Tony Abbott and the Great Australian Witch Hunt

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Witch Hunts. They still happen today.

First, a little history.

The witch hunts that took place from 1480 to 1700 were in part facilitated by the negative perceptions of women during the time period of their occurrence. Statistics reveal that females typically comprised about 80% of the total amount of “witches” executed, implying that, for every male victim (and how many of them were homosexuals?), four females lost their lives.

Writing ‘The Hammer of Witches (Malleus Maleficarum)’,the monks Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger entrenched this misogynist bent into official witch-hunting doctrine. Kramer and Sprenger describe a woman as inherently more fallible than her male counterpart, and from her very nature, as one originating from an improperly bent rib, prone to evil. However, Kramer and Sprenger also write that, though women are susceptible to evil influences, they can also be “very good” when they use their impressionable qualities in a certain manner.

Given the heavily patriarchal nature of their time period, the monks may have been suggesting that the proper place of a woman is to obey male influences, so that her imperfections may be compensated for by the males’ lack of such fallibilities. The threat of being branded a witch more readily than a male would be might have served as a deterrent for women from defying the commonplace expectations imposed on them by the social and religious paradigms surrounding them.

Women like Alice Prabury, who diverged from the expected role of a woman as a mundane housekeeper and instead obtained uncommon skills to cure people and animals of diseases, were targets for persecution. The Churchwardens of Gloucestershire may have filed their accusation of witchcraft against Prabury due to their disapproval of the excessive independence that the woman manifested, as exemplified in her refusal to tell others, including the representatives of the dominant paradigm, the unique means by which she went about performing her work.

Thus creative, individualistic, and independent women were most often the targets of the two-century-long spree of witch hunts. Such persecution unfortunately destroyed many talented individuals who could have lived fulfilling lives and made tremendous advances in the arts and sciences.

Now, cast your minds back to the campaign of vilification that was unleashed by the Liberal Party against Julia Gillard, the lawful Prime Minister of Australia.

I think you can see where I am going with this.

How well-read is our own Mad Monk in the Catholic Canon? How have his perceptions of women in contemporary society been informed by what he has learnt during his years of education as a Jesuit, both at school and in the Seminary, while he was there? How has his own misogynist bent been used to inform the campaign of abuse, humiliation and vilification against Prime Minister Julia Gillard? An openly proud Atheist and Non-Conformist to the social doctrines that Tony Abbott is steeped in?

Now, of course, when Tony Abbott is accused of being a misogynist towards the Prime Minister, people spring to his defence by saying, “Look how well he gets on with his wife and daughters. Look at his Chief-Of-Staff. She is a woman! They are powerful women. He’s obviously OK with powerful women. Your accusations have no substance!” However, I put that down to a differential perspective. In Abbott’s eyes, as quoted above from ‘The Hammer of Witches’, ‘good women’ are those who behave in ways that receive approval from men, conform to the ‘Male as Dominant’ paradigm and the social and religious conformity expected of them by religious males. That is, these women are married, or single young women on the pathway to marriage, and thus conform to Tony Abbott’s idea of what a good woman is. Hence he is happy to treat them favourably. Why wouldn’t he? As people say about him, he is basically a decent person when around the people in his social milieu. Who get the tick of approval from him.

Of course, I must single out Julie Bishop for special mention here. She may not be married to her partner Peter Nattrass, or have produced any children. Also has been as career-driven as the Prime Minister was; however, she conforms in as much as she knows her place in the Tony Abbott Coalition hierarchy, and that place is as a submissive woman to ‘The Leader’. Also, how can we know what Tony Abbott’s innermost thoughts are about her? Nevertheless, Ms Bishop has not become dominant over Mr Abbott, so is not in the same category as the Prime Minister.

So, the woman who does not conform and has broken the mould, is thought to have succumbed to evil influences. Therefore is a witch and a justifiable target for persecution, in the mind of a devoutly religious man.

It certainly serves as a philosophical justification, if nothing else, and a salve to any sort of a guilty conscience Tony Abbott might have felt, if only initially and long since passed, as he began his public attacks on a woman with verbal violence of a ferocity never before witnessed in Australian politics. In fact, I’m hard pressed to think of any other female leader of a country or political party who has been so publicly demeaned by her male political opponent, as has Julia Gillard. Without remorse and relentlessly.

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Finally, let me leave you with some more history about Witch Hunts(as supplied by G. Stolyarov II), to reflect upon and as it pertains to the ‘Carbon Tax Lie’ vendetta against the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard:

Political rivalries, too, were motives for accusations of witchcraft. Among the victims of such ploys was Mayor Johannes Junius, who, though entirely innocent, was confronted with a trial whose proceedings were clearly not aimed toward an objective determination of guilt or innocence, but rather at causing Junius to “confess something, whether it be true or not.” The trial was rigged against Junius, and there was to be no possible outcome but his death. Such a case could not have existed had Junius not possessed rivals who wanted him eliminated at all costs. A vacancy in the post of mayor could, after all, assist someone’s political ambitions, either to occupy the position or place into it a man acceptable to some religious or political faction with the means to carry out witch hunts.

Junius = Julia? It’s not as ridiculous a proposition as it may at first seem. Of course, an actual death is not possible. However, a political death is an eminently desirable outcome for the protagonists in our political game. And not beyond the realms of possibility, as a perfectly justifiable game plan, for our own Mad Monk.

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1,328 thoughts on “Tony Abbott and the Great Australian Witch Hunt

  1. yes they are trying to stop us fighting back

    like stand over men,,, of the old movies,

    mm .

    well the more you tell a labor person to stop the louder we shout

    I am starting to really see , the aust. that are coming out of the wood work on the guardian ,, we use to think there was no one

    posters are so appreciative of the guardian thus far.,

    so we have to keep saying how much we appreciate it

    I thank them for keeping out democracy safe,
    after all that’s all we want both sides of the story.,.

    will it be on the 7.30 report re the refugee,,, I bet NOT
    tweeters , tweet scott and suggest he take a look at the guardian or do his own investigating.
    will the other old players catch up to the stories in the guardian and print the same,,,,
    if not let
    their business all sink like a ship and all who sail in it

  2. Remember there is a book coming out soon re the Stalking of Julia by Kerri Anne Walsh. Remember what happened to the book by Christine Wallace on PMJG a few years back? The rumour was that Rudd paid her not to release the book as it detailed stuff detrimental to him. I wonder What is going to hapoen this time.

  3. C@tmomma
    Rob is still getting things done in Lyne. The latest, announced just this week, is $1 million federal funding through the Regional Development Fund to build a regional operations and training centre in Port Macquarie for Surf Life Saving NSW.

    i’ve lost track of how many $millions Rob has won for this electorate in the last three years. And that’s without all he did before that.

    He still hasn’t announced whether he’s running again or not. Today he tweeted that some Liberals who had had too much to drink had told him that National polling showed they were behind in Lyne. I hope that’s true and I hope it encourages him to have one more run.

  4. From Malcolm Farr

    [Presumably Kevin Rudd doesn’t want Labor MPs to recall how hard he fought to prevent Tony Abbott becoming PM in 2010.]

  5. slav g and billie, returning to that comments column it looks to me like many have been restored (not retained, billie, mine definitely was not there in the small hours (wa time here midnight) because I went back twice, thinking it might be a timing factor. But no, there were several before and after mine which was definitely not there. Someone senior has put their oar in, I think. The sentiment of response is now overwhelmingly critical and expressing disappointment at the lack of good reporting or at least a different take expected from the Guardian than we have here in the old murdoch/fairfax media echo chamber.

    There’s a similar strain to the jihadist terrorist story, Such profound appreciation expressed for the decent report in that really good read.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/07/conviction-egyptian-asylum-seeker

    Surely if we keep it up it’ll have some impact?

  6. hughriminton ‏@hughriminton 6m
    @KRuddMP is heckled in Geelong. His presser interrupted by people calling for his return as PM. With enemies like that, who needs friends?

  7. What was Rudd doing in Geelong anyway? Rudd is a nobody, he’s not a minister, so why the royal progress through Geelong? I don’t see other back benchers touring interstate electorates. Rudd should keep his campaigning to Queensland and leave the other states to the relevant MPS.

  8. leonetwo

    I have a view about Rudd which is well known. Therefore he is doing exactly what I expected him to do.

  9. rmn1953

    Btw the book was on PMJG, but it referenced stuff about her when she was deputy PM, and how she had to clean up Rudd’s mess along the way

  10. Rudd is probably in Geelong because Corangamite is held by Darren Cheeseman, and he generally helps campaign for his supporters in marginal seats.

  11. well yes rudd should NOT be in geelong,, stay in qld,

    mmm well one day wonder then,,, is he,,
    is vicy on the money.

    vicy I truly hope not, though

  12. don’t tell me they are bring out this book

    they have to be desperate,,
    what a pack of so and soooos

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