Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Australian Woman Righteously Angry

Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister of Australia, who is not, like, perfect, or anything, still managed to deliver a tirade of such eloquent, withering rhetoric as to be ideal for a scene in a movie in which a character has Been Pushed Too Far, and we have been watching it ping around the blogosphere like a video of cats snuggling dancing babies ever since. Why is it proving so popular?

Amelia Lester has it completely bang to rights at the New Yorker:

Purely as political theatre, it’s great fun. Americans used to flipping past the droning on in empty chambers that passes for legislative debate in this country are always taken in by the rowdiness of parliamentary skirmish. It could also be that the political dynamic depicted in the clip parallels the situation in the States: a chief executive who is a “first” took power after a long period of control from the right of center, and whose signature policy achievements have at times been overshadowed by personal vitriol. Or perhaps it’s that we are right now in one of the rare periods every four years where the American political process provides actual face-to-face debate between the leaders of the two parties. After his performance last week, supporters of President Obama, watching Gillard cut through the disingenuousness and feigned moral outrage of her opponent to call him out for his own personal prejudice, hypocrisy, and aversion to facts, might be wishing their man would take a lesson from Australia.

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Oof, that is a glorious clip. I saw it yesterday and then proceeded to make everyone I was chatting with watch it as well.


Former Australian PM Julia Gillard hits back at Tony Abbott's call for Peter Slipper to be removed as Speaker, attacking Mr Abbott as a misogynist. @m


That was wonderful. Did he actually resign? Also he totally has Juicebox Face.


@Megano! I don't know if the leader of the opposition (total JB face) resigned but the other guy, the sexter, did.


@redheaded&crazie Tony is not going anywhere unfortunately. Slipper took the fall for both of them :( He made sure to make a sexist comment in his resignation speech, but luckily he was replaced by a woman. Ha!

The Lady of Shalott

@Megano! That is the most Juiceboxy Face of all the Juicebox Faces. Holy shit. He should be the poster child for Juicebox in the dictionary because I've never seen such a painful smirk.


@The Lady of Shalott I know! Everytime the camera panned to him I just wanted to punch it


@The Lady of Shalott You think that's bad- you should see him in his workout gear http://redundancyworklife.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/abbott-speedos.jpg
(sorry I don't know how to create a link)


The last time I was this impressed with Gillard was way back when Labor was in opposition. As deputy PM under Kevin Rudd she was responsible for some of the worst decisions of that government (eg increasing cruel treatment of asylum seekers, abandoning plans for a carbon trading scheme just when it was getting community support). As PM she has led an insipid government (even allowing for its status as a minority government) that has desperately tried to avoid having almost any policy that could be described as progressive. But I'm glad that, at least for the moment I'm once again proud of my PM.

Lisa Frank

@steve I was wondering how Australians were taking this. From what I've read a lot of her policies are not really popular with progressives, and I've seen her described as "racist" and "transphobic." (I don't know if those epithets are accurate.) But this video is great; too often women are told to laugh off the sexism and misogyny they experience. I think that women in power are scrutinized in a way that men aren't, and are held to a ridiculously high standard in the name of "feminism."


@steve ha, she sounds more than a little like Obama from your description.


@Lisa Frank Well, you don't have to think somebody is 100% rainbow sparkles and kitten-hugs to think "Yes, yes, tell 'em, fucking tell 'em" when they manage to knock it out of the park for once. Or when they just (finally) say something sensible about something everybody else is being an ass about. See, Herman Cain coming out and calling Rick Perry's ranch name not fucking okay, or Megyn Kelly tearing somebody a new one on the US's abysmal maternity leave policies.


@steve Who is the man on her left side, as we view them? I find I can't tell if he's in agreement with her, or not.


That's Wayne Swan, the Treasurer.


@Lisa Frank I don't think 'racist' and 'transphobic' are entirely accurate. The recent decision to discourage asylum seekers trying to reach Australia by boat by processing them offshore is probably the root of the racism claim, and while I think there must be a better policy, it seems to have sprung from genuine distress over several recent terrible tragedies where scores of people have drowned trying to reach Australia in rickety boats. Also she won't personally support marriage equality, but this has been seen as a way to keep some of the powerful unions on side. Meanwhile marriage equality is part of the Labor party platform and Labor MPs are allowed a conscience vote on the issue. I wish she'd take a braver stance on both those issues, but then I'm not PM.


I cannot wait to see Tilda Swinton deliver this speech in Julia!.


@Decca I was just coming down here to say that. Perfect for any Gillard-related biopic you care to put into production.


@Decca But Tilda's already been in one movie (and a damned fine movie it is) called "Julia"!


Can we just picture Barack snapping at a debate and going on an honest rant like this? ...Or Michelle, after maybe refusing to participate in a fucking pre-debate bake-off against Ann Romney? Just some fantasy for thought.


@itiresias there's no "snapping" about this, though - the speech was completely planned. Note how well she keeps to the fifteen minute rule, how she does not unnecessarily repeat any points even when she's enumerating his past sexist statements and positions (and when she recapitulates those points she does so so succinctly), and the accuracy of the claims she makes.

i am not saying the content is not honestly felt, but, let's be clear, it went through planning, a spin doctor, and at least one speech writer before it got to the House.

Lily Rowan

@cee Even better! IMO.


@Lily Rowan yeah, i'm glad of it too, because 1. it means the speech comes out super clear and accurate and 2. it's a sign that people in her party think that attacking on Abbott's sexism is strong, and worthwhile, and will go well with popular opinion.


@cee The calm and measured tone also may prevent labels like "shrill" and "hysterical" being thrown around...I'd like to hope, at least. Obama also has to tow the line pretty strictly with calm and measured, lest he be labeled "angry scary black man." Basically, white men are the only ones allowed to pop a blood vessel in the name of righteous indignation.


@cee the thing is, I feel like Steve did up above... prouder than I have felt in a long time that she is our PM. Sure it had preparation. But she has conviction in her voice this time. Note that when you watch, she doesn't need to refer to her notes that much when listing out the times when he has said stupid sexist crap. She has been saving those comments up and she let rip. good on her.


I will admit I am not a big fan of the Labor party, but Julia killed it here.
I wish that this had happened so much sooner.
I remember when Julia was campaigning with Kevin Rudd as his deputy that a member of the opposition (Bill Heffernan) said she was unsuitable for a political role because she was not married and she didn't have children. I believe his exact phrase was 'deliberately barren', referring to her decision to not have children as a reason she shouldn't be allowed to have power. Gross.
Tony Abbott has three freaking daughters too. Shame on him.


Three daughters whose "greatest gift" is their virginity, according to Dad.


@steve I can't even read the article because I might hurt somebody. And the nearest things are books I like, so, not worth it.


@steve Aaaaah! So gross! He probably believes in dowries too then. Mad Monk indeed.
I remember he was the one who vetoed the introduction of the RU486 abortion pill when he was Health Minister.
I am pretty sure its going to be listed on the PBS soon though, so small win!


@bwakark I live in Sydney and am around the same age as Abbott's daughters. At least one of the daughters has slept with people I know/my friends know, to which I say, fuck yes, daughter of that juicebox! Thanks for screwing with your dad's dated and demeaning ideas of female purity. Furthermore, I want to slap on a disclaimer this is obviously sourced from the rumour mill and isn't intended to be taken as irrefutable fact, nor as slander.


@steve Ew ew ew. What a prick. Ew.


My favorite part is where Abbott looks at his watch and she says something along the lines of "and now a woman has been speaking for too long." zing!

The Lady of Shalott

I am always so fascinated by what government is like in different places--is it usual for the speaker to continue speaking over the grumbles/noises/calls for order in the chamber? Because it comes off like she just DGAF, but I don't know if that's because she truly doesn't give a fuck or if that's because that's the normal pattern of behaviour in the chamber.


@The Lady of Shalott
Well, a lot of them seem to be agreeing with her (all the hear-hears and disgust when she quotes the dude) but I guess it's just really cool to keep attacking your opponent no matter what people think.
From watching foreign political speeches, there always seems to be more talking/objecting/agreeing than in America. I like it because it seems like everyone's taking everything to heart, not just sitting around blandly passing laws on serious shit.


@The Lady of Shalott Yeah, that constant grumbling of dissent / agreement happens in the English and Irish parliaments as well.

Sometimes, in the Irish parliement, things get a little out of hand (NSFW! Unless you have headphones...)

The Lady of Shalott

@Inkling In that case I will gift you with this clip from Question Period in Canadian Parliament where shit goes DOWN: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbzcXg7zhPk

I mean, it's during Question Period which is usually pretty wild and loud, but it's pretty awesome when Stephen Harper gets shouted down by people shouting SHAME SHAME SHAME SHAME SHAME


@The Lady of Shalott people should yell that at him every. single. day. But it is hard to shame people who have no shame.


@The Lady of Shalott
I LOVE THIS! Everyone's so mad!
What in particular are they mad at him for?

The Lady of Shalott

@Inkling Here's a little more of the story: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2007/02/21/harper-house.html


@Inkling I found this article on BBC about Slipper http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-19882153but not about the Leader of the Opposition Australian pinners? Also I have no idea how to do html


@The Lady of Shalott
This is not the main point at all, but I love and am so nostalgic for how literate and well-spoken they all are, even when enflamed! I wish there was more of that down here in the US.


@The Lady of Shalott wouldn't it be that she's been recognized by the Chair, and has the floor? Rules of Order


@The Lady of Shalott I LOVE QUESTION TIME! I had a comparative political theory class in college that happened to frequently align with the US broadcast of the UK Parliament's Question Time, and our professor would have us watch it.


@Ophelia I have my students watch it, because I too have a deep love for PMQT. It makes me kind of silly happy.


@par_parenthese I refer the right honorable lady to the comments I made some moments ago.


@The Lady of Shalott David Cameron had a good anecdote from his (otherwise ropey) interview on Letterman, where he talked about walking down the street with Mike Bloomberg in New York when Cameron was Leader of the Opposition. Bloomberg was gladhanding everyone and Cameron was being ignored, until one guy took a look at him and said, "Hey! Prime Minister's Questions! We love your show!"


@The Lady of Shalott and this is really pretty tame - basically the opposition are cowed by the end of it, whereas often the chair (the ref) has to constantly tell people to shut up, or kick them out if they are being too rowdy and disrupting the MP who is talking. the rules of order are not very well adhered, usually it's like a classroom full of 7 years olds calling names and slinging insults. @theotherginger.. what more do you need to know about Tony Abbott.. Gillard just summed it up more or less.


Oh SNAP! What a politician!
I love it when politicians get mad about stuff. It drives me crazy when they politely discuss things like human rights or stuff that a normal, compassionate person should get pissed about.


"My father did not die of shame"

PS "Mister Slipper" ARE YOU KIDDING ME.
PPS I also like how she's fucking CLAIMING being offended. "Being offended" is a phrase that basically means you're being lame and ruining everyone's fun, but she's like nope, this is a legit feeling in response to someone being an asshole.


@Inkling yes! she is amazing. regardless of who wrote the speech, you can tell that she is human and responding in a way a human should respond.


I have a Tumblr friend claiming this same woman is anti same-sex marriage and generally not an ally to queer people in the slightest. Does anyone have any insight here?

I know, I know -- it doesn't lessen the bad assery of this clip (or maybe it does?). Just, well, disheartening.


@krisisisipoo yeah, I get the impression she is not super liberal (although I believe that is the name of the Opposition Party), and because of a very slender majority, has compromised on other campaign issues. This is common in British-style parliamentary democracies (I'm Canadian, and assume that Australia is like us in that way)


She voted against the recent private members bill three weeks ago which would have introduced same-sex marriage. There is usually very strong party discipline in Australia, but on this subject the party gave its MPs a conscience vote (ie, they are not bound by the party position, which is nominally pro same-sex marriage) and about a third of the caucus crossed to vote with the conservative opposition.

fondue with cheddar

What is this motion she's talking about?

happy go lucky scamp

@fondue with cheddar (formerly jen325) the motion is to remove Peter Slipper as the speaker.
He's currently under investigation for sexual harrasment charges. It's before the courts at the moment and Tony Abbot was suggesting that he should be fired right now, where as Julia Gillard was saying that he should be tried in a court of law rather than in parliament.
Peter Slipper quit later that day.

fondue with cheddar

@fondue with cheddar (formerly jen325) NICE. Good riddance to him!

happy go lucky scamp

@fondue with cheddar (formerly jen325) he's still allowed to vote on things, just isn't speaker.

there are some despicable men in australian politics at the moment. The chair sniffing, panty stealing Troy Buswell springs immediately to mind.

fondue with cheddar

@sparkles UGH. Well...small victories, I guess.

vernon hardapple

@fondue with cheddar (formerly jen325) Well yes and no, there are shades of the Julian Assange case to this one: this Speaker (from the Opposition) helps the Government maintain their (very thin) majority; there are fairly believable allegations that his accuser James Ashby met with Opposition powerbrokers before bringing the allegations, i.e. a mild not-very-interesting conspiracy: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/if-the-slipper-fits-think-conspiracy-20120428-1xrgv.html

fondue with cheddar

@fondue with cheddar (formerly jen325) Wow, what a mess.


@fondue with cheddar (formerly jen325) and check out the Alan Jones (try searching "Destroy The Joint") debacle, if you really want to see a mess :)


Fuck yessssssssssssssssss!!!!

You guys, I seriously feel that I've been waiting all my life to witness a feminist takedown of this magnitude. It's truly amazing. It's worthy of Hollywood or similar.


Oh yay! I was going to email this to you guys this morning. ONE STEP AHEAD OF ME as always.


I have watched/listened to this video like three times now. I keep having to stop myself from doing fist punches into the air at my desk.


Ahoy! Australian chiming in here - long time reader, first time commenter. PM Gillard is far from perfect (the same day this historic smackdown was made, legislation to cut single parent benefits was passed, which people are pointing out may harm a lot of women)...

It's an interesting time to be a woman in Australia. Not long after being gripped and devistated by the story of a young woman walking home alone after a few drinks was abducted, raped and murdered, we have a male shock jock on radio claiming PM Gillard's father 'died of shame' (hence her vitriol in the clip above - this is the same shock jock who said she should be tied up in a 'chaff bag' and drowned), and then this powerful owning of a man who has been a sexist canker on the face of Australian politics for years.

There's so much backstory here but I won't bore you with it! Just wanted to chime in to say that Down Under women have been glavinised by these events like nothing I have ever seen, and finally, FINALLY, discussions about 'stop fucking telling me how to dress, act and be so I am not raped' and 'step the fuck off with your bullyboy tactics and gaslighting' are happening out in the open and without shame.

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