Friday 9th of June 2023

baggage handlers .....

baggage handlers ....

Australian politics reached a new point last week when the handbag hit squad and the reverse handbag hit squad slugged it out in 30 frenetic minutes before parliamentary question time. If you missed the encounter - and it was easy to miss given everything hurtles through the national affairs universe with the force of water from a fire hose - let's recap.

The trigger was Tony Abbott, holding a press conference in the Bali Memorial Gardens about compensation for terrorism victims. The fine print, for our purposes, doesn't much matter.

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon was displeased with the development and rose up in high dudgeon. Abbott was wicked for bringing base politics into the memorial garden, she said.

Abbott's deputy, Julie Bishop, then summoned the television cameras. ''I have called this press conference because the Coalition intends to draw a line in the sand. Enough is enough. Nicola Roxon has stepped over the line, she has gone too far and I condemn her for trying to turn Tony Abbott's passion and concern for the victims of the Bali bombing into a political point scoring effort. We've had enough and it is time that the Prime Minister pulled her male strategists into line [and] stopped her female members trying to take points against Tony Abbott on matters as sensitive as the Bali bombing victims.''

So let's think this sequence through. We had one woman bagging Abbott, followed by another defending Abbott and bagging the other woman for bagging him. Bit of a circus really, signifying what exactly?

Handbag hit squad politics has landed in the national capital. You've caught up with this piquant phrase? It's what Liberal ladies now say of the Labor ladies lining up regularly to have a crack at Tony Abbott.

This particular case study was dizzying: everyone crossing lines and thundering censoriously about lines being crossed. As American comedian Jon Stewart said recently in a different context, it's chaos on bullshit mountain.

Let's look through the chaos to the resonance. The Liberal ladies are correct. Labor is gradually, with purpose and intent, firing up the character question about Abbott.

The switch in the conversation happened in late August, in the week Julia Gillard was forced to defend herself against allegations of professional misconduct at the law firm Slater & Gordon.

Abbott himself provided the catalyst. He was thrown out of Parliament by acting Speaker Anna Burke after a burst of over-the-top, culminating in a glower. Health Minister Tanya Plibersek bobbed up on TV to opine that Abbott simply couldn't deal with women in authority; not the acting Speaker, not the Prime Minister, not anyone.

At the same time, Gillard nudged sexism to the foreground. Rather than gritting her teeth and toughing out the now quite self-evident notion that some men in this country really can't seem to cope with a female prime minister - she owned it. It was not so much a gripe, because the PM is not a moaner. This was fact; there was field evidence.

So the two ideas now hover together in the Zeitgeist: Tony has ''a woman problem'', and some men are just not evolved enough to accept a woman as prime minister.

Usually Labor women carry that message, but that's no particular conspiracy. Labor has several women on the frontbench and most are skilled, cut-through communicators, particularly on TV.

So that's the Labor Party pincer movement. Now what of the substantive point?

Given we inhabit bullshit mountain, let's take actions as a more reliable barometer than rhetoric.

The Liberals are evidently, demonstrably, worried about this attack on Abbott. The rally from Bishop and from other Liberal ladies suggests the opposition is concerned that perceptions will take root - aided by the unhelpful coincidence of David Marr's Quarterly Essay, complete with that now-infamous, wall-punching allegation. Baseless nonsense about the Quarterly Essay being the product of a Labor dirt unit demonstrates tangible Coalition concern. Hence the efforts to neutralise the issue, pronto.

Abbott is both wildly successful and wildly unpopular. He's an old-fashioned, socially conservative bloke. He's dialling it down, but his politics are aggressive, sometimes swingeing. The most recent Age/Nielsen poll showed women approve less of Abbott than men on both the preferred prime minister and performance measures.

Negative attacks only work in politics if they speak to pre-existing notions, if they amplify and shape nascent perceptions.

The best such attacks transform wafting supposition into concrete judgment.

I don't think Tony Abbott has a problem with women in substance. That's my view, formed in close proximity. But perceptions formed at a distance are another matter altogether. Take ''old-fashioned Tony'', add lashings of past pre-feminist exuberance, add his enduring hard-wired hyper-competitiveness, combine it with the Coalition's core political strategy - which, to put it kindly, has lacked light and shade - and you have the elements of a perfect storm on the gender question.

It's a trap of his own design.

The antidote won't be Bishop with a thumping reverse Prada. It will lie with Abbott. Does he trust himself enough to leaven and grow, and to prioritise the need for him to outgrow the caricature? We are about to find out.

Handbags At 10 Paces


hit him with suitcases as well...

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says Prime Minister Julia Gillard should not be "swanning" around in New York "talking to Africans" , rather she should be in Jakarta talking to the Indonesian head of state about border security – despite the fact President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono arrived in New York for the United Nations summit yesterday.
Mr Abbott on radio 2GB this morning was again critical of asylum seekers and border protection saying it was a continued failure of by Labor, adding that the government must embrace temporary protection visas and turning boats around.
"But the really important thing is that right now our Prime Minister is in New York spruiking for this Security Council bid. She should be in Jakarta, not in New York, because that is where Australia's national interest is most at stake right now," he told 2GB.

“Rather than talking to African countries, trying to drum up the numbers to get us a temporary seat on the UN Security Council, she should be in Jakarta talking to President Yudhoyono about how we can co-operate better with the Indonesians to stop this flow which is putting our border protection hopelessly under the pump”.

Mr Abbott said improving relationships with Indonesia should be a priority.
"That's why our Prime Minister shouldn't be swanning around in New York talking to Africans, she should be in Jakarta right now trying to sort out border protection disaster."
Mr Abbott was rebuked by the Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister, Wayne Swan.
"This is yet another example of reckless negativity from the Leader of the Opposition, in complete defiance of the facts and commonsense," Mr Swan told reporters in Canberra.
"Mr Abbott ought to retract his statements immediately. He ought to apologise for them."
The Jakarta Post reports that President Yudhoyono, the first lady Ani Yudhoyono and other Indonesian delegates had touched down at JFK Airport in New York on Sunday at 8.30am (10.30pm Sunday, Sydney time).

Read more:

What an idiot Tony is...

Still promulgating demagogic ill-thoughts... and placing his foot in his mouth after having walked into his owm mierda...

demagogue (/ˈdɛməɡɒɡ/) or rabble-rouser is a political leader who appeals to the emotions, prejudices, and ignorance of the poorer and less-educated classes in order to gain power. Demagogues usually oppose deliberation and advocate immediate, violent action to address a national crisis; they accuse moderate and thoughtful opponents of weakness. Demagogues have appeared in democracies since 410 B.C. Athens. They exploit a fundamental weakness[citation needed] in democracy: because ultimate power is held by the people, nothing stops the people from giving that power to someone who appeals to the lowest common denominator of a large segment of the population.
This is a perfect definition of Tony Abbott....

Tony should be hit with a bunch of suitcases coming out of an airport carousel as well as handbags...


crocodile-tear made into leather bag...


From Peter Wicks...

AS MY NAME would suggest, I am not a female.

Whilst I’m not a female, I still know condescending language when I hear it. I also recognise it when it comes under the disguise of a woman’s voice.

The Liberals latest tactic of referring to any woman from the Labor camp as being part of a “handbag hitsquad” is a new low point in trying to repair Tony Abbott’s female image problem. Just because it is coming out of the mouths of Kelly O’Dwyer and Julie Bishop does not make it any less condescending either — indeed it may make it more so. After all, have they been told what to say by the men in their party?

This so-called “handbag hitsquad” is made up of Nicola Roxon, Tanya Plibersek, Julia Gillard, and Anna Burke so far, all of whom are women I’ve never seen carrying a handbag.

The inference is that any woman who can out debate, outsmart, or show Tony Abbott in poor light, is not smarter, or more capable, but is in fact using her sex as a means of putting him down by beating him up with an imaginary handbag.


Not only is this sexist in the extreme, condescending, and downright offensive, but it is also pretty stupid, even for Abbott.

You see, everything has a flipside. In a debate, or argument, there are always two sides to the coin.

If four women beating up Tony Abbott with handbags is the image that Liberals want us to picture when Abbott debates these women, then what are we supposed to picture when Julia Gillard debates Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey, Christopher Pyne, Greg Hunt or any of the other male members of the Liberal Party? A bunch of blokes beating up a female leader?

I would have thought this would be an image Tony Abbott would like to avoid after the all controversy of the past couple of weeks. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the Liberal Party would be wise to avoid putting the words “women” and “beating” in the same sentence until after next election, or a new party leader is in place.