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Australia's disgusting politics

  • 20 June 2013

Australians' disgust with their elected representatives has never been higher, or better deserved. The last ten days have exposed the worst public behaviour of self-described 'leaders' to the rest of the world. My cup runneth over.

First I was amazed that two wonderful feminists, who didn't find the PM's speech (or the bits that the TV cameras chose to show) to her women-for-Gillard support group convincing, chose to criticise it, and criticise Gillard for it.

One told me Fairfax asked her and she had to tell the truth. Really? As a destructively-truth-addicted person myself I can still act on the advice that my dear old mum used to give that, 'If you can't find anything nice to say, say nothing.' And when I remonstrated gently with the other, she only said, 'Et tu, Brute?'

It also gave the go-ahead to a couple of ALP backbenchers and even senators for more personal criticism of Gillard over not only her speech and the 'feminist card' she supposedly played, but also over men's secret hurt that women have a special point of view, which such men bizarrely viewed as privilege.

And Rudd's head has been popping up for grabs, its occupant clearly relishing the prospect of another last-minute leadership change that might give him back his squandered status, and humiliate his many enemies.

Online trolls have been blaming the victim for 'provoking' her own abuse, or not being entitled to be offended, when a man who has been a Perth shock-jock for nearly 30 years sexually harassed the current Australian PM about her sexual relationship with her partner.

The bottom has been scraped.

Just so it's clear, 'sexual harassment' is unlawful throughout Australia. It has been since 1984. This includes in employment, delivery of goods and services and access to places. And even the Prime Minister is entitled not to be subjected to it in a radio interview or in public discourse.

Sexual 'harassment' is not sexIST but sexUAL if a person is subjected to unwanted sexual conduct, including questions, images, jokes and comments 'unintentionally' sexual, which makes that person feel threatened, intimidated, humiliated or embarrassed.

No reasonable person would claim that Gillard was unembarrassed by the Sattler questions, or the insinuations of Piers Akerman, that unpleasant guest on last Sunday's Insiders. To ask a person about their sexuality or that of their acknowledged partner falls right into the 30-year-old law.

Gillard is the most prominent woman in our country. She has been repeatedly humiliated,