The NSW Government has changed the rules for former Premiers' entitlements, but only applied them to Kristina Keneally. Is this a case of sexism, asks Peter Wicks?
Last week in NSW an odd thing happened in state politics.
The Liberal Premier, Barry O'Farrell showed a side of himself many had not seen before, his misogynistic side.
Last week, Boys Club Barry changed the rules for entitlements for Premiers when they leave office.
Until now, Premiers had access to an office, a small number of staff, air travel and a state car when they were no longer in office. This has now been amended. The amendment Boys Club Barry has put in place is that a Premier must be in office for five years before being eligible for these entitlements.
I, personally, have no issue with this at all — however, this should not be backdated to affect previous Premiers.
You cannot take it upon yourself to change someone's entitlements after they are no longer in a job; that's one hell of a precedent to set. ‘Boys Club’ Barry is not only making the rules up as he goes along, he is trying to change past rules also. Barry seems to think his government vehicle is a Tardis and he can travel back in time and change rules on a whim — as he showed those with a State Government guaranteed solar rebate shortly after taking office.
This five year rule means that out of the last ten Premiers in NSW, eight of them would have had their entitlements stripped. Only two former Premiers would retain their entitlements under Barry's new rule: Bob Carr and Neville Wran, both from the Labor Party.
Barry, however, can't even follow his own rules it seems...
There is only one Premier that has had their entitlements cut.
One out of the eight that the change affects.
The only woman.
Kristina Keneally attends many charity events and fundraisers using the state car that is a part of these entitlements. Kristina has long been a tireless worker for charity groups, such as the Stillbirth Foundation, helping to raise desperately needed donations.
A spokesman for O'Farrell said that it was regrettable that this may impact Kristina's charity work, but special circumstances were hard to design the entitlements around.
They have however allowed for special circumstances for the other males who served as Premier for less than 5 years and designed the entitlements around them to suit. But just for the males.
Why has Barry O'Farrell chosen to single out the only female as being the only one suitable for his new rules to apply to?
Earlier this week, I wrote about the O'Farrell Government’s cowardly slashing of allowances for Foster Carers who adopt a foster child from $16,000 a year to $1,500 a year. What is even more disgusting than that is the fact that if he applied his new rule to the Premiers who are male, he would have saved enough money to leave their allowances alone.
Nick Greiner, a former Liberal Premier, cost the NSW taxpayer over half a million dollars last year in entitlements. Nick served less than Barry's magic 5 years. He was also appointed as the head honcho at Infrastructure NSW by O'Farrell. Jobs for the boys...
Barry O'Farrell should either change his sexist attitudes, and apologise to the women of NSW for treating them as a lesser sex, or resign.
This is the 21st Century, there is no place for sexism in politics.
In other news, The Queen is visiting Australia this month. The Queen And Prince Phillip will visit Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Perth, but do not plan to visit Sydney or NSW.
Intrigued as to why the Queen would not come to Sydney, I contacted Buckingham Palace last night to ascertain if it had anything to do with having a sexist Premier.
A Palace spokesperson stated that The Queen does not approve of any form of discrimination. However, when I asked if O'Farrell's sexist treatment of a former leader was the reason for the royal snub, the palace would not comment.
I don't blame them, I was speechless when I first heard the news too...