After years of our nation being governed by a misogynistic boys' club, Australians have the power of choice in the next election, writes Ethan Marsland.
BERTOLT BRECHT was a German poet who lived through the Second World War. Brecht wrote a poem pointing out that although there are men who are famous for being victorious in major wars and conflicts, we often forget that it took an army of ordinary people to make it happen.
‘If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed.’ ~ Mark Twain
The above quote is a reminder to be careful of what one reads and to understand the reality of what is happening.
The Second World War is referred to as one of the reasons why the world recovered from the Great Depression in the 1930s; countries mobilising their manpower provided employment for the struggling people.
The declaration of war was determined by governments and the elite. While there would have been ordinary people who did not wish to fight and others who went eagerly, we know that many made the decision to fight. That choice provided them with employment.
There was a collective decision. The same could be said of the 2013, 2016, and 2019 Australian Federal elections.
In 2012, former Prime Minister Julia Gillard gave her famous speech on misogyny in the Federal Parliament. It was in response to the sexist comments and actions of then Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, who was elected to Prime Minister in 2013 by majority vote of the Australian people.
In recent months, there has been an ousting of sexual harassment and disrespect of women in Canberra by Four Corners. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull acknowledged the disgraceful conduct in Canberra and called Parliament House “a bubble within a bubble”.
The last few weeks have focused on Federal MP Christian Porter. Malcolm Turnbull had apparently called Porter into his office regarding Porter's behaviour with young women while out drinking back in 2017.
Did the Australian people make the collective choice of a misogynistic government, three Federal elections in a row?
I do not mean to insinuate that Australians saw this sexist behaviour of our Federal ministers and made the conscious decision that most of us wanted women in parliament to face misogyny. My point is that our collective decisions have indirectly led to this. We can not always know the history of people before they come into the public eye — that is the case of Christian Porter.
Though in 2012, Julia Gillard spoke about the sexist behaviour of the Opposition and Australia went on to elect it in 2013. The current Government Australians chose in 2019 is also corrupt and has no accountability. This problem also extends to the state governments.
Australians should ask themselves if this Government they elected reflects their values. What will Australians choose in the next Federal Election?
In 2017, Australian’s marched for women in response to the election of President Donald Trump. Protesters felt that Trump’s policies were regressive and that women’s rights were threatened. Australians are protesting again on 15 March with a nationwide March 4 Justice event calling for action and change on gendered violence in workplaces, including Parliament House.
There is also a petition calling for an inquiry into the allegations made against Christian Porter that currently has over 80,000 signatures.
We should be wary of the future choices we make. The White House team of former U.S. President Barrack Obama apparently watched Julia Gillard’s speech when they were annoyed at Tony Abbott.
Australia, the world is watching.
Ethan Marsland is a university student studying Medical and Health Sciences. He also works in the hospitality industry and has a particular interest in domestic and foreign politics.
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