Thursday, 2 June 2011

"And miaou to you from me too!"

is what I want to say to some of our politicians this morning.
Perhaps I should be more sympathetic because I know Senate Estimates Committees are not the most exciting thing in the world. Most of the time they are, to put it mildly, boring. Nevertheless part of the Senate's job is to review expenditure etc. It has to be done.
Most of the time the committee work limps along but, once in a while, things explode. Yesterday one of the Labor (government) senators, a female, made a snide remark. A Coalition (opposition) senator, a male, responded with "meow".
It may not have been very polite but it was, in parliamentary terms, very mild. The female senator however, sensing a chance to make a point, proceeded to make an issue of it. It was, so she claimed, sexist. The men, she also claimed, were permitted to defend themselves but ther women were not. She demanded, and got, an apology but that was not enough. The issue was then raised in parliament and question time once again degenerated into a slanging match over the incident.
Our parliament is on a knife edge and also on the nose. It is held in place by the grace of the so-called "independents". This is not a happy state of affairs. The notion that the female members of parliament are not permitted (or able) to defend themselves however is nonsense. Our Prime Minister is more than capable and, so it seems, is the Senator in question. She was street-smart enough to see a chance to make an issue of something and took it.
Was it sexist? A male acquaintance of mine looked totally bewildered when it was mentioned last night.
"I just said something I probably should not have said and my wife said meow to me!"


Anonymous said...


I am wondering if purrs are sexist too!

Judy B

catdownunder said...

Now that's a thought Judy!

Jayne said...

She sounds like quite a smart Senator - as you say, she saw the chance to make an issue of something and went for it. Is it sexist? In the context you have described, I think it was. Would the Coalition senator have responded with a 'meow' had it been a male senator making a snide remark? Probably not, eh?

Anonymous said...

She had just been far more impolite Jayne - and her boss (female PM) called one of the male opposition a "mincing poodle" and nobody accused her of sexism.
Cat is right. This was used as political point scoring. Sexism had nothing to do with it. I was a student under this woman and she could put male students down with far worse than this. Chris

widdershins said...

Just catching up with the tail end of this and was wondering if the whole kerfuffle had anything (either way) to do with Penny being an out lesbian?

Anonymous said...

Penny is (a) female (b) Chinese and (c) lesbian. Anything negative said to her or about her is usually construed as being (a) sexist (b) racist and (c) homophobic. She uses that reaction. Unfortunately it just screws things up even more and makes it much harder for other women, other ethnic identities and others in same sex relationships. (Our neighbours are a male couple and you could not hope to meet nicer, kinder guys but they have no time for her behaviour.) Chris