To understand how power and misogyny and democracy all flow from the one stinking head, one need look no further than the Australian Parliament right now.
The Australian Parliament represents the elected values of the people. Parliament is the summit of how power is organised and wielded, and further how power is represented by the Head of the government to Australia and to the world. The value radiating out from the Australian parliament right now is how this power is exercised by men against women in Parliament.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison reveals how that power works in gendered terms in how he has responded to multiple sexual attack allegations. Apparently, male government staff have filmed themselves performing solo sex acts within parliament including on the desk of a female lawmaker. This was reported by the newspaper The Australian as well as Channel 10.
The Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stated in response to the claims that “I am shocked, and I am disgusted. It is shameful. It is just absolutely shameful. I was completely stunned, as I have been on more than one occasion over the course of this last month.” Morrison said he would speak to all government staff and remind them of their responsibilities but didn’t go so far as to say what action would be taken. He did say changes would arrive in the coming weeks.
But he he’s done nothing to honour the parliamentary staffer who committed suicide after an alleged attack by his Attourney-General. Indeed it’s been nothing except deny, deny, deny.
The ruling party is now facing a wave of sustained public pressure. That’s spurred in part by tens of thousands of people rallying last week calling for justice for victims of sexual assault and an end to the degrading treatment of women in the workplace, from sexual harassment to misogyny. He will need to respond positively and substantively now.
None years ago Prime Minister Julia Gillard warned of the climate of female hate in the Australian parliament. It’s worth the time to check it out because she names all the attitudes that hold patriarchy, misogyny, Parliament, and national value into a single hard fist.
She was more than right. She was a prophet. Nine years later Julia Gillard appears more right than ever before.