Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here’s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.


 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate

Subscribe!
Subscribe





On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.
___________

Syndicate
RSS/XML


RSS 2.0

Australia's Julia Gillard is no feminist hero

By John Pilger - posted Wednesday, 17 October 2012


The Guardian's description of Australia's opposition leader Tony Abbott as "neanderthal" is not unreasonable. Misogyny is an Australian blight and a craven reality in political life. But for so many commentators around the world to describe Julia Gillard's attack on Abbott as a "turning point for Australian women" is absurd.

Promoted by glass-ceiling feminists with scant interest in the actual politics and actions of their hero, Gillard is the embodiment of the Australian Labor Party machine -- a numbers-crunching machine long bereft of principle that has betrayed Australia's most vulnerable people, especially women.

Shortly before Gillard's lauded rant against Abbott, her government forced through legislation that stripped A$100 from the poorest single parents - almost all of them women. Even Labor's own caucus reportedly regarded this as "cruel".

Advertisement

But that is nothing compared with Gillard's attacks on Aboriginal people, who remain Australia's dirty secret, suffering preventable diseases such as trachoma (blindness in children), which has been eliminated in much of the developing world, and scourges that hark back to Dickensian England, such as rheumatic heart disease, even leprosy.

I have seen Aboriginal homes in which 30 people are forced to live, because the government refuses to build public housing for them. Indigenous young people are incarcerated in Australian prisons at five times the rate of black South Africans during the apartheid era.

Gillard has continued with gusto the authoritarian and medacious 2007 "emergency intervention" designed to push Aboriginal Australians off their valuable land and box them into "hub centres": a version of apartheid. She and her indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin have implemented this inhumanity in defiance of international law.

In a speech last year, Gillard, like most of her predecessors, blamed the victims of Australia's unresolved rapacious past and present.

I have just spent several months in Aboriginal Australia; and the views I have gathered from remarkable, despairing, eloquent indigenous women of Gillard and her "feminisim" are mostly unknown or ignored or dismissed in this country.

Watching Gillard address the United Nations last month and claim that Australia embraced "the highest ideals" of human rights law was satirical, to say the least. Australia has been repeatedly condemned by the UN for its racism.

Advertisement

Gillard came to power by plotting secretly with an all-male cabal to depose the elected prime minister Kevin Rudd.

Two of her conspirators, according to diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, sought inspiration in the US embassy where Gillard enjoyed an unusually high approval rating. This was understandable.

Her views on aggressive war might be described as neanderthal if they were not Victorian; referring to the dispatch of Australian colonial troops to Sudan in 1885 to avenge a popular uprising against the British, she described the forgotten bloody farce as "not only a test of wartime courage, but a test of character that has helped define our nation and create the sense of who we are."

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All


Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

27 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with del.icio.us Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Australian-born John Pilger is a multi-award winning journalist and documentary film maker. On November 4, John Pilger received the Sydney Peace Prize, Australia’s international human rights award. A Secret Country, his best-selling history of Australia published 20 years ago, remains in print (Vintage Books).

Other articles by this Author

All articles by John Pilger

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of John Pilger
Article Tools
Comment 27 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend
Advertisement

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy