Rudd, Gillard, Abbott, Women, Sex, Why?

24 Jun

So, if I came away with anything after last night’s final episode of ABC TV’s The Killing Fields, oops, sorry, The Killing Season, it was a sense of profound shock and awe at the ALP’s astounding ability to squander political capital to the degree that in six short years they went from owning the room to a derelict mob of squabbling, self-important cane toads with over-active thyroids and a death wish, oozing poison from every pore, who had become and remain of little use to anyone, especially themselves. Don’t let your dog lick  them. It will cark.

Apart from anything else, what kind of lunatics install Australia’s first female Prime Minister after she’s executed a midnight assassination of her ludicrously popular male predecessor? Women cannot do that, for christ’s sake. Men can coup. Women can only be behind the man who coups. What is wrong with everybody?

In the penultimate episode Rudd, quite understandably in my view, took serious umbrage at Gillard’s babbling efforts to psychoanalyse him. Last night Gillard made the breathtaking claim that she believed knifing Kevin at midnight would provide him with the opportunity for a good rest he badly needed. This put me in mind of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s claims that sacking workers offers them the chance of a new beginning. I find it interesting that two leaders from opposing ends of the political spectrum share such similar moral opinions on the misfortunes of others.

I have no idea who was lying and who told the truth in that three-part account of the ALP’s downfall, nor do I care. Mostly I just wanted to bang their stupid heads together. It takes a particular kind of perverse talent to have a country at your feet and still manage to turn it into a cock-up.

Speaking of Abbott, I once attempted to imagine him as a sexual being. My mind exploded. Everything went black. I regained consciousness in the  compost heap, with the dog licking rotting mango flesh from my eyebrows.

I pushed myself to this brink because I had just read the following comment by the Minister for Women:

I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak.

Reading this statement I wonder first what kind of impoverished universe Tony Abbott inhabits if in it, sex comes down to a gendered right to “withhold” and gendered a right to demand, both of which, according to him, require moderation.

The word “withhold” implies an act of calculated deprivation as in withholding payment, withholding supplies, withholding access to bank accounts, withholding information. In order to use this word at all, Abbott must be starting from the assumption that men are always entitled to sex, like a worker is always entitled to payment, and if a woman doesn’t want sex for whatever reason, it’s a hostile act of denial on her part.

In other words, women are not permitted to not want sex, in Abbott’s world, without being perceived as denying a man what is his due.  In more other words, in Abbott’s world women have no autonomy, and no agency over our own sexual desires, because our sexual decisions are perceived as being entirely to do with whether we withhold or gratify male desire.

It’s in the use of the word “withhold” that Abbot reveals his attitude to women and sex. The idea that sex is a man’s right to demand part of the statement is irrelevant, really, because in the use of the word “withhold” Abbott has assumed a man’s right to demand.

This is our Minister, ladies. He doesn’t think we just don’t feel like it, are tired, have cramps, don’t find the male partner especially exciting. No. Women withhold.

Finally, if you want to see how little things have changed for women in some parts of the legal system, read this enlightening piece in Overland titled the Ethics of Defence, by barrister Catriona MacLennan . (Thanks to Maria for alerting me to this.) It takes a great deal of courage to even use the words ethics and morals these days without being laughed off the planet, unless you’re the government talking about ABC TV’s Qanda.


witholding sex








25 Responses to “Rudd, Gillard, Abbott, Women, Sex, Why?”

  1. townsvilleblog June 24, 2015 at 11:22 am #

    Lunatics is correct, I’ve not seen the last episode yet but I can tell you that Shorten and Howes were the tag team behind both executions in the hope of grasping power, these fools emanate from the Australia’s Worst Union (AWU) the most right wing anti-member supposed unions in the country along with the SDA (shop assistant’s union) together they control the ALP with phantom numbers. This is why Labor governments don’t deliver for the people who vote for them, its an elaborate political con job.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Michaela Tschudi June 24, 2015 at 12:57 pm #

    I just read this over my salad sammich and laughed so hard at the image of you in the compost heap that I choked.

    As always, you’re spot on.

    BTW Killing Season is one show I try not to miss. It will be analysed for years by PolSci students.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Frances Potter June 24, 2015 at 3:20 pm #

    Sensing that Abbott’s view is widespread among the general population, I started “withholding” some decades ago and have no intention of “dispensing” anytime soon. Needless to say, I am single.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson June 24, 2015 at 6:29 pm #

      i think it is, unfortunately, widespread. Entitlement is a scourge.


  4. samjandwich June 24, 2015 at 5:35 pm #

    Hmmm, I interpret his comment to mean (since he’s invariably self-referential in his thinking) that he wants every woman he comes across, and feels as though they should know this too – and so the very act of not throwing themselves at him is effectively an act of withholding. However, he considers it a matter of pride that he is able to constrain himself and not insist.

    And I missed the Killing Season, but I would expect at least that after such a squandering binge those Labor peeps should have a bit more sympathy for poker machine addicts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson June 24, 2015 at 6:28 pm #

      Well that fits in with the religious notion of self denial oh gawd it makes me tired even thinking about it. 🙂


  5. hudsongodfrey June 25, 2015 at 8:29 pm #

    Very good piece indeed with a couple of interesting thoughts to come out of it.

    Firstly (Spoiler Alert for those who haven’t seen The Killing Season), you wanted to know who was lying in the third instalment. Rudd for sure when he said he did not leak. It was either the case that he’s hiding behind a tenuous technicality or smugly refusing to give his enemies the satisfaction. And Gillard when she opined that she though Kevin would appreciate a rest. A Bex and a good lie down perhaps. You picked that for the obvious crock that it was as did Rudd.

    Not to mention Abbott. even though he was hardly in the documentary, he’s always the one only lying when his lips are moving.

    Overall I think more reflection on how the business of being a politician within a factional party machine on either side of politics burns through political capital like acid on bare flesh.

    Yet at the same time many would and indeed have argued that Labor governed well in a number of areas, legislating effectively to achieve more than Abbott would ever dream of or attempt. It may just be that the parties have a different view of government with the conservatives hell bent on reducing it’s role where many progressives would argue for greater intervention. But at least Labor could get a budget through. And at least when they acted shitty towards refugees they were accountable for it.


    The idea of withholding sex sits even more oddly when you deconstruct the sexual politics behind the idea of withholding. I don’t think you can use that term without viewing whatever act of sexual congress that is being withheld in a rather one sided, transactional light seeming devoid of desire on the woman’s part.

    It’s certainly not a zipless fuck, but its a distinctly one sided kind of coitus.

    You might as well be screwing a prostitute as a wife whose sexual urges are so non-existent that she’s inclined to withhold sex, pursuant one can only suppose to some other end? I mean WTF!! These religious right sexual conservatives bemoan prostitution all the time, and then they mean to discuss sexual politics in these terms? Terms that regard their own wives like this!

    You say that in Abbott’s world women lack autonomy, but I’m not reading it quite the same. I think its worse, because in his world women lack sexual desire, and men don’t appear to notice that its missing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson June 26, 2015 at 9:38 am #

      Ah, brilliant last observation HG. But bone chilling.


      • hudsongodfrey June 26, 2015 at 4:08 pm #

        Made me feel ill to think of such a relationship.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. doug quixote June 26, 2015 at 7:52 am #

    The Mad Monk follows the views of his Church and the official teachings of most major religions, that a husband has a right to sex. The converse is that a wife does not have a right to withhold sex.

    Do these views have any right to exist any longer?

    In the society of the 21st century, I say no.

    Abbott is an anachronism, as is his religion; indeed as is any religion. The available territory for the numinous to occupy has shrunken so much over the last 200 years that the demise of religions seems inevitable. But depend on it that their death throes will be ugly, and they may break out in jihad or crusade from time to time.

    Ignorance is bliss for the religious.

    And if they can ensure that you dear reader accept ignorance, you too can have bliss.

    “Ignorance is strength” as Orwell put it in ‘1984’ but that was a political point of view.

    “Ignorance is bliss and strength” would be best, but that is too long for the ignorant to digest all at once.

    Ignorance is bliss, and Tony Abbott is blissful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • hudsongodfrey June 26, 2015 at 4:07 pm #

      “The Mad Monk follows the views of his Church”, except on climate change….


      • Diane Pearton June 27, 2015 at 11:13 am #

        The Mad Monk does what every Catholic I’ve ever met does, follows whatever views suit them. They tend to be like Jack Russell Terriers, if what you command is what they have in mind, then they are very obedient!
        It is poor countries, where they can least afford stupid Catholic Church doctrine, where the church does most harm; in Africa, for example where the Vatican ban on contraception enables rampant deaths from HIV/AIDS.

        Liked by 1 person

        • hudsongodfrey June 27, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

          I think it’s called hypocrisy, though I don’t know that it’s limited to Catholics or even Christians. Take a look at how well Islam and Hinduism are doing for the populations that follow them and I think you might more broadly agree that the opiate of the masses is often a corollary of poverty if not necessarily a cause.

          Without meaning to push my own views on others, keeping thy religion to thyself being most people’s preference, I’d nevertheless offer a perspective from atheism that rewrites your sentence “….every person… follows whatever views suit them”. It’s not only true of freethinking, because there’s nothing else to follow, but without underplaying the significant cultural and psychological sway religion exerts I still think we made the whole thing up. So of course I’m going to say logically that it comes down to the view that changing your mind is fine, and not hypocritical, if only you were doing it for the right reasons and not ignoring evidence to the contrary.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Diane Pearton June 27, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

            Agreed, hudsongodfrey.
            I neglected to say, Jennifer Wilson, what a GREAT piece of writing, again! Every bit of it, thank you 🙂 So fucking spot on!

            Also, I wonder what Abbott thinks that lesbians do?

            Liked by 1 person

            • hudsongodfrey June 27, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

              I always liked Billy Connolly’s line about being a lesbian trapped in a man’s body. I bet Abbott wouldn’t get that one either.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Jennifer Wilson June 28, 2015 at 9:36 am #

              Thanks Di.
              On the question of Abbott’s imaginings I dare not go there for fear of never getting back again. lol


              • doug quixote June 28, 2015 at 11:00 am #

                Mymortgageisokgodthatgirlhasgreattitspityabouttheheadmymortgageisokmustmakesureinailshortenwhycantpetabemoreresponsiveifonlyloughnanewasntherhusbandgodthatgirlhasgreatlegsmymortgageisokwonderwhatsfordinnerthatonionwasokiwonderificancallanelectiongodthatgirlhasgreattits . . .

                Liked by 1 person

                • doug quixote June 28, 2015 at 11:01 am #

                  Sorry about the formatting, Jennifer!
                  Can you wrangle Abbott’s stream of consciousness into the column?

                  Liked by 1 person

                • Jennifer Wilson June 28, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

                  This is Abbott’s stream of consciousnessaaaaarghh


          • Jennifer Wilson June 28, 2015 at 9:37 am #

            Hypocrisy has nothing to do with religious belief. The biggest hypocrite I have ever met is an atheist.



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