In Memory of Jo Cox, MP

Julia Gillard speaks in London in memory of Jo Cox MP.

This is an important speech. It illustrates the increasing level of misogyny – not just in social media but also, as we have seen in such an unedifying spectacle, in the American presidential race – that now infects not just politics but ordinary social interaction around the world. Eva Cox reflects that to at least some extent it represents a degree of failure of the “second wave” of feminism to confront the

general macho, aggressive tone and content of the abuse [which] are so similar and widespread that they are likely evidence of a serious backlash and rising hostility to any meaningful sharing of gender power.

I’m not sufficiently versed in current feminist thinking to analyse, let alone challenge, Eva Cox’s position, but I do have great respect for her.

Just as I have enormous respect for FPM Julia Gillard, who had to endure highly publicised misogyny at a level possibly unexampled by any Australian female (but certainly by any Australian politician) so far.

Just as I watch Hillary Clinton – with all her (alleged) faults – enduring the gross, perverted, sick behaviour of the Repug’s chosen (heaven help us) Presidential candidate.

Personally, I have been active at a very low level on social media for a dozen years. Yes, I have copped some pretty disgusting comments, all of which have been directed at my gender, my sexual appeal, my appearance, but nothing at all like the stuff too many women have had to deal with online; by innuendo; by direct and brutal confrontation.

I am fortunate. Almost everyone I have had dealings with throughout my life have been respectful, of me and of themselves. But that doesn’t apply to everyone, and I am not so hubristic as to think I have the solution. However, these tweets from the wonderful Kon Karapanagiotidis may well encapsulate what needs to be done:

There does seem to be a rising tide -worldwide – of violence specifically directed at women. In Australia, the number of women murdered each year by current or former partners is terrifying. The use of rape as a weapon of war – even against very young girls (and boys) has probably been part of human behaviour forever, but it is nonetheless appalling.

So, how do we work towards a culture of respect?

I didn’t intend this to be such a rant. But if we are going to live, as civilized humans, this is a subject we need to deal with urgently.

Meanwhile, to Julia Gillard’s speech.

Daily Telegraph

Each of us is here today because we believe in promoting more women, who are committed to equality for their sisters, into public life. All of us are here today because we understand that we can best achieve this goal by working together.

And of course, we are here to honour the memory of one great female politician who would have absolutely endorsed this celebration of unity and purpose, Jo Cox.

Togetherness, unity – these were values that drove Jo in all that she did. She believed in a world that celebrated and reflected our common humanity. She believed in a nation that was united and welcomed diversity.

Jo fought for togetherness throughout her life.

As head of policy for Oxfam, she had comforted victims of rape in Darfur, met child soldiers in Uganda, and empathised with the hopes and fears of elders in Afghanistan – all people who had born witness to the very worst consequences of allowing our differences to divide us.

In politics, Jo brought her passion for togetherness into everything she did. In her maiden speech in the House of Commons, she proclaimed to the chamber that whilst she loved the fact that her Constituency of Batley and Spen celebrated its diversity, in Jo’s words, “we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us”.

Jo was devastated by the conflict in Syria, and took personally the lack of urgency and compassion that was characterising foreign policy debates over Britain’s role as a global power and the responsibilities that came with it. She feared for the children of refugees, for their future, their safety, and their health and education. These were issues that she felt strongly enough about to challenge her party, and to challenge the Prime Minister. In doing so, she changed the foreign policy of this country.

In the midst of the toxic politics that too often characterised Brexit, Jo continued her personal crusade for togetherness. She believed in the Remain position because she believed Britain – the United Kingdom – was stronger in the European Union than out. She believed unity equalled strength.

This concept of togetherness was something that defined Jo. It was a value which she fought for in the community and throughout her career. Tragically, it was a cause that cost Jo her life, far too terribly and far too soon.

Like millions of others around the world, I remember where I was when I heard of Jo’s death. I was in a hotel room in Brussels and – unusually for me – I had the television on. Normally, I get my news online but I was sorting through documents and other stuff I had accumulated on the trip. I flicked the television on for background but on hearing about Jo I stopped moving around the room, sank on to the bed and watched – saddened, stricken and shuddering about what this said about our world.

Women friends of mine, who were campaigning in Australia’s election, were particularly shaken. They wondered; “What does this mean for us now?” Standing at street stalls and giving out pamphlets at train stations they asked themselves for the first time ever – “are we safe?”

How do those who loved Jo recover? How do we all move beyond the shock and the fear?

My answer is that while we must farewell Jo, we must never farewell the values that defined her.

Jo lives on through those who loved her, those who miss her, and through all of us that share her passion for social solidarity as we choose to step up and serve in public life.

I have been asked today to give you an honest account of the reality of being in politics.

The most important truth is one Jo understood so well. Politics enables us to drive and deliver real progress. If you are driven by a sense of purpose, as she was, politics and the pursuit of power enables you to achieve your dreams for your society.

Activism is wonderful and it serves an important role in our democracy. But if you want to see real change and you want to see it endure, then politics is where you need to be. This is why Jo Cox made the transition from campaigner to MP.

I genuinely believe that politics is a noble calling, not a grubby, necessary evil. We are so incredibly fortunate to live in free and fair democracies where we have the right to run for Parliament. Jo was an exceptional person, there’s no doubt about it. But she wasn’t unique, and she would have been the first person to say so. There are so many women in our communities who could serve with distinction: we need to help them to get into parliament and to be proud to be political.

Of course, this isn’t just about numbers, and it’s not about ‘having a go’. It’s about results. Women need power to change things. You can’t change things if you are a name on a ballot, a quota filled – you need your seat in Parliament. Participation is the start, but power is the end. Jo knew that – it’s why she worked so hard across party lines to make sure that women were running for seats they could win and it’s why she herself joined a party where she stood a shot of becoming an MP and, one day, a minister, even a Prime Minister.

Jo had courage, but she was also unashamed to have ambition. She wanted to go far, and she wanted to lift up others as she climbed. There’s no stain in aspiring to the highest office in your country. It doesn’t taint the purity of your purpose.

Today, I want to say to you loudly and clearly – Have the highest of ambitions for yourself, for your purpose. Jo believed Britain could be a force for change in the world, and she fought for that.

I know what it is like to have power, to combine it with a sense of purpose and to deliver results. Whether it was improving our schools, introducing a National Disability Insurance Scheme or establishing the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, I was able to deliver on issues that mattered hugely to me and to the future of my country.

When I left the Prime Ministership, I immediately leapt into writing my memoirs. It was important for me to do this early, whilst the feelings, experiences and memories were fresh, and my reactions unsullied by the passage of time.

In doing so, I had to look back unflinchingly at my own time in politics. I had to unpack the highs and lows, the achievements and misses. The brutal politics, the incredible opportunities. And of course the way I experienced it all as a person, and as a woman.

I wanted as I wrote to send a strong message to young women contemplating politics and that message is define your sense of purpose, nurture your sense of self and go for it.

But as you forge ahead, understand that you will encounter sexism and misogyny and prepare yourself to face it and ultimately to eradicate it.

Let me share with you what that gender discrimination can look and feel like.

As Prime Minister, day after day, time after time, I would find myself in a room, often a business boardroom, where I was the only woman, apart perhaps from a woman serving coffee or food.

Because politics at senior levels in my nation and yours has been almost always the pursuit of men, the assumptions of politics have been defined around men’s lives – not women’s lives. It is assumed a man with children brings to politics the perspective of a family man, but it is never suggested that he should be disqualified from the rigours of a political life because he has caring responsibilities. This definitely does not work the same way for women. Even before becoming prime minister, I had observed that if you are a woman politician, it is impossible to win on the question of family. If you do not have children then you are characterised as out of touch with ‘mainstream lives’. If you do have children then, heavens, who is looking after them?

I had already been chided by a senior conservative Senator for being ‘deliberately barren’ and then had to stomach reading follow-up pieces like the one entitled ‘Barren Behaviour’ in one of our two national newspapers, which stated:

‘At the Junee abattoir, manager Heath Newton knows what happens in the bush to a barren cow. ‘It’s just a case where if they’re infertile they get sent to the vet to get checked and then killed as hamburger mince,’ he says . . . ‘In the Kimberley region, near Broome, where Senator Heffernan issued his public apology for his remarks on Wednesday night, the barren cows even have a name: killers. It’s the ultimate fate of an animal that can’t breed.’

Before becoming prime minister, I had also worked out that what you are wearing will draw disproportionate attention. It did when I became deputy leader of the Opposition. Pleading, ‘I like to wear suits’ or ‘I have been on the road for days’ simply did not cut it. Undoubtedly a male leader who does not meet a certain standard will be marked down. But that standard is such an obvious one: of regular weight, a well-tailored suit, neat hair, television-friendly glasses, trimmed eyebrows. Being the first female prime minister, I had to navigate what that standard was for a woman.

It is galling to me that when I first met NATO’s leader, predominantly to discuss our strategy for the war in Afghanistan, where our troops were fighting and dying, it was reported in the following terms:

‘The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has made her first appearance on the international stage, meeting the head of NATO, Anders Rasmussen, in Brussels. Dressed in a white, short jacket and dark trousers she arrived at the security organisation’s headquarters just after 9 am European time and was ushered in by Mr Rasmussen, the former Danish Prime Minister and NATO Secretary General.’ This article was written by a female journalist. It apparently went without saying that Mr Rasmussen was wearing a suit.

On another occasion, whilst in a bilateral meeting with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Earth Summit in Rio, a respected female journalist opened her article with: ‘As well as matters of state, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Prime Minister Julia Gillard have had a chat about their hairstyles.’ Six paragraphs then followed on the matter of our respective hairstyles.

This gender stereotyping was at the very benign end compared to much of what I faced: ‘Ditch the witch’ on placards at rallies. The ugly ravings about how ‘women are destroying the joint’ from a conservative and cantankerous radio shock. The pornographic cartoons circulated by an eccentric bankrupt. The vile words on social media.

It may be easy and comforting for you to conclude that all this is something about the treatment of women in Australia. I regret doing this but I have to disabuse of you of that notion. Indeed, some of the sexist insults thrown at me were not original. Rather they had originally been hurled at Hillary Clinton when she ran first to be the Democrats’ nominee for President in 2008.

Sadly, the current Presidential election campaign in the United States is showing us that this sort of gender discrimination isn’t set to leave us any time soon.

A Washington Post analysis that looked at 100,000 tweets made during the New Hampshire primary found the most ‘gendered’ words used about Secretary Clinton were a common swearword starting with ‘b’, a reference to her sexual organs, including a word starting with ‘c’ and the term ‘rapist’, including threats that she should be raped. For Mr Sanders, ‘dad’ and ‘basketball’ were as gendered as it got. Donald Trump today labels her as “Lying Hillary”, “Crooked Hillary” and he appeared to give a subtle endorsement to the use of violence against her at one of his rallies, where it has become routine for the crowd to shout ‘lock her up’ or even ‘string her up’. In this week’s debate, he embraced the spirit of these chants saying Secretary Clinton should be in gaol.

While not as dramatic or coarse, we have already seen Prime Minister May’s appearance and childlessness be subjects of focus.

Obviously, any one contending for high office has to be scrutinised and tested and no gender analysis should be taken to mean that female candidates should be immune from criticism. But these gendered references are the antithesis of valid critiques and there is a responsibility that lies on everyone’s shoulders – men and women – to make sure in any political campaign that criticism is not gender based, that it is not about precluding a woman from leading simply because she is a woman.

Beyond sexism, there are other very real risks that women in public life must face, and I fear those are much greater than they were when I commenced my own journey into public life.

Violence against women is nothing new in our world. Conservative estimates tell us that at least one in three women will experience physical or sexual violence in her lifetime. These statistics traverse geography, race and age. In the United Kingdom, the number of violent offences against women, including domestic abuse, rape and sexual assault, rose by almost 10% in 2015-16.

Now threats of violence have become more prevalent for women in public life.

Once upon a time, to criticise a public figure, you generally had to put your name to that criticism. Be it a letter to an editor, a confrontation at a town hall meeting, a considered critique delivered on screen or a view written in a newspaper.

Now, both seasoned commentators and the general public can say what they like, protected by the anonymity of a twitter handle. They have the power to fire barbs directly at their targets without any fear of consequence.

At best, these can be snarky and occasionally witty criticisms of a politician’s decisions or actions.

At worst, they can take the form of detailed death threats, or threats of violence against family, friends and staff.

And of course, as a woman in public life, the violent threats take on another sickening dimension. Threats of violent abuse, of rape, are far too common. A woman in public view may expect to receive them almost daily.

In the United Kingdom, the number of cases of extremely offensive online abuse against women is sharply rising, despite concerted efforts to highlight and challenge this type of abuse. I commend the Guardian’s The Web we Want campaign, and the cross party Reclaim the Internet campaign. This work represents important first steps, but there is much more that needs to be done to stem this flow of abuse that so disproportionately impacts women.

Our community would not consider it acceptable to yell violent, sexually charged abuse at a female politician walking down the street. Why is it okay to let these voices ring so loudly in our online worlds?

These voices weaken, ridicule, humiliate and terrify. Not only do they challenge the resolve of the women who cop the abuse, but they deter other women from raising their hand to serve in public life. For all the structural barriers to women’s participation in politics, and for all the gender bias and sexism that must be addressed, so too must we challenge and defeat the online abuse.

We don’t yet know to what extent online abuse translates into physical violence. But I am certain the connection is real, that women feel and fear it, and that it is preventing women from standing up and serving in public life.

All this needs to change. And in this room, we have the power to change it. When we reflect on what feminism has already achieved for women – voting rights, anti-discrimination laws, education, workplace rights, financial freedoms, better policing of crimes against women and the list goes on – we should be fortified and inspired by what we are capable of achieving next.

Jo Cox’s purpose in public life was togetherness: she wanted to see a world that was more fair, more safe and much less divided.

Through her work she delivered on this purpose. The world truly is a better place because of Jo’s service.

Let her purpose serve as the inspiration for us to fulfil our own.

Let her fearlessness give us the strength and courage to serve in public life, not withstanding all that we know about its potential perils and dangers.

Let her ambition and pride in her work be our own.

And for the women, like myself, who have already experienced the great opportunities of public life, let us stand in solidarity with the next generation of women and support their right to serve and lead, safely and freely, but most importantly – powerfully.

Thank you.

The Huffington Post

616 thoughts on “In Memory of Jo Cox, MP

  1. Kampong Palmer Trev

    Are oyster bars still big there? I remember them being everywhere in the late 80’s and 90’s.

  2. carrt2016

    The Singapore Cricket Club was the place to be. Well it was for us when they let us peasants and assorted riff raff in for a week during the Singapore 7s.

  3. Poroti

    The Cricket Club just near the Supreme Court if I recall correctly.

    I don’t know Singapore well at all.

    Most of my memories relate to crashing after long flights. The Mandarin Marina Hotel was a favourite.

  4. carrt2016

    Yes indeed and the Mandarin !! Not too far from the Padang.. Wot were we played and the formal surrender of the Japanese occurred. The Mandarin back then was considered grade above The Peninsula.

  5. Cricket Club on the edge of the Padang, on side near City Hall. Still there. I doubt that I’m the stereotypical Sinkie Cricket Club person. Oysters can be dodgy everywhere in SEA (although I’ve never been crook from them) – ask the boss uncle or aunty if safe to eat raw. In doubt, as for oyster omelette. I had this experience in Taiwan last year. Aunty said no, but said yes to cooked. Better still, catch bus/train/plane to KL and go to Pulau Ketam (Crab Island ) for lunch. Look lah, catch bus. Have lunch along way and dinner in KL, then have lunch on island. Short trip on KTM commuter train from KL to Port Klang (Port Sweetenham), then ferry ride. Order “prawn- killers”. “So good, lor. Ah Lien is your aunty and Ah Beng is your uncle”. Few bottles of Tiger with a few people you love, even better. Go lah, don’t wait.

    • Lots of the oysters used to be imported from NZ, I recall. (So you’re right – dodgy!)

  6. Should also have said, buy a few durians if they are in season on your way. I know that a lot of ang-moh are repulsed by them. If you get good ones, buy-em. And eat em. Have had some memorable nights in places like KK in Sarawak, Johore, and elsewhere with durians. The Australian crop never appears to make its way south. Probably sell for a a motza in China. Ones sold where are usually frozen, irradiated and from Thailand – not good at all.

  7. Kampong Palmer Trev

    What boggled my mind re durians was some of the prices the “good stuff” went for . In the 80s something like $50 Singapore for the top of the crop.

  8. Freefall,

    I have a friend in Adelaide who is a brilliant ukulele player, and also a fine teacher. Would that help?

    • Perhaps…I don’t want to embarrass them…But what I have done is written a mythology piece with accompanying song-line about the Italian Internee woodcutters here along the Murray during the war..and I wanted someone who could play the ukulele as a backing to the song…just to see if it would work..I have never written a song before so I don’t know if it would even work, so I wouldn’t want to bother a busy teacher with it…Perhaps i’ll send you an email…Have you got my new email address?

      Would that be alright?

  9. Kaffeeklatscher

    Durians, they still at times super expensive. It’s a potentially risky biz buying durians- watch out for substitution in markets. Not surprising that people say, “Buy from this bloke, known him since I was a kid and he was old even then – he went to school with nana’s brother in Mua…very honest”

    Saw some quite reasonable Malaysian durians this year at Cabramatta at about $6 a kilo.. (Love the tucker on sale at Cabra – worth a day trip from Canberra for a $10 hair-cut and a boot load of food).

    Never mind the durians might be expensive here. Crabs and mackerel and other fish can be first class and so cheap. And, many of of us just don’t appreciate how good our meat and vegetables are. I’m no fan of cauliflower for example (unless it’s dressed -up). Ever compared an Oz version with a Chinese version in a Malaysian market? The Oz one wins hands down.

    • many of of us just don’t appreciate how good our meat and vegetables are.

      Always noticeable when you go o/s.

  10. Why do ministerial failures get rewarded with plum overseas postings, particularly Liberal failures? That is one of the many things about Rudd which disappointed me; giving Liberal hacks top postings.

  11. Not a word said about this in Australian media, and the yanks are keeping pretty quiet about it too.

    It’s so very different when the terrorists are white, American citizens and the target is Muslim immigrants.

    Kansas militia men calling themselves ‘Crusaders’ charged in terror plot targeting Somali Muslim immigrants
    The group said they wanted to ‘wake people up’ and inspire other militia groups to act

  12. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Urban Wronski writes that the clowns are running the show as she reviews the first 100 days of this Turnbull government on behalf of coal.
    Tanya Plibersek yesterday said that Labor will push Turnbull to the limit over SSM.
    Bob Carr imagines the unimaginable – Trump 2.0 defeating an unpopular Hillary Clinton in 2020.
    Trump and his supporters are now in dangerous territory as the consequences of a Clinton victory come to the fore. The place is mad.
    Here is Trump’s conspiracy theorist in chief, Alex Jones.
    Could armed revolt be a possibility?
    Michelle Grattan says that the government will attack new senator Kimberley Kitching over her union links.
    Will Australia finish with our own version of Trump asks Rob Burgess.
    Republican claims of voter fraud? Now THAT’S a laugh!
    Paul McGeough says that Americans are caught in a bizarre time warp.

  13. Section 2 . . .

    Michaela Whitbourne writes on how Turnbull has been drawn into the Brandis/Gleeson cage match.
    Steph Peatling on what lies at the heart of Pollies’ entitlements – greed.
    Abbott steps up the rhetoric on 18c. Google.
    Sydney Airport is crippling services to regional centres in NSW.
    FFOs (Firearms Prohibition Orders) seem to be having an effect on the occurrence of gun crimes in NSW.
    The life insurance industry sets course for a collision with Kelly O’Bigmouth as it refuses to commit to enforceability of its code of practice. Maybe a Royal Commission could sort it out? Google.
    I wonder how this will play out for Baird?
    Now it’s a Victorian councillor who’s in trouble. Property developers and local government are a sub-optimal mix aren’t they.
    One Nation’s popularity has soared since the last election according to Newspoll. Google.
    Greg Jericho writes on how Morrison just got lucky with the hike in the price of coal.
    And Australia is drawing fire from overseas for not reducing our carbon emissions.
    Deloitte Access is tipping that property is becoming the worst investment sector. It’s a bit frightening. Google.
    Is Pope Francis diluting the value of saints as he proclaims seven more of them?
    For once I can praise the Adelaide Advertiser. It has been publishing a lot of stuff in support of voluntary euthanasia as a bill is about to be put to the SA parliament.

  14. A perfect description, Mr Wronski: “The Drum which gets its name from the wrong part of a washing machine. It’s the filter that collects all the fluff and lint. ”

    It does that, of course, during the spin cycle.

  15. Mr Turnbull has made a standing offer to Tony Abbott of the plum diplomatic post of London High Commissioner but if he were to accept it would force a by-election in a fragile parliament

    Less plum, more prune post-Brexit, I imagine.

  16. Thanks BK

    The Advertiser now has a story about a home invasion on the link to SA nurses support voluntary euthanasia


  17. Modern-day re-enactment of Acts 9-18?
    “And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes ……….”

    Activate Church leaves Australian Christian Churches denomination to stand by gay leaders

    AN Adelaide church has left its denomination so it can fully include gay people in its congregation.

    The move by Activate Church, at Bowden, which was announced during a service on Sunday, will cost pastor Brad Chilcott his marriage celebrant licence and denominational credentials.

    Mr Chilcott said Activate withdrew from the Australian Christian Churches, which has 1100 churches nationwide, in part because the denomination had joined the anti-marriage equality group Marriage Alliance.

    He said Activate Church already had members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in leadership positions.

    “This puts us outside of the Australian Christian Churches position on human sexuality,” he said.

    “In discussions with the ACC it became clear that our membership in the movement couldn’t continue if we were going to have LGBTQI people in positions of leadership — which we did know from the beginning.

    “As a community we’re also uncomfortable with membership in the Marriage Alliance and felt unable to be associated, via denominational ties, with that coalition.”

  18. Paul picked this up, but most media will repeat the Oz headline claim without thinking about it text below

    Snap analysis from Paul Karp:

    The Australian has reported that One Nation’s support has quadrupled nationwide, and almost doubled to 10% in Queensland.

    Drill down and the results are not nearly as impressive as they appear. The Australian has compared One Nation’s 6% support in Newspolls since the 2 July election, with their 1.3% lower house primary vote at the election.

    But according to the article, One Nation only ran candidates in 12 Queensland seats and three in New South Wales, meaning only about one in 10 voters could vote for One Nation in the lower house at the election.

    When you compare the Newspoll results to One Nation’s Senate vote, the party’s vote has increased from 4.3% at the election to 6% in the poll averages. This is arguably a fairer comparison because voters in all states had a One Nation candidate on the ballot.

    The Australian reported in Queensland One Nation has almost doubled its 5.5% lower house vote at the election to 10% in the poll averages. But its Senate vote at the election in Queensland was 9.2%, pointing again to a much more modest rise.

    What it does show is that One Nation’s lower house vote would increase if it ran candidates in every lower house seat – fair enough, but not as surprising a result as a “quadrupling” of the One Nation vote nationwide.

    • What it also shows is the blatant support of the MSM for the appalling Hanson and her pack of fruitcakes.

      Also not mentioned – that increasing support comes at the cost of decreasing support for the Coalition. One Nation is just splitting their vote.

      Expect more vote splitting when the fringe nasty parties – Kim Vuga’s Love Australia or Leave thing and the Reclaim Australia party get to an election.

  19. Wong notes that the crossbenchers have received extra funds from the prime minister’s office for extra staff to get across all the legislation. They receive an extra three staff – giving them seven staff in total.

    Wong says, however, that the Senate department that supports the crossbenchers has received no extra budget.

    The clerk of the Senate, Rosemary Laing, says she is hoping crossbenchers get more self-sufficient, such that they can:
    “navigate simple procedures for themselves”

    What legislation? There’s almost nothing for them to look at.

    Most of the bills before the senate are old, stuff no-one could be bothered dealing with for ages, stuff that lapsed when Fizza had parliament prorogued, then lapsed again when parliament was dissolved for the election. Some of the bills have been there for years. Much of it is Abbott-era legislation, one bill – the Foreign Acquisitions Amendment (Agricultural Land) Bill 2010 – is Gillard-era and still in limbo.

  20. There’s so much whining about the cost of the renovations at The Lodge, the usual bunch of Twitter dills are saying Fizza should have paid for it all himself, and Lucy has been too extravagant.

    FFS people! Get a grip!

    The Lodge belongs to us, the people of Australia. We provide it as the Canberra residence for the prime minister, whoever he or she may be. It’s our responsibility to keep it in good repair whether or not the PM of the day decides to live there or prefers to be somewhere else.

    People forget that the approval for the latest renovations was organised while Julia Gillard was PM, but there was a decision to delay work until after the 2013 election so the cost could not be used as an election issue. The place was falling apart. It had to be fixed, and fixed properly. More was needed than a few mates popping over for the weekend to plug the leaks in the roof.

    While some people might find it entertaining to blame the costs on Fizza it’s just nothing to do with him or his wife. He just has the misfortune to be the PM in residence while the senate is reviewing the cost.

    • L2

      Agree, from reading the GA blog this morning, it appears Wong spent too much time on the luggage lift.. as a major expense, the overall reno cost/process is worth a couple of questions (just to keep the B’crats on their toes), but should have been focused on ensuring there was competitive tendering for the works, (and IMO, that local Canberra businesses got a share of the work).

      Wong is now focusing on the the Libs use of WhatsApp, instead of secure email. This is much more important… specially after reading about the cyber attack on BoM

    • I think the luggage lift was a damned good idea. The workplace safety issue alone should have seen one installed years ago.

    • Yep, that was my assumption also – he’s jumping before filing for bankruptcy. I wonder who was next on the FF ticket last election, who’s the likely replacement?

  21. In 2003 Bob Day was given an AO for – wait for it – service to the housing industry. And to welfare. (WTF!)

    He should be stripped of that honour.

  22. For those interested..

    On Sen Estimates hearings this week – the ABS is scheduled before the Economics Ctte about 6pm on Wed. Should(?) be available on the APH site. I don’t know if there are more stuff-ups to be revealed, but for sure ALP Ctte members will be fishing…

  23. The next person on the SA Family First ticket was Lucy Gihuchi. She’s a lawyer, born in Kenya, and if she’s a member of Family First she must be a nutter as well.

    Being the only other candidate on the SA FF ticket doesn’t mean she will get Day’s spot though.

  24. I like this comment in the Conversation on Brandis.

    Susan Nolan
    In reply to Chris Thaler
    Couldn’t they give him another portfolio? After Triggs and now Gleeson, he could be: Minister for Not Being Able to Work with Other People.

    The ministry name acronym is, at least, one which you can say: NBATWOP – rather than having to spell it out.

  25. Penny Wong does not suffer juvenile fools lightly (who decided a first term senator barely out of nappies was suitable as Cttee Chair FFS !!)

    Senator Wong asks Paterson about the return of questions on notice, given how late the last ones came back.

    Wong to chair James Paterson:

    Did you roll your eyes at me? Did you roll your eyes at me?

    George Brandis:

    Really senator Wong, behave like an adult.

    pot, kettle etc

  26. I think Robert Brokenshire who is a FF in the SA parliament would be a good replacement for DD. I don’t think he is quite the nutjob like the others, and he is a decent person, afaik.

  27. we are having a union bashing QT today, particularly the CFMEU. Just about every Gov’t question has been on this topic. It is as boring as floor polish and I do not see the point of it. Now the Libs are attacking Kathy Jackson!!!! That used hanky has been thrown out.

  28. Not surprised at all –

    Wyatt Roy escapes police investigation for ‘war tourism’ Syria visit

    How’s this for an excuse to let the little twit off, from Andrew Colvin.

    Based on the public reporting, we did form a conclusion that we didn’t believe any offences had been committed

    So Murdoch runs a puff piece about Little Wyatt being far, far away from the prohibited zone and the AFP takes that as evidence.

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