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. What they said. 😀

    Jaqueline Du Pre’s recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto (Op. 85) with LSO under Barbirolli is the definitive version for me:

    • Jaeger – The day I retired from full-time work I printed a copy of it and put in on my ‘fridge door to remind me.

      Ten years later it’s still there.

  2. Woke up to the Rural Report on the radio. lnp patting themselves on the back for cutting the non-existant backpacker tax down from 32 and half percent to 19 percent. Screaming at Labor for making it so hard. NFF are happy with end result. Wonder who they’ll get to do the picking now?

    • It’s ludicrous, it really is.

      Don’t expect the dills who masquerade as political journalists to work this out.

      The government has actually created a new tax where there is currently no tax. (So much for that stupid line about being the low-tax mob.). They have imposed a new 19% tax, not introduced a tax cut.

      The tax won’t exist until the senate passes it and that could take a while. Labor has sent it off to a senate committee. That is being blasted as ‘delaying tactics’ by the ever-obliging press gallery hacks.

      Someone should ask Barnaby and Fat George to explain how a new tax becomes a tax cut. Watching that could be entertaining.

    • The government has actually created a new tax where there is currently no tax.

      Yep … and now the Government is “making us more competitive” by cutting what they introduced.


      Bring on the comedy!

  3. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. A bit of a late start this morning.

    Packer’s Crown Casino is in more than a spot of bother with the Chinese.
    Here’s the SNH’s take on last night’s QandA.
    The privatised Medibank is the standout performer when it comes to reports to the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman.
    To pinch a line from Fawlty Towers there’d be enough material to write a book for this psychologist who will “see” Nick Kyrgios.
    This effort by Ballarat police leaves a lot to be desired.
    What does this say about the trajectory of asylum seeker detention?
    Is Trump paving the way with his election campaign for the establishment of a new TV network. Investment banks seem to think so.
    And what does this say about America and what could be in store for when Hillary Clinton wins?
    Paul McGeough writes about the various implosions that are occurring in the Trump campaign.
    Trump is not just a sore loser – he’s a destructive one.

  4. Section 2 . . .

    Amnesty International has released a major report accusing Australia of intentionally torturing detainees on Nauru. Pezzullo dismissed the report as a “publicity stunt”.
    Amy Remeikis looks in to the details of the Amnesty International report.
    The New Matlda also delves into the report.
    Nice work if you can get it. And it seems being a dumped Coalition MP helps quite a lot.
    This editorial says Turnbull and Shorten should take a good look at themselves when it comes to “jobs for the boys”.
    John Quiggin on plebiscites, climate change denials and other Coalition diversions.,9606
    I wonder how long Bob Day’s company, of which he is sole director, had been trading while insolvent. Will the government blame the CFMEU for this disgraceful collapse which has severely hurt so many innocent people?
    The AFR examines why Bob Day went broke. Google.
    Here’s Michelle Grattan on Day’s resignation.
    Worried tradies and customers have descended upon Hay’s SA Homestead Homes in Adelaide. Google.
    This is not what Shorten needs.
    Peter Martin on how ACCI has come out swinging against the TPP.

  5. Section 3 . . .

    One Nation is gearing up now to tackle state elections.
    Michaela Whitbourn on Dreyfus getting under Brandis’s skin.
    Brandis is playing politics with good government.
    According to “View from the Street” Pauling Hanson has a new constituency – online gamers.
    Mark Kenny responds to the response he got after his article yesterday on the SSM plebiscite.
    We need more scientists to take the leap into politics says Emma Johnston.
    This piece from a gay journo based in the US says in this reasoned contribution that a win in the plebiscite would have been cathartic but at what cost?
    Tess Lawrence has written a rather explosive and explicit article on the “Neoz Cons against SSM”.,9603
    Yes! The problems with banks arise out of the bonus systems that infest them. The phrase “What interests by boss FASCINATES me!” comes to mind. And it’s not only banks that are thus affected!

  6. Section 4 . . . Cartoon Corner

    Paul Zanetti puts Trump in a line-up.

    Beautiful work from Peter Broelman.

    Sean Leahy – so much for the elephant in the room!

    David Pope on Bob the Builder.
    Alan Moir and Trump’s chickens come home to roost or something else.
    A little ripper from Mat Golding on those that support Trump.
    Jon Kudelka peeks in on Turnbull’s Senate calculations for crossbench support of the ABCC legislation.
    David Rowe on Jamie Packer’s problem with China.

  7. 2gravel
    October 18, 2016 at 5:32 AM
    All the LNP has to do now is back flip on the 5% big business tax cuts and that wipes out the budget BUT reduces the negative bottom line back to surplus in 2029 anyone??

  8. Wasn’t that what 4Corners was about last night?

    Turnbull was questioned on it and 4Corners on RN this morning.

    Sky News has Nauru as its headline with short story including “Amnesty International has accused Australia of running an open-air prison on the Pacific island nation.”

    BK listed 4 articles on Nauru /Immigration.

    • Same topic, different report, both appeared on the same day.

      I posted while BK was posting his links, so the same Amnesty report has had a lot of cover here, which is good.

      I haven’t watched Four Corners yet, I will later today I think it’s a shame we have had to wait years for the ABC to finally take some interest. Same as the Don Dale thing, really. Been going on for years while the media turned their backs.

  9. And Amnesty’s Presser for the release is yet to be held:

    Political Alert ‏@political_alert · 24s25 seconds ago

    Amnesty International will brief the media on its damning report of Australia’s treatment of refugees on Nauru at 10am, Sydney #auspol

  10. Just been listening to Alan Jones in the car for 10 minutes. Normally I can’t stand him, but something possessed me not to switch off.

    He was raving about Climate Change to a caller. I think the caller was pro-Climate Change, and so Jones shouted him down in that pontificating way he does. High Dudgeon rules, OK?

    A couple of minutes later a lady phoned in to tell Jones that, although he was brilliant, he was speaking too fast for her, and so could he tell the listeners why Climate Change was a crock again, only this time more slowly.

    Jones obliged .

    1. It’s not carbon that is supposed to be the problem, it’s carbon dioxide. These scientists do themselves no credit by deliberately conflating carbon with carbon dioxide. But then again, they’re stupid, so it’s entirely understandable that they don’t even understand their own science properly, as Jones does.

    2. Tim Flannery is still being paid by the taxpayers to sit in his luxury house by the seaside that (according to Flannery) is going to be swamped by rising ocean levels. What a hypocrite! With people like this pushing Climate Change, no wonder nobody believes them.

    3. Humans only contribute 3% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, and carbon dioxide is only 0.04% of the Earth’s atmosphere. So how could that possibly cause any harm? Australian only contributes 1% of the 3%, so how could our contribution affect anything?

    3. If we reduce carbon dioxide emissions the plants won’t have anything to breathe. That means crops will fail and forests will die. Worldwide famine will be the result.

    4. I dunno, how can these nincompoops get away with their lies?

    5. Carbon dioxide is colorless and weightless, so ditto.

    6. All the lady really needed to remember was what One Nation says: the Earth has been cooling for 40 years, not warming. That is is an incontrovertible fact. Other experts like Andrew Bolt have produced conclusive proof of it, independently. Malcolm Roberts is a scientist, so why is he dismissed so arrogantly by so-called Climate Scientists? Eh? Whatever happened to “professional courtesy”. Climate Scientists are rude, so how can we take any notice of them. And they’re not elected, either. Until they get of their fat posteriors, stop bludging off the taxpayer, and get themselves elected, they’re just spouting nonsense.

    7. What we really need to worry about is an Ice Age, not Global Warming. If anything we need MORE carbon dioxide to keep the planet warm, which of course won’t do any good because carbon dioxide doesn’t warm the atmosphere anyway.

    Jones hoped the lady got it all down. She wanted the facts so that next time her son argued with her about Climate Change she’d be able to tell him something more than “Because Alan Jones said so” (which for some inexplicable reason, her son said was not really an argument… after all Jones was right about greyhounds, wasn’t he?)

    • Yeah, what would those scientists know. They have no idea, really, having spent all their lives studying in ivory towers. They don’t have Jones’s vast knowledge and experience. Like, he’s an expert on footy coaching, and in bandaging the shapely legs of male teenage footballers, and he knows all the nicest public toilets in London, so his thoughts on carbon dioxide are so much more important than all that scientific waffling.

      Seriously though, this country is becoming overwhelmingly stupid. I don’t know how much more stupidity I can take.

    • the LIbs are doing so many backflips that if they can the 5% taz cut to big business (which most of them evade anyway) the budget will be in surplus sooner than the end of this century hope that clears up my fuzzy logic

  11. And herein is the fundamental issue for the US election.

  12. A question for anyone having local council elections. We have 39, that is thirty-nine, candidates in our area. Can anyone else beat that number of contenders?

    I spent half an hour trying to read all the bio’s. Gave up and rang the guy that ran for Labor a while back in general election. He could only come up with 12 recommendations and said to put one particular bloke last, which I was going to anyway. I then looked for the people that were backing Jeff (Labor), and when I ran out of them I then worked backwards from the last bloke and anyone that recommended him.

    That was two hours of my life wasted. Razz just decided to copy my selection, lucky her. 🙂

    • You’re in East Gippsland Shire? I find it a bit odd that a shire of that size hasn’t been subdivided into wards. I’m in Wellington shire and the last VEC review subdivided the shire into wards.

      The ward I’m in only had five candidates so it was a bit easier for me.

      Also were there any nutters on the ballot? There’s someone running in the east ward of Latrobe City who has appropriated Donald Trump’s slogan, “Make the valley great again”, as well as rants about taxation and “nanny-statism”. It’s no surprise that he’s a member of the Young Nats

    • I am in a ward with 9 candidates, who focus all their attention on the gentry on the tree lined flood prone former swamp serviced by very infrequent buses, with quite a hike to tram and trains. Spoke to a candidate at the shopping centre next to the Town Hall last week, he has nothing to offer my area. Actually he was stationed at the wrong shopping centre as his target constituents shop in a different council area because that’s the way the roads run.

      I am not sure who to vote for and I need to vote this arvo as I might be interstate on Saddurdee

  13. Now we have the corrupt government of a failed state telling Australia what to do. They would be worried because closing the detention centres on Nauru would mean the lousy place loses the Australian funding that is the only thing keeping it and their government going. Without that money flowing in Nauru would be bankrupt in a week.

    ‘An embarrassment to journalism’: Nauru government attacks ‘racist’ ABC over refugee report

  14. Full Essential poll not yet on their site, but Bernard’s paywalled article is up.

    Oct 18, 2016
    Essential: voters lack confidence in Turnbull as Labor leads blows out
    This week’s Essential Report shows that there is little confidence in the ability of the Turnbull government to deliver — and voters now want a parliamentary vote on same-sex marriage.
    Bernard Keane — Politics Editor

    More than half of voters have no faith that the government will be able to achieve what the nation needs, while Labor has extended its lead over the government to six points in today’s Essential Report poll.

    Less than a third of voters (31%) have some or a lot of faith that the government will be able to get done what the nation needs with the current Senate, while 58% have little or no faith at all, including 39% of Coalition voters. And 39% of voters believe the government will call an early election.


    Labor has gained a point on its primary vote, to 37%, while the Greens have also picked up a point to move to 11%, while the Coalition has lost a point to 37%; One Nation is down a point to 5% and NXT remains on 3%. That leads to a two-party preferred outcome of 53%-47% in Labour’s favour, the largest Labor lead since Tony Abbott was prime minister.

  15. from the GA blog on Sen Est..

    Senator Linda Reynolds has begun on Gillian Triggs.

    She asks about a Triggs quote in an interview, here in the Saturday Paper.

    Ramona Koval asked:

    You’ve said, “When I was younger I thought one could build on the past. But I have learned that we need to be eternally vigilant in ensuring human rights in a modern democracy.” Is that a sense of an idea of conservatism, building on the past, not letting go of good things that have been achieved? And feeling that confidence in that idea has been shaken?

    Triggs said this:

    A shocking phenomenon is Australians don’t even understand their own democratic system. They are quite content to have parliament be complicit with passing legislation to strengthen the powers of the executive and to exclude the courts. They have no idea of the separation of powers and the excessive overreach of executive government.

    Reynolds says she understands the need for better civic education but not Triggs cynicism on the Australian people.

    I agree with Triggs, I know from my own nieces and nephs, (the youngest finished y12 last year) that they mostly have no clue.. and not for lack of interest if the discussion I had with my niece on the w/e is any indication.

    I was lucky that in the late 70’s-early 80’s at high school/college, I had an excellent teacher for Commerce/economics who taught both subjects through the prism of current affairs (I blame her for turning me into a news junkie!), and that in Canberra we have ready access to visit and observe Parl and the High court in action. Although, I’m not sure what lessons kids would take from watching Parl these days!

    • Fiona – did you see the article I linked for you yesterday on Canberra Grammer going Co-ed..?

  16. Why do the right-wing gun nuts have so much sway over our governments, both state and federal?

    This is appalling.

    Malcolm Turnbull hasn’t ruled out loosening Australia’s gun laws if it gives him the votes he needs in the Senate to pass the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) laws that were the trigger for July’s double dissolution election

  17. Labor opens new front on constitutionality of proposed terrorism laws
    Mark Dreyfus seizes on George Brandis’s ‘astonishing admission’ that the solicitor general only advised on the ‘original draft’ of the proposed bill

    “Hidden in this letter is the astonishing admission that the solicitor general, Justin Gleeson, has not been given the opportunity to advise on the final version of the [bill].

    “This is the exact situation that Mr Gleeson has been concerned about since his letter to the attorney general in November last year, and which led to the misrepresentation of his advice on the citizenship bill,” Dreyfus said.

    “Senator Brandis is not learning from his mistakes. Mr Gleeson cannot be said to have advised on a bill if he was only shown an initial draft, not the final version introduced to parliament which is currently before the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security.”

  18. Here is how quickly a lever action gun can fire. (Remember the Rifleman series from all those years ago?). The Adler shotgun is a 7-shot lever action shotgun

  19. Okay, so Labor is really on the ball with the gun stuff. You could almost say like a bullet out of a gun. Caught turnoff out really good. Well done Bill and team.

  20. note the other questions

  21. One of the best hits of INXS..Have a butchers at the sassy Hutchence!..Jaggering it around the place…Horny little bastard!…and to think he threw it all away going for a super erection via autoerotic asphyxiation….the things some blokes do for sex!…there’s gotta be a special place in heaven.

  22. It’s time Macdonald resigned, or was booted out. Apart from being a rude, aggressive misogynist bastard he is obviously losing his marbles.

    Senator Ian MacDonald is grilling Australian Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs about her commentary that politicians are “ill-informed”.

    MacDonald has accidentally called Triggs “senator” several times, then, as an aside, remarks that it is because she would fit into the category of the “ill-informed”.

    Labor senators ask him to withdraw the remark, but he refuses. When Labor senators argue MacDonald is badgering the witness, he replied:

    It’s typical of the left that when you’re trying to question somebody they object at every opportunity.”

    Greens senator Nick McKim moves for the committee to suspend, prompting attorney general George Brandis to remark it is a “standard technique of the left”.

    The motion is put to a vote and it is tied three-all. MacDonald uses his casting vote to continue the hearing

    And –
    Macdonald off the mark in estimates
    Chairing Senate estimates is a challenging job, and Ian Macdonald isn’t showing that he is up to it.

    Chairing a Senate committee is a slightly unusual task, in that one must remain partisan while politely and constructively steering committee hearings and balancing competing demands from member senators. Cory Bernardi, oddly enough, is quite a good and respectful chair while doing his job of protecting the government and running interference against non-government senators. Ian Macdonald, however, is not. You might remember the LNP Senator as the shadow minister dumped by Tony Abbott after the Coalition won in 2013, prompting him to launch a public tantrum and criticise Abbott’s advisers (read: Peta Credlin).

    Macdonald chairs the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislative Committee and runs its estimates hearings. Last night the 70-year-old Senator at times appeared genuinely bewildered by proceedings, several times asking Immigration officials to repeat themselves and jumbling their evidence in his head — at one stage, apparently thinking there was an opportunity to highlight how much the government spent accommodating asylum seekers, he seized on a figure provided by officials about Nauruan visa fees, until officials had to gently explain that he had the wrong end of the stick. Earlier, seemingly intent on “clarifying” the issue of the non-consultation of the Solicitor-General on the now-infamous citizenship bill, he asked the legal area of the Department of Immigration if they were experts on migration law, before going on to refer to the Department as the “Department of Migration”. Surely the Coalition can do better?

  23. Good summary by Gabrielle


    I just want to step back and summarise this gun debate because it is quite complex. Granted, everyone has had a crack at summarising but this is my version.

    . The Adler shot gun was banned from coming into the country last year because it was a different type of gun and did not fit into a categories in the National Firearms Agreement.
    . The feds and states have to decide which category it fits into so until that happens, the import ban was in place.
    . David Leyonhjelm does not believe in gun regulation so he cut a deal under Abbott for a sunset clause on the ban to expire in August this year.
    . Just before the use by date, the Turnbull government chucked out the sunset clause and extended the ban because the states and the feds had yet to agree on a classification.
    . Leyonhjelm says the Coalition welched on the deal. Which is true.
    . If the government had not welched on the deal, the Adler would have come into the country with the lowest possible rating.
    . Leyonhjelm still wants the ban lifted. He believes the Adler should be in the lowest category – which would make it most accessible.
    . Labor thinks the ban should stay in place but have not committed so far to whether it should be let in by state and feds.
    . I am seeking an answer from the government on which category the Adler should be in.

    So there are two issues:

    1. Should the Adler be allowed in at all?
    2. If so, what category should it be in?

    This has allowed many straw men to flourish.

    The National Firearms Agreement – or the Howard gun laws – will still be in place, no matter what the outcome for the Adler. Because this is the framework for the gun laws.

    This means that the government can say rightly they are still committed to the Howard gun laws.

    But if the Adler is allowed in on the lowest category – as Leyonhjelm wants – there will be a more lethal weapon available to ordinary shooters.

  24. I think that the Greens will make a clean sweep of the City of Port Phillip council elections in Victoria on Saturday ie all 9 councillors will be Green which is dangerous as none of the existing councillors will be re-elected.
    How can this happen

    1. people think that local council elections are a joke and vote to avoid the fine
    2. the existing councillors don’t state their political affiliation so as I don’t want to vote for a Liberal stooge or the NCC I was looking for a how to vote for ALP or Greens, no ALP How to Vote. Too bad, so sad ==> Greens in
    3. The candidates in my Ward seem to have forgotten about my corner and only have policies for the bayside residents

    If Greens have fielded candidates in every other council area, the state could have Green municipalities, won’t di Natale be thrilled

  25. Way back in the day I had a .22 cal lever action rifle which if my memory is correct held ten rounds. I mostly used it on rabbits, although there was a period in my teens when local councils brought in compulsory registration of dogs, an unintended consequence of which was hundreds of dogs being dumped by the side of backroads such as ours. These dogs, usually useless mongrels,were on the verge of starvation and went on an enormous killing and maiming spree of sheep and fears were held for small children. We shot dozens of them over the following weeks, my younger brother managed over twenty in less than an hour one morning. Most of the most useless and stupid were soon cleaned up, but several of the more cunning and resil;ient lasted for a couple of years hiding out in the rougher country. That rifle was made illegal by the Howard gun laws and was handed in during the amnesty.
    I also had a lever action single barrel shotgun which held four rounds in the magazine and one up the spout. This, because of its limited range of about 100 meters, was used to shoot foxes while spotlighting. Minimal chance of harming anything or anyone outside the illuminated area. This gun is legal under the gun laws and is still up at the farm although I have not used it for over ten years.
    The Adler gun is illegal because it has too high a capacity magazine, not because it is a lever action. Katter and Leyjonhelm want them made legal in order to undermine the magazine limit restrictions of the gun laws and in that way gradually erode all restrictions.

  26. Just checked the boundaries of the Port Phillip Council. Sorry, I laughed when I looked at the map and thought how the world has changed. I can remember a time as a 12-13 year old in the late 60s and as a teenager in the early 70s, when my mum wouldn’t let me ride my bike from North Carlton to go see Port Melbourne play at home at Montague Oval on Sunday afternoon (in the bad old days of the VFA). “You will end up associating with crims…do you hear me…do you want to end up like your father?” And in those early days of not quite containerisation and still a bit of loose cargo, there were still lots of bargains to be had in the car-park from wharfies – Hey, mate, want a new suit or a box of butter…does your uncle need an engine for an EH Holden?)

    Curiously, around the same age I was allowed to spend unsupervised nights fishing by myself or with with my mates for ‘couta and bay-trout (“tommy ruff”) at the Port. Did this for years – and on cold winter Saturday nights, the foreman wharfie, would almost always give us a hot cup of tea and a biscuit. Thinking about it, Mum, was one very bright woman and right about so many things. These days, Port Melbourne to Elwood is Hipsterville-Central! Ask Grannie in Malvern for your share of the trust-fund: put a deposit down on an apartment. Get out the fixie, shampoo the beard and get down to vote and then buy a kale/kombucha cronut, before you head off to Pilates/Bikram Yoga. Gee, I hope the steamed dimmies are still good at the South Melbourne Market. (“Can you double-bag ’em please love, and just a few drops of soy”).

    Perhaps the new council can pass a by-law requiring all ships visiting Station Pier to be powered by recycled virgin olive-oil.

    • I recall being taught how to wind-surf in Port Melbourne bay back in the early eighties…My mate teaching me said ‘The first thing to do when you fall in the water is ..: SHUT your mouth!

    • I recall as as an underage(probably illegal – never mind, mum needed the the money, during school hols) , holiday job, still at school (I had put put my age up from 16 to 19), trying to undo knots in wet ropes on Vic Rail 4 wheeled canvassed-topped, GY wagons not far from Princess//Station Pier. Empty Returns in North Melbourne was always good, *unloading empty beer kegs”.

  27. Thanks for your great story about the old Port Melbourne, I apologise for being an early invader from the outer suburban public transport-less desert

  28. Worth knowing who is supporting which side –

    The ABCC bill has just gone through the lower house.

    NXT senator Rebekha Sharkie voted for the bill. Which gives you an idea of where Nick Xenophon is going to go in the senate. He is looking to amend in the senate.

    Indi independent Cathy McGowan also voted for the bill.

    Denison independent Andrew Wilkie voted against.

    Bob Katter was not listed in the vote

    Also, in the divisions at the end of QT this afternoon Ms Sharkie mostly voted with the government. Katter voted with the government once he turned up. Cathy Mc Gowan swung between sides. Wilkie was staunchly with Labor and Adam Bandt wasn’t there.

  29. Oooh those dimmies from the South Melbourne market were the best.

    I lived in Port when the ships painters and dockers war was raging, Albert St just down from the dairy.
    It was a good safe place to live, as long as you weren’t part of the goings on.

  30. A wine fountain in Italy:

    Red wine flowing from a fountain, offering a refreshment at the end of a long walk… it sounds too good to be true, but on Sunday, a wine fountain was inaugurated in central Italy.
    Locally-produced wine will flow from the fountain in Abruzzo, the first of its kind, and it’s accessible 24/7.

    The best part? It’s completely free to help yourself to a glass.

  31. No worries Billie. Thanks for the response.

    Always good to read your stuff. – thanks. If I had stayed in Melbourne, in the earIy 70s, probably would have ended up not far from you. Told as a kid to watch real-estate in the areas of Williamstown, and the former State Savings Bank of Victoria Estate in “Garden City”, next to Port Melbourne. Good advice which I never took. I used to love going down to “Willy,” as on my own as a kid on the train or on my bike; it was like being in a coastal town but only a few miles from the city. Garden-City, I always thought so close but so far from the CBD. Should have listened. Never mind (“tidak apah”). Happy here, and comfortable and we soon may settle on semi-retirement place in KL in Bolehland. These days, doubt if I could afford a beach bathing box in Willy or Port, or Rosebud. Still, wouldn’t mind going down the Port to catch a few fish or squid (sotong/calamari).

    • Garden City is special, isn’t it. I couldn’t believe the diffence between quality of build for the gun-barrel houses in Nott St built in 1926 with second rate materials and Garden City housing built in 1932

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