Gender political wars

John Shailer writes: Re. “Cox to Gillard: take gender distractions off the menu” (yesterday). In a desperate ploy to distract her panicked, knife-wielding MPs, Julia Gillard renews her spurious gender attack against Tony Abbott (and all males wearing blue ties).  I was a member of a service club with Tony, who was instrumental in having women accepted as members.  He has surrounded himself with talented women, and this year his “Pollies Pedal” charity raised $148,000 for the Manly Womens Shelter.

In contrast, Julia has repaid Rudd-executioner David Feeney with endorsement  for a safe seat against a well-qualified female candidate.  Her hypocrisy is breathtaking!

Marie Coleman writes: Let us be very clear indeed: while regulation of abortion does indeed sit with states and territories (most but not all of whom have removed it to various degrees from their Criminal Codes), loss of Commonwealth funding through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and Medicare Benefits Schedule would bring access to abortion crashing back to the sixties. The PM is correct to point this out. Has everyone forgotten the Madigan Bill now in the Senate?

Martin Gordon writes: Politics is sometimes about creating differences when they really don’t exist. The Gillard blue tie speech is definitively targeted on the faithful amongst women. Several Gillard claims are not completely true. For example equal pay for women first came from a 1969 arbitration case, not Whitlam, childcare was first provided under the McMahon Coalition government in 1972, and it’s the ALP that has actually cut childcare rebates of late rather than the Coalition.

The much lauded Maternity Allowance specifically excluded Aboriginal Australian, Asian, Pacific Islander and Papuan women, which Gillard did not mention. As well the claim Labor leads on women issues flies in the face of history, the first women MPs in all states were all Liberals. It is only in recent decades there are any serious number of ALP women in parliament at all. In 1980 there were no ALP women in the NSW House of Assembly for example (while the only woman there was the Deputy Liberal leader).

For the elite the ALP has being most helpful, but that does not extend to most women at all. Has the ALP reached the point where facts don’t matter and lies are trotted out like confetti? It’s pure desperation.

Doing Rudd’s numbers

Dave Lennon writes: Re. “Leadership number crunch: Gillard ahead, but gap closing” (yesterday). I reckon you missed one stunning stat that further underlines  the lack of understanding of exactly what the old 71-31 vote really meant.

This has become a hobby horse of mine because if you look at the polls when the 71-31 vote happened it was blatantly clear that on those numbers some MP’s had voted for losing their seats rather than tolerate Rudd as leader again.

So working on your list I started from the seat of Richmond which would go with a 7% swing against the government and worked back into more marginal territory or into the seats increasingly likely to fall. By my count of those most likely to lose their seats in September 17 support the PM and 13 support Rudd.

In the unlikely event there is another spill, candidates can’t vote anyway so for this they are irrelevant. If you take it back to all the seats on under 10%  Gillard’s margin blows out to 24-17.

The punchline is there have been occasional outbreaks of reporting on just how impossible and degrading it is to work for Kevin Rudd and based on the reportage i’ve seen of the issue the majority of his supporters are that purely because “he has the best chance of winning the election”.

Maybe the fact that  as many as 24 ALP MPs in the face of terrible internal destabilisation and discouraging poll numbers believe it is more honourable to perish  with Julia Gillard than survive with someone like Rudd says the soul of the ALP is not yet dead and there are true believers in what the party stands for still.

This of course, assumes your list is accurate.

John Richardson writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s chunky bits” (yesterday). Richard Farmer’s observation that the share of GDP going to labour has been in long-term decline around the world, due to ‘technological progress, trade globalisation, the expansion of financial markets & decreasing union density’, is to ignore one of the most significant drivers of this phenomena, which is the burgeoning profitability of corporations, fuelled by the corresponding decline in income tax being paid, as a result of the diligent use of tax havens.

That 61 of Australia’s top 100 companies operate subsidiaries in tax havens, whilst 40% of big businesses pay no income tax surely says it all.

Peter Fray

A lot can happen in 3 months.

3 months is a long time in 2020. Join us to make sense of it all.

Get you first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12. Cancel anytime.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

12 weeks for $12