If Australia was a country that cared about women, this government would be gone
(Source: The Project, AAP Image / Paul Bravan)

Today I feel sad.  This week the country has had my female back.  But I know this will fade; all will be forgotten until the next horror surfaces and the cycle starts again.

How do I know this?

Because if we were a country that cared about women, Scott Morrison and the Coalition Government would be gone. Yesterday.

This is not about Brittany Higgins. It’s not even about the people involved in this one shocking incident. Although every day more information is coming to light and the cover-ups and lies are horrifying, enraging and damning.

Sacking Reynolds, Cash and the Fixer is not going to solve this. Because it’s about more than them.

This is about a Coalition government that consistently finds itself central to criminal, ethical and moral actions and rumours that have a common theme; women are not valued. We are props rolled out when it is politically advantageous then shoved aside when the spotlight disappears.

In fact, I get the impression the Libs thinks their use and abuse of women is a great joke. Well, it was, until their political lives were suddenly on the line.

In June 2020, when questioned about the lack of health services in Yass Valley and the resulting roadside births, our Prime Minister joked that this is why he allocated funds to upgrade the highway.  And everyone on the Right laughed and laughed because it was so funny.

This is a party that can’t even be bothered addressing inequality within its own ranks. It refuses to recognise barriers women face and hides behind the “merit” argument. If this is the best they’ve got in the Coalition, merit must be based upon appalling financial waste, cruelty and a sense of superiority.

If we don’t have an inequality problem, Australian women must be particularly unintelligent, lazy and apathetic and our men are unusually brilliant go-getters.  Surprising, considering women are actually more educated.  Although we don’t get the benefit of the private school boys club, we do get to enter the workforce with more educational debt then have our career curtailed anyway because we don’t have that one qualification that counts; a dick.

If I’m not right why do we have more CEOs named John than women?

Australian women lag in virtually every societal measure available. From parliament to business, we lack that special something men can’t seem to define but women can clearly see. Our health is impacted by medical bias, we are responsible for the majority of unpaid work (dinner anyone?) and we the recipients of a domestic violence epidemic we didn’t create.

Australia ranks sixth in the Global Human Development Index, but 42nd when you take out the men.

In recent years Mr Morrison and his Government have dropped any pretence of care. They’ve decided inequality isn’t even worth measuring and they certainly got rid of those pesky old targets without a thought.

I want to rip out my hair every time Tim Wilson posts about the evils of superannuation destroying the Australian home ownership dream. And I wanted to cry when Josh Frydenberg decided accessing super was a great way for people to survive a pandemic.

Women are not only paid 13.9% to 19% less than our male counterparts, we are far more likely to be kettled into financially under-valued industries like aged-care, and we are much much much less likely to get our hands on senior management roles and salaries. Not to mention all that unpaid work. It shows how little we are valued, and it directly impacts the quality of our retirement. 

Josh Frydenberg knows women have been disproportionately impacted by Covid. He knows we have less super. But gosh darn it, if he was going to lose his precious claim that we were “in the black” he was going to take the women of Australia down with him.

Leadership comes from the top. Every man in Australia sees and hears our Prime Minister  and his Cabinet devalue women daily. Every snide remark and dud policy gives tacit permission to treat us as lesser humans; in the workforce, at home and out in the streets. While many many men will not pick up what this Government puts down, the ones that do see that wink and nod and beats the shit out of his partner if dinner is late.

This is no small problem.

I wanted to vomit this week as I watched our illustrious leaders in government lower their voice, dip their head, choke back tears and pretend they gave a stuff about Ms Higgins and the safety of women in Australia.

Thankfully Australia was in no mood.

The real tragedy is this outrage will fade and nothing will change.

Ms Higgins name will join a long list of names; Hannah Clarke, Aya Maasarwe, Eurydice Dixon, Jill Meagher, Rosie Batty and so many more.

One in three women experience physical violence, one in five have endured sexual violence and one women a week is murdered. The statistics are even worse for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

Meanwhile women watched as the Federal Government threw everything they had changing laws and behaviours as a result of king hits, nay coward punches; a crime that killed 127 men between 2000 and 2016. We know where we sit on the pecking order. 

Guys – you are surrounded by women that have experienced some level of abuse. Nobody cares.

And it’s not getting better.  It is getting worse. Every day I wake up I am less safe than I was yesterday and the day before that and the day before that.

Australia women have been groomed to believe we deserve this. We deserve less. And this message comes directly from the hallowed halls of Parliament.

But we do have power. Not the power to endure, but to force change.

In 1975, women in Iceland went on strike. 90% downed tools, dumped housework and left the kids at home with Dad. They completely, utterly and totally deserted their posts.

One year later legislation was passed guaranteeing equal pay. Five years later they swore-in the world’s first democratically-elected presidential female leader.

Every single woman in Australia is acutely aware that we have a problem; and it is protected, nurtured and enhanced by the Morrison Government.

At what point do we say enough is enough? Mainstream media and the ABC are more interested in Victorian Premier Dan Andrew’s “Covid failings” and a nebuliser than they are Ms Higgins rape and the subsequent appalling scandalous revelations that just keep coming.

When do we turn our back on a government that actively elevates inequality and ignores an escalating epidemic of domestic violence?

At what point do we force change?

When will we channel the rage we feel for the names we know and demand more so we don’t have to learn the names of those that will inevitably follow?

Today I feel sad.  This week the country has had my female back.  But I know this will fade; all will be forgotten until the next horror surfaces and the cycle starts again.

I just hope the next name isn’t mine.

#WilliBeNext


This article was updated on Monday 22nd February to clarify that Iceland had the first democratically elected *presidential* leader



WRITTEN BY

The Chaser Quarterly
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