Get used to it girls

The Liberal Party has a disastrous affliction.

It affects many of its male members. It seems to be incurable. Those that suffer it are unaware of its presence.

In the Party’s official diagnostic nomenclature it is designated: ‘Tin Ear’.

There are two versions of this male condition:
Familial Tin Ear that afflicts those from a privileged background where unawareness of how the rest of the world lives has always prevailed, and
Acquired Tin Ear that afflicts lesser mortals who battle to survive the slings and arrows of daily life. Tired, they find it easier to be deaf to what they prefer not to hear.

There are two dominant symptoms:
Deafness to changing societal attitudes, and
Deafness to the behaviour of their male colleagues.

Sufferers yearn for the good old days when ‘the boys’ club’ held sway.

The condition was starkly exposed when Julia Banks, Liberal member for the marginal seat of Chisholm, announced that she would not be a Liberal candidate at the next election because she was fed up with “vindictive, mean-spirited grudges” and a culture of “bullying and intimidation” in the Party, so barefacedly exhibited during the hostile removal of Malcolm Turnbull in an attempt to install Peter Dutton.  

Not only was she appalled by the removal of a sitting prime minister, she was dismayed by the bullying tactics of the Dutton camp trying to solicit her vote. Having given up a promising career in law and business to enter politics, she prepares now to leave – bitterly disappointed with politics and her colleagues.

But what was the response of her male counterparts?

Backbencher Craig Kelly told Sky News: “I think that you’ve got to roll with the punches in this game. We’re political parties. It’s a rough-and-tumble game.”

Victorian Liberal president Michael Kroger denied claims of bullying within the party. Describing politics as “a rough business”, he insisted that neither the party’s state director nor chief government whip had received any official complaints of bullying or intimidation. His Tin Ear had heard nothing.  

In other words girls, this notion of bullying is nonsense, a figment of your female imagination. And what’s more, if you really want to play in a man’s world, to engage in the rough and tumble of politics, get used to the punches, and learn to roll with them. Don’t complain. If it’s too hot in the political kitchen, quit. Leave it to the men! At least they know how to handle roughhouse tactics!

Women MPs might have expected some support from their female colleagues, but Liberal senator Helen Kroger, who now chairs the party's women's committee, sided with the men, insisting that ’while leadership crises were "unique" and "difficult" events, the party did not have a bullying problem.’ She said that some females were ‘not suited to politics’, but conceded that intimidation or verbal harassment should not occur in any workplace. But speaking with Stan Grant on the ABC's Matter of Fact, past Liberal Senator Judith Troeth contradicted Kroger. She confirmed the bullying: she had received phone calls from Liberal females about it.

Too many politicians are trapped in the self-centred bubble of Canberra politics with tin ears that will not hear, indeed cannot hear what so many in our society are saying: bullying and intimidation are no longer acceptable in any workplace. Moreover, they seem unwilling to accept that the Canberra parliamentary hothouse is indeed a workplace, where the same rules of conduct ought to apply.

Female politicians must despair. Despair that they are still being treated like they always have been – as second rate; and despair that the men who share responsibilities with them are so deaf, so insensitive, so uncaring, so accepting of bully-boy tactics, so sure of the dominance of their gender, so alpha male.

They have put up with overbearing male behaviour without complaint until now. What tipped the balance was the Dutton insurgency, redolent with self-interest, nastiness, overbearing behaviour, bullying, and determination to kill off the party leader and replace him with their favourite, odious though he was to all but his supplicants. Enough was enough for the women. They were not prepared to take it any more.

But where did the protests get them? Julia Banks got nothing but insults from senior colleagues. No understanding, no reassurance.

Scott Morrison, realising that even more damage was being inflicted on his deeply traumatised party, lying buried and bleeding under the rubble of the demolition it had brought about, intervened with what he hoped would be reassuring words"I have no truck with bullying or intimidation in whatever form it is...I am the father of two young daughters and I have no truck with that sort of behaviour. One of the things we are moving quickly to do is restore the strong culture in the Liberal Party and bring the party together and show the stability and unity that is necessary."

Will the girls be convinced? Why should they be? Bullying behaviour has been endemic within the party for years. They know Morrison’s tub-thumping words of reassurance will fall limply on the tin ears of his alpha male colleagues. They know the entrenched behavioural pattern of their male colleagues will not change. They know the nature and persistent behaviour of the usual suspects: Abbott, Abetz, Andrews, Dutton, Joyce, even Morrison himself. They are too smart to be deceived by claptrap.

They witnessed ‘Ditch the Witch’ abuse hurled at Julia Gillard by Tony Abbott; they remember Alan Jones’ advice that she should be ‘tied in a chaff bag, taken to sea and dumped’. Liberal males have form in the bullying stakes.

So where are the Liberal women left?

It seems pretty obvious. There will be no apology, no compromise from their male counterparts, certainly no rapprochement.

All they can expect from macho Liberal males is: ‘Get used to it girls’.

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Allan Begg


There is NO EXCUSE for bullying intimidation threats in a Civilised Society

I completely Condem the actions of those Liberals st the top doing this!

You know who you are and your a Disgrace to Your Political Party !

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Allan Begg

Thank you for your comment, and welcome to The Political Sword.

You are so right. Yet the saga continues. On last night’s Q&A the always-sure-of-himself Alan Jones offered his advice to the female MPs that had accused their male colleagues of bullying. Similar to his Liberal mates, he suggested that they should “take a teaspoon of cement and toughen up”.

'Toughening-up’ seems to be the universal remedy that Liberal males prefer for their female counterparts.

What hope for any understanding from their male colleagues have these women got?

If you missed Q&A you can read about it here:   



In Nineteen Eighty Four, George Orwell has anti-hero Winston Smith write in his diary: "If there is hope, it lies with the proles."

His nemesis O'Brien later disabuses him absolutely: "There is no hope."

Well I'm here to affirm that if there is hope, it lies with the women.

When I was young, women were markedly more politically conservative than men. I believe that has reversed, though I have no figures as to that. But what is certain is that Labor has snatched the initiative wrt female representation and led the fight for equal rights. Federal representation of women in the Labor caucus stands at 48 and I think that after next election they  will exceed 50 - and they are of wonderful quality, our girls. No need to name names because if I do I'll miss all the other ones.

Females of voting age are more than 51 of the population and if Labor gets 51 of their 51 nationwide, we romp home. And I think they will do better than that.

So get used to it guys!

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Talk Turkey 

You are so right. Our hope lies with our women. They are becoming increasingly prominent in all walks of life - business, the professions, the media, and of course in politics. Some men do see this and are astonished; many men, living in their rarified bubble, do not, and never will.

It is salutary that Labor has recognised their qualities and their electoral value. The Coalition still struggles to catch up, and ly never will with the dinosaurs it harbours still calling the shots, and its media spear throwers,  Alan Jones and Ray Hadley, wildly applauding. The times are a changing and leaving the macho males behind.

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I've just hear Robin Williams, Science Broadcaster, say on the ABC: 'Women are leading the pack by a mile these days.'

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The bullying saga exacerbates. Julie Bishop, now a back bencher, has let fly: Here's how reported her outburst:

"Julie Bishop has delivered her first public address since resigning as foreign minister, blasting the “appalling behaviour” in Canberra in the lead-up to the leadership spill.

"Speaking at the Australian Women’s Weekly Women of the Future awards on Wednesday night, Ms Bishop said the events that led to the ousting of Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister “would not be tolerated in any other workplace in Australia,” the Australian Financial Review reports.

"The most powerful woman in Australian politics slammed the party’s actions, saying it calls for a “much broader debate about workplace culture” including “allegations of bullying, harassment and coercion and the unequal treatment of women.”

"She also took aim at the party’s lack of female representation, saying: “I say to my party, it is not accep for us to have in 2018 to have less than 25 per cent of our parliamentarians as female.”

“It’s not accep for our party to contribute to the fall in Australia’s ratings from 15th in the world in terms of female parliamentary representation in 1999 to 50th today. There’s a lot to be done,” Ms Bishop said. “Our party, in fact all parties, recognise they have a problem in attracting and maintaining women, diversity in general. “When a feisty, amazing woman Julia Banks says this environment is not for me, don’t say ‘toughen up princess’, say ‘enough is enough’,” she added, referring to the concerns of other female Liberal MPs who claim that they suffered intimidation and received threats during the leadership spill.

“Politics is robust, the very nature of it, it’s not for the faint hearted,” Ms Bishop said. “I have seen and witnessed and experienced some appalling behaviour in Parliament, the kind of behaviour that 20 years ago when I was managing partner of a law firm of 200 employees I would never have accepted. “Yet in Parliament it’s the norm. “We must defend and strengthen our institutions, and we must treat our Parliament with more respect.

"Unaccep workplace practices are the responsibility of us all to identify, to stop it, to fix it.”—20Australia’s20 



re Julie Bishop.....It is funny that it has taken a couple of brave Lib women to speak out about the bully business within the LNP for Ms Bishop to air her own thoughts.  I suspect the loss of her FA portfolio and topdog of her party has left her feeling somewhat diminished and deprived of limelight.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who remembers she was very prominent in the Abbott campaign to humiliate and degrade our first female PM.  Her silence was deafening as we all watched in horror at the atrocious attacks meted out to PM Julia Gillard from the coalition parties, the media and the s of Alan Jones, and who could forget those long nasty, hate-filled rants she delivered at Question time in the Parliament.

It is time Julie Bishop took her handbag and rode off into the sunset.

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You are so right. Julie Bishop has a long history of spiteful behaviour. We shall not forget her attacks on Julie Gillard, and her QT venom.

Now she is the victim. She doesn’t it. She missed out in her bid to become leader; even her WA colleagues did not vote for her. She is feeling deserted by her party. Her lofty profile has been diminished.

Aware that her status is waning, her tongue has loosened. Cornered, she is lashing out at those whom she knows have betrayed her and her female colleagues.

She is no longer attractive to those who once adored her. Her dream of becoming GG may have already evaporated.

As you suggest, it may be wiser for her to quietly ‘ride off into the sunset’. I wonder will she! 

How many umbrellas are there if I have two in my hand but the wind then blows them away?