May 11, 2017

Larissa Waters and the Greens’ tedious return to identity politics

Larissa Waters needs to care less about her breasts in Parliament and more about the fact that there are no damn jobs in this country.

Helen Razer — Writer and broadcaster

Helen Razer

Writer and broadcaster

It was just under two months ago Greens leader Richard di Natale powerfully began the release of his party from the big, dumb paws of identity politics. This week, Larissa Waters sent ‘em back. The Queensland senator, otherwise notable for her commitment to soiling Barbie’s reputation, has “called out” the sexist character of the Coalition in the upper house, much as a teen five minutes into her Facebook revolution might call out the poor behaviour of her classmates.

Waters, who had just gained worldwide attention for federal Parliament’s first official act of lactation, grabbed headlines again when she said that Coalition policy was based on a lack of compassion. They don’t, she said, “care about women”.

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39 thoughts on “Larissa Waters and the Greens’ tedious return to identity politics

  1. Charlie Chaplin

    How disappointing. I was really impressed – even excited – by Di Natale’s press club speech. I thought “Finally, here’s a party I just might be able to vote for instead of copping ‘failure to vote’ fines every federal election. I will watch them for awhile and see if this new direction is for real, or if it was just a speed bump on the road to useless, divisive, pretend left liberal, virtue signalling, entitled, meritocracy, professional knowledge class bullshitdom.” Looks like I can turn my attention elsewhere. Back to scanning the horizon for the genuine left, yet again.

    1. Di Keller

      Despite it being called compulsory voting, it isn’t really. All you have to do is turn up at a polling booth. No fines 🙂

      1. Draco Houston

        Yeah, and you can write funny things on the ballot paper they give you, or turn around and file the papers into the bin on the way out. Become part of the informal vote, the fastest growing voter statistic.

        1. Charlie Chaplin

          I’m often tempted to, guys, but I’d rather write my reasons for not voting on the ‘failure to vote’ fine notice, so it’s actually officially on record somewhere.

          I’ve worked quite a few times as an AEC polling booth official, Draco (The money’s ok for a casual day’s labour, though it’s a bloody long day). Nobody even reads those funny things written on the informal votes, let alone records them anywhere: we’re already dog tired and just want to get ’em counted so we can get out and go home. Ditto the forms people cleverly file into the bin on the way out: polling booth officials have to go through the bins and dig ’em out again. Needless to say, we don’t find the clever political statement particularly clever after a 13 hour plus day.

          Getting marked off the roll means you’re complicit in maintaining the fiction of a functional, compulsory, representative democracy. Nobody’s recording your informal protest vote reasons. Sorry about that.

          1. Draco Houston

            Not giving more money to the government is cool, and the appeal to the method I described. If you value the official complaint more than avoiding the fine while also not voting, keep doing what you’re doing. I’ve never heard of someone bothering to do that, and for what it’s worth, it is kinda cool.

            Anyway, There is also nothing wrong with having a little fun and amusing yourself. Neither method of not voting is going to abolish compulsory voting, let alone representative democracy.

            I’m a little jealous of people that never enrolled, that is the absolute best way to not vote and I screwed it up by thinking my vote mattered.

          2. klewso

            I can’t see the point of endorsing the shit sandwich our majors offer.
            They’ll take your vote and wipe their arses with it.
            They do take note of what’s written on informal votes.

  2. Di Keller

    I may not agree with everything you say, but I love the way you say it. Haha!!

    There is a lot of agreement 🙂

  3. Nudiefish

    Never thought of the issue that way. I guess that it takes a women to get another perspective on things? Given that, pity there are not more women in parliament offering more perspective, because as a white middle-class male, I am hearty sick of hearing that particular view.

    You’re comment on the Greens, HR, is smack on the money. It fits in with GR’s piece about UK Labour… they should start advocating for votes beyond their patch.

  4. Decorum

    I think this is a bit misty-eyed with respect to Lambie, who is no less venal that the rest, in my view. She, too, is in Parliament solely to boost her own identity-clan; it’s just that her clan (ex-ADF, proudly know-nothing, “battlers”) are different to the usual lot (University-educated, UMC, lawyers, business people, “knowledge professionals” etc.)

  5. Dog's Breakfast

    Ah yeah, a prissy green, really reaches out to me to vote for them.

    Well said HR, I want substance, not moralising.

  6. klewso

    A stunted development.
    Like taking a baby to a movie?
    Next she could change the nappies on George’s stool – with what he sprays around there …..?

    1. zut alors

      ‘Like taking a baby to a movie?’

      Spot on, klewie

    2. Steve

      The key difference is that the cinema is a quiet space in which the presence of a crying baby can be distracting. In parliament, on the other hand, a crying baby would a) be a blessed relief from the rest of the bleating in the chamber, and b) be offering a superior level of discourse. Vote 1 baby.

  7. Lesley Graham

    Well said HR. I suspect that our parliament has issues now that women have moved further into the spotlight & are in the workforce & expecting a better deal, from the predominantly old, rich, white men that want to maintain control. The Greens though are at that stage where they need to make their intentions clear, are they going to move from their moralising position into a party that actually can take on the Coalition & the ALP, that as yet remains to be seen.

  8. Dion Giles

    Well said Ms Razer.

  9. Draco Houston

    Good point about teens, there’s nothing wrong with thinking about what you are to the world per se.

    The professional/managerial class seems to have cherry picked these identitarian theories and gone ‘Holy crap, it turns out my personal advancement is for the good of humanity!’

    I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising that the critiques of identity politics didn’t hit their mark. It seems to not be much different from telling someone their moral compass is out of whack. Everyone always think their plan to fix the world owns. I know I do. I got the best plan, a big beautiful plan, and no one appreciates it because they’re stoopid and jealous of my yuuuuge hands. Sad!

  10. crakeka

    Having read this article and the comments below I feel as though I must have fallen asleep and woken in some alternative universe. I certainly feel I must be missing something here. Surely identifying and challenging the victimisation/persecution, oppression of a group, or those who hold different beliefs/views is a Green policy? Each small step must count.
    Hanson Young was thrown out of the senate for breast feeding not very long ago, the decriminalisation of abortion in NSW was today set back at least another decade, so surely that Larissa has achieved and demonstrated the right to breast feed in parliament is a victory to be noted as a step forward in improving women’s rights in the workplace?

    1. CathyS

      Do you honestly think that the sort of privileges you get as a Senator, in terms of salary, perks and conditions, trickle down to all workers?

      1. kate dillon

        No, but I also don’t think that gains of class politics or the left have ever automatically, genuinely included women or working mums either. I’ve been in unions that were awful to working mums, so I wouldn’t take it for granted that problems are solved for mums by either class or parenting rights being solved by themselves.

        1. CathyS

          Of course not. But the unique conditions afforded to the very elite (politicians) is hardly a gain for any other female worker.

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