bernard Collaery
Witness K lawyer Bernard Collaery.

As Bernard Keane pointed out yesterday, the Midwinter Ball was the perfect distraction for politicians from the pesky reality of upholding Australian democracy — namely, the need to challenge the trial of whistle-blower Witness K and his attorney, Bernard Collaery. Elsewhere, more political failures were interrogated by Helen Razer, who wrote on the lack of real movement in the Me Too movement, and the attempt of its gatekeepers to remain apolitical on a fundamentally political problem. 

On Witness K trial apathy

TJS writes: The rather sad thing about the way this government plays the national security card is that many of its policies are contrary to the national security interests. The energy policy makes us vulnerable, the cyber policy makes us vulnerable by opening up attack surfaces for others, this case makes us vulnerable (for a number of reasons). And that’s without even starting on the defence policy.

Klewso writes: Sure it’s a disgraceful abuse of power, misuse of tax-payer funded resources, to benefit a company, and naked arrogance? But on the bright side? What a stand-out demonstration and symbol of Howard’s Limited News Party “family values” — for those wondering which way to vote, come this next election?

Arky writes: “And things will be no different after the next election.” Beg to differ. Labor is cautious about this stuff from opposition where there is nothing it can actually do by making noise, but speaking up gives the Liberals an opportunity to go after Labor on a “soft on national security” kind of basis and Labor can expect zero help from the mainstream media to help explain the position and counter the inevitable News Corp scare campaign — come on, tell me I’m wrong there.

This is exactly the kind of area where minor parties and independents can shine. Labor has an election to win. Feel free to call it political cowardice if you like, but you’d better be willing at the same time to acknowledge the enormous role played by the media in why that happens. But that’s opposition. When actually in government, at the very least the Libs’ bastardy won’t be repeated. Much as there’s a real difference in immigration because, while Labor will keep the offshore detention regime generally, they also have no reason to engage in the gratuitous assholery and cruelty that Morrison and Dutton have committed on top of the basic offshore detention concept.

On the political failures of the Me Too movement

Fletcher Beverley writes: You can’t rely on business to act against it’s own interests because it’s “the right thing to do.” That is why the solution to sexual assault at work isn’t to target/punish the perpetrators (though I’d love to headbutt pricks like Harvey Weinstein) because ultimately it’s ineffective. Harvey goes down. Harvey 2.0 comes back up.

The solution has to be targeted at empowering workers across the board through social security programs (the implementation is important, otherwise this just becomes a money vacuum for the capital class) and job guarantees. This way the perpetrators lose the leverage that allows the direct sexual violence against their workers or allows apathy and inaction following a risk of such violence.

Hunt, Ian writes: The protection of silence is no longer available to predators, who are simply interested in using women. The exposure of predators will help many women, once they realise that consequences will be more likely. But, as Christine Delphy argues, the fundamental problem remains and, as others have argued, victimhood still leaves women vulnerable to male dominated institutions and at risk of being let down as Razer was.

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Peter Fray

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