Image from PostSecret, an amazing blogspot found here.
This last week whilst our regular PM traveled to Washington, Chicago, Ottawa and Ireland meeting its people and defending the indefensible in Iraq, we were treated to the acting PM Peter Costello.
While HoWARd was talking up the war in Iraq, Costello was reveling in the power of the big chair in parliament. Curiously, Downer coming to the defense of A/PM Costello only underscores what I have thought for a long time. This government is an old boy’s club and only pays lip-service to a woman’s right to an equal role in society and Costello (second only to Abbott) finds it the hardest to hide his entrenched misogyny.
From a woman’s point of view the current government is a lot like the gang of likely-lads in Form II (14 – year olds) at High school. HoWARd has the Principal’s role and Vaile is his senior master. Abbott, Costello and Downer are the tough boys who leer at the girls and swagger in the hallways. They resent authority and undermine it wherever they can. Once they identify a power vacuum they stomp right in. Question time last week was such a stomp.
Costello, in particular, comes across as the natural leader of these sleazoids. When he sniffs some power he reminds me of a teenage boy who is arrogant, dismissive and has an overdeveloped sense of entitlement. Costello the adult, pretends to be inclusive and egalitarian, but he really hasn’t matured from his youth when it comes to equality, and I can sense that as a woman (and only because in his eyes I am inferior) he would politely listen to my position and all the while scan behind me for someone, anyone more male and important to interrupt us…OR he hears nothing of what I have said and he’s thinking “blah, blah, blah, nice tits.”
Ok, some of you may say, well what’s wrong with that, we all have crimethink don’t we, he’s cool and he keeps himself civil doesn’t he? Well almost. He can hold it in until he has ultimate power and then he just lets it rip. Costello took the opportunity to attack two powerful women – Julia Gillard and Claire Martin (who rejects removing customary law from sentencing).
I speak to my female friends about Costello’s sleaziness and they agree to varying degrees. Here is a snapshot of what they said:
“Oh yes, suki, he’d [Costello] never be able to truly respect a female boss.”
“That sleaze, [Costello] eeeeeewwwwwwwww…”
“I’d hate to have him as my boss and ask him [Costello] for some time off for my sick child.”
“My brother was at Monash Uni with him and said he was an insufferable prick even way back then.”
“During the RU486 conscience vote he [Costello] told a story where a medical emergency during his wife’s pregnancy forced him to decide between saving the life of his wife and that of the foetus. He told the doctor to go ahead with the pregnancy.”
I don’t think Peter Costello is at all popular with women voters or people who value and embrace equality. Future polling will reflect this, if it’s not been found already. Put him in charge- I’ll highlight his structural, endemic, deep-rooted misogyny from now until the ALP/Greens coalition forms government, or more realistically, HoWARd et. al. is voted out.
Image from here
The video footage showed many empty seats when our man honest john spoke in Ireland. You wouldn’t think that our PM would go all the way to the Díospóireachtaí Parlaiminte to talk about terrorism and the need for everyone to do their part for the illegal war in Iraq, but he did.
This is a snippet of what he said:
“We live in a world that confronts the scourge and challenge of terrorism. In the fight against terrorism Ireland and Australia are united. None of us, no matter where we live or what attitude we take on individual political and foreign affairs issues, can regard ourselves as immune from terrorism. Irish citizens died in the World Trade Centre. Australian citizens have died in various places as a result of terrorist attack…” – HoWARd at the Dáil Debate.
Read the entire speech here if you want more cringe!
Image from here
Today’s Courier Mail has an article about the Australian military casualties of the war that is the invasion of Iraq.
When we think “casualties of war” we often think of physical wounds- wheelchairs, scars and missing limbs. Forgotten and less visible casualties of war are the many Iraq veterans who are suffering from mental health issues. No prosthetics or empty trouser legs neatly pinned up out of the way for these men and women. What they endure, whilst not so obvious, is just as pervasive as a physical wound- involving gaps in cognition, coping, memory, connection and hopefulness.
The article states that approximately 6000 ADF troops have served in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003, and 52 have since been discharged with mental health conditions ranging from anxiety and depression to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Just imagine, 2 out of every 250 military personnel deployed to Iraq, in a period of 0-3 years after their return home, will end up having such a severe mental health issue that they will be classified as medically unfit and discharged from the ADF. No more military career.
The ADF will no doubt blame many factors other than the member’s deployment experience in Iraq for a veteran’s anxiety and depression diagnosis, and perhaps this can be justified. But what obfuscation will the department of defence attempt to dismiss the connection between the Iraq war and the prevalence of PTSD in its Iraqi veterans cohort? Unless a person has been raped or in a serious motor vehicle accident, then war is the most common cause of PSTD. Moreover, anxiety and depression have been shown to be co-morbid with a PTSD diagnosis. So, to knowingly deploy someone to Iraq who has/is suffering from anxiety and depression is negligent and may be actionable. The military is not caring for, or taking responsibility of, the mental health of its people.
I have a relative who voluntarily discharged from the army as soon as he could after the invasion of Iraq. He tells me he wishes that the army had lost him as well as they had found him which covers a period of a decade. He is in private practice and he knows a lot about Subjective Units of Discomfort Scale (SUDS) as he treats ex-military survivors of traumatic stress syndromes.
“I have no idea how what happened in Iraq did this to me, but I know I am not the same person I was before I went over. We lived, slept and breathed a highly stressful environment for six months. When I returned to Australia I was driving down the road looking for the bad guys – you start to realise how close to death you were.” – Gordon Traill.
ADF chief psychologist Len Lambeth said the military “would be silly” to expect every soldier deployed to return home perfectly well. He said the rate of mental illness would be unlikely to decrease.
In the future refusing to obey lawful orders may be more successfully argued as a right to not be exposed to a psychological injury.
Image from here
Browsing the news today I came across this article.
Instantly I smiled as I thought it referred to his skills crisis. Finally, I thought, he is realising that as Mr. 37%, he is woefully unskilled as a future Prime Minister and more importantly- unelectable.
Sadly, there is no such story. Instead it’s a piece inviting me to listen to the Labor party’s response to the budget.
Dutifully I listened- then very quickly wandered off. In my under whelmed state I went searching for something of substance from someone of substance. My search took me to the ABC’s 7.30 report from 8 May 2006, where in a recent interview Kerry O’Brien and former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating meet. Whilst I am aware that the majority of Australians were not saddened by Paul Keating’s demise in 1996, I was. Once I had distracted myself from fantasising about a Kerry and Paul boy-sandwich, and I read the transcript, I realised why I can’t abide the feckless Beazley. Compared to lichen and lint he comes across as insipid and uninspiring. I want a Labor leader who has leadership qualities and can manage presence and passion.
I need a leader (and a party) who will not be frightened by the coalition’s campaign against them. Someone who can convince Australian voters that they can vote out the mendacious HoWARd (or Costello) government and it will be the right thing to do.
This is what Paul Keating’s advice is:
“First of all you take him [John Howard] on. John Howard had the highest interest rates in Australian history – 21 per cent bank rates in 1982. What did he leave? He gave us a huge recession and 11 per cent inflation. We had interest rates peaking at 18 per cent, but we came out of it with 1 per cent inflation. I mean, we had stagflation under Howard. We had stagnant growth and inflation.”
I know Keating is gone. But why not Julia Gillard? She’s a talented politician poised and primed for consideration of the ALP leadership.
Please, anyone, but the bomb- Beazley.