On the ABC’s Ms Represented, Julia Gillard says the sexism she endured as Australia’s first female prime minister only worsened during her time in the role.
The 30-minute program airs at 8pm on Tuesday and shows how sexist attitudes still plague women in Parliament eight years after the incident with Mr Abbott.
A growing number of women across the political divide are calling for a code of conduct that clearly outlines the behavioural and ethical standards expected from politicians with regard to women in Parliament.
Last week, several federal MPs attended a two-day summit run by the Australian National University’s Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, chaired by Ms Gillard, to help establish a model of conduct for Australia’s Parliament.
WA Labor MP tells state Parliament she was warned Barnaby Joyce had a history of groping women and was known to sexually harass them at events.
After a litany of own goals that led to a crash in its approval ratings from women, the government has doubled down with a ludicrously ham-fisted suite of consent education videos, targeted at year 10 to 12 students.
It’s quite a challenge to get so much so wrong on consent and respectful relationships, but it appears this is one challenge the Morrison government is well able to meet.
The list of failures is long and would be hilarious if this wasn’t so serious.
- A boy aiming a speargun into the distance as he sits next to a fearful girl
- Another boy lifting weights next to a slim girl standing passively in a weight-loss machine
- Drawing a deeply insulting equivalence between rape and eating tacos
- Coyly avoiding any mention of sex, as if 16 to 18-year-olds might never have heard of it
- Not even addressing the concept of consent with students until they’re in year 10, contrary to the advice of almost every expert in the country
- Disrespectful relationships explained by showing a mean girl smearing a milkshake over the face of a poor, hapless white boy, ignoring all the evidence that shows violence is overwhelmingly committed by men against women
- A disturbing emphasis on fixing or staying in a relationship (despite the milkshake disrespect) because she’s pretty and has wavy hair and kisses
- Relating to the youngsters with pinball machines and badminton
- Videos with sets that look like Play School leftovers
- The voiceover for the video in the technology section for year 10 to 12 students that sounds like it was recorded for the Play School demographic
- Commissioning a grandad-professor-from-the-1950s type to do the voiceover about sex and rape – without ever actually mentioning sex or rape
- The video called “Kiss”, about girls being the conflicted gatekeepers of sex, while boys pursue sex with no conflict or questions.
And that is far from a complete list.
If you follow the links through The Good Society’s website, you . . . end up on a site called Fight the New Drug.
FTND is a US-based public charity, which claims to have no religious affiliation, despite all its founding members being Mormon and as The Atlantic’s James Hamblin notes, “its facts rely on claims from Mormon author Donald Hilton’s He Restoreth My Soul: Understanding and Breaking the Chemical and Spiritual Chains of Pornography through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”
This is not the only American link. The videos have a strangely American slant.
Oxfam is facing new allegations of sexual exploitation, bullying and mismanagement only weeks after it was cleared to apply for government aid funds again following the Haiti scandal.
In Australia, 65 per cent of girls and young women have reported being harassed or abused online.
But some experts are arguing that in a “manosphere” of online anti-women groups, methods of communication and organisation are becoming more sophisticated.
At the more serious end of the spectrum, these experts say, are operators that must be seen and named as “extremist” or “terrorist” groups – particularly if anything is to be done to stop them.
Dr Roose would like to see a “reclassifying” of the worst of the online behaviour that exists, in groups that target women online, and actively advocate harassment and violence towards women.
When the behaviour involves promoting, advocating or threatening violence or sexual violence to control women, “it needs to be actually considered a form of violent extremism,” Dr Roose says.
We invited you to tell him your stories through the Herald and The Age. And the deluge began. Hundreds of women from across the country wrote of the traumas suffered, of feelings of shame, humiliation and fear they had endured, many for decades. They had been abused by friends, family, colleagues, strangers; in their homes, at their workplaces, on public transport, in taxis – anywhere and everywhere. Some women told of their experiences from 50, 60 years ago, for the first time. Grandmothers, mothers, daughters wondered what their lives would have been like had they not had to carry their secrets, their traumas, their shame through the years.They are united in their desire to be listened to for altruistic reasons – they want their stories to contribute to the movement towards change that has gripped the country. They are inspired by the bravery and strength of young women like Brittany Higgins, Grace Tame, Chanel Contos and those who responded to her petition, and have told of their experiences to build on the momentum created by younger generations. They are angry because every woman has a story to tell and injustices continue. And they want to be part of what they hope will be historic change in the treatment of women in society – because enough is enough.
Senior lecturer in politics at the Australian National University Maria Maley said Mr Falinski’s comments showed the government was trying to spin a new narrative on why he didn’t attend the protests.
“The government is desperately trying to change the narrative about what happened with the PM not attending or meeting the marchers,” Dr Maley said.
“What that implies though, is that the women who were gathering to raise these issues were posing a threat to him.
“It puts him in the position of victim.”
In the past week many commentators, including the ABC’s Laura Tingle, have juxtaposed Mr Morrison’s response to that of former PM John Howard, who fronted a crowd of angry pro-gun demonstrators in 1996 following the Port Arthur Massacre.
Women on both sides of politics have shared the vile abuse and threats they routinely cop for doing their job, with the Parliament hearing emotional pleas for things to change.
If passed, the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Prohibiting All Sexual Harassment) Bill 2021 would essentially fill a gap in the law to ensure that judges and MPs would be both held liable for sexual harassment and protected from it. According to independent MP Zali Steggall, it would also restore confidence in these institutions.
In delivering this legislation to Parliament, Ms Steggall said the government did not take the opportunity to present it themselves, adding that if they failed to adopt this amendment, they “are endorsing sexual harassment in our workplace” and are supportive of the message that MPs are held above others when it comes to the law.
“The allegations we have heard this year from [Brittany] Higgins and others of the harassment and even assault here in Parliament House reinforces the need for a change to the legislation,” she said. “Creating legislation to make sure that MPs and judges are held to the same standard as others in the workplace is important.”