The Greatest Victim Of Them All


Look. I am not generally in the habit of objectifying women. I am no leering dinosaur of the Carry On era, no hairy drooling Footy Show-style wood-ape, lumbering around the streets, wolf-whistling at young ladies and demanding mounted policewomen show me their fetlocks. It is just not my style. Women, to me, are so much more than sexual objects, and I enjoy every facet of the dazzlingly fine-cut diamond that is femininity.

Most of my best friends are either women or wear a dress, and I’ve found they tend to not only have bodies, but also minds, feelings, and mouths to talk with. A lot of men don’t realise this, and they miss out on a lot of great conversations and intense, staring silences because of it. I am not like those men. I am a woman connoisseur.

But there are times when with the best will in the world, a man cannot help but fall prey to base animal instincts and look upon a woman with pure, undiluted lust. And for me, that time arrived this week, when I watched Julia Gillard stand in the House of Representatives and berate Tony Abbott with such unbridled-yet-dignified ferocity that I achieved orgasm an unspecified number of times in the 15 minutes it took her to finish speaking.

It was so arousing I had to take up smoking for the first because it didn’t feel right to watch it without having a cigarette at the end. I deleted all the porn off my hard drive, because now I’ve got the only video I’ll ever need.

I’d never realised this before, but there is simply nothing sexier than seeing a female prime minister verbally tearing the leader of the opposition a new cloaca for a quarter of an hour, letting loose several years worth of pent-up frustration and righteous anger, gazing at him with the cold, steely eyes of a killer who has just stepped on a spider and is so angry at the mess it made of her shoe that she’s going to shoot it in the head before hunting down its entire family and burning them alive.

I don’t know if it works with any opposition leader, or just with Tony Abbott. But seeing his face as he gradually retreated into his Safe Place, where he is the lord of the manor at Downton Abbey and the only thing he has to worry about is World War 1, was for me a moment of intense full-body euphoria I have hitherto only approached with the assistance of a 2001 Bardot calendar and a length of industrial hose. Abbott must have never before wished so fervently to have been born in a simpler time, before women were allowed to point at men in public.

But look, let’s leave aside how undoubtedly impressive Gillard was when blasting the LOTO over his sexism. Let’s leave aside how exciting it was to see the PM off the chain and going Dirty Harry on the Westminster System. Let’s leave aside my numerous blisters. It’s easy to get dazzled by flashy rhetoric in the political game. How well we remember the way Mark Latham surged in the polls as we fell in love with his bold, dashing style, only to be brought back to reality with a thud when it was revealed that all along he’d actually been a family of tiger quolls in a suit.

The question isn’t, was Gillard impressive/arousing? The question is, was she being fair? Was it fair of her to label Tony Abbott a misogynist based on nothing more than the flimsy evidence of his own words, actions and personality? Shouldn’t she have weighed the facts a bit more prudently before going off half-cocked (sidenote: it’d be pretty hot to hear Julia say "half-cocked")? Well if she won’t, maybe we can.

FACT: Tony Abbott is the only leader of a major political party in Australia who is willing to hurl more enormous splodges of cash into the faces of working mothers than Julia Gillard. Take careful note of that: Julia Gillard has proclaimed herself UNWILLING to spend more on maternity leave than Julia Gillard.

FACT: Tony Abbott loves women so much he has three daughters. Julia Gillard hates women so much she can’t bring herself to have even one.

FACT: Tony Abbott’s wife says he is a feminist. It is telling indeed that Tony Abbott’s wife has thus far remained completely silent on Julia Gillard’s feminist credentials. Can it be that she just can’t find anything positive to say?

FACT: When Julia Gillard insults Tony Abbott, the top of Paul Sheehan’s head flies off and explodes spectacularly in the night sky. This is a sign of deep injustice.

FACT: Tony Abbott refuses to let his wife watch the football, insisting that Downton Abbey is the only programme allowed in his house at any time. On the other hand, Gillard spends most of her time watching wrestling, and never lets Tim watch Downton. As Downton Abbey is a show which women like to watch because it has ladies in dresses in it, Abbott thus has a unique understanding of the hopes and dreams of the modern woman.

FACT: Tony Abbott’s chief of staff is Peta "Peter" Credlin, and his Deputy Leader is Julie Bishop, demonstrating that he has no problem whatsoever with allowing strong independent women to work for him. Conversely, Julia Gillard’s deputy leader is Wayne "the Foreskin" Swan, a man who is almost masculine in his maleness.

FACT: Tony Abbott was outraged that Peter Slipper thinks vaginas are seafood, whereas Gillard doesn’t care whether every woman in Australia has her feelings hurt by the Speaker’s vicious allegations that they’re packing bivalves in their scanties.

FACT: Christopher Pyne has never been so outraged.

In the face of all these facts, can we continue believing that Gillard’s tirade — however effective in stirring the blood and steaming the windows — was truly justified? Should we really be joining the dogpile that she and her hench-handbags have initiated upon this kind, gentle man, a man so desperate to improve life for working mums that he is willing to undergo the supreme sacrifice of being prime minister in order to achieve it, a man who is so angered by the patriarchy that he punches walls in rage whenever he is reminded of it?

Or should we rather be recognising that the serpent of sexism lies not in the bosom of Tony Abbott, who has gone to hell and back in his efforts to hold the government to account while simultaneously maintaining excellent muscle tone and finding someone to do his ironing; but rather, it is coiled within the bosom of the government itself, which masks its true self behind the façade of women, so that we don’t realise until it’s too late that so far from being a utopian hotbed of feminist idealism, the Australian Labor Party is an organisation entirely dedicated to the systemic mockery of lady-parts.

And suddenly, Gillard’s speech doesn’t seem so arousing. Suddenly it seems sinister and brutal and savage and full of ominous portent, and we realise there is only one victim in all of this, and it is the fresh-faced innocent sitting across from the prime minister, crying on the inside at the torrent of abuse and wondering just why he bothers, but knowing he has to keep going, for the sake of his three daughters, and his country, and his heir Matthew, and Mr Bates his faithful valet. For the sake of us all, he just has to keep going.

Well OK, her speech still seems very arousing, but still.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.