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Commentary: Rape and Misogeny in Politics

Commentary by Felix Orcullo


It is hard to admit but there is a pervading culture of misogyny in the Federal Parliament especially among the LNP ranks.  Of twenty-two federal ministers, only six are female.  This is despite women numbering more than half the nation’s population; despite the PM promising he would increase the number of women in cabinet. 

And now, LNP government has been in crisis mode for the last few weeks.  The issue centres around two rape allegations: 1. rape of a young Liberal female staffer by a senior male Liberal staff right in the office of her boss the Defence Minister Linda Reynolds in March 2019 – two months before the May 2019 election. 2.  alleged rape of a 16-year- old female by a 17-year- old male in 1988; the alleged rapist now being the Federal Atty-General; the alleged victim is dead, having taken her own life last year.

The cover-up for the rape of Brittany Higgins, the young female Liberal staffer has been astonishing. The resistance of Morrison to call an independent inquiry amidst strong and widespread public outcry on the fitness or otherwise of Christian Porter to continue as Atty-General has been mind-boggling. 

The PM stated that the minister should be afforded natural justice, that he is entitled to a presumption of innocence, just like everybody else under the law. 

These two scandals have the potential to bring down the government.  Had the rape incident not been swept under the carpet, Morrison would not have shouted “I believe in miracle” when he claimed victory.  If Christian Porter resigned as an MP, the resulting by-election would not be pretty given the outcome of the recent WA election where the LNP has been but almost obliterated.

So now, we have an alleged rapist of an Atty-General and a Defence Minister who cannot defend women in her rank. 

Sadly, we have now become a laughing stock in the international community.

Modern Slavery

I don’t watch A Current Affair on Channel Nine because of the show’s penchant for exaggeration and sensationalism for the sake of ratings.

But their recent report on modern-day slavery in suburban Brisbane left me furious.

A number of Filipino workers on 457-visa have been reported to be working for a welding company owned by a powerful multi-millionaire businessman who has sponsored them to come to Australia.  The workers’ claim of atrociously long and gruelling working hours and being housed in shocking accommodation was bad enough.  They are also obliged to clean the boss’s mansion and garden, his swimming pool, his cars, and his yacht gratis. Otherwise, they felt they would get sacked.

They have remained silent over their maltreatment because of the boss’s promise of permanent residency.

In a clear secretly-taped confrontational conversation, the boss sounded rude and arrogant, used foul and unprintable words, and did not show any humane consideration for his workers. 

The Current Affairs crew confronted the man who jumped into his van to avoid the tv camera but not before reversing into and damaging their car.

Modern slavery is alive in Australia.

JobKeeper or MatesKeeper?

In March last year, the Federal Government introduced JobKeeper to help struggling businesses affected by Covid19 keep their workers. 

The billions of dollars from the government were not meant to go to companies that have in fact prospered and profited despite Covid19.

But the government did not do anything when they discovered that a number of companies had rorted the scheme despite the business’s successes, conveniently forgetting that the money would have helped hundreds of thousands of workers who didn’t have enough to live on.

Certain successful ethical companies returned the JobKeeper money.  But there are well known companies owned by the mega-rich who shamelessly kept the JobKeeper money which helped them post huge profits and declare dividends for their shareholders and pay bonuses for their executives. 

Never has this quote been truer: “the world has enough to feed the poor but not enough to satisfy the rich”!

March 4 Justice

On Monday 15th March 2021, an estimated one hundred thousand mostly women marched peacefully all across Australia demanding equality for women, end of sexual violence, and other issues affecting them.  Plenty of men and children plus a few MPs from both sides of politics including the Greens also attended. 

Not one senior minister including the Minister for Women Marise Payne joined the crowd in front of the Parliament.

The organisers demanded that the PM meet with them outside.  Scott Morrison declined. Instead, he issued an invitation that he would meet with them in his parliamentary office.

The organisers refused the invitation and insisted that the PM should show himself.  Morrison spoke in Parliament and said in part: “Lucky, ours is a vibrant democracy.  Not far from here, marchers are met with bullets”!

By this crass statement, Morrison has displayed his contempt for women and his utter arrogance towards the Australian people. 

But most disturbing is the sign that the Australian PM has unwittingly outed himself as a closet dictator.