“He doesn’t need a motion… he needs a mirror.” – PM Julia Gillard, 9 October, 2012
misogyny |məˈsäjənē|nounthe hatred of women by men: she felt she was struggling against thinly disguised misogyny.
sexism |ˈsekˌsizəm|nounprejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex.
This is discrimination.
discrimination |disˌkriməˈnāSHən|noun1 the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, esp. on the grounds of race, age, or sex: victims of racial discrimination | discrimination against homosexuals.
It’s time to take responsibility for our words and actions, Australia.
And it starts on an individual level. With me. With you. Within your local community.
Local council elections are coming up this month and as an adult in Australia it is your right and your responsibility to vote in these elections. But so little attention is paid to the candidates and their policies, almost nobody reading this will know the names of those standing in their electorate, let alone what benefits they may have to offer their municipality.
While the newspapers cover the trivial pursuits and scandals of the election of Melbourne’s Lord Mayor, only a line or two is spent identifying what they are offering; a free tram down Swanston Street, more CCTV cameras, increased personal at taxi ranks in the CBD, a revamp of Queen Victoria Market. And what ever happened to discussion? These days, there seems to be little discussion in politics. It’s all about policies, intention of actions “if” the speaker was in parliament/a state to act upon them, and nothing gets done. Power relations are natural and healthy. But domination is not. And neither is this lack of any legitimate debate that we are paying witness to and allowing to continue.
It is ironic. The two major political parties in Australia claim so many of the same opinions and are so similar in the way they act on policies and decisions, it’s almost as if the public’s right to decide who runs the country is unnecessary, as they all bat for the one team. But within this team, with so many fears; of migrants, of homosexuality, of China and of The Economy as an entity, all they seem to do is fight. Literally, fight. They hold the same stances, but they fight. It makes no sense. If we are to get anywhere as a nation in this increasingly globalised world, we need to partake in healthy debate. This means we need multiple parties with enough distinction between them to make having a Government and an Opposition a reality.
When the gay marriage bill was knocked back only weeks ago, Liberals were not given the option of speaking on behalf of themselves. Just because one belongs to a group, a party, a committee, does not mean they hold all of the same values as their fellow members. In a democracy it is our right to vote as an individual. What example are those battling to govern our country setting for those coming into ourselves, into adulthood, about freedom of choice and self-responsibility?
And then there’s Mr Slipper. Deputy Speaker. His real text messages revealed today are despicable. And Mr Abbott has not an association but a friendship with this man.
The government is not “dying of shame” but something needs to change.
Now, I know better than to think it realistic we all finish reading this post and fly away as transformed angels. That would be irresponsible in itself. But I urge you to make a conscious decision about who you vote for, what you say and what you do. Your actions can have repercussions far beyond the arena in which you make them. Far beyond the time in which it is said or done. And with so much hatred in this world, it is our responsibility to reflect on how we behave and the implications those behaviours have on those around us.
The Australian Government may lead our country, but we do not have to follow in their footsteps. Some motions are made in good nature, others are not. But it is up to us to protest and make it known that we do not support those that dismiss or ignore the rights or needs of the Australian population. The government’s fears for Australia do not necessarily represent the fears of Australians. What happened to “We are one but we are many, and from all the lands on earth we come”?
If we really “share[d] a dream” and opened our hearts, and if leaders and the people of nations worldwide did the same, I have no doubt we would be living in a world with less hate, less discrimination, less misogyny, less sexism, racism, terrorism and significantly lesser threats to humanity and our lives as we live them.
Think before you speak. Contemplate the possible reaction to your action before making it. And please, take responsibility for what is yours. It really is the least you can do in a time of such mistrust and public deception.
I am not in support of either party, but rather in favour of personal responsibility. Support my motion and act with integrity and respect.