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Circling the wagons for Gladys

By Paul Collits - posted Monday, 19 October 2020


Many are coming to the defence of the NSW Premier following her outing as a consort of the corrupt. Their arguments in her favour, all five of them, are without merit.

Andrew Bolt often says that for the left, it is always the side and not the principle that counts. In other words, when it comes to politics, they forever play the man and not the ball. They will excuse, even defend, appalling behaviour and actions on their own side in order to win the political point, rather than standing up for principles that they ought to believe in. Defending Bill Clinton's and Joe Biden's appalling history of sexual harassment because they both supported abortion rights is but one example. Not defending freedom of speech when right wing people are under attack for saying something deemed offensive is another.

Well, it seems as though the same is true for the other side. Right wingers too play the man (or woman) and not the ball.

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God knows why, but it seems that New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian must be saved, and all sorts of rubbish arguments – no, not arguments, merely assertions without merit – are being dragged out to keep her in office. Five arguments have been proffered in defence of the NSW Premier.

First, there is faux feminism.

The sisterhood, from Emma Alberici to Jenna Price to Sharri Markson, have come to Gladys's aid. Gladys is only being attacked and pressured to resign because she is a woman, used by a man – a "third rate country MP", no less. (Are country MPs especially low grade?) Male feminists like Bill Shorten (yes the man once accused of raping a woman) came to the party as well.

According to Jenna Price:

It can't be easy being a single woman in such a powerful position and there will be shysters and hucksters hanging around, desperate to be in on the action.

So it is single women, not just women, who are most at risk from what might be regarded as entrapment. Recognising that Maguire is a low life is not an argument for exonerating the Premier. Not good enough.

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Gladys is a sympathetic figure to leftist feminists, of course. She is a lesftist AND a super feminist herself. She has argued for half the parliaments to be female, and to change the Liberal Party rules in relation to winnable seats for women. She believes in targets. She is famously pro-abortion. Feminists are circling the wagons for Gladys, one of their own.

Another tack is that Gladys should be defended because we need more women leaders, or because she is a 'role model'. Or something like that. I recall similar arguments were proposed when Julia Gillard came to the attention of the authorities over her own past shady relationship (with one Bruce Wilson). There is no substance to this argument. We should expect female leaders to be no less, and no more honourable, than male leaders. And we should expect their antennae to be just as attuned to shysters and chancers as men's.

The sociologist Catherine Hakim in her book Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital, explores the whole question of using one's sexuality for career purposes.

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This article was first published on The Freedoms Project.



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About the Author

Paul Collits is an Associate Professor at the University of Southern Queensland and is Research Director of the Economic Development and Enterprise Collaboration at the University’s Fraser Coast Campus.

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