Misogyny is a nasty word. It implies much more than sexism; it indicates a hatred of women. That’s why, in the overall view of the current political debates I must rise to the defence of the Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. I do not perceive that he hates women, although his views on gender equality and marriage rights may not align with mine.
Alan Jones, similarly, I do not believe to be a misogynist, although I do think that his comments were at best in poor taste, given that the subject he chose to deride, the father of Prime Minister Julia Gillard, could not respond for himself; Jones put words into the mouth of antoher. But as I said, I do not see Alan Jones as a woman hater.
Put either of these men up against the Inquisitor and you must agree, the latter has amply expressed his contempt for women. He is wily, devious, manipulative. He will twirl a bank executive or a recruiter around his finger, whilst simultaneously spitting upon the bruised heap of another woman in whom he sees no personal advantage. He is worse than any Peter Slipper, for he not only expresses his lewd intent, he demonstrates such by attacking his female victims.
In 2005 whilst she sat enjoying lunch with Pat, the former Commissioner for ACT Revenue, Ms. King, Australia’s most senior Indigenous female banking executive, was assaulted by the Inquisitor. In her statutory declaration in which she describes the assault upon both her and Pat, Ms. King states that:
After yelling for him to stop he then turned to me slapped me across the face saying “so you’re the big tittered whore who fucks boongs” As a result of being slapped across the face by my assailant, my glasses were broken and my left eye was blackened. My assailant then looked me straight in the face as he ripped the front of my dress exposing my bra while bragging that my companion […] couldn’t do anything to stop him because he “is friends with Ted Quinlan the Treasurer and Police Minister […].
Such comments go far beyond any expressions of derision made by Alan Jones, Tony Abbot or Peter Slipper. What’s more, the refusal of the Australian Federal Police to take a statement from Ms. King, threatening that they would charge her instead and then harassing her by sitting outside her home with flashing lights late at night reinforce and condone the behaviour of the Inquisitor. THAT is misogyny. THAT is a deeply held expression of hatred and derision toward women. And you know what, Ms. King identifies as an Indigenous Australian.
In 1999-2000, Lucinda McMillan was assaulted in the Belconnen Mall in full view of passers-by. A passing police car was stopped by one went to Lucinda’s aid. Upon learning that Lucinda’s assailant was a “well-known Canberra identity” and friends with a person of influence, the attending AFP officers refused to take her statement. When Lucinda again encountered her assailant in a Queanbeyan hotel, he verbally abused her, resulting in Lucinda being removed from the premises. Once again, condoning sexist behaviour. THAT is misogyny. THAT is a deeply held expression of hatred and derision. Oh, and by the way, Lucinda just happens to be an Indigenous Australian.
Within the ACT Revenue Office, Angelique suffered the indignity of being moved between various sections within this sub-branch of the ACT Department of Treasury, because no-one wished to work with her. Rather than the institutionalized bullying that forced Angelique to leave the ACT’s public service being addressed, those responsible for her mal-treatment were promoted. THAT is misogyny, my friends. THAT is a deeply held expression of hatred and derision. And guess what? Angelique, just happens to be Indigenous.
THESE, MY FRIENDS, ARE NOT ONLY DEMONSTRATIONS OF SEXISM,
THEY ARE OUTRIGHT RACISM.
Three women, all in the ACT, all subjected to mal-treatment at the hands of non-Indigenous attackers, all left unsupported and unprotected within the system that they have been told to trust. All three women were attacked on the basis of BOTH their gender and their heritage and colour. It is quite simply unacceptable, regardless of their social position, regardless of their affiliations.
The media, Julia Gillard and the deferral opposition can yell as much as they like over the Peter Slipper Affair; what he has done and expressed pales in comparison to what has been suffered by Lucinda, Angelique and Ms. King. The inaction of the AFP and ACT Department of Treasury in addressing the behaviours of the source of the attacks is inexcusable. If Peter Slipper’s lurid SMS messages can be plastered across the media and cause his fall from grace, why cannot the Federal Government and/or the ACT government address the most vile behaviour of any public servant who quite clearly hates or supports the hatred of Indigenous women, or any woman in fact? If Prime Minister Julia Gillard and ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher can be assured of the protection of the parliament and the public service code of conduct, why cannot any other woman?
The Peter Slipper Affair was a rod Julia Gillard made for her own back. In taking on board an opposition minister as speaker to keep the numbers in the House in the Labor Party’s favor, she bought into all the sordid past that came with her new recruit. It was never going to finish nicely. And now Katy and Julia, it’s time you dealt with those who are at the heart of true misogyny in the ACT. If you truly do believe in equality for women, if you truly do believe that the ACT Bill of Rights confers upon all people regardless of race and gender an inalienable right to the protections of the law, then put you political clout behind the issues and let’s see this abhorrent injustice corrected.
Misogyny is a nasty word. So is racism. But it’s particularly bad when women fail to stand up for their Indigenous sisters who must fight ten times as hard for justice as any white woman. I’m coining a new term – misogo-racism – and it’s meant specifically for the likes of the ACT Department of Treasury and all that are associated with denigration of Indigenous women in Canberra. It’s time to show where you values truly lie Katy. You won’t be far behind, Julia. With the ACT elections fast approaching and a Federal election due in just over twelve months, Blak and Black is expecting to see progress on the issues of Indigenous and women’s rights both within the Territory and across the country. You can start by addressing the disgusting treatment these three women have suffered and cleaning up the misogo-racism that permeates the ACT Department of Treasury and it’s wider public service.