Brittany Lauga’s success as Member for Keppel, speaks to the extent of her own efforts, and the respect she has in the community. I was therefore stunned to read, as reported in The Morning Bulletin (8 April 2021) her saying “The minute that our sex is determined in our lives is the minute that as women, we unfortunately become unlucky.”
To say women are somehow inherently unlucky as a result of their sex is frankly, a putdown for women everywhere and especially to all those who have devoted their lives to making the world a better place. It is also a putdown of all the men who form great partnerships with women, and those who have fought or given their lives primarily to protect women and children. As a degree qualified professional, a member of parliament, Assistant Minister for Education and with the ability to actually purchase the nice gear she wears, Brittany is not unlucky. In fact, it looks to me like she is downright privileged, in a position of power and with broad community support.
Such nonsense is not exclusively the domain of politics. In an article in Australian Financial Review (‘Four Workplace Changes that Women Want Now’, 7 April 2021) Diane Gander-Smith, chair of ZIP Co Limited calls for 50 per cent of women in leadership positions in government and business. Obsessed with woke buzzwords, she completely ignores analysis that shows that relatively fewer women apply for such positions, often because they’d rather do other things.
Then talking quotas, we have Christine Talacko Vice-President of the NSW Liberal Women’s Council saying that women are “usually more empathetic and more giving, less motivated by profit and more motivated by passion, genuinely caring about people, our community, the environment and its effect on health and wellbeing (‘Women in politics: Quota idea needs more careful debate’, The Australian, 7 April 2021). Talacko says nothing about the importance of scientific method, of reasoned debate or the important role of business, and certainly nothing to alert us to the fact that an unbridled reliance on empathy and feelings is just as bad as having none at all.
Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins recommends that employers take responsibility for sexual harassment in the workplace, but when employer groups ask for the right to dismiss an offender, unions rail against it and the government seems to agree that it will be a matter for the Fair Work Ombudsman. Once again business will be paying for society’s failings and governments’ lack of courage.
Amongst all of this noise, I’m seeing little in the way of sugar and spice. Earlier Brittany called out Federal MP Michelle Landry for actually daring to show some empathy toward someone who had done wrong. There was virtually no support for South Australian MP Carolyn Habib, the subject of shameless racial harassment from members of the left, including her opponent Annabel Digance. And what about Nicole Flint, also a South Australian MP, who had her offices repeatedly vandalised with offensive language and has been harassed on social media by GetUp, Extinction Rebellion and other left-wing groups? Senator Amanda Stoker, a well-educated, articulate and hard-working member of the government is attacked by Grace Tame, simply because Stoker presented at a conference designed to shine a light on the blatant undermining of justice overseen by university administrators. Stoker is a barrister for goodness sakes.
Folks, I am calling bullshit on this debate. If you are serious about addressing gender inequality, domestic violence, workplace harassment and rape, then it’s time to be brave and constructive:
- Women are the agents of their own lives so support them in their choices. Introduce a universal income supplement, such that nobody earns less than $40,000 per annum. Payable between the ages of 23 and 67, it would be structured to replace many ad-hoc payments, giving people at least some level of confidence to make changes in their lives, including changing jobs, looking after family, undertaking study and leaving damaging relationships.
- Maintain standard working hours, but make Saturday a normal working day. The added flexibility will enable each partner to be able to earn a decent income and also devote more time to family or study.
- Insist that young women and men talk about their expectations regarding children and career. And especially how the investment into family will be managed.
- Implement an evidence library where a victim of an alleged rape can be confidentially examined and store evidence for 6 years (something like this already exists in Victoria). After 6 years extinguish the right to bring a claim.
- Where the issue of consent is pivotal and unclear, allow the complainant to choose to have the matter confidentially but formally mediated as a civil offence. The matter would remain between those involved, and the door opened for apologies and payment of appropriate restitution, with all bets off if the matter reaches the press. The courts remain an option if no agreement can be reached.
- Regarding domestic violence, institute an insurance scheme for victims of violence such that upon the breach of a DVO, a victim choosing to leave permanently can receive a $50,000 re-establishment payment, clawed back 1:1 from earnings or Centrelink if they return.
- Temporarily remove physical offenders and anyone breaking a DVO from society to a place for reprogramming. Enable police to bring charges on behalf of The Crown.
- Instil in young people the idea that no matter your achievements, infatuation levels, motives or position, you have not crossed the bridge into becoming a man or woman until you can understand the level of trust implicit in a sexual relationship. If that’s not given to you or you can’t offer it, walk away early. With dignity.
Good. Glad that’s all sorted.