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