Geoff Shaw's Last Chance To Make A Difference


It is easy to criticise maverick Victorian state MP Geoff Shaw. It is easy to write him off as a crackpot, or an obstructionist bastard, or a nasty little crazy-eyed tossbag with a stupid beard. All of these things are very easy to say, so it’s no wonder we all find ourselves saying them so often.

But in his current campaign against Victoria’s abortion laws, maybe we should take a moment to stop and listen to Geoff Shaw. I know, even suggesting we listen to Geoff Shaw sounds idiotic, but bear with me.

Shaw is attempting to change the state’s abortion laws because, in his words, they are “some of the worst in the world”. I know what you’re thinking: hahahahahahaha shut up. But again, let’s consider this soberly.

Victorian law requires doctors who have a conscientious objection to abortion to refer patients to another doctor without such an objection. Now is that really fair? If someone asked you to hack their head off with an axe, and you refused, would it really be just if the law required you to give them the phone number of an axe murderer? Geoff Shaw says no. The Victorian government says yes, apparently.

I realise that not everybody thinks abortion is the same as axe murder, but you’ve got to admit there is a sizeable, passionate, somewhat twitchy segment of the community that does. And is it really concordant with democratic ideals to dismiss such views just because we deem them “non-mainstream” or “hilarious”? That’s not for me to say; it is merely for me to strongly imply.

It’s possible that people might be more sympathetic to Shaw’s push for abortion reform if they more fully understood just what abortion entails. Everyone understands that it means the reckless slaughter of the innocent, of course, but did you know that abortions are often the result of sex?

This, I think, puts a different complexion on things, and if the correlation between abortion and sex were more widely known, we may see a turnaround in public attitudes. The fear, of course, is that if, through our lax laws, we are making abortions just too much fun to have, women might start having sex just so they can have an abortion.

This is already happening in many areas: reliable studies from the Fred Nile Institute Of Not-Quite-Right Smiles (FIONQRS) have found that up to 40 per cent of women now name “getting an abortion” as the number one reason for engaging in the act of physical love.

That’s the fear of Geoff Shaw, and just for a minute, let’s look at it from his point of view. Here is a hardworking, God-fearing man who has dedicated his life to a simple dream: protecting society from the nightmare of consequence-free sexual intercourse.

He is, in many ways, a crusader — a crusader for the upholding of public morals and the right of politicians to use cars for whatever they want to. And although his weapons may not be the sword or the spear, but instead the private member’s bill and the threat to cause legislative gridlock, is he not just as noble and praiseworthy a warrior as those crusaders who sought to get brown people into heaven all those years ago?

Imagine you are Geoff Shaw. Shunned by both sides of politics, banished to crossbench wilderness, persecuted for your sincere belief in unconventional privilege use, a martyr to the rights of the individual, you see your time is running short. You know the dark forces massed against you will soon conspire to put an end to your career, to silence the one lonely voice willing to speak up for the rights of the unborn and the upwardly mobile backbencher.

You have one last chance to really make a difference, to change the course of history, to create a better society where all life is respected and where the bastards who screwed you over get screwed right back. How could anyone with a conscience, anyone with a heart, anyone who was charged with fraud and then had those charges suddenly withdrawn, anyone who compares homosexual sex to child molestation, fail to take the courageous decision to make the process of obtaining an abortion a more difficult and unpleasant experience? Wouldn’t you?

So before you condemn Geoff Shaw for his archaic views, unappealing personality, or general creepiness, think about whether you want a society built on upright morality and laissez-faire requirements for parliamentary car usage, or a society founded on mass child murder and damp underpants and the hounding of innocent people who like to drive.

It’s really up to you. Write or tweet to your local MP to let them know that when it comes to abortion, you want it to be a bit harder than it already is. Let’s get back to the values that made us great.

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.