so re: this video of Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard going off at Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott for his misogyny (gif set of juicy quotes) (transcript)
I need people watching it outside Australia to remember a couple of things:
1. Tony Abbott is vile, V I L E, like every woman I know, even the conservative ones, say he makes their skin crawl, and this is the first time I can remember that his misogyny has been named as such in Parliament by a mainstream figure, and successfully made a political issue, rather than people having to apologist for ever suggesting he is sexist. That’s a big deal and it feels really, really good, even if you think (as I do) Gillard is being shamefully opportunistic, even if you bear in mind that she’s saying all this as a counterattack as someone associated with her government has been uncovered as being incredibly sexist. that’s why this has gone viral. it’s really worth watching the first five minutes or so just for a rundown on why Abbott is gross. I don’t love Gillard, but I hate Abbott like poison.
2. Julia Gillard’s government has not been particularly progressive and there have been significant backwards steps made on a lot of important shit, especially with regards to Australia’s really, really terrible policies on mandatory detention for asylum seekers. She is not your feminist hero, or she shouldn’t be.
3. Having said that, the Australian political climate is probably not like yours. It’s not really a big deal that Gillard is an atheist, it’s not even that big a deal that she’s in a de facto relationship — I mean, it is, but only insofar as it pegs her as a particular type, it’s not scandalous. (It is a big deal that she’s a woman.) Something like 30% of Australians profess no religious belief and de facto relationships are common. In particular, I want to talk about US commentators zeroing in on Gillard recently quashing a bill allowing same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is certainly a hot political issue, but it doesn’t carry the same weight that it does in the US, it’s not as polarised. Same-sex couples have the same rights as de facto couples in all states and territories in Australia — that is, virtually all the rights of married heterosexual couples, because as I mentioned, de facto relationships are very common. Additionally, as we have a universal health care system, there is less weight on marriage as a guarantee of access to benefits. There are a number of out queer MPs and ministers at most levels of Australian government, including the very senior Penny Wong, Minister for Finance. I’m not saying homophobia is not an issue in Australia, it absolutely is, but this is not a case of “misogyny vs. homophobia” (as I saw someone in the Jezebel commentariat call it). In fact, Tony Abbott and his party are noted for their extreme homophobia.
3a. Like, it’s really annoying that people are zeroing in on Gillard’s lack of support for same-sex marriage as a reason to not cheer for this speech. You should be unable to cheer her because her party is racist (with the most obvious examples of that being their policies on asylum seekers and their continued support of the NT Intervention) and cut benefits to single parents the same day she made this speech. I’m not in Team Radical Queers Who Think Gay Marriage Is Literally The Worst, but it’s very, very, far from the most burning injustice in Australia today, and when people who don’t know anything about Australian politics get up on their high horse about it it’s really annoying. It’s probably not the most burning injustice wherever you are, either.
this has been a really boring post, I’m sorry