Misogynist: A person who hates women or girls because of their gender. This would presumably include those who believe that men are superior to women on account of their gender.

The splendid week in Parliament probably had it’s lo-light in the debate about the removal of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Peter Slipper. I am not sure how one can speak of removing him from the chair since he has hardy sat in it, however he has enjoyed the benefits of office.

The Prime Minister of Australia, the Right Honourable Julia Gillard,  rose to speak against the motion, which she did for about 1 minute of the fifteen for which she spoke, and seethed the ire of her rage for the other fourteen minutes in a personal attack of the right Honourable, The Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott. This centred on him being sexist and a Misogynst.

The difficulty with the argument is that you don’t need to be sexist or a misogynist to not like Julia Gillard, as there many be things you don’t like about her which have nothing to do with her gender. It seems that there is an easy political mile to be scored here, however that does not make it a valid argument.

The Right Honourable, The Attorney General, Nicola Roxon, argues that Tony Abbott has difficultly dealing with competent women, and sees that as the reason that Tony Abbott does not think more highly of her. In so doing she makes several assumptions, which may not all be correct.

On balance it would seem to me that Tony Abbott does like women, and has been happy to see them in significant roles. Thee are a number of women on his side of the house, who seem as competent as any in parliament. I think the call that Tony Abbott is a misogynist is simply wrong. I believe the Prime Minister and the Attorney General are in error on this point. They can not argue that because he may not like them that he therefore hates women in general.

Of course the other lo-light in the debate was Tony Abbott using the ‘dying of shame’ remark far to close in time to the disastrous insensitive and insulting use Alan Jones made of the remark. Tony’s use of this was either stupid, thoughtless, or just plain rude, and in any case her should apologise for it. Simply on account of timing, if nothing else. He needs to find a better way to say it.

That Peter Slipper resigned can only be construed as a good, if not indeed necessary thing. The matter of the sexual harassment, the texts and associated issues need to be a long way removed from the government of the people of Australia.

Unfortunately none of this has anything to do with the true work of government. The debates have seemed to bog into a personalised debate and unfortunately I don’t see it changing any time soon, without significant change in attitude on both sides of the house.


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