Loose-lipped Pollies

Posted on August 12, 2010 by

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Politicians have always gotten away with pushing personal agendas and playing on the “hot issues” in the lead up to elections.

But Wendy Francis went above and beyond even Abbott’s “no means no” slur when she made the unqualified claim that “children in homosexual relationships are subject to emotional abuse”. She continued to equate the legalisation of gay marriage with the commendation of child abuse, and even liken children of same-sex families, to members of the stolen generation.

Thankfully, these blatantly narrow-minded comments have provoked much uproar both via twitter (the medium through which Francis expressed them) and have received widespread scathing reviews.

If this is anything to go by, patterns of public outrage are incredibly inconsistent.

Francis is condemned for her offensive comments, whilst Abbott has on numerous occasions insulted half the population with his sexist comments regarding what he perceives as fundamental and biologically determined differences between men and women. Differences which explain employment and wage inequality “simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different”.

The majority of Australians were shocked by the racist rhetoric expressed by Pauline Hanson during the One Nation Party’s short lived glory. Significantly (and scarily) however, there was still a sizeable minority who were not outraged by her wishes to have multiculturalism abolished, and her fears that Australia was being “swamped” with Asians.

The inconsistencies become more apparent when you compare Hanson’s (abhorrent) aforementioned rhetoric and Gillard’s relatively well received comments about attracting “the right type of migrant”. I understand that the “right type” doesn’t include those she planned to dump on the shores of unwilling East Timor; but possibly includes those migrants who are more similar to herself and her family who arrived in Australia in 1966.

The parallels continue when you examine both Hanson and Gillard’s constant reference to “hard working” Australians – as if somehow those who are unemployed, underemployed, studying, full-time parents or carers, volunteers or otherwise engaged do not comprise a significant (and legitimate) portion of the Australian population!

Granted, both Gillard and Abbott have a little more political nonce than Francis, Hanson or any of the other notoriously loose mouthed politicians (Latham, Beazley..) or at least they have employed better advisers…

… but it does beg the question: how outrageous, how discriminatory, how blatantly offensive must our politicians be before we are stirred enough to pull our leaders into line?

Words – Sophie Trevitt

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