Dear Turnbull & Shorten: Don’t wear the White Ribbon next time around.

3 Jul

In December 2017, following sexual harassment scandals in Hollywood and Westminster, a report into the sexual harassment complaints process in the Australian Federal Parliament concluded that procedures for staffers in this workplace are “incomprehensibly and woefully inadequate.”

The parliamentary policy, controlled by the Department of Finance…does not specifically address sexual harassment as defined by the Sex Discrimination Act (which clearly defines sexual harassment as unwelcome contact of a sexual nature), give examples of behaviour that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment, and, perhaps most egregiously, it does not clearly spell out an employee’s options for pursuing a sexual harassment claim and relevant time limits. The appropriate legal avenue is to make an individual complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission, but a six-month time limit applies….


“Where a complaint is substantiated, Finance has no capacity to take disciplinary action against either a Senator or Member or a MOP (S) Act employee.”

At the time of writing, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have remained woefully and incomprehensibly silent about the sexual slurs against Senator Sarah Hanson-Young made by Senator David Leyonhjelm, both in the Senate and later on the Sky News program Outsiders, a whine-fest of woeful and incomprehensible proportions with entirely comprehensible audience numbers of a mere few thousand, hosted by two of the most sadly inadequate men in media, Rowan Dean and Ross Cameron. Cameron is also a former Liberal politician, given shelter by the Sky News network retirement home for failed conservatives.

Sky News, Dean and Cameron have since apologised to Hanson-Young who has instigated legal action. Leyonhjelm,  libertarian and defender of free speech but only when it suits him, has not.

Turnbull and Shorten are the leaders of the parliamentary workplace. Leyonhjelm’s verbal sexual abuse of Hanson-Young occurred in that workplace, as well as later in the media. The Senator attempted to use Hanson-Young’s assumed sexual life as a weapon against her. In other words he slut-shamed her, in the Senate and later the media, in the time-honoured manner of misogynistic old men who have never resolved their desire for women with their simultaneous hatred of us.

It was one of the more sickening episodes to come out of a parliament that daily emits a multitude of sickening events.

The silence from Turnbull and Shorten is deafening. Indeed, it is a betrayal of every woman in that workplace, as well as those of us outside of it. No woman is required to suffer sexual slurs when she goes to her job.

Sexual slurs are at the beginning of a continuum that ends with our rape and our murder. There is no workplace occasion, absolutely none, in which it is acceptable to comment on a woman’s sexual life and choices.

Turnbull and Shorten, quick to don the White Ribbon, quick to avail themselves of the photo opportunity and publicity surrounding the ghastly murder of Melbourne comedian Eurydice Dixon, are complicity silent when a female senator’s sexual life is used in the Senate as a weapon.

Lack of respect, Turnbull famously trumpeted, is where violence against women begins. If you respect women, he claims, you will not harass and abuse us. Lack of respect is the beginning of all violence against us, according to the Prime Minister who said on September 25, 2015:

Let me say this to you: disrespecting women does not always result in violence against women. But all violence against women begins with disrespecting women,” 

Turnbull’s silence on the sexual harassment of Hanson Young in the Senate indicates utter lack of respect for women, if not contempt. Shorten’s silence indicates the same. The silence of both leaders goes a long way to explaining why the Australian Parliament has some of the most inadequate workplace sexual harassment policies in the western world. Because they don’t give a damn about women. They don’t give a damn.






22 Responses to “Dear Turnbull & Shorten: Don’t wear the White Ribbon next time around.”

  1. Peter Reeves July 3, 2018 at 2:58 pm #

    A most elegant summary, Doc. By sheer coincidence, I checked the Parliamentary procedure for dealing with sexual harrassment myself this morning. I was shocked to see they wouldn’t stack up to procedures in most modern corporations or Universities. They’re pathetic.

    And speaking of pathetic, Leyonjholm’s (sp?) comments over the corpse of Eurydice Dixon. What a creep. If SHY sues, I hope he loses his house.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson July 3, 2018 at 6:44 pm #

      Thank you Peter.
      Yes that procedure or rather lack of is hair raising.


  2. WilliamB July 3, 2018 at 6:10 pm #

    I commend your comment, Peter Reeves.
    At this same time, I would like to claim that the statement uttered by Leyonjholms was fraught with the highest-level of unrestrained intensity, that should have resulted in this same person being summarily dismissed from office.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. doug quixote July 3, 2018 at 9:16 pm #

    Little as I want to defend Turnbull or Shorten, a Member of Parliament is a very different creature from an employee. Hanson-Young, and any other politician in parliament, is fair game.
    She is quite well able to defend herself both in parliament and through the courts if Leyonhjelm or anyone else is silly enough to repeat defamatory comments outside parliament and its privilege.


    • Peter ReevesPeter Reeves July 4, 2018 at 12:18 pm #

      So it’s open-slather then?


    • uncle tungsten July 28, 2018 at 7:04 pm #

      Parliament is only different in that we expect the most ethical behavior from those elected to office. We expect integrity in their dealings with colleagues, staff and the representation of the public interest.

      I do not accept that it is a free for all or a bear pit. It certainly has been propagandised that this is acceptable but I don’t buy propaganda. I expect dishonesty and ignorant misogyny from LNP but I don’t accept it as ‘part of the game’. I do not accept it from any Labor representative, it is a betrayal of their supposed philosophy and intention.

      To remain silent, to accept Shorten’s silence is not an ethical position. I urge all readers to email incessantly to his entire shadow cabinet to call him out. Thank Jennifer for bringing this debate up.


      • doug quixote July 29, 2018 at 8:50 am #

        This 9 day wonder has just about been forgotten by everyone except the two participants. Why anyone should want political leaders to comment further on it, especially those who aren’t in the same Party as either participant, escapes me.

        Any intelligent political leader will choose his or her battleground carefully, and not chase every minor side issue. Leave it to the participants.

        Dogs may bark but the caravan moves on.


  4. paul walter July 14, 2018 at 2:55 am #

    I’ll just add my take for old time’s sake.

    A couple of weeks have passed and for my part I found my opinion of the incident changing as new bits and pieces of news backgrounding the incident turned up.

    I Initially took Leyonhjelm’s comment the SHY should “stop shagging men” to be a rough attempt at humour. Women have been known to do this and the population spurt across the planet does seem to indicate a possibility of some truth as to this as to the broader accusation, although of course, it takes two to tango, so I laughed it off.

    I figured it was so clumsy he would cop flak for it and rightly so and apologise.

    Instead a couple of days later, I got to watch the shuddering virtual lynching of SHY on that vile Murdoch example of tabloid TV and the scales fell away. It was not a joke but likely a dirty and orchestrated tabloid subceptional attempt at a really deep smear and an attempt at destroying the morale of SHY.

    This was followed by suggestions that Leyonhjem was doing a Hanson, muckraking to gain a small Senate vote increase that might help him hold his Senate place. It confirmed the idea that it was cold blooded and barbaric and nothing has occurred since to change my mind on it.

    I thought of the worst of Abbott. This is the level at which politics and journalism now operate in this country and with the silencing of broadsheet media and press, it can only get worse.

    The nation will deteriorate to a level of cotton wooled senility, a simulacrum of what it could and should have been. Real news will be bypassed for unrelenting diversion, as happened with the Thai Cave Boys Own adventure, things like continued enviro destruction of Cape York and Murray Darling and attendant corruption passed over, also crony jobs for ideological fellow travellers in government and the public service past over even by the ABC and SBS meantime.

    Another example would be the segment of the ruins of the Syrian city of Raqqua I watched a couple of hours ago on SBS. These ruins resemble Berlin after WW2, with no monies forthcoming to help hundreds of thousands more innocent people regain a foothold on life.
    after the trauma of it all.

    I shudder to think what will become of this country and its gulled people so I am glad am getting older and hope i make it to the grave before the worst to come gets really underway..


    • doug quixote July 14, 2018 at 5:30 pm #

      The media love their 9 day wonders, Paul.

      And if there is good video footage, even better. If it involves one of the country in question’s nationals, it’s a real winner.

      Leyonhjelm and Hanson-Young are political enemies, and any available rod can be used to beat a political enemy. Are you at all surprised that the RWNJ of the Murdoch media supported the taming of the shrew, to borrow a phrase?

      I exercise a version of controlled folly –

      “A warrior must know first that his acts are useless, and yet, he must proceed as if he didn’t know it. In other words, a warrior must know he is unimportant, but act as if he is important.”

      Attempting to resolve the contradictions inherent in human affairs is the true joy of life.

      Illegitimi non carborundum.


  5. paul walter July 14, 2018 at 6:16 pm #

    I know, DQ, it just caught me this time how repulsive it is all becoming when operating at such an animal brown shirt level. Does real political rivalry automatically necessitate what goes on, what about the aspect of politics as opportunity for reasoned discussion, the primacy of ideas and consensus in the advancing of the nation and civilisation?

    Take a game of footy. Is it a game of skills or solely the attempt to king-hit the opposing player?

    God knows I don’t like most of our politicians either, to varying degrees. Hanson Young can be a pain the butt, but if my sense of what happened is right, Leyonhjelm sank exponentially salaciously and puritanically lower rather with something I first and felt mistakenly to be a mere joking and it’s just not my idea of what politics can be about.

    We have often talked about the scum elements of politics and the press dragging the nation down and to have the public fixated on a person’s sex life, most of all, when there is no evidence given to back the claim, identifies malice in that fixation and is irrelevant to the issues parliament is supposedly involved in. Whats more it begins to appear as something consciously orchestrated, through a brown shirt psychology trick of the sort one always associates with Murdoch, and in the end thus, a bit BACWA animalistic and primitivist for me.

    The whole country seems to have sunk to a level of cretinism in its functioning and I just can’t see much beyond disaster looming when the entire nation deteriorates to something akin to creche operation or mental defectives ward goings-on in a closed facility.

    At the very time, we need rid of most of the hard right element in this country, my terror is that we get another three years ( and more?) of LNP government obtained through various
    us versions of unscrupulous and downright evil fascist wedging.

    You’re right of course, I shouldn’t let it get me down, but it did a bit this time ultimately, for the sheer malice and pointlessness of it in the end.

    Whats more, if there was something genuinely deviant in the targets makeup, we aren’t going to get know it now, for the unintelligent crudity of the discredited attackers assault.


  6. doug quixote July 14, 2018 at 9:06 pm #

    Leyonhjelm is a footnote in history. He’ll be gone next election, unless that fool Turnbull tries another DD. (The last one worked so well, did it not.)


  7. paul walter July 14, 2018 at 9:42 pm #

    Should be the case, but a lot of things that should have been the case should have happened, didn’t come to pass over the last half-dozen years.

    Faith in humanity is badly shaken. I am demoralised in the way a lot of aboriginal people might be if you get my meaning. Loss of self-determination, loss of identity, loss of morale.


  8. doug quixote July 15, 2018 at 8:46 am #

    It may be a little late – but the World Cup final beckons as well –


    • williambtm August 29, 2018 at 2:12 am #

      Yeah Doug, the call to arms, I’ll throw my hat in the ring, same as happened back in 69 with the national service call-up that meant that the Aussies were helping the war-mongering yanks. Only this time I’ll be fighting for Australia to get rid of the Libs once and for all.
      Poisonous greed toads the damn lot of ’em.


  9. paul walter July 15, 2018 at 1:20 pm #

    I suspect it will be the French. Croatia has nothing left to prove.


  10. doug quixote August 22, 2018 at 6:52 pm #

    Malcolm who?


  11. doug quixote August 26, 2018 at 8:03 am #

    It is still the same shambolic Liberal incompetents Abbott led – the rag-tag of Howard’s dregs and a pack of Young Libs wet behind the ears.

    Throw them out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mal Kukura August 26, 2018 at 9:28 am #

      Murdoch’s poodles

      Liked by 1 person

      • doug quixote August 28, 2018 at 11:32 pm #

        And as for Morrison . . . Turnbull without the intelligence.

        After a bit of speaking in tongues he’s discovered he’s on our side, and he’ll certainly tear his shirt.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Peter Reeves November 9, 2018 at 3:34 pm #

    You’re right about sexual harassment/assault, but wrong about Advance. He deserves no sympathy. He was instrumental in getting Trump elected at the behest of the Russian state.


    • Peter Reeves November 9, 2018 at 3:35 pm #



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