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TV & Radio

Jun 17, 2013

'Human booby trap' Grace Collier obsessed with PM cleavage

Radio National on a Sunday morning is not where you would normally expect a debate over the Prime Minister's cleavage. But commentator Grace Collier kicked off a panel discussion with it yesterday morning.

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Radio National on a Sunday morning is not where you would normally expect a debate over the Prime Minister’s cleavage.

But yesterday industrial relations consultant and media commentator Grace “how dare you call me right-wing” Collier was a guest on the Outsiders segment of Radio National’s Sunday Extra, hosted by Jonathan Green, along with Crikey’s Bernard Keane and sociologist and social commentator Eva Cox.

The summary for discussion was “Blue ties, quail breasts and hairdressers: the Pandora’s box of political s-xism has been opened again”, and this exchange certainly lived up to the claim:

Collier: … I can imagine myself already being burnt at the stake here for saying this but, you are, as an individual in public life, you are treated in a certain way and this is about relationships. The Prime Minister, in my view, has a dysfunctional relationship with the Australian populace and there is an element there of responsibility to fall on her shoulders … I’ve never heard anybody attacking her for being a woman, to say how “how dare you Julia, you are a woman”.
Green: Grace, I think you should get out more often.
Cox: Read some of the commentaries, read some of the stuff there. I mean, which male Prime Minister has ever been asked whether his wife that is actually having s-x with him at that particular time or having s-x with some other woman. I mean, they would not do it to a man.
Collier: Well, also I agree with that but also, I don’t think it is appropriate for a Prime Minister to be showing her cleavage in Parliament. It is not something …
Keane: Oh, for goodness sake … what a load of …
Cox: Come on, Grace …
Collier: Well, I think it is inappropriate and unprofessional …
Keane: Grace, can you … explain
Collier: No, I … No Bernard, I’m not here to explain to you. I think it is just … I’m entitled to my opinion.
Keane: Just explain … just explain
Green: One at a time …
Collier: I’d like to finish my point.
Keane: … is somehow not related to the fact that she’s a woman. How can you …
Collier: Well, I’d like to finish my point please.
Keane: … calling her barren. Or George Brandis bagging her for not having kids, or Janet Albrechtsen bagging her for not having kids. How is that not related to her being a woman?
Collier: Well, I’m not going to defend any of those comments, all I’m saying …
Keane: But you just said she doesn’t get criticised for …
Collier: Excuse me, let me finish please …
Green: Hang on, Bernard.
Collier: I’m not here to defend the Liberal Party, I’m not here to defend people you perceive as right-wing. I am not one of the Right. OK? What I will say, and this is my opinion, and I’m not speaking for women and I’m not speaking for anyone other than me. In my opinion, as an industrial relations consultant, it is inappropriate to be in Parliament, it is disrespectful to yourself and to the Australian community and to the parliament, to present yourself in a manner that is unprofessional. In every Australian workplaces we have certain standards of presentation and conduct. It is not just about personal presentation, it is about conduct.
Cox: I think you’re showing a considerable prejudice against a woman who normally dresses very conservatively, very reasonably and I think criticism of her dress …
Collier: Well, I’m sorry Eva but there’s a number of …
Keane: Why is the Right so obsessed with the Prime Minister’s body?
Collier: Well, who says I’m right-wing? Excuse me. How dare you …
Keane: If it isn’t her thighs, it is her breasts …
Cox: You are coming across as being …
Collier: I just think it is inappropriate. I don’t want to see any politician’s flesh in parliament.
Green: Let’s move along from body parts.
Cox: Men don’t have breasts to show.

Host Green steered the discussion to other matters but somehow the panel wasn’t finished with the PM’s breasts and Collier’s comments quite yet.

Collier: I am firmly behind the Prime Minister on this. Unless she decides …
Keane: … except when she is showing cleavage.
Collier: I made that comment. I don’t think it is appropriate, okay. I would never show cleavage in my workplace. You’ll never see that from me.
Keane: I am just amazed that the Right is so obsessed with the Prime Minister’s body. I can’t get over it, it’s just astonishing …
Collier: Bernard, I’m amazed that you see me as a Right person. You wouldn’t know me or my politics. You are actually incorrect.

The start of Collier’s crusade (for want of a better term) against the Prime Ministerial cleavage seems to begin on Twitter on May 4. Click here for the original tweet and some illuminating comments.

The picture comes from The Weekend Australian‘s Inquirer section from  May 4:

A few weeks later, Collier got riled up by the topic again:

For those unfamiliar with Collier, she earlier this year gave evidence by affidavit in the Federal Court matter of Director of the Fair Work Building Inspectorate v Automotive, Food, Metals, Engineering, Printing and Kindred Industries Union in Feburary this year. In that matter, which concerned a blockade at the Werribee sewage treatment works, Collier provided evidence in her capacity as an IR consultant for Tedra Australia Pty Ltd, the head contractor of the works. Collier’s evidence was referred to by Justice Shane Marshall in the following passage in his judgement of February 14 2013:

Concerns with the evidence of Ms Collier

“… The conversation between Mr Mavromatis and Ms Collier at about 6.45 am on Wednesday, 6 February 2013 was also recorded by Ms Collier. She achieved this by secreting a device in her bra. The transcript of that recording is riddled with crossings out, hand-written additions and various changes. It is of no probative value.
“Quite properly, the applicant, as a model litigant, did not attempt to tender into evidence any transcript (intelligible or otherwise) of Ms Collier’s recording on her computer of the telephone conversation she initiated with Mr Mavromatis at about 12.30 pm on 6 February 2013. Ms Collier’s conduct in that respect raises a serious concern as to whether she has breached the provisions of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 (Cth). In the absence of any detail as to the precise circumstances of that recording, the Court is unable, at present, to say any more about that matter. Indeed, it would be inappropriate to do so.”

Notwithstanding the Court’s assessment of her evidence, three weeks later Ms Collier noted her experience in a diary entry in The Spectator:

‘Tape recorder in bra “entrapped”union man,’ teases the headline. My partner, Peter, and I sit up in bed sipping über-strong coffee, served in beautiful china. We are looking over various articles spread out on the sheets discussing where I hid my recording device as I taped a conversation with a certain union official. Peter leans over and speaks into my décolletage: ‘Testing one two three, testing one two three’. A Federal Court Judge expressed concerns and wanted to know if I thought I was in a James Bond movie after I admitted using a concealed recorder to tape an AMWU organiser. Peter expresses concerns about the whereabouts of the bra and wants to know if he can sell it on eBay. (‘It’s in the wash,’ I reply, ‘along with your stinking socks.’) Numerous calls and witty texts come in from my mates. Hedley Thomas from the Australian rings up. ‘Grace!’ he bellows, eager to share his renowned word skills with me: ‘You’re a human booby trap!’ ‘Oh Hedley,’ I sigh, ‘it’s all a storm in a D cup.’

In response to the weekend’s panel discussion, Keane today added:

“You would think there was plenty in the Gillard government’s policy and political record to dispute and critique, even on gender issues (single mothers and Newstart, anyone?) but the relentless tendency of some to come back Julia Gillard’s body is remarkable — whether it’s Bill Heffernan or George Brandis or Janet Albrechtsen discussing her childlessness, or Larry Pickering portraying her as a dildo-wearing r-pist, or anti-carbon price protesters portraying her as the s-xual possession of Bob Brown, or shockjocks directing misogynist abuse at her or News Ltd columnists peddling rumours about the nature of her relationship with her partner. Collier’s fixation with the Prime Ministerial cleavage is part and parcel of this obsession. Her only response was to insist that she wasn’t of the Right — an argument a brief read of her frothingson IR, the evils of Australian unions and the AWU “scandal” for will rapidly dispel. Perhaps she expects that even the more perfervid obsessives in conservative ranks won’t want to have anything to do with her after this.”

I’ve searched the interwebs for other references to Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s cleavage, in trying to find some basis other than her own opinion for Collier’s views. All I’ve found are several reference in online comments, including some comments on a Michael Smith News article from late December 2012 and another comment on Catallaxy Files in late November 2012.

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27 comments

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27 thoughts on “‘Human booby trap’ Grace Collier obsessed with PM cleavage

  1. Buddy

    OMG i cannot beleive this is still going on………… She has breasts .. This is just sexist and disgusting Ms Collier.. The fact that you dont see how else the Prime Minister hsa been targeted for her gender speaks volumes about you..

  2. Allison

    For the love of sweet baby Jesus, why is Grace Collier getting any airtime?

  3. Irfan Yusuf

    Excuse me, Eva Cox, but like many South Asian men, I have quite ample boobs!!

  4. puddleduck

    Was she the only idiot available on a Sunday morning with anything to say from ‘the right’? I can’t see what other reason explains her presence on our national broadcaster.

    I’m reminded of Andrew Bolt’s decision to become a right wing warrior, because the field was open? Seems to me any twerp with a voice and the ability to type can be a commentator from the right wing now, because the ABC is obsessed with ‘balance’. Which means that we have to put up with inanity, to the point of untruths sometimes. Next they will be saying the world is flat. Because that’s balance, right?
    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

  5. ralph

    This is the same Grace Collier who writing in the Financial Review at the height of the beat-up about Gillard’s role as a solicitor for the AMWU said that some damning evidence would soon be produced that would make Gillard’s position untenable. We are still waiting for it! I think given the “evidence” hasn’t been produced we can only conclude that comment was only designed to smear.

  6. Vincent O'Donnell

    I’m almost surprised some one got a clean transcript off that program. Keane, Collier and Cox spent most of their time talking over one another. Good radio it was not; and one could hear the frustration in Jonathan Green’s voice.

  7. mikeb

    Collier has a point but I think it better left unsaid as JG usually dresses with impecable modesty and Collier harps on it like it happens all the time. I think the offending photo just highlighted a bit of unfortunate posture and camera angle. It’s not as if the girls are out all the time and being flaunted. Abbott copped a fair bit with the speedos & has since not worn them in public. I reckon JG just didn’t envisage a possible problem when looking in the mirror that morning.

  8. John64

    We started last week with Vag-in-a-Box and have ended it with BoobGate.

    And I realised that until today, I have never actually noticed Gillard’s cleavage. But due to the image in this article, I have now spent many minutes both looking at it and pondering about it.

    Thanks Crikey!

    Of course, I can’t seem to quite remember this kind of outrage and flurry of articles when there was criticism of Abbott’s Speedos. Didn’t he ritualistically burn them in the end? Perhaps Gillard, to put an end to it all, needs to burn something too…

    Possibly Rudd.

  9. klewso

    Quack quack – so how does Collier define “the Right” – of which she reckons she isn’t?

  10. Venise Alstergren

    Jesus, what a vapid female. Is she some sort of fundamentalist religionist? Come on Collier, your jealousy is showing. Julia Gillard is the quintessence of respectability. And she dresses accordingly.

  11. Patrick Brosnan

    “Abbott copped a fair bit with the speedos & has since not worn them in public.”
    I think he has worn them it’s just that the media have got bored with showing him wearing them. I for one can’t enough of an en-speedoed Abbott, it’s the best chance for an ALP win. Look what it did for that bloke in … Victoria wasn’t it?

  12. klewso

    Those distorted opinions – based on that distorted photo?

  13. klewso

    Why does the ABC bother with these sort of unbalanced “experts” – for ratings?
    It was Murdoch op-ed hack “Planet Albrechtsen” the other night on Sales’ 7:30 – as if she was going to have a different opinion re Gillard to the one her high profile column holds forth on – sans balance or Right of reply?

  14. Mark from Melbourne

    What a very strange point of view…

  15. Venise Alstergren

    Venise Alstergren
    Posted Monday, 17 June 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    The only saving grace in an Abbott/Liberal Party victory come September 14, ‘13, will be the thought of a journo with a bit of back bone asking George Brandis if his wife is gay; whether he clamps his nuts together in order to encourage the female vote with his cleavage, and when did he stop screwing the family dog?

  16. TheFamousEccles

    Oh ferchissakes, really? The only real explanation can be that rightards are all emboldened to the point that they will say anything, secure in the knowledge that no-one will pick them up on it and make them accountable for it. They were born to rule, FFS, and will not be gainsaid.

  17. mattsui

    Seems like the PM had one bad wardrobe event and Ms Collier wants to punish her for eternity over it. I’ve ne’er a glimpse of Ms Gillard’s cleave until seeing the pic’s in this article and as a red blooded male, I have to say, “let’s have more!”.

  18. shepherdmarilyn

    I don’t care what she wears, or how her hair is done, or the colour of her frigging jackets or that she is a woman.

    She is a racist bully.

  19. Chris Johnson

    Time for Ms Collier to lower the Dismissal Services shingle and cancel whatever notions there were of a media commentary future. Yesterday on Radio National she shot whatever credibility was left of her career choices. Reckon Sunday Extra did her and us a favour by exposing another empty suit.

  20. geomac62

    Peter leans over and speaks into my décolletage: ‘Testing one two three, testing one two three’
    Somehow Collier has décolletage but the PM has breasts . Says it all really .

  21. Adam Larner

    How hilarious. I have never ever noticed the PM’s cleavage until it was pointed out and even then I had to scroll back up and check again. This gets half a puzzled raised eyebrow from me and I begrudge the effort it took to do that.

    Why on earth do we have such a poor quality of public discourse in this country? Is it the organisers? Do they just say “gee, who can I get to be on this panel, I know, Drongo Emptyhead is always available, loves the attention and is generally on time. I’ll just give them a ring and take an early minute for lunch.” Is it the media? Do they just hire whoever can “liven things up” no matter how vacuous and Devinely odious they are?

  22. Liamj

    “How DARE you call me rightwing” was a priceless overreaction, and then the boob fixation, ha ha ha.

    Purely in interests of squashing an evil rumour .. its not cleavage jealousy, is it?

  23. blackdog

    This just astonishes me! As others here have said, I’ve never noticed her cleavage before, always had the impression she dresses very conventionally and professionally. The point again, is that women’s bodies are subject to extreme norms, standards and expectations, ones which men are not vulnerable to – that make statements about our worth, our competence, our judgments, that our breasts are connected to other aspects such as our abilities, personalities and status. Breasts are beautiful, we’ve got em and men generally don’t (but want them!!)…indeed what is even “wrong” with being proud of our female form…except that certains values/norms deem it that way (Christian religion and male-dominated perspectives that make such things smutty or sexualised). Remember, didn’t one politician get slammed for breast feeding in parliament…can’t quite remember???

  24. Harry Rogers

    You want democracy and freedom of discussion but only under your terms. I feel certain our Prime is stronger and more intellectual than those children who rush to her defence.

  25. Edward James

    Until I saw this crikey story I had never given the Prime Ministers cleavage a second thought. Am I too old?

  26. Interrobanging On

    “In my opinion, as an industrial relations consultant”

    Err, yer opinion as a person please. Defining oneself solely by one’s job shows a great poverty of imagination, especially one as boring as industrial relations consultant.

    Collier is only there as a ‘right wing’, anti-union, anti-Labor, anti-Gillard squawker, and should be honest enough to admit it.

    After September, she (or her ilk) may well be on the ABC board as it is finally beaten down to the LNP Pravda outlet it is already becoming.

  27. Dogs breakfast

    Great day for feminism. Ferchrissakes, she dresses as demurely as any 45+ female on the planet, moreso. You’ll know that women are starting to get equality when they can ‘dress to impress’ in parliament, or anywhere else, and not be hounded for having breasts.

    Damn, the ‘Hypocrisy Detector 2012’ just blew up again.

    For the record, I am male, and I have been appalled at the unabashed sexist rubbish that the PM has had to put up with.

    Bernard was right, with a capital RIGHT. The right is obsessed with sex, and is constantly in its thrall.

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