The misogynist Crikey:

Valerie Lewis writes: Re. “Bagging the gallery isn’t the whole story on the leadership ‘beat-up’” (yesterday, item 1). Bernard Keane wrote:

“As Laura Tingle noted in her pointed response to Media Watch, recent events have not been brought about by journalists tub-thumping for a spill or any backgrounding of journalists by Kevin Rudd or his supporters, but by Julia Gillard’s dire polling, perceived lack of trustworthiness and lack of political judgment.”

Question: who is Keane, or Laura Tingle for that matter, the ultimate arbiter/decision maker to state, as if it were some fact, that recent events are brought about by one and not the other? Recent events do not boil down to some either/or situation, but more likely a both/and.

Watch the binaries please, we expect top journalism and commentary from Crikey, not judgments. Opinions are just that, and if they are informed they are not likely to cast  complex events into such simplistic binaries.

Beth Saunders, mother of sons who are pretty damn proud of our first female Prime Minister, writes: It’s been clear for some time that the peculiar anti-PM Gillard bias emanating from a sub-class of males across the spectrum is characteristic of the frustrated reaction a certain class of bloke have always displayed towards those women cleverer and tougher than themselves. Fact of life! Ask any bright girl who’s copped it at school from frustrated boy underachievers. (So-o-o early Antipodean!).

This article reeks of species Homo Unevolved. Enlightened males who have evolved, hence often themselves victims of monstering by their Neanderthal brothers, will be quietly nodding.  Time to face up, grow up and man up, chaps;  “man” as in was when the noun was a synonym for courage, decency, wisdom and innate respect for others.

Colin Ross writes: In Bernard Keane’s defence of the media’s so-called obsession with leadership, he has slid out from underneath from what me and my friends think is the real problem — it is the media’s obsession with polls. Every national and state newspaper seems to have an “exclusive poll” every week, which saves many journalists doing any fresh and investigative work and means they can fill their copy with banal speculation.

Incidentally, it could be instructive to know the precise wording of the various poll questions. Perhaps there could be a retrospective showing of that wonderful episode of Yes Prime Minister where Sir Humphrey questions Jim Hacker on whether the government should reintroduce national service.

Niall Clugston writes: A lot of your commentary seems to be premised on a dichotomy of leadership or policy. But they need each other. Leadership without policy is directionless, policy without leadership mere rhetoric.

As neither Rudd nor Gillard are strong on principles, they need to be judged on their leadership qualities. This isn’t personal: it’s practical.

Finally, a lot of the debate has condemned factionalism. But part of Labor’s current crisis is that neither Rudd nor Gillard have strong factional support.  Factions tend to produce medieval leadership: hardened warriors with a loyal band behind them. Neither “one K Rudd” or the “real Julia” fit the bill.

John Sved writes: Bernard Keane mentioned Julia Gillard’s “perceived lack of trustworthiness and lack of political judgment”. I’m a Green voter, and maybe therefore I am too focused on the legislation passed by the current government. However whenever I see Gillard, e.g. in interviews, on Q&A, she always comes across as the opposite of the above remark.

Would it be possible to attempt some sort of case-by-case analysis of her negatives and positives to see if the “lack of trust and lack of political judgement” labels are really deserved.  Or are we just being influenced by the many in the Murdoch media and Coalition who have a vested interest in preserving this?

Dean Ellis writes: Re. Yesterday’s Editorial. Bernard Keane and Guy Rundle are the reasons I subscribe to Crikey. Bernard’s reporting of the leadership spill was not “misogynistic”; to say so is simply rubbish.

Bernard’s reporting may be overwrought at times in a way that betrays a fraternal frustration with the Keystones Cops bungling of the PM’s and other MP’s offices, but it is not misogynistic.

It might be a positive sign of the times that an educated readership misidentifies “misogyny” because bona fide examples are thankfully few and far between.

Bob Smith writes:  I definitely do not see Crikey and Bernard Keane as attacking the PM as a woman. As PM she has problems because of politics and policy. If she now has a real go at fixing them up, I expect a shift in the story line. In other words: no problem; stand your ground.

Martyn Smith writes: Re. “So why does everyone ignore the polls?” (yesterday, item 13). I share Charles’ conspiracy theories;  remember “The fact that one is paranoid and suspect that someone is following you doesn’t mean that they aren’t.”

A conspiracy is, of course, supposed to be a secret and these attacks are out in the open. I cannot remember any government that has had such a hammering … not even Whitlam’s.  All media outlets should be ashamed of their role in this “beat-up” and like the rest of Crikey‘s readers I hope you will lift your game.

Kim Lockwood writes: As I said late last year, “a stomach-churning soap opera of self-interest”. And you can bet your life it’s not over yet. Hey, is Days of Our Lives over yet?

Superannuation :

Andrew Whiley writes: Re. “Cox: Labor losing votes by neglecting social policy initiatives” (yesterday, item 11). Once more Eva Cox takes an ill-considered and deeply ignorant swipe at Australia’s universal superannuation system. She continues to ignore the reduction in contribution caps, (in itself an equity measure), damns with the very faintest of praise the contributions tax rebate for low-income earners and re-iterates her muddle-headed opposition to lifting super contributions to 12% by 2019.

Once more in Crikey she repeats the economically innumerate view that superannuation is of no value for women and low-income earners. In the world of Evanomics, the ability of low-paid and women workers to amass personal savings over their lifetime via the SG is simply sidestepped as an inconvenient fact.

Quoting Treasury for back up simply won’t wash. They opposed the SG at its inception in 1992 and have opposed it ever since. Having Eva join the two-decade-long chorus of “It may work in practice but it will never work in theory” simply adds a discordant note to a discredited tune. Our retirement incomes system, with a means-tested pension, compulsory savings and private savings is among the best in the world. By no means is it perfect, but it sure as hell gives Australia a solid foundation and policy options that most OECD nations simply do not have now and will not have in 2020 or 2030.

Eva, give it a rest. Building dignity and security in retirement for our citizens in the decades ahead is obviously not your forte. Stick to what you do actually understand.

Alternatively if you want to improve equity in super, concentrate on two outstanding issues that need attention. First, abolition of the $450 monthly earnings threshold that impacts predominantly on the low-paid, casual and women workers. Secondly, the most egregious and unsustainable superannuation decision of the Howard-Costello years, that is the tax free treatment of super pensions after 60.

In pursuing reform in this area you just may find a wider support base than just Treasury.

John Richardson writes: Thanks Eva Cox for expressing exactly how I feel about Julia Gillard and the current Labor government: totally disappointed.

Peter Fray

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