Media women name & shame sexual predators. Unless they are politicians.

26 Oct


Further allegations have been made against Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, including multiple sexual harassment and molestation claims dating back to 2012.

One of the allegations concerns a 17 year-old girl.

On ABC TV’s The Drum yesterday evening, a segment was devoted to the latest alleged high-profile offender, banished by Conde Naste from practising his profession as a fashion photographer after allegations of serial sexual harassment and assault of his model subjects. Katherine Murphy was one of the panelists, and the host was Julia Baird.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to watch Australian political journalists comment on sexual harassment by powerful men in every workplace other than the Australian parliament. The elephant loomed large in the studio as Baird and Murphy discussed a topic over which journalists have thrown a cone of silence when it concerns Australian politicians.

It’s increasingly difficult to avoid the conclusion that Australian journalists are complicit in, and enable, sexual harassment and worse in the parliamentary workplace.

The situation for alleged victims of Australian politicians’ sexual impropriety is a dire one. At the best of times women (and victims are predominantly women) struggle to be heard and believed when we complain about sexual harassment and assault. It’s been obvious for some time now that the media play a significant role in bringing harassers to everyone’s attention, giving victims a voice, and making it difficult or impossible for perpetrators to continue their behaviour.

Yet none of this support is available to women harassed in the parliamentary workplace, because the media will not investigate, and will not report on sexual crimes and misdemeanours occurring there.

How ironic that there is currently a name and shame campaign under way, led by high-profile journalist Tracey Spicer, against men who harass women employed in the Australian media, while at the same time, media women protect politicians from scrutiny. This selective approach to outing sexual harassers in the workplace damages the credibility of every woman involved in the campaign, particularly those who comment on politics.

This post by J.R. Hennessy on the Press Gallery convention that protects politicians from scrutiny of their “private lives” is excellent, and well worth a read.

I continue to ask the questions: why are politicians given the freedom by journalists to sexually harass and abuse women, a freedom that exists in no other Australian workplace? Why don’t the Press Gallery care about women in the parliamentary workplace?

The idea of protecting perpetrators because they are “entitled to privacy” has kept women and children in violent and abusive situations for centuries. That it continues to hold sway at the heart of our democracy is absolutely shameful, and every political commentator should be absolutely ashamed if they support this long out-dated convention.








24 Responses to “Media women name & shame sexual predators. Unless they are politicians.”

  1. Moz of Yarramulla October 26, 2017 at 7:53 am #

    That J.R. Hennessy post is very good, thanks for the link.

    The idea that puff pieces and self-promotion are a legitimate and necessary part of the media’s job, but investigative journalism isn’t… seems like an odd argument to make for a profession under stress.

    Then we come to the notion that coming to public attention justifies horribly intrusive behaviour and publication of anything and everything that might be even tangentially relevant, unless the person is a politician. Again, a weird double standard: politicians are less deserving of scrutiny than random members of the public? Or perhaps more vulnerable and more in need of protection? Because it surely could not be that the character assassination and harassment carried out by the media is inappropriate!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Noely (@YaThinkN) October 26, 2017 at 8:08 am #

    Since #MeToo became a ‘thing’ it fair to say, that any ‘powerful’ organisation/business where you have powerful men running it, there are sexual predators. Without fail. It absolutely defies belief that Parliament, the seat of power in this nation, run by ‘mostly’ powerful men could NOT have sexual predators and harassers, just not possible.

    If media are to be believed, it would appear you have a better chance of winning Lotto than finding a sexual predator amongst our MPs and Senators in Canberra? Yeah… Nah…

    Personally I think there is a “don’t look and don’t tell us” attitude in press gallery that they need to reconsider and have a think about it. As I for one do not believe it is not happening.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. allthumbs October 26, 2017 at 8:40 am #

    I would rather go the whole hog and have Joyce caught warily inflagrante with a sheep on camera phone at a distance in a paddock on his own property in his wellies with a bull whip in one hand.

    That said why is “the affair”, “relationship” purported to be taking place assumed to be a power play by the Politician and not the staffer? Why is it assumed that the staffer is innocent or non-consenting or even the instigator of the affair? Could it not be she is a woman who has chosen to have an affair? Maybe she is self-assertive, perhaps she admittedly finds power an aphrodisiac, perhaps it is a motherly instinct, perhaps she is inordinately attracted to ugly rosy faced sweating scabrous bimbos?

    Apart from the blatant moral hypocrisy of Joyce (and that should be enough to bury the prick whatever the nature of relationship) the road to go on this as you point out Jennifer is an investigation of the use of public monies to fund the tryst if indeed it was.

    Meanwhile Michaela Cash (the Magda Goebbels of the Liberal Party) will be tearfully banging on the closed door of Turnbull’s office asking for one more audience with the empty suit looking for solace and guidance on how he handled his Godwin Grech moment .

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Barry Waters October 26, 2017 at 10:42 am #

    There is an interesting problem here. Is it necessary for journalists to report criminal activities? Or should journalists report rumours? Do we want them to report allegations or innuendoes?
    Asking these questions doesn’t make sexual abuse and harassment acceptable or defendable, but it does raise the issues of when and by whom these actions should be reported.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Moz of Yarramulla October 26, 2017 at 11:11 am #

      You’re right, it’s almost impossible to present a fair and balanced view of “is Barnaby a rapist” in the media. In either the natural or {tm} senses of that term, and almost regardless of the nature of the alleged offense.

      I remember the “satanic abuse” media witch hunts with no great fondness, and the fear of false allegations (or, TBH, even true ones) is also there. I don’t have any ability to defend myself in the court of public opinion, so it doesn’t actually matter what the facts are if the media decide to accuse me of something. I have had “Media Watch” comment in my favour on one instance where I had my name and phone number published, but… yeah, that didn’t help. I still kept getting death threats.

      There’s also a great deal of heterocentralism here, and a badly dose of sexism. Both bother me, although I am kind of going “yep, great, we agree that gay men, and all women, just never ever commit sexual offenses” and thinking “phew, that lets me out then”.

      The flip side of this is is the Andie Fox experience – just because you’re a journalist doesn’t mean you have any protection if you annoy a politician. By all means, publish the story about Barnaby and the sheep., Good luck with that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson October 27, 2017 at 11:46 am #

        Barnaby and the sheep? I though it was an alpaca.

        No, Moz, I certainly don’t think that gay men and all women never commit sexual offences. Lately, it’s been the male heteros turn, so I’m going with it.


    • Jennifer Wilson October 27, 2017 at 11:44 am #

      Everything begins as an allegation, Barry. Weinstein for example, hasn’t been charged with a thing, but were it not for media pursuing allegations nobody would be confronting him about what he does.

      It’s a fine line – as with everything, we have to trust that media will be able to figure out when it’s crossed. Which is unfortunate, because they’ve proved time and again that they usually can’t.


  5. doug quixote October 26, 2017 at 7:50 pm #

    Baaaaarnaby is often seen looking sheepish.

    Tomorrow may see Baaaaarnaby removed from parliament, at least until the dopey electors of New England send him back in to bother more sheep.

    As for the politicians being a protected species, the fact is that the press gallery have their own misbehaviours and they – politicians and media – are forced to work together, live together and yes, fuck together. I don’t think we can blame them for exercising a certain discretion.

    Hypocrites abound in all professions; only when the behaviour exceeds the accepted level of misbehaviour and properly attracts the criminal law does it surface in the public domain.

    Perhaps that is for the best.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson October 27, 2017 at 11:48 am #

      Nobody talks about press gallery misdemeanours either DQ. That’s what annoys me.
      But today I’m consumed with the Cash affair and waiting for the High Court decision.


      • allthumbs October 27, 2017 at 7:46 pm #

        Joyce in his campaigning starting gun stump speeches used during interviews today all day keeps claiming 37 mobile tower upgrades in his New England seat as a personal accomplishment or a government initiative.

        I’d like to see some proof of that, because I would tend to think those upgrades were decisions made by Telcos in their close down of 2G and migration to 4G network consolidation and growth.

        I’d be surprised if Joyce was aware that Telstra is no longer a Govt. institution.

        No journalist asked the question, not a single one. Lazy fuckers.


  6. paul walter October 27, 2017 at 7:57 pm #

    I find all of this very interesting in the light of consideration of an accusation that Michaelia Cash’s eccentricities may actually derive as symptoms of a sexual abuse event during childhood.

    Seriously. If Cash and her behaviours are an example of the trauma consequences of such events manifested, may be folk like myself need to reconsider the seriousness of the issue, although of course her odd and callous behaviours may relate to an entirely different set of biological and cultural circumstances. Probably have it wrong and maybe this posting bears only a peripheral relaion to JW’s post, but…just mulling some thing over aloud in relation to some thing else and offer apologies should folk feel their time has been compromised in the reading of this.


  7. doug quixote October 28, 2017 at 8:27 am #

    Here is the smoking gun for Turnbull.

    He stood up in Parliament and announced that Barnaby Joyce would be found to be entitled to remain in parliament. And Deputy PM.

    From the High Court’s judgement, Barnaby was told in definitive terms in August 2017 that he was at that date a New Zealand citizen:

    “On 10 August 2017, Mr Joyce MP met with the New Zealand High Commissioner, who conveyed to him that in the eyes of the New Zealand government he was a citizen of New Zealand by descent. On 12 August 2017, Mr Joyce MP received a memorandum of advice from Mr David Goddard QC, of the New Zealand bar, confirming that under New Zealand law Mr Joyce MP was a citizen of New Zealand by descent.” (par. 108)

    Did Turnbull therefore mislead the Parliament? Wilfully?

    For certainly Barnaby Joyce did mislead the parliament and even went so far as to act as Prime Minister in Turnbull’s absence.

    What did Turnbull know and when did he know it?

    Is this the end of Turnbull?


  8. doug quixote October 28, 2017 at 8:29 am #

    Cash is dead woman walking. She must resign or be sacked.

    Turnbull is on borrowed time.

    Schadenfreude is the word of the year. 🙂


    • paul walter October 28, 2017 at 9:22 am #

      Both should go.

      Cash is deranged and perhaps is the more tragic of the two, but Turnbull is a manipulative, narcissistic, cold blooded psychopath


  9. allthumbs October 28, 2017 at 10:19 am #

    There have been some indirect mention of “personal” politics being played in the upcoming Joyce by-election in questions posed to Tony Windsor that hinted at the Joyce affair. Windsor responded that in the last election that he had been accused of adultery and the like, so Barnaby wasn’t above using that as an election strategy when it suited him.

    Part of the panicked wary look and humble demeanour of Joyce and to say the least the growing realization that can be seen on his face that this might bubble to the top during the next few weeks may be enough to not lose him the election but rob him of his normal bravura and off the cuff rhetoric that has been so effective from this day on.

    I don’t think Cash is deranged and her appearance at Estimates is quite a theatre in itself, her evasive gaze and the arrogance of her tone of why the hell am I here answering these questions, I am an important person with better things to do than sit here.

    Hanson threw her a lifeline with softly lobbed questions of no import and Cash was able to look the woman she hugged in the Senate after her maiden speech in an astonishingly evocative sisterly moment of mutual recognition, bolster in her mind her overwhelming credentials that should have excused her from being questioned at all much less questioned about such petty matters as a political fit-up against the ALP.

    I almost expected Macbeth to stumble into the chamber and the incantations to begin.

    DQ I think this is the beginning of the end of Turnbull in an accelerating demise, Bishop announcing her intention to retire in the next few weeks and Eric Abetz giving smile lessons to Peter Dutton “no Peter that is a grimace, try again, nearly, if you could take out the threatening menace and pull back on the teeth baring, never mind, we’ll try again tomorrow”. I am less worried about testing for citizenship and more concerned about where aspiring politicians sit on the autistic spectrum.

    One last thing, in praising Malcolm Roberts as a “great man” and her “backbone” that will be sorely missed by Pauline Hanson at a doorstop interview yesterday, she referred to him as Malcolm Robinson.


  10. paul walter October 28, 2017 at 1:10 pm #

    No, no incantations. Fiona Nash was unaccountably missing.

    Macbeth is still nursing the shot foot, given the failure of his prophesies as to the High Court’s decision yesterday. The real surprise is the resemblance of Tony Abbott to Lady Macbeth


  11. paul walter October 28, 2017 at 5:48 pm #

    Actually, it is interesting to see who finally passed this compromised ROC legislation into being last November:


  12. doug quixote October 28, 2017 at 9:11 pm #

    For those who like an amusing article:


  13. Moz of Yarramulla October 31, 2017 at 7:35 am #

    Meanwhile in the UK politicians apparently think they’re held in too much regard but are working on that:


  14. allthumbs November 4, 2017 at 3:40 pm #

    Off Topic.

    It is with some amusement that I heard the plaintive cry of Josh Frydenberg against the reported doubt of his citizenship status and resulting tenure as a MP while he evocatively explained the dire circumstances in which his parents arrived in Australia, as refugees no less, as stateless people from Hungary quick to join an alliance with Germany after the beginning of the second world war.

    There is no irony at all in the comparison of the historical circumstances of Josh’s parents and the ordeals faced by modern asylum seekers coming to Australia and should they have arrived by some quirk though a wrinkle in space time Josh may have been born in one of Australia’s detention camps. Time’s Arrow.

    To add insult to injury, Turnbull visited Israel to commemorate a war fought by Australians in Palestine and spent a couple of days in the company of Netenyahu and spoke movingly of his visit to the Holocaust museum and the utter horror of the magnitude and evil of one of the greatest crime in world history.

    He also spent sixty minutes with the leaders of the Palestine Territories as a measure of even handedness I suppose, and made no mention one way or other concerning the decades of their suffering or statelessness.

    And then on his return admonished those who had raised Frydenberg’s circumstances to look and think a little deeper about such things.

    I doubt if Turnbull can eat gum and chew at the same time, much less walk and chew gum at the same time.

    What an ignoramus.


  15. Moz of Yarramulla November 10, 2017 at 9:35 am #

    Facing the consequences of his actions was too much for this man: Without knowing more, and likely we never will, it’s hard to know whether he was panicking over false allegations or just knew the game was up. I’m inclined to the latter, we’ve already seen one MP in the UK get away with “I’m on the list but…”.

    I’m still struggling with reactions like that from Paul Fritjers(1) where men vent in public about how being asked to behave decently is unreasonable, and the risk of (hopefully false) accusations that they face is much worse than the risk of assault and harassment that women already have to deal with. I just end up thinking “you’re reacting way too strongly for this to be about the faint risk of a false accusation”.

    I can’t really engage constructively any more, it’s just too … all the reasons why women find it hard, but likely much less so. Mostly I look at that and think, if I find it hard, no wonder so many women just go “get real or GTFO”. Oddly, I find homophobic bullshit easier to deal with most of the time, possibly because I’ve developed better coping strategies (opportunity or necessity? who knows).

    (1) complete with “rich men like me won’t support you if you’re so *rude* about it”


  16. B. Alderdash M'Arse February 10, 2018 at 8:20 pm #

    Thank you for this and this Since last year was a pretty excruciating year in terms of my mental health I was oblivious to this doing the rounds.

    I wish the hennessy article and this article could trend under the #barnabyjoyce because there are so many layers to this – the bullshit that some press gallery journalists are spouting about an ‘unverified’ story (WTAF?) when there is a paper trail to um a PAY CHEQUE and also journalism’s failure during a by-election.

    And that the woman being pregnant is somehow sacrosanct – Duncan Storrar anyone? Even politicians and their earnest proclamations about not commenting on politicians’ private lives because well, glass houses, I get it, but that kind of moral pretentiousness when Barnaby Joyce does that ‘larrikin Aussie’persona, God-fearing (yeah, the one with a capital “G” cos he is without a doubt holding the Ten Commandments and yep, it’s a “he” but I digress) and gets away with it and zero scrutiny on his judgement, his links to ties in Armidale and how pork-barrelling works there, and contracts, and mates’ rates?

    The implications of his behaviour, his leadership, his decisions – his history but also how New England “works”, how the victims are muzzled in a way that is pretty confronting in this thar “democracy” that Turnbull is so proud to proclaim at any announcement, without the flags, with all the smugness, I mean, as long as it’s not a “minority bullying the majority …”

    This whole saga which has FINALLY exploded to the mainstream, the failure of decent journalism, the implications of political coverage of a by-election and how journalists are still being oh so smug at how they let us down and relegating this to a selective “private lives” issue when not only is Barnaby Joyce a representative but also the leader of the Nationals and the DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER. Turnbull could lose a swathe of Queensland voters and if the Nationals don’t realise how turbulent things are now, wait until the child is born. Not many voters like being bullshitted and since Barnaby Joyce did that whole Catholic values thing to justify being the antithesis of what Jesus actually says in the New Testament, I guess a lot of baby boomers and wives won’t be voting Nationals nor Liberal Party because I dunno, isn’t (heterosexual) marriage some traditional construct of some higher standard BECAUSE heterosexual? (Last bit is ironic – cos I feel sick at how Barnaby Joyce’s (lack of) judgement was being covered up and Turnbull knew about it and now they’re covering up that Turnbull signed off on the SECOND job while Turnbull refuses to comment because of “understanding” the pain that Barnaby’s wife and children are going through? When Turnbull knew about these jobs created for Campion?

    This government actually thinks it can now win an election demonising the poor, the unemployed, the Indigenous, Muslims, spouting “Australian” values which apparently doesn’t mean ripping off taxpayers and using the Christian religion to oppose refugees, demonising those dole bludgers, exploiting pensioners … what else? Gosh, when a minority bullies the majority, what’s that called? A dictatorship?


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