Coalition moral high horse is nothing but a braying donkey

22 Apr

Before Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and his braying band of born to rule big mouths get too comfortable up on their freshly saddled moral high horses, they might do well to consider this: Speaker of the House of Representatives Peter Slipper has a history. The LNP is aware that this history includes, according to this account, alleged sexual harassment and sexual behaviour that some of their number found unacceptable enough to complain about:

According to the court documents, the Howard government was aware of Mr Slipper’s sexual relationship with another young male adviser – and other allegations of sexual harassment – as early as 2003.

Megan Hobson, a former adviser to Mr Slipper, approached John Howard’s then senior adviser Tony Nutt after she – and two other women – had viewed a video featuring the Speaker and the young male adviser.

According to the court documents, the video included footage of Mr Slipper lying on a bed with the male adviser and hugging him in “an intimate fashion”.

After hearing her concerns about the video, Mr Nutt allegedly told Ms Hobson to “forget all about it”.

The Coalition has overnight moved from “forget all about it” to “he must step down these are serious allegations.”

While the staffers Slipper allegedly harassed are adults, the Howard government’s attitude reminds me of the church officials who, when informed of the sexual predilections of some of their priests, simply shuffled them around from parish to parish, rather than call them to account and deal with the damage done to children in their care.

Sexually harassing an adult in your employ is an abuse of power. It’s against the law. It can cause a great deal of distress, sometimes long-term, for the unwilling recipient. It’s not a situation anyone should have to deal with when they arrive at their workplace every day. What the Howard government did, and what the Coalition has continued to do ever since, is cover-up serious allegations made against Slipper because it was expedient for them to do so, in spite of these alleged actions being against the law.

It’s a given that sexual abuse of all kinds perpetrated on  both adults and children can only continue to the extent that it does with the collusion of others. Institutions look the other way, or actively cover up  and repress allegations. It’s a given that we aren’t going to make big inroads into sexually abusive behaviours until institutions cease to enable the alleged perpetrators by protecting them from scrutiny. This is everyone’s problem. Politicians need to be leaders in this. They need to take action and be seen to take action when allegations of this kind are made against one of their number.

The Coalition doesn’t have a leg to stand on in the Slipper scandal. The way the situation was initially handled by them is disgraceful. They covered up allegations of a crime. They told complainants to “forget all about it.”  They showed utter disregard for staffers who had allegedly suffered sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is sickening. No less sickening are those who hold positions of power that permit them to do something about it, and instead choose to cover it up for their own gains. Get off your moral high horse Mr Abbott. It’s really just a braying donkey.

41 Responses to “Coalition moral high horse is nothing but a braying donkey”

  1. hudsongodfrey April 22, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    If there’s any kind of line no matter how fine or definitive between prudence and sheer bloody mindedness then to be seen to “go hard or go home” is Abbott’s overriding rationale for almost everything he does.

    The policies our politicians put forward resemble nothing remotely approaching a cohesive ideology much less a moral compass for the nation. They stand for whatever their polling and their backers urge them to do. Thus in this case we see one side of politics today exercising judgement that speaks to nothing if not pure unadulterated ambition. Abbott’s only true conviction is that he ought to have Gillard’s job.

    All this over our cornflakes in the morning comes out rather more succinctly. I looked at the headlines and muttered and empithet…C—‘s Act!


  2. Doug Quixote April 22, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    Well written and argued as usual Jennifer. The Telegraph ought to ber thoroughly ashamed of themselves, after plastering a minor case for sexual harassment across its front page as if World War III had just broken out.

    The coalition high horse – the braying donkey is a good image – just won’t do the job for Abbott and his fellow desperadoes.

    They’ll huff and they’ll puff, but all the result will be is hee -haw.


  3. Trevor Melksham April 22, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    Mud sticks. We will see the ads in the election – sex, scandal, corruption – all to divert attention away from facts and give the impression that Labor cannot manage national affairs. The voting public are too stupid to see through it all.


    • Doug Quixote April 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

      Of course that is the plan. But I remain optimistic that the polls will turn and that the election in 2013 is winnable. Abbott and the opposition are truly desperate to force an election now, before the scare campaigns reach the use-by dates and the objective facts emerge from the negativity and hyperbole, to bite this woeful rag-tag of an opposition where it hurts.


  4. Steve at the Pub April 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    The government took over ownership of Slipper. They took him on, now they own him.
    Most of the current allegations (& the most serious ones) related to alleged events since he became speaker.
    Before the govt poached him, he (& any allegations) was an opposition backbencher.

    The govt made a conscious decision to take him on. The opposition did as much as they could to prevent this.

    The govt bought him, now they own him. They’d have known roughly what they were taking on.


    • Marilyn April 27, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

      What utter tosh, he is not in the ALP. And the fact that he can claim against something that supposedly happened to someone else 9 years ago is absurd.

      there is no sexual harassment and Tony Nutt is threatening Ashby with defamation.

      It seems to me that Steve Lewis is pulling another Godwin Grech.

      Because this is the first time I can ever remember a sex scandal WITHOUT ANY FUCKING SEX.


  5. gerard oosterman April 22, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    What does it say about the opposition that refuses to engage on real policies and prefers to focus on someone’s supposedly predilection for open shower doors in private? What depth can they still sink to? What about an unpaid parking ticket or bending over in private to pick up the cake of soap from the shower floor? Should we get suspicious of someone coming home with a bunch of flowers? Perhaps the AFP should be permanently on stand-by outside Parliament house, just in case.

    I would have thought that the abuse by Mr T Abbott on a man dying of asbestos induced fibrosis (Bernie Banton) a few years ago was far more telling of the character of a politician than Mr Slipper supposedly asking for a shower door to be left open.

    You wonder where all this silly stuff comes from? Is it just a follow up from those Anglo Private School tactics? You know, it starts with a nick name and sniggering in the showers, those masters with repressed sexuality, next, if taken a bit further, a solid stint at bullying the weaker. Shit happens, they say then afterwards.

    The moral of all this is? Never leave a shower door open in Australia. It could bring the Government down.


  6. Doug Quixote April 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    Ladies and Gentlemen :

    Here it is this is the sum total of claims made against Slipper by Ashton :

    It is so pathetic a claim that it should be laughed out of court.


  7. Steve at the Pub April 22, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    Apparently it is going to be presented to Fair Work for an investigation. This would support a view that the government believes the allegations. *Snigger*snigger* as we all know, Fair Work have serious form when it comes to “go-slow”.

    Standing down: Could mean anything. There are credibility issues with the accuser, then again, there are serious credibility issues surrounding the accused.

    Anyone who wanted to pin something on me & make it stick would want a whole lot more than we’ve seen so far. Then again, Peter Slipper doesn’t have the appearance of one sufficiently accomplished in the pugilistic arts to enforce a “shower with the door open mate” rule on me.

    There is something seriously suss about a bloke who requests another bloke to shower with the door open in his house. Seriously suss. (IF this even happened).


    • Jennifer Wilson April 22, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

      Slipper stood aside only until Cabcharge issues resolved, not harassment, which is civil not criminal


    • Marilyn April 27, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

      You can say something so stupid in a country where gangs of foot ballers love showering together.


  8. helvityni April 22, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

    They are both big boys, 33-62, if you want romance or bromance you have to leave some doors open; the boys have to ask girls or the other way round, and the boys have to approach boys……
    Ah, but he’s got a wife and grown-up kids, say the Liberals….then it’s an absolute NO No….. maybe a Catholic as well 🙂


    • Doug Quixote April 22, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

      It’s a good question, is it not? How does a gay man explore what the intended love interest might like, without using double-entendre and suggestive approaches? I’m straight myself, but I can appreciate the problem. It is suspicious that Ashby has kept all the emails and text messages, for several months, starting soon after Slipper defected.

      Are the Libs trying a Strauss-Kahn stratagem?


      • Jennifer Wilson April 23, 2012 at 7:01 am #

        I am giving much thought to your last suggestion. I agree. Honey trap.


        • Marilyn April 27, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

          My first thought was honey trap. And Godwin Grech. Same journo same tripe.

          Now he is claiming that an expert says cab charge vouchers are filled in by two different people.

          Which is ridiculous because all cab charges are partially filled in by the driver and signed and dated by the passenger.

          How else can they go to the special minister of state for approval?

          Steve Lewis is a lying prick, again.


    • Jennifer Wilson April 23, 2012 at 7:00 am #

      Well, Slipper is actually a priest and the Chancellor of an Anglo Catholic church, I think it’s the Traditional Anglican Communion. He is Father Slipper.


      • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) April 23, 2012 at 9:10 am #

        Yes, and earlier this morning I heard on radio that Slipper would also be standing aside in his role as a priest in the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC). If this claim has substance, as well as the claim of priests in the TAC being now recognised as priests in the Catholic Church also having substance, then Section 44 issues (of the Constitution) may well be at play in this matter. As I have commented upon some time ago on Twitter, but been thought by some to be wide of the mark.

        Should it be that Slipper’s claimed status as now that of an ordained clergyman recognised by the RC Church is substantiated, it may be that in the terms of Section 44 (1) he can be held to be under an acknowledgment of obedience to a foreign power (to wit, the Vatican), and in consequence to have been disqualified from sitting as a member of the House of Representatives since that status took effect. It is my understanding that it is this acknowledgment of obedience that has been accepted as being the reason that no ordained RC clergy have, since Federation, become members of the HoR.

        And, Jennifer, this is, I suspect, not the only Section 44 issue that has been in play in recent days. It is my suspicion that the claim as to Jennifer Robinson’s having been placed upon an ‘inhibited travel’ list out of Heath Row International Airport may relate to travel rights of such Australians as also are entitled to British passports, rights effectively tacitly recognised elsewhere in Section 44 of the Constitution.

        Should it be that Jennifer Robinson (or Julian Assange, for that matter) have the right to travel on a British passport, it may be that it was the UK government acting at the behest of the US government with respect to British (ie. UK) issued passports that enabled the Australian Government to avoid any obligation as to knowledge as to the existence of an ‘inhibited travel’ list.

        Vive les Bricoleurs!


        • silkworm April 23, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

          Slipper is Anglican, not Catholic. There is no suggestion of any allegiance to a foreign power, so any suggestion that s.44 may be relevant is ludicrous.


          • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) April 24, 2012 at 7:55 am #

            My apologies, silkworm, in what was a response to Jennifer Wilson touching upon matters in relation to which I already knew Jennifer to be somewhat backgrounded, for forgetting that I had, in addition to a Twitter exchange, also posted on Sheep about it, and failing to post a link.

            Here is the link to my earlier post:

            silkworm says:

            “Slipper is Anglican, not Catholic. …”

            Indeed, and accepted, as the opening sentence of my post of April 23, 2012 at 9:10 am reveals. There may be a little more to it than that, however, as a read of the link I have now posted will reveal.

            The thing that particularly caught my eye (my ear, actually) was yesterday’s radio broadcast claim as to Slipper’s standing aside from his position as a priest in the TAC as a possible indicator that there had been a recognition of potential Constitutional implications of his status with respect to the Vatican, and maybe even a belated attempt to minimise them.


            • doug quixote April 25, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

              Unless and until the Traditional Anglican Communion accept the supremacy of the Pope their members are not affected by the s44 prohibition. End of story.


  9. Steve at the Pub April 22, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    The key point in the sexual harassment allegations are that it was NOT a gay man “exploring”. It was a boss putting the weights on an employee.

    Were I to try the “shower with the door open, love” line on my secretary, followed by texting her with how we can “know each other better”, I wouldn’t expect to be able to use the “exploring my sexuality” line. And so it should be.


    • Jennifer Wilson April 23, 2012 at 7:02 am #

      I agree, if the reports are accurate it’s as much harassment as if heterosexuals were involved.


      • Marilyn April 27, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

        Bullshit, now you are using MTR’s dirty mind.


  10. jim April 22, 2012 at 11:44 pm #

    I’m not sure if your allowed to comment on it but i saw a distinct threat of job loss and intimidation in the transcript.


    • hudsongodfrey April 23, 2012 at 12:20 am #

      If you thought it might be Sub Judice then I very much doubt it because that’s only implied in criminal cases, whereas Slipper hasn’t been charged with anything by police. These are civil matters. Legal recourse for sexual harassment is pursued on behalf of the alleged victim not the crown. Suppression orders may be sought but I would have thought that that horse had long since bolted since detailed transcripts are available on the net, (Doug provided the links above).

      At one stage it could have been said that if I were to take the bosses secretary on her desk it might be considered a lewd public act, but sexual harassment even in the workplace would never be taken seriously, because we were married to one another.

      So while we Abbott and everyone else it seems is busy impugning a person who was his colleague and confidant only weeks ago, we should also remember that the chances are that either one or both men are rogues and liars. We fall into Abbott’s trap all too easily if we assume it is the the guy he’s out to get. Slipper has now had to step down to deal with the allegations. That was Abbott’s plan all along. But what if the truth of the matter is that this fellow Ashby bears Slipper ill will for completely different reasons?

      Why apart from pure prurience should we care or be entitled to more information about extra curricular affairs that don’t affect the man’s performance in his job?

      Maybe the cab-charge rorting is a minor concern, but surely not ever rort is a sackable offence? What Abbott has done here is to scape the bottom of the barrel in dredging up muck and confecting outrage to suit his political purposes. I can’t imagine how he expects any of us to be so gullible as to overlook the farce they’ve concocted here.


    • Jennifer Wilson April 23, 2012 at 7:02 am #

      We can comment. It’s a civil case not criminal.


    • Marilyn April 27, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

      That is because he was using the frigging office to campaign for the LNP which is a sacking offence.


  11. silkworm April 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    It can’t be harassment in the workplace, because the incidents took place in Slipper’s flat. We have to ask, what was Ashby doing showering in Slipper’s flat?

    Oh, and welcome Steve at the Pub, another refugee from the closure of Larvatus Prodeo. I hope we don’t see any of the racist and misogynist trolling we got from you there.


  12. Steve at the Pub April 23, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    Silkworm, I preceded you here by almost a year. I see the world is still a poorer place for your presence. Feel free to return to larvatus prodeo. You’ll find there are significant differences here.

    Please copy & paste evidence of either racism, or misogyny. Failure to do so will be proof positive that no such evidence exists. And indeed no such evidence exists. (Improve your image by adherence to the doctrine of: “better to be thought a fool than open one’s mouth & prove it”)


  13. Julia April 23, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

    The flat may be Slipper residence but since Ashby was there as an employee, then it is also Ashby’s workplace. So harassment in the workplace still holds.


    • hudsongodfrey April 23, 2012 at 11:44 pm #

      I was once told that if you tell a fat joke within hearing of work colleagues down at the pub, then a derogatory reference may be implied by anyone in your workplace with body image problems. And that the same thing goes for social media.

      This was of course advice being handed out by corporate legal and HR types in the context of a general session for all their employees. It came under some new-speak title like “Harassment Equity and Diversity”!

      After seeing this case the other week…Anything could happen!

      A WOMAN who was injured while having sex in her hotel room during a work trip is entitled to compensation.

      In the Federal Court today Justice John Nicholas ruled that the woman was injured during her “course of employment”.

      The woman’s barrister argued that sex was an “ordinary incident of life” in a hotel room, much like showering and sleeping.

      The Judge ruled that “if the applicant had been injured while playing a game of cards in her motel room she would be entitled to compensation” and the fact that the woman was engaged in sexual activity rather than some other lawful recreational activity while in her hotel room does not lead to any different result.

      The woman, who cannot be named, challenged the rejection of her workers’ compensation claim for facial and psychological injuries suffered when a glass light fitting came away from the wall above the bed as she was having sex in November 2007.

      The woman in her late thirties was required to travel to a country town by her employer, the Human Relations Section of the Commonwealth Government agency.

      She arranged to meet a male friend there who lived in the town. They went to a restaurant for dinner and at about 10pm or 11pm went back to the woman’s motel room where they had sex that resulted in her injury.

      The male friend said in his statement at the time that they were “going hard” and he did not know if they bumped the light or it just fell off.

      “I think she was on her back when it happened but I was not paying attention because we are rolling around.”


      • Jennifer Wilson April 24, 2012 at 7:16 am #



      • Steve at the Pub April 24, 2012 at 10:00 am #

        Yep! The evolution of the employment contract (& employment policies & procedures) continues. All employees here are now forbidden in writing from engaging in any form of sexual activity, at any time of the day or night, at any time during a business journey, at any time on business premises (including their room in the staff quarters), etc etc etc.

        All staff have signed to confirm they have read & understood the directive, and that they will comply.


        • hudsongodfrey April 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

          Bill Clinton would be able to comply and NOT have sex with that woman!


    • silkworm April 24, 2012 at 10:23 am #

      “Ashby was there as an employee” – and you know this how?


    • Marilyn April 27, 2012 at 11:22 pm #

      Why does every dickhead presume it is true when the cabcharge claims have been shown to be a lie?

      MP’s can’t rort cab charge dockets, only taxi drivers can by over charging.


  14. Hypocritophobe May 13, 2012 at 6:53 pm #


    Let’s count how many of these doctors are connected to the Roman Catholic church,shall we?



  1. Coalition moral high horse is nothing but a braying donkey « No Place For Sheep « Secularity - April 22, 2012

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