I live in Australia, where we’re currently mid-way through a federal election campaign fought between our first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and the leader of the opposition, Tony Abbott.
During Australian election campaigns the leaders of the two main political parties have televised debates on important issues, usually watched by a studio audience. At the beginning of the campaign, Tony Abbott asked Julia Gillard for three debates, but Julia said no. Recently Julia Gillard has changed her mind and asked if there could be another debate. Tony Abbott went on the record last night, on national TV, and actually said:
“Apparently for Julia Gillard, no doesn’t mean no.”
“No means No” is the (worldwide, I believe) slogan of the anti-rape movement. Abbott knows this, and was clearly trying to make some kind of clever joke. Since when did jokes about rape become funny, or acceptable? Worse still, although the head of the Rape Crisis Centre asked him to formally apologise, he refused.
This man is on the record as saying that “it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas, simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons”, that he feels “threatened” by gay people, that abortion is a matter of “convenience”, that a woman’s virginity is the greatest gift she will ever give away, and as sending heartfelt appeals to the “housewives of the nation, as they do their ironing”.
And, according to the latest opinion poll, he’s going to be the next leader of the country!
Julia Gillard is an unmarried and childless woman in her forties. There has been way, way too much talk buzzing around the media lately claiming she “can’t really understand families” and that because she has “made choices that are different from the ones most Australian women make”, “she can’t relate to most women.”
I am appalled. Australia was the second country to give women the vote; I’ve always thought us a leader in terms of feminism. Now it seems that’s not the case. Oh well, #MFIF #Fail
via MM, Australia