Thursday, 15 August 2013

There are some remarks which

would be better left unsaid. I have no doubt that the Opposition Leader's remark about one of the candidates having "sex appeal" is one of them. No doubt he regrets it.
Did he mean it as anything other than a compliment? No. I doubt even his critics could honestly say that but naturally they have made much of it. After all the man has been called a misogynist and now he is being called a lecher as well. Can you be both? It makes no difference to his critics.
They also demean him with continued remarks about his "budgie smugglers" (a brief bathing suit if you have not come across the term).  Apparently that is fine even though the derogatory term would extend to all men who wear that style.
It will probably never matter what the Opposition Leader says or does, he will always be referred to in a derogatory fashion by some. They will say he deserves it. They will say it of a man whose manners are such that he opens doors for women, sees to it that the person he is speaking to also has a cup of tea and thanks the person who provides the tea.
Those sort of manners are apparently considered "old fashioned" by some. They were considered to be that by some when I was at Law School. I can remember our first "lecture" at Law School. It was more in the nature of an information session. The staff who would be teaching us in the first year were introduced. We were told about the library and the importance of keeping up with the required reading, where to go for help and so on.
And we were also told about manners.  I know many students were surprised but there are certain customs which have to be respected in the courts. You stand up when the judge or magistrate enters. You are appropriately dressed when you do so. You do not speak out of turn and you use the accepted form of address. There are other rules as well but these relate to good manners.
And, we were told, there were rules in the Law School too. They also related to manners. Men would open doors for women and, conversely, if a man was carrying a load of those law volumes a woman would open a door for a man. We would, both staff and students, treat one another with respect. If we were visiting the courts at any time we would dress appropriately and follow the rules.
I know there was a small group of women who did not like that. They prided themselves on being "rad-fems", women with a strident feminist leaning. They wore bib and brace overalls and they objected to a great many things.
I did not mix with them. They did not do the cause of sexual equality any good.. If anything they did some harm. They were not generally liked even by those, and that meant most of us, who genuinely believed and still believe in sexual equality. I doubt they see the harm they did even now. They were already supposedly "mature age" students, mostly students who had come back to university after having children.
There was nothing very mature about their behaviour. There is nothing very mature about the behaviour of those criticising the Leader of the Opposition now, especially while ignoring the poor manners of some other politicians, especially the Prime Minister.
In the end these critics will do more harm than good both to themselves and the cause they are trying to promote.
Perhaps a little more caution on one side and a little more respect on the other, and vice versa, might help everyone.


Sue Bursztynski said...

And would Tony Abbott have said a male candidate had sex appeal? It was stupid and foot-in-mouth. I'm not saying there aren't others on the other side, including the PM, who have said equally stupid things, but he deserves the laughter at his expense. And ask yourself, quite apart from his attitudes to industrial relations and education, would you really want a PM who wants the job as badly as this one? He frightens me!

Anonymous said...

And the present Prime Minister does not scare you Sue? He spent three years undermining Julia Gillard because he wanted what he saw as "his" job back. He is still not (and probably never will be) a team player. He has reduced more than one member of staff to tears. He uses foul language and can be very abrupt and sometimes downright rude to people. He treats many people with contempt.
We do need changes to our industrial relations system if Australia is going to compete - especially in the Asian region which is where are politicians tell us we belong. Spending money may be Labor's way of "fixing" education - just the way they did with school halls - but it is not going to solve the problems. Better teacher training and mentoring will help - and that is what the Coalition is apparently aiming for. No doubt they will be halted in their tracks by political correctness.
I assume you intend to vote Labor - as is your right - but perhaps you could reconsider just what our present IR and education polices are actually doing to the country. I won't say the Coalition has the answers - far from it - but they are not what many make them out to be. (And no, I do not work for them but I do observe both sides at first hand.) Chris

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with Chris - Rudd will do and say anything to win the election but that might be as far as anything goes. If we have another hung parliament he will do whatever deals he needs to in order to retain power. It was a mistake to get rid of Gillard. They should have worked on making her appear more human. Ros