Politics

Michaelia Cash slut shames young women: Jobs minister bully — go now!

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(Meme via @KieraGorden)

A jobs and innovation minister who engages in the sexist bullying of young staffers? Michaelia Cash is a disgrace and should resign, writes contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence.

MICHAELIA CASH'S SLUT SHAMING threat of young women in Bill Shorten's office was well out of order.

In yet another of the almost hourly unedifying exhibitions of perverted "metooism" by politicians, the Minister for Jobs and Innovation clearly needs to attend a careers night to find a job for which she is more suitable, where she can be truly innovative. Cleaning sewers, perhaps. Those of her own making.

Parliament is fast becoming a cesspit.

Her performance before yesterday's Senate Estimates hearing was worthy of a fourth-rate reality show.

In an histrionic tirade directed towards Labor Senator Doug Cameron for asking needling but legitimate questions about the name and employment "provenance" of a new chief of staff, Cash retaliated with cage-fighting abandon and lack of personal and professional control.

"If you want to start discussing staff matters, be very, very careful. Because I am happy to sit here and name every young woman in Mr Shorten's office over which rumours in this place abound. If you want to go down that path today, I will do it."

What was she thinking? Such venom. Where did that come from? 

CASH 'N CARRY-ON CHEAP SHOT TITS FOR TAT

The Cash 'n carry-on was unworthy of anything less than zero tolerance.

It was a cheap shot. Tits for tat.

Senator Cameron on our behalf has every right to ask Cash questions about her chief of staff.

Here's why.

Cash has "form" concerning staff issues. 

In an extraordinary episode last year it transpired that one of Cash's staff tipped off media about the notorious Australian Federal Police raids at the Melbourne and Sydney offices of the Australian Workers' Union on behalf of the Registered Organisations Commission.

The raids related to the ROC's investigation into donations made to activist group GetUp! and Labor election campaigns, including then Opposition Leader's Bill Shorten's 2007 campaign, as well as Shorten's earlier role when he was secretary of the AWU.

Ironically, before another Senate Estimates hearing and also under questioning by Cameron, Minister Cash had initially denied any involvement in the leaks by herself or her staff but was later forced to recant after a confession by her senior media adviser David De Garis who subsequently resigned.

Bear in mind that five times Cash had denied any involvement by her office.

Her chief of staff at the time, Ben Davies and several other staff members have since resigned.

WORKPLACE BULLY SHOULD BE INVESTIGATED OVER AFP MEDIA LEAKS COVER UP

We are still owed an investigation into the AFP/AWU Leaks Affair and Cash's personal role needs further scrutiny to ensure the separation of powers — a tenet constantly abused by this and previous governments. Australia is screaming out for an independent and national investigation commission.

The Jobs Minister is regarded as a “difficult” employer, who does not inspire much loyalty and whose self-importance borders on autocracy at times.

Not a good look, given her title. Not a good look regardless.

The vicious and ugly atttack that spewed from her mouth during yesterday's Senate Estimates hearing reflected the unacceptable behaviour of  a workplace bully.

Yes, because of the AWU raid leaks, she is "sensitive" to her inquisator, Doug Cameron. But that is no excuse.

The outburst will forever stain her political reputation and she is undeserving of representing us as a minister, let alone as a politician – and one who is a former Minister for Women. She needs to be turfed, Prime Minister.

There are certainly times when loud rumour deserves discussion. But Cash's latest venting of her spleen was far removed from such a thing  and was designed to shut down Cameron's questioning.

Cash was prepared to sully the reputation of “young” women working in Bill Shorten's office and, by imputation, all young women working in Parliament House and throughout the nation.

It was indiscriminate, cruel and unfair. And I consider her remarks verbal assaulting and abusive.

Such slander is no easier to swallow when uttered by an older woman who is cognizant of the endemic prejudice, mysogyny, anti-woman culture that exists in so many walks and crawls of life.

BRING ON WARRIOR WOMEN BUT DUMP MICHAELIAN MALICE

We are used to – but not inured to – insult and sleight by many male politicians and it is galling that we now have to add Michaelia Cash to their number.

Moreover, it is an insult to all women generally, regardless of age. Cash cannot be held up as a role model. We don't need her. Not the spite she brings to the job. We can do better. Bring on challenging, communicative, argumentative, consultative, inspiring, curious, warrior women, but dump the Michaelian malice..

Already predictable jokes abound — about menses, menopause and assertions that if Cash can't stand the heat she should get back into the kitchen. Go check out the talent spotter for My Kitchen Rules, Michaelia. Get yourself a new job.

And don't you dare front up at Centrelink.

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