There are times when you hear something so utterly stupid in the news that for just a moment you assume it’s a comedy skit or satire. Well today was one of those days. I wasn’t quite sure as to whether or not to save this for the Weekend Funny as in some regards it is hilarious. However, when you look at it the proper light it really isn’t that funny at all. In fact it says a great deal about how little our Minister For Women/Prime Minister understands about the issues relevant to his portfolio [he’s also Minister for Indigenous affairs and no he’s done nothing to assist and has in fact cut funding across the board].
So here’s the funny – the federal LNP have decided to host the lunch for International Women’s Day on March the 8th at the Tattersall’s Club in Brisbane. The kicker here is that this club is one of the few left in Australia that is Men Only [well really it’s rich white conservative men only]. Hilarious right and yet ………. not so much when you think about it.
Here is a government that has cut funding to Domestic Violence Support Centers, shelters and assistance packages to an all time low and telling us it was necessary due to a budget emergency left to them by the previous government. At the same time they increased funding to ‘border protection’ and ‘stopping the boats’ by 129% growing from $118 million to $3.3 billion dollars in 12 months. On top of this they have increased funding to a variety of law enforcement agencies but only as it applies to terrorism, as well as $670 million for new measures to deal with terrorism.
Yet in Australia figures show that the real terror threat is much closer to home with one women being killed each week due to domestic violence but the funding for this atrocity is set at $25 million a year up until 2017 where it will be reassessed with the view to reduction as for some strange reason they believe they will be able to reduce domestic violence by providing less support [yeah makes sense to NO ONE].
In New South Wales, refuges for women and children are being shut down as the state government cuts funding in an efficiency overhaul intended to replace more expensive specialist services such as women-only shelters with generic services that experts say are less likely to be used by victims of domestic violence. As with pretty much everything else, shelter services in regional communities and indigenous communities are particularly vulnerable. Women and children in regional and rural communities, indigenous women and children and disabled people are much more exposed to the risk of domestic violence [courtesy of Crikey]
On the other hand one hundred and fifteen civilian Australians have been killed in terrorist related incidences since 1978 and all but two were killed overseas, not on Australian soil and not as a result of being Australian, mainly a case of wrong country wrong time. The last two were killed in the Sydney Siege in December of 2014 and debate is still going on as to why the event was labelled a terrorist act as the man was a known criminal who was out on bail for murdering his wife and raping a number of women. If anything it is an example of just how unbalanced sentencing is when it comes to crimes against women and children. The only reason it is labelled a terrorist act is because the man was ‘apparently‘ Muslim. One of the oddities of the exchange [and there were many] was that the flag prominently displayed by all the papers was not his. He did not enter with it. When the place was surrounded by police he started making a number of demands – strangely the ONLY one the authorities complied with was to bring him that flag to portray. [curiouser and curiouser said Alice to the Cat.].
In direct contrast are the figures regarding domestic violence. According the NSW crime statistics in Greater Sydney alone there were 15413 domestic violence related assaults in 2013 – 2014 and yet the government of that state as well as the federal government has cut funding and closed over 100 shelters in the past 18 months. So you can see why I’m not really up to laughing at the arrogance [ignorance ??] of this government hosting a lunch meant to highlight the achievements and changes in gender relations but also spotlight the areas where there is much ground still to be covered, in a bastion of male chauvinism.
The inner club itself isn’t available for the lunch [girl germs ‘an all] but it does have function facilities on the premise that are used to host weddings/dinners etc. The laughable part is when questioned about the venue the PM seemed to think it was a wonderful idea but did concede that the arrangements were made at the last minute.
This government has been under fire for their vicious attacks on Gillian Triggs and the Human Rights Commission as well as their sexist language and behavior in the senate hearings. This was obviously a last minute decision designed to shore up the leaky boat and paint them in a less misogynistic light.
In all honesty I don’t think they could have chosen a worse venue if they sat down and tried unless it would be to host the lunch in a strip club and even then as far as I know strip clubs don’t exclude women from entering.
Queensland Minister for Women Shannon Fentiman of the Labor party appeared surprised at the move by the federal LNP and I think her words sum up the situation quite well.
“Seriously? You can’t make this stuff up,” she said. “It shows how out-of-touch the LNP are and their excuse of organising the event at short notice just doesn’t stack up, because International Women’s Day is held on the eighth of March every year. “They would have had plenty of warning it was coming.”