a point was laughed at.

Today, Gillard must be tempted to say “told you so”. But she won’t, because in the end she was silenced: symbolically annihilated. This wasn’t just down to the gender politics of the media. But last night we saw how smoothly these politics slot into what we think of as entertainment. If Abbott’s quip seems run-of-the-mill, that’s precisely the problem. A pugilistic male politician telling his opponent to shut up is what passes for wit.

Today, Julia Gillard is owed an apology.

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98 Comments sorted by

Comments on this article are now closed.

  1. Rod Banyard

    Resource manager

    The shut up comment brings to mind the Latham handshake.

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    1. Robert Tony Brklje
      Robert Tony Brklje is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired

      In reply to Rod Banyard

      More accurately it brings to mind the whole nature of the Liberal Party itself. An autocratic party that at it's core abhors democracy. All party decisions are made in the party room by the party elite for the rests it's shut up and vote for some one else if you don't like it.
      Sometimes the 'Shut Up's just leak on out, only the minority get to choose in the Liberal party the rest to to decide whether to shut up or be told to shut up, either way for the elite the Liberal party room your voice means nothing.
      Tony Abbot was just making private policy public, not part of the Liberal Party elite, then shut up.

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  2. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    I think we are all owed an apology ... from all of them.

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  3. Pat Moore

    gardener

    Julia Gillard is owed more than an apology Andy but she won't get it...just lasting ridicule, opprobrium and victimisation. She transgressed the "Arthurian" script a meme of operational patriarchy which is alive and well as you observe. And is back in her place, at the ironing board or even being "made an honest woman of" by her man, while the real men fight it out in the theatre of Duped Democracy? The pugilist boxing blue Rugby Rhodes (though a team reject and an eyes-closed boxer) verbally…

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  4. Sean Lamb

    Science Denier

    She bombed, get over it. It has no greater cosmic significance than the fact that Alexander Downer bombed.

    She was lucky she was rolled, whatever the outcome Rudd will wear the responsibility - imagine how dire and grim this campaign would have been if she was running it. And to top it all off, she gets to keep all the money her boyfriend "won at the Casino"

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  5. Steve Phillips

    Nurse Practitioner

    Tony is just expressing what a suprisingly large number of australians are thinking.
    Im looking forward to the day when Rudd does shut up and slink off to enjoy his millions.

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  6. David Thompson

    Marketing Research

    Andy
    Serious question, but what gender "debate" has been reignited?

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    1. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to David Thompson

      Asked myself the same question

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    2. Suzy Gneist

      Multiple: self-employed, employed, student, mother, volunteer, Free-flyer

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      maybe you don't consider this a debate but a foregone conclusion?

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    3. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Andy Ruddock

      Well I read the article, so at what particular time did he re ignited the gender debate.

      Do you purely rely on " Fans think Abbott spoke for the common man when he asked of Kevin Rudd" and "The phrase “common man” is neither a typo nor sexist slip" ?

      Would you be happy with common woman?

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    4. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      Well if you could only explain yourself as of to why his comment of "will this guy ever shut up" somehow is evidence of Abbott re igniting the gender debate.

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    5. anthony hoad
      anthony hoad is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sys admin

      In reply to Andy Ruddock

      Hi Andy - read it twice and still find your connection between Rudd essentially being told to shut up and some sort of hidden unconscious sexist agenda abstruse. Perhaps you could be a little more specific?

      BTW why use one word when 4 will do? "have a read of" - try "read"

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    6. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to anthony hoad

      And the confusing dumping of bizarro, confused, and historically wrong stuff about the Kennedy years. Whattha? Is he trying to compare Jackie Kennedy and Jules, or maybe Tim?

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  7. David Thompson

    Marketing Research

    Gillard's demise can be attribute to her lack of talent or even suitability for the top job. End of.

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    1. Suzy Gneist

      Multiple: self-employed, employed, student, mother, volunteer, Free-flyer

      In reply to David Thompson

      Yet this does not excuse the treatment she received.

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    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      Morgen Ms G,

      It's a boy's game this gentle political discourse of ours isn't it ... like rugby but no ball .... you play the man (or woman). A game designed for bullies and thugs.

      No accident that aside from losing Gillard, we are also losing a decent chunk of our best and brightest talent ... not retiring - walking away in disgust actually. And who can blame them? The last 6 years have been shameful - in all directions.

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    3. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      Suzy, what "treatment"? Enough of these delusions about the significance of tedious media ephemera.

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    4. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, if you knew anything about Gillard, you'd know she's far more blokey than most of the Parliamentary males. Chrissy Pyne was lucky to get off with "mincing poodle". I know what she would have said, had she run into the mincing one, during one of her nights out at the local boozer with her CFMEU mates. I can assure you, her locutions would never be printed in full by the Fairfax dainties!

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    5. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      Oh, and Suzy, I think Gillard is a very talented person, and excellent POLITICIAN, but that talent does/did not extend to the PM's job. She was a bit of hero of mine during her time in Opposition against Abbott. And she was an excellent minister in the first Rudd government. But not every talented person has the right stuff to be the PM.

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    6. Suzy Gneist

      Multiple: self-employed, employed, student, mother, volunteer, Free-flyer

      In reply to David Thompson

      Yet this article was not about talents of PMs - the potential choices do not look particularly talented to me either, so its not a gender-specific trait ;) it all depends on what constitutes 'talent'.

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  8. Comment removed by moderator.

  9. ernest malley

    farmer

    On the Friday World Today, election round up Nick Minchin expressed his admiration for Abbott "that he didn't just deck him" and also "he should have just laid one on him".
    And Minchin was/is alleged to be the intellectual of the Libs?

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to ernest malley

      Morning Ern...

      Makes you feel sort of proud don't it that there is such passion and intensity on the playing field .. that these scrawny types be slavvering for a bit of biff. You'd almost think they believed in something.
      Boys eh?

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    2. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Andy Ruddock

      If you have aspirations to being an academic you should get to know Olberman's rants against Sarah Palin a little better.

      He is guilty of some of the worst sexist commentary against a female politician I have ever seen.

      So do not put Keith up on a pedestal on gender issues.

      But off course you knew that already. It really gets down to which side you support Andy.

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    3. Andy Ruddock

      Senior Lecturer, Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      Ok, so the point there is that political communication is frequently an exercise in male aggression, where women get hurt in the fallout, in which case your observations only support my argument, no?

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    4. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Andy Ruddock

      Andy, I think the point we've been trying to tell you is, we can't work out what your argument is,

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    5. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Andy Ruddock

      No the point is that you used a commentator with a record of male aggression toward right wing women and held him up as a advocate for the opposite of this. My point is that you should have known of Olberman's hypocrisy and not used him. As an academic you either did not know this about him (which is sloppy) or you knew that he only abused right wing women and have therefore revealed you own bias (not a particularly academic approach). That is my point!

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    6. Andy Ruddock

      Senior Lecturer, Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      Thank you for that clarification. I do feel that your position misconstrues how I use the Olberman case study. Indeed my published academic work points out that he was part of the dynamic that he was criticising. So your characterisation of my take on him is incorrect, and does not tally with what I've said, either in this article, or elsewhere.

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  10. EVERALD COMPTON

    COMPANY DIRECTOR at COMPTON AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

    Abbott has not reignited the Gender Debate, he has merely continued it along with Rudd who was his partner in the political assassination of Julia Gillard. Neither could cope with a Parliament led by a woman. I want to record my belief that she did as good a job as Prime Minister as was possible under the sustained sexist onslaught to which she was subjected. Everald Compton

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  11. Gordon Alderson

    Management Consultant

    The make-up artist who was offended by Rudd and thought well of Abbott is a far more astute judge of character than the author.
    Rudd owes an apology to her and to the Nation for his boorish ways.

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    1. Andy Ruddock

      Senior Lecturer, Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University

      In reply to Gordon Alderson

      The article argues that conflict-driven political theatre lends itself to sexist political communication, and further, even men who work in the media are worried about this. I even include the line; this isn't about Mr Abbott.

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  12. Thea Biesheuvel
    Thea Biesheuvel is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Writer/Editor

    Thank you Everald Compton, long time rational thinker and gentle man (yes, in two words). A debate was a rational argument made by one speaker and a rational rebuff offered by the 'opposing' speaker once upon a time. They'd shake hands at the end and an adjudicator would award them 'points' or 'wins' or 'losses'. But we, the audience, would have heard an exchange of ideas that would help us to formulate our own thoughts on the matter. There is nothing rational about the refugee debacle, the fudge on the economy or the convenient 'forgetting' of what Julia Gillard achieved in a multifarious house of reps. I'll still be handing in a blank ballot paper. A pox on both their houses, say I. Apologise to a make-up artist? Minchin an intellectual? Media debate? Surely I've landed on another planet?

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    1. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Thea Biesheuvel

      Apologise to a make-up artist?

      You are right. Why should he. I am sure that woman has heard far worse than that from all the excited ego driven thespians she has had to endure over the years.

      So why did Tony Abbott get hammered for supposedly frightening a rabid left political opponent at University so many years ago? Why were we so concerned about Penny Wong's feelings when someone made a cat like sound to her in the Senate. Poor petal. Why do we feel sorry for that delicate flower Nicola…

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    2. Gordon Alderson

      Management Consultant

      In reply to Thea Biesheuvel

      Don't you dare hand in a blank ballot paper. Good people went to war and many died so that you could have the privilege of casting your legitimate vote.

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    3. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Gordon Alderson

      Must agree Gordon.

      Folks all over the world are getting themselves killed and tortured just to get their hands on a ballot paper Thea.

      While I share your overwhelming disgust with pretty much everything and everyone on offer, I'm afraid I couldn't live with myself if I woke up on Sept 8th watching Tony being crowned Emperor, and realising I hadn't done anything to stop it.

      The system is broken obviously. We must fix it rather than abandon it. Too many big things need doing.

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    4. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Gordon Alderson

      Actually Gordon, you goose, Australia had universal suffrage long before they went to any wars.

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    5. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Has somebody hacked Farmer Pete's TC account!!? You know, the dude with has been campaigning for a "None of the Above" box to be added to our ballot papers? ;)

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    6. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to David Thompson

      Ooops ... no we didn't ... 1962 actually David - Menzies' Coomonwealth Electoral Act extended the franchise to aboriginal Australians... only then we can talk about 'universal suffrage'.

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  13. john ocallaghan

    professional skeptic

    That make up person is true to her name that is the whole story was made up and not one journo had the guts to call it for what it was and anyone who doesn't think it was an LNP set up is either related to Cyclops or completely stupid.

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  14. Rene Oldenburger

    Haven't got one

    Andy, everything you write is about Gillard being some victim of sexism, but you continuously forget to mention the women who do not agree with Gillard being a victim of sexism.

    Also you continuously omit the behaviour of Gillard and the ALP, and who they associates themselves with.

    Gillard is gone and I'm pretty sure a lot of women are pleased about that fact

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  15. Lynne Newington
    Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Researcher

    He has either no self control, [as a Catholic a gift of the Spirit] or a mentally ingrained issue.
    Sorry my respected Liberal friends, either way he's not the one to lead this country.

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    1. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Oh I don't know

      Gillard was a hot headed victim feminist firebrand of the socialist left who pretended to be a moderate until she got in power and then her original beliefs all came out.

      She lied to the Australian people so she could grab power with a minority of seats. Any principled politician would have stared the Greens down or gone back to the polls. She divided the country on gender lines like no one before her. Her personal attacks on Abbott were a disgrace and when he returned fire…

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    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      Yeah Lynne... how could you forget the laws on compulsory bloke bashing she introduced ... her reign of immoderate feminist terror ... Robespierre Gillard...the knitting .... the horror... the horror!!!!

      Incidentally ... far be it from me to cast nasturtiums towards Tone and his passion for Aboriginal advancement but I do wish he'd find a cheaper means of providing his presence for his annual two day visits... http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/politics/tony-abbotts-costly-indigenous-community-volunteering/

      The fine print ... gets 'em every time.

      Now I'm off to the Woolibuddha Men's Shed - we've got a training session on hand to hand combat in the home.

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    3. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Your argument rests on a glib headline from a left wing hater published in an anti LNP rag like the Independent. That's it?

      By now you of the left should have learnt your lessons about loose claims. If you had not noticed, the John McTiernan school of truth and democracy has been discredited with the demise of Gillard. Many would say he was the cause of that decline.

      Suggest you contact Abbott's office and find out the other times he has visited these settlements last year and also verify his…

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    4. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      Nice spray of abuse there Ken ... very reasoned and well put ...

      Wasn't really expecting to convince you Ken but did think you might be up to getting past the headline to actually read the Departmental documents recording the costs incurred during Abbott's short PR stunts in the bush... 'parrently not.

      Looks like you are a one-eyed sort of fella ... goodies and baddies eh? us and them? saviours and satans.... one side right, good and true ... the other venal, corrupt and incompetent .... why the choice is obvious .... as it always is.

      Always fun to meet a truly closed mind, Ken.

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    5. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      Look what she achieved for future Australian children, it will now be a safer place for them in religious institutions and she was an atheist!
      Let's not go there.

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    6. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Nah sadly being a safe electorate - owned by a mob of real estate agents and publicans by the look of it - Tony has been unable to squeeze us into his tight itinerary. He's promised to cycle through next year.

      But we did have an excellent meet the candidate night last week. The swimsuit section was a favorite but the clear winner came with the talent section and Joel Fitzgibbon's pole-dancing routine. Brought the house down - or would have if we hadn't done a few patch welds on the stage the…

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    7. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      I don't really know if it's about left or right wing haters is it?
      It's the one up front and the way they carry on.
      Could you really imagine Malcolm Turnbull saying he'd do anything to become prime minister? Apart from anyrhing else that comes out of Abbotts mouth.
      Liberals are intelligent, well educated and entitled to a lot better, the ones that I know are and do.

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    8. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      He is reported to have said he would sell his a... to become leader. This revelation came from Tony Windsor who was supposedly repeating a private conversation between the two of them. I have never heard Abbott say any such thing publicly.

      In any case, whilst this phrase is poor form, I agree, one could hardly conclude that it was anything other than a flippant remark aimed at impressing upon Windsor how much he wanted the Liberal Party to form government. Does anyone seriously believe that Abbott…

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    9. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      Ken, Gillard was never a feminist firebrand. She had no interest in that kind of politics, even at university. She was/is a materialist politician, not a genderist identity politics lightweight.

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    10. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to David Thompson

      Now now Mr Thompson (no relation) - don't you go rampaging yourself in here puncturing Ken's personal bubble of terror with your facts. What have facts got to do with anything????

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    11. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      My views of Tony Abbott go back a long way, and he hasn't changed over all these years.
      He's a poor excuse for all manner of reasons, including and not limited to his teaming up with Heffernan in relation to Justice Kirby some years ago, his silence on the horrendeous abuses against our Catholic children and the hypocritical flagging of his faith.
      As far as Bob Hawke is concerned, he may have been a very good PM, but at what cost to his family.
      It's a little like the blurred lines of separation between church and state.

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    12. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Lynne, now that Bill Heffernan is about as low and sleazy as they get!

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    13. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      Ken, without wanting to speculate too much on what were Ms. Gillard's reasons at the time for joining the Fabian Society, the fact that she did so only reinforces my point she is a materialist, not a genderist identity politics dupe. The Fabian Society has always been a group with a distinctly materialist epistemology. They were/are socialists after all.

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    14. Decortes Fleur

      Writer Researcher Producer at creative industry

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      Keating appeared on the scene this week to help Bill Shorten campaign - and he was a scene stealer. Bill Shorten seems to have opted for an ultra low=blood=pressure look. Keating's comedy is so biting and 'apt'....his delivery well honed. In parliament I believe at times Julia Gillard was out of hand and spoke of Tony Abbott's plans for Northern Australia as 'not even passing the laugh test' which was unsophisticated, offensive and JUVENILE......I would question her character rather than gender as…

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    15. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Decortes Fleur

      And why would Keating be off helping Bill Shorten? Because Shorten is Labor's next leader - once this temporary and futile flirtation with poll driven messiahs is done with... by November I'd reckon. Sooner the better.

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    16. Decortes Fleur

      Writer Researcher Producer at creative industry

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Yet Gillard did absolutely NOTHING about Chinese SEX SLAVES in Melbourne - mentioned by President Obama in his inaugural speech to the Australian Parliament..
      Yet as Education Minister and Deputy Prime Minister 2007-2009 Julia Gillard did absolutely NOTHING about Catholic Crimes...and as a politician for 15 years Julia Gillard did absolutely NOTHING about Catholic Crimes - even during the Howard years as PM Howard's Governor General Peter Hollingsworth's perplexing 'religious exploitation' scandals played out and on hearing news of the suicide of the woman who was to take the former Governor General to court after suffering Religious Persecution from the age of 10 - 16 years, Julia Gillard did absolutely nothing about Anglican Crimes, or Catholic Crimes. Sheer force of public outrage, Barry O'Farrell's Royal Commission and blatant opportunism forced PM Gillard's hand..

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    17. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Decortes Fleur

      You're going a bit over the top, but that being said, she certainly showed up both men and women in politics who were not only Catholics but parents [apart from Franka Arena who also had to go] out of politcal expediency, including the present Governor General.
      She had to wear being called a woman living in sin and barren.
      Somethings go beyond politics and she did one hell of a courageous thing.
      One way or another, Rob Oakeshott said it well, her [being an atheist] father would be proud of her, for us who are not would say he is.

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    18. Decortes Fleur

      Writer Researcher Producer at creative industry

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Gilard was EDUCATION MINISTER and failed to INVESTIGATE ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE AT CATHOLIC SCHOOLS...was way behind doing anything - showed up nobody, ruined President OBAMA's inaugural landing the Northern Territory (no red carpet, official welcome or military band just gillard in a cheap jacket and black pants).
      As PM she took pathos and 'endearing sympathy' (at public expense not personal expense) out for a walk and at the YANGUBARRA WAR MEMORIAL her speech was EMBARASSING....
      Gillard did not…

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    19. Decortes Fleur

      Writer Researcher Producer at creative industry

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Yet in a show down - on 16th May 2013 - Gillard was history. Shaken. Defeated. Followed thru with a full moon rant against fertility and chill axing of the baby bonus . Was she logical - into black magic - or just creepy kooky?

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    20. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Decortes Fleur

      What can compare to bringing religious institutions, [one in particular with century's of experience in bringing down monarchy's and governments] to account.
      She was the right person in the right place at the right time, which she would never admit to.
      Even Kevin Rudd when Prime Minister, ingratiating himself to Benedict, claiming in an interview with SkyNews reporter David Speers, he was happy with the way the church was dealing with abuse, with related suicides across the country hidden in coroners files and more coming to light...and that it wasn't his place to tell how to run it.
      How can you make any comparison.
      These were our future.
      As far as the War Memorial, I'm sure she paid due respect.

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  16. COLIN BENJAMIN

    DIRECTOR GENERAL, 'Life. Be in it.'

    Congratulations Andy,
    A second by second analysis of the Morgan Reactor shows that women reacted positively to Tony's comment and males that are hostile to the major parties approved of the comment.Liberal supporters were taken aback by it and Greens upset but the undecided went with Tony. Those that thought Tony won the debate were more concerned than those that went for Kevin- confirming his focus group evidence of tiredness with Rudd's ATNA approach ( All Talk No Action) that is losing him support. Interesting to note it was the younger respondents who were upset by the remark more than any bias based on gender.

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    1. Andy Ruddock

      Senior Lecturer, Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University

      In reply to COLIN BENJAMIN

      Those are interesting points.

      On the other hand, of course, there's a voluminous literature on the ambiguity of descriptive statistics. In this case, those problems are exacerbated by the existence of gender as a fluid, cultural category.

      What if, for example, some of the women who approved of Abbott were doing so because they are angry at Rudd over Gillard?

      That is, deeper analysis would probably show that the raw figures you can point to can be broken down into different subgroups.

      The argument that the gender issue is fragmented through its interactions with other identities does not dismiss it as an important factor.

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    2. COLIN BENJAMIN

      DIRECTOR GENERAL, 'Life. Be in it.'

      In reply to Andy Ruddock

      Thanks for your response Andy,
      As the author of two major media segmentation systems (ValuesSegments and ColourGrid(tm)) I appreciate the potential for further segmentation but this is not possible with review of live media events with an anonymous audience. Looking at the overall male and female response there does not appear to be evidence of a response to Gillard but rather a second by second reaction to what each protagonist is presentiing at the time. Overall the pattern of men and women reflects the overall sample average taken that support for the major parties and how people voted at the last election for those parties creates major variations. My point is that the comment by Tony may have been the result of prior focus group responses rather than the unexpected result for Liberal voters.

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    3. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Andy Ruddock

      I see Andy. So you're going to 'splain to us all what the wimminz REALLY means, coz we can't rely on the agency of the poor dears themselves.

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    4. Andy Ruddock

      Senior Lecturer, Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University

      In reply to COLIN BENJAMIN

      Sure Colin, but we're talking at cross purposes here. My point is about the cultivation of a gendered form of political discourse. So it doesn't matter where the comment came from. It matters that it was there are part of a televised performance.

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    5. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Andy Ruddock

      "On the other hand, of course, there's a voluminous literature on the ambiguity of descriptive statistics."
      Andy, one of the first things we drill in to our new graduate recruits is "show, don't tell". Similarly, don't tell us about this alleged "voluminous literature", show us you have read it, and understood it, by applying it to Colonel Benjamin's - very valuable - contribution to the conversation.

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    6. Andy Ruddock

      Senior Lecturer, Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University

      In reply to David Thompson

      Well, David, as you've indicated that you don't understand what my argument is, you're not in an especially strong position to determine what contributes to this conversation. Although you've ignored the thanks I've offered to Colin for his post.

      Judging from the offensive, disparaging remarks you made about Bradley Manning on one of my other articles, it doesn't seem that you've much time or interest in how other people look at the world. Which seems really odd coming from a market researcher.

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    7. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Andy Ruddock

      Bradley Manning!!?? I was in heaven with your Kennedy trip, but Bradley Manning!? Or maybe your argument now does make sense. Kevin Rudd was insulting Bradley, and so Tony Abbott gallantly stepped in to save 'her' honour? ROFLMAO. Dude, whoever you're buying your cookies from, can I have their number?

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  17. Erica Jolly

    Writer about education

    in my view compulsory voting is one of the greatest gifts given to Australia. It demands that once in three years we accept our responsibility to do more than whinge.It requires us to consider the policies as well as the personalities. We have rights as citizens and responsibilities Liberals like Nick Minchin would have us move to voluntary voting and we'd live with the situation where because of bad weather people might decide not to go out and vote or have a government put in place by just a section of the citizenry entitled to vote and committed to some extreme position.. But as a secret ballot, another victory for a democracy that is worthwhile, a voter can decide to put in an informal vote. I find such decisions abhorrent and agree we have to take a stand on what kind of Australia we hope to see for our children.

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Erica Jolly

      Agree wholeheartedly Ms J ...

      I've been thinking a bit about Ms Thea's dilemma... which I share - it's almost dishonest to put a number on any of the locals here - certainly dishonest to myself - and I even feel I'm doing the whole business down myself.

      I'm thinking it would be most apt to include - by Constitutional amendment - an extra slot on all ballot papers marked 'none of the above'.... not an informal or a donkey vote but a deliberate statement of rejection for what's on offer.

      If you got enough of them anywhere that electorate was recontested with different candidates - and perhaps with none of the previous parties able to contest.

      I don't know we've gotta do summink ... none of them aren't worth tuppence. Real chaff.

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    2. COLIN BENJAMIN

      DIRECTOR GENERAL, 'Life. Be in it.'

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Hi Peter,
      Another option is to move to a system like that in Tasmania with multiple candidates and optional proportional voting so that you only record a vote for valued candidates plus a write in option for an alternative of your choice or your option to say NOT representing None of Them. Opinion pollsters should be required to indicate how many people gave a NOT response rather than rigging findings based on fabricated allocation of preferences and dropping out households who do not want to be bothered by robots or psephologists

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    3. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, I would support that idea of yours, because under the current system we can't tell how much 'informal' votes reflect stupidity or clumsiness, rather than active contempt for the system, or the candidates. Though there is something ironic in an anarchist choosing to carefully mark the box 'none of the above', rather than scrawl abuse.

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    4. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to David Thompson

      Precisely David ... and I reckon the None of the Above ticket would sweep down the straight by 5 lengths.

      The Conversation here went for the same false consensus model when it ditched the little red flags of scorn in favour of just choosing to recommend. Silence means consent! This is Kant's social contract gone mad!!!!

      So to hell with these major parties with their vacuum salesmen, spivs and dung beetles. Let's demand the right to say, with pride, - 'Not me you don't, grub'

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    5. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      By now Peter, to say ,-'Not me you don't grub', regardless of what major party, vacuum salesmen ,spivs and dung beetles of'times comes with a price tag not too many are prepared to pay.

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  18. Decortes Fleur

    Writer Researcher Producer at creative industry

    Unprecedented sexism was inevitable - she was the first woman PM and it wasn't just that Julia Gilard was a woman but that she was an easy target.
    the WAY SHE CAME TO POWER and the narrow margin of one seat made for UNPRECEDENTED OPPORTUNISM to exploit any public distaste for
    a) Gillard herself and Gillard's advisor McTernan (though I got used to her after initially feeling she was heinous klutzy)
    b) the way she came to power

    I heard many people use almost exactly the same phrase: we should…

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Decortes Fleur

      Don't forget that Gillard also had to contend with an incessant drip feed of veneom and mischief coming from Rudd and eventually a chorus of nervous backers all working in secret and anonymously.

      Had the numbers in parliament been better the ALP should have sent Rudd packing. But they couldn't. And he brought the usurper government down.

      Kevin will never shut up - not when it's all about Kevin.

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    2. Decortes Fleur

      Writer Researcher Producer at creative industry

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Politics, venom and democracy
      - its all about the chagrin of voters who elected a man got a woman. gave her a chance and were then witness to a minority government.
      It was great - Rob Oakshott and Tony Windsor were terrific.
      If julia gillard was an amazing feminist or 'First Lady' she would have done a lot of things differently.
      Who cares if Kevin Rudd briefed against....? In politics mercy is strained, Gillard was not actually well suited to the role, of Salesperson in Chief for a new Australian Perspective, and at present its about which party has the greater concern for the environment - Julia Gillard's weak point - and I look forward to the new ETS scheme....under either government.

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    3. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Decortes Fleur

      Who elected a man? The only folks who elected KRudd live in Griffith, his electorate. He in turn is elected leader by his Party ... just like Tony did to Malcolm.

      The insanely messianic 'Kevin '07' campaign sowed the seeds ... deluding the punters into thinking that Rudd was a one man band - salvation in a suit. Worse, deluding them that they were voting for the Prime Minister ... not actually real or true. And worse yet, Kevin believed it. And a growing number of nervous NSW seat warmers…

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    4. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      One thing is guaranteed with either of them winning the election, a papal visit will get the nod, His Holiness already thinking about the Phillipines and imagine the destraction it would be to the Royal Commission.

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    5. Decortes Fleur

      Writer Researcher Producer at creative industry

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      KRUDD's intellect and speech making skills got him elected as Prime Minister. He had a sweeping mandate to rule. He won the Howard vs Rudd pre-election debate about leaders and not just individual candidates when campaigns were waged.
      Julia Gillard was in the parliament 15 years until RUDD gave her a new position.....Gillard hoped Australia would be a republic and that a Presidential USA style election would replace our Constitutional Monarchy. On National Security issues I could not wish for Gillard…

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    6. Decortes Fleur

      Writer Researcher Producer at creative industry

      In reply to Decortes Fleur

      correction his LEVERANCE i.e. in a cultural way...Gillard stood up and made an abortion speech on a super moon the super moon of 2013. Because Super Moons are times of positive some may say exaggerated positive reference....Gillard trailed up against herself and lost... She may well have been the antithesis of cultural cool. We Thank 'THE GODS' all pagan and divine that she has gone to write a book I personally hope her parliamentary pension is seized under the proceeds of crimes act for conspiring with corporate australia to interfere in the Sovereign Affairs of Government....

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    7. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Decortes Fleur

      Jings Ms F I must admit I find Kevin about as charismatic as a suburban account myself... but whatever floats your boat I guess.

      But I'm afraid the environment has already lost this election. No way will Kevin step in to slow Gladestone's 'development' and the reef will continue to be regarded as eternal and expendable. With luck Kevin hasn't utterly abandoned the 'greatest moral issue of our time' but he's not mentioning it if he can avoid it. Abbott has succeeded in making any serious greenhouse action politically toxic.

      As for Gillard's enthusiams for an Australian presidency and a republic I'll leave that for those with more vivid imaginations to ponder.

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