How Abbott Fucked Up Musselgate

It is worth looking back on what happened on Wednesday and how the Opposition, those born-again male feminists, got it wrong, so wrong.

Their plan, like that of Brutus and Cassius, was to execute, suddenly, on the floor of the chamber, the second highest official in the land and thereby traumatise his wife, brothers, children, lovers, neighbours, constituents and friends, impoverish the last three decades of his life and harry him out of politics altogether and preferably soon, because he had compared a woman’s labia to a sea creature, and by these lewd loud means unsettle, dismay and wound the Prime Minister, a woman, for having defended his legal right to a proper process and a judge’s verdict, then in train. They imagined this would hurt her more than them.

But they somehow forgot the gender of the Speaker, homosexual, and how much his sudden stabbing on the floor of the House would look like a poofter-bashing. And how soon after his dignified speech of surrender, in which he forgave Tony Abbott, his wedding-guest and caucus ally and fond old friend and took his leave, the voting public would begin to think his punishment was disproportionate: a fine of half a million dollars and a public pillorying for the use of one word, ‘mussel’, in a private communication to another homosexual, something Julian Clary might well have done in private, or Ellen Degeneres, or John Hargreaves; or that vast, obese, red-faced and fractious public figure, Les Patterson.

Their next mistake was to attack the Prime Minister, a woman, for not joining in this poofter-bashing, for wanting to give this glum gay stricken man a little breathing-space, a small, brief, decorous pause before his guillotining.

This is what was happening, and what we who write for television call ‘the emotional line’. A poofter, bashed. A woman, heterosexual, pleading, like Portia, for a quality of mercy that is not strained.

Their next mistake was to abuse in the most hectic terms for six or seven hours thereafter the Prime Minister, a woman, for showing tender mercy to this persecuted gay man, painting her in the lurid colours of Sir Les, and imagining this would go down well with the female electorate, many of whom have gay brothers and sons and uncles and schoolteachers.

Their next mistake was to say that though he was a stain on their democracy and should quit his seat without delay, they would accept his tainted vote until he did. That he was, in short, a better man than Craig Thompson, lately found innocent of everything, and not a bad sort, really, in retrospect; a good sort, really, well worth voting with, any time.

They thus offended the rules of the emotional line. They cursed the Prime Minister for associating with him, and said they would associate with him too. They broke the basic rule that a villain stays a villain, and does not suddenly, at curtain fall, become a buddy.

They also, amazingly, forgot the rule that it’s not a good look to bash a woman, and that the Prime Minister, a woman, showing mercy to a foul-mouthed gay man, looked better than those who were currently kicking his balls.

It is not to be wondered therefore that the Prime Minister, not they, was praised all over the world, and why half a million female voters went to her, not them.

The Murdoch media, of course, is pretending, in their Tea Party way, that it was Abbott’s victory, and the Prime Minister, not he, was fatally slimed by the unjudicial slaughter of the sombre, shattered, capable man he now wants to be mates with. But anyone trained in drama will see he has erred, mightily. And the honest poll, the Nielsen, will show it in eleven days’ time.


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  1. I’m curious as to how you label people ‘homosexual’? Is it based on what you read in the newspaper or watch on TV, and if so, is that fair?

    I see no statement or evidence about Mr Slipper other than greasy, slimey, perverted comments by Mr Ashby and others.

    Is it fair to ‘out’ someone based on text messages you read in the media?

    There were ugly rumours about Bill Shorten and the SA Premier, ugly rumous about Bob Carr and many others - surely we would not repeat these or say they are fact because they are found on media sites?

    Unless Mr Slipper has been open about his sexuality, or you have first-hand experience you’d like to share with us, I invite you to withdraw these rather nasty slurs.

    • Just to be fair, the text messages are part of the official court record. It was the Court that made them public, not the media.

      • There is no evidence to suggest that Slipper is gay.

        • There must be a fair bit of evidence, or the police would not have found plausible a charge of sexual harassment against him by another homose, Kabuki Jim.

          • I meant of course ‘another homosexual, Kabuki Jim’.

            • I only read it on Independent Australia and report back. And there is, as yet, no evidence beyond assumptions based on what the Liberals themselves know. No cancelled credit card slip spelt wrongly, no face pixilated gay man appearing on A Current Affair with stories about that time in Ibiza. And as for the police, what did happen with that Craig Thompson thing again? And who’s to say this Slipper case won’t quietly slip away in the same manner, with cartoonists for all time continuing to refer back to him as guilty nevertheless whenever a punchline calls for it?

        • What, are you blind?

      • Both Labor and Liberal were praising Slipper for being an excellent Speaker. What has changed?
        His private emails, his perceived sexuality has now made him incompetent.
        Why are we so obsessed with other peoples’ bedrooms. We value our Privacy Uber Alles, why can’t our politicians have some too…

        Well it’s all in the past now and we have an even better Speaker now, a competent female, like her boss Julia.

        • Think about it. If Slipper is not gay, what are the sexual harrassment charges based on? “Have you ever come in a guy’s arse before” could be considered a lewd way for a straight person to address a gay man in the workplace but considering the historical relationship between the two men, and Ashby’s own history of fruity communications with much younger men, it suddenly makes the case seem very flimsy. All the Liberals have to do is cast out the allusion and then whip up their own in-house homophobia in response to their own invention, using an albeit willing gay man to do it.

        • Agree with you Helvi.

          What was in his text messages is no one’s business.

          The real laugh are the men carrying on like it’s never happened before.

          I think some people must have lived their life in a gold fish bowl. Being an x mariner and country boy, I can tell ya, the language ol Slipper used was nothing.

          I just wish blokes were honest, all this utter bullshit about the way this bollicks offends them is laughable.

          I mean, if your gonna have sex with a sheep ya gotta talk dirty to it first.

          Yea, I take all this cobblers serious.

      • OK, couple of points. The harassment case is a civil case, not a criminal one. The police weren’t involved. So, we have two sides with two versions of what happened.

        One side has tabled as evidence of harassment a series of text messages. These messages have been in the hands of Slipper’s lawyers, and of Roxon and/or her staff, for quite some time. None of the contents are new, none are known only to the Libs, and none has been denied.

        Whether Slipper is gay or bi is a matter for him. I couldn’t care less. Whether he sexually harassed Ashby is a matter for the courts. I don’t much care. What I do care about is the integrity of Parliament - and you cannot have someone with his attitudes towards women holding one of the highest offices in that House, and not have it reflect badly on that House. That, and that only, is the reason he should have been removed from the Speakership.

        • Is the sexual harrassment charge based on seduction or lewdness? Considering Slipper and Ashby had a pre-established history of texting each other in such a fashion and a long friendship before Ashby went to work for him, (at the same time as conspiring with Slipper’s arch enemy to bring Slipper down), I think the allegations need to be more clearly defined. The Speaker has no legislative capacity and therefore any implications of sexism arising from past private language usage has no bearing on policy, or parliament for that matter if we were to have never come to hear of the texts. Plus there are community standards in play and this is Australia - like it or lump it, botches. And on a side note, do gay men really bang on about molluscs to quite the same extent as Slipper? Or is he gay-baiting Ashby in that instance? The Liberals have a funny relationship with homosexuality and Ashby would occupy a unique position in amongst that lot. I’m not surprised they found a creative use for him.

    • I did not think that there was any dispute that Slipper is bisexual. He has a wife, female, and children, and apparently has also had male lovers.

      Find another tree to bark up.

      • I don’t know what the relationship was between Ashby and Slipper and and I don’t see that it matters for the purposes of this discussion. Let the courts decide.

        But we’re not arguing a civil suit about harassment, we’re arguing about someone who simply cannot continue to be Speaker given the public nature of his views on women. He’s the arbiter of Parliamentary behaviour, the impartial judge of who’s stepping beyond the lines of acceptable behaviour - do you actually think that, given the circumstances, he’s in any position to exercise moral authority over the benches?

        Not a chance. And that’s why he had to go.

        • There is nothing public about the nature of Slipper’s views on women, the texts have little relevance to the court case let alone the parliament. Compared to the grotesquely bias appointment that Howard put in, who made question time unbearable viewing for anyone of the wrong persuasion, there are no legitimate complaints to be made against Slipper in his role as speaker. It’s only backdoor Coalition plotting and treachory that brought these things to light at all and that’s not necessarily a reflection on Slipper so much as the plotters and conspirators themselves. Why was Ashby keeping Slipper’s text messages on file for years on end? Messages from before the harrassment charges and even from before his employment by Slipper?

          • Reader - I’m not sure what world you live in, but in this one, Slipper’s comments are very much in the public domain.

            As I said, I have no views on the harassment suit. But I do know that someone who is publicly known to hold the views that Slipper does cannot occupy the position of Speaker without damaging the reputation of Parliament. Hell, people get tossed out of football teams for this sort of behaviour, and being a senior figure in Parliament is just a tad more important than being a pro athlete.

        • No way. Slipper went because his position was untenable, with the opposition baying for his blood.

          If you saw Windsor interviewed he as good as said that they voted to support the Speaker because to do otherwise would have been to destroy yet another great tradition - that no Speaker has ever been sacked; with Abbott trampling over just about every other tradition and convention known to man, this was no time to let him get his way.

          I detest Abbott and all he stands for, all his horrible and destructive tactics and all his vicious negativity.

          The man is despicable on just about every criteria I can imagine.

          I call upon the Liberal Party, not for the first time, to do the right thing, to do the honourable thing, and send Abbott to the back bench.

        • PS I thought he may have been psychopathic; but perhaps not. A mental illness might have provided some excuse. Instead it appears to be deliberate. There is an old-fashioned word for it : evil.

          • @DQ - well, it may be true that no Speaker has ever been sacked (at least not in Australia) though they came damn close with Harry Jenkins, I believe.

            But is that necessarily a “great tradition?” I can think of a few, offhand, who probably should have been sacked.

    • It isn’t a slur this 21st century to say someone is a homosexual, Pleb, didn’t you get the memo?

      Anyway, yes, Julia Gillard did well. Sexism, misogyny, she understands. Class, labour, she doesn’t.

  2. OK, that’s a clear prediction. I think you will be wrong, Bob, but we shall see.

  3. It wasn’t just the Murdoch press that distorted the story it was the Canberra press in total. And what a sad bunch they are, all populists to a tight club of fossilised egoes; poisonous blowfish with nothing to say; scared of the dark, being left alone, and how quickly irrelevant they’re making themselves and their newspapers. Grattan hasn’t said anything relevant for years. Anyone…anyone with a skerrick of writing skills could put down what she does in five minutes.

    Dismissing of course the Murdoch press for having any integrity whatsoever [the Australian now simply a standing joke for its capacity to invent the truth], what about the ABC? Faine, Sales, Alberici, in an orchestrated attack, came out smoking on Labor’s so-called Slipper hyprocisy. Frothing with identical questions. It was to the credit of Macklin, Plibersek and Albo, that they were able to see it off so calmly. But I would have liked to see Plibersek put Alberici in her place. Totally cut her down to size for her constant statements – a la do you think the public will ever trust the PM again after this most recent lie? instead of questions.

    Not a word on Gillard’s rousing speech that has made global headlines [This is quite possibly the greatest speech by an Austalian Politician this century. This is Chiffley's 'Light on the hill' speech for women. Well done Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Well done! – social media reaction from the National Times].

    What are we to believe? Mark Scott in bed with Murdoch? Q&A, Insiders, whatever, never a left wing journo in sight, unless Pilger is in town and willing. On the other hand the propagandists are always well represented – Albrechtsen, Henderson, Akerman, the list is endless.

    Is there a left wing press left in Australia to give us a chance?

    • ‘City Hub’ (in Sydney) and ‘The Big Issue’ are left wing, but they’re small fry.

    • And how revolting was Leigh Sales when interviewing Penny Wong. She was a true blue attack dog, she has plenty to learn from the master interviewer, Kerry O’Brian.

      Penny was better than good, as was Albo…pity I missed Plibersek.

    • Sales and Alberici’s conduct as ‘serious’ journalists in those interviews was disgraceful. An abomination of the serious journalism they affect to aspire to. Sales is becoming increasingly shrill, emotional and completely indifferent to the content of her interviewee’s responses. They both look increasingly like they are auditioning for future roles as Fox News muppets. If they had any self-respect they would hand in their credentials.

      • They are even starting to get this mean look about them, like the mean girls at my daughter’s high school used to get, if you dared to look at their way.
        What are you staring at me you f…..g bitch, be careful or I do you in…

      • Pith on me pet I would rather see Maxine Mckew hosting 7.30 and Tony Jones back on Lateline FULL TIME.

        These girls do not cut it for ME.

        • Hilde, I always wondered what ‘doing someone in’ actually meant, but was too scared to ask.
          You look like a right person to ask, you know streetwise, and all that.

  4. Abbott started most of this brutal type of political grandstanding and he will have to cop the same right up to the election. He can give it but can’t take it. He has to trot out his wife and Bishop to defend him. Is he a man I ask. It is not he who the media like or the Liberal Party. They are looking to keep this alive by taking the side which will give them more bang for their bucks.We can’t complain about News Limited’s coverage of Alan Jones at least initially and this has given Gillard momentum on Abbott’s grotesque style of politics. She seems to be handling herself quite well and I am sure the poles will show this.

  5. I think the electorate knows it is time to wake up and treat woman as equals like most civilized societies and Gillard has a great opportunity to make this an issue at the next election holding forums and the like bring up the issues that affect them. Abbott can bring his 19th century ideas past and present to the fore which can only damage him.It wasn’t that long ago he advised woman on all sorts of issues tainted with his religeous beliefs.Does half the electorate really wish such a man wielding supreme power over this country

  6. I like the glimpse of information about the ‘emotional line’ and this angle by way of explanation.

    Finally got to see the whole Gillard speech, and it’s a complex read.

    What sticks out though is how very personal it is, between Gillard and Abbott. That episode wasn’t just politics, nor a generic female male contention. It was personal; they were connected in ways we’ll never know, only they do, the two.

    It’s almost like it could be explained as two past lives, with marital problems then, coming back to settle it once and for all.

    (I get my seafood at a co-op, not that it matters, and refuse to buckle to conjecture on that though it threatens latter days; thus, to remain unbuckled, and proud.)

    • That’s bullshit and to allege a deep Abbott connection is both demeaning and downright gross. It doesn’t always have to be husband/wifey or even sexual as soon as a woman is involved. Keep it above the waist. Gillard would have no illusions in that regard, Abbott is not deep and there’s not a whole lot to him. He’s not some worthy opponent who actually gets the best out of you, like the Sasha Baron Cohen character in The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. He’s just a straight up tool.

      • Ah, but it is very personal. There are precedents, but not with gender sharing its core.

        It was personal between Keating and Howard. Extremely!

        Not so between Howard and Latham. That was more between ideologies.

        Nor was it personal between Howard and Rudd. Each, in that face-off, was consumed more with himself.

        Gillard could dismiss Abbott, but doesn’t. She could sideline him from the job. Either this is tactical, to carry him along to polling day, or she is unable to distance herself personally from him and feels compelled to engage, or both.

  7. No-one said it was sexual. That was your reading.

    • Assuming a deep, mystical bond I think draws on the same tradition.

      • And it was Annabelle Crabbe’s as well as every man and his dog’s reading when Gillard first took office. It was from the start automatically assumed to be a “flirty” relationship between the two. Bob mentioned an incident on a balcony but apart from that there was little to no basis for such a left of centre assumption. Look around - women are constantly made to represent sex itself, to stand in for sex, but for the purpose of the other’s enjoyment. It’s the basic model of how it all works.

        • Our wills are formed
          by curious disciplines
          beyond your laws

          You may give birth to us
          or marry us
          the chances of your flesh
          are not our destiny -

          The cuirass of the soul
          still shines -
          And we are unaware
          if you confuse
          such brief
          corrosion with possession

          Excerpt “Apologies of Genius”

          Mina Loy

          I did want to ask a question about ress… nah forget about it.

        • Annabelle Crabbe’s conduct as a ‘serious’ journalist in her every interview and every written word is embarrassing. An abomination of the serious journalism she affects to aspire to. Crabbes is becoming increasingly hysterical, emotional and completely obsessed with personalising her subjects. She looks increasingly like she is auditioning for future roles as a Channel Ten light news variety show muppet. If she had any self-respect she would hand in her credentials.

  8. A fine summary Bob.

    Considering the fools trying to accuse you of being sexist and misogynist, I think it best if you continue on the attack.

    Leopards cannot change their spots, but an intelligent man can change his mind.

    Show them that it is so.

    • Hypocrites reign supreme it seems.

      • Howya gonna keepem down on the farm…….

        This is turning to open warfare, gloves are off, etc etc. Frank. Hypocrisy is the least of it.

        Ever heard of “bad faith”? This is dick measuring politics and who can get in touch with their feminine side the quickest. I’m guessing an early election, as the Parliament descends to matters of fidelity and all that good stuff and ceases to work.

  9. After a careful reading of the post and all the comments it seems to me that no one here likes Abbott.
    Is that a reasonable inference?

    • I’m indifferent to both Abbott and Gillard. Abbott has some baggage from his younger years but people are capable of change, growth, learning as they say. I don’t think more of Gillard because she rushed home to her dead father, not rushing home doesn’t make you a heart hardened bastard, it really doesn’t.

      Tony was all geared up for a fight with Kevin Rudd and Gillard stole that opportunity from him and he has been all at sea since. He was ready to give that prissy Chinese speaking public servant a thrashing and they gave him a woman, how do you think Tony is going to feel about that? How can he show off his footwork, his quick combination punches, his pre-bout icy stare, these last two years of his leadership have been an analogue of his seventy two second silence and the hair thinning of his scalp. No worthy opponent. Margie’s been brought out because he has to go to town on Gillard, and he just checking the ropes and turnbuckles are all adjusted properly before he tries to flatten her. He will not abide a TKO, he needs her flat on the mat, what else can Tony do? Marquis de Queensberry rules? He could have been a contender, he coulda been somebody, he’s gonna have to throw this fight, and he already knows it.

  10. I don’t dislike Abbott, I respect and admire him for his volunteer work (which he kept very secret for a very long time until exposed by others).

    At the same time I can’t stand Julia Gillard; she is woefully incompetent, has been a disaster as PM (and, as we found) a good advertisement for the validity of the Peter Principle.

    However, I now respect Gillard in something going towards the same way as I respect Abbott and Albanese for their hard politics (not that she is in their class of course). No, she has shown by this latest script about sexism which she read into the Hansard that she will do anything to retain power, even bring the whole rotten ALP shack down around her ears. She is a survivor, outlasting the mortal enemies she has made along the way (especially the Vic ALP types who have been hurling her mud back at her for twenty years - more on that today I see. Who cares, she is not going to have to get a legal practicing certificate ever again. She’s not the first to be so shameless, nor even the first politically shameless woman, but she is the first to become PM and only the sexist would say that being a woman is enough to merit getting that position. So it is with her and incompetence which should have kept her filling out the forms for guaranteed union work as a solicitor (presuming that no more slush funds came along) has allowed her to rise and rise.

    But she will do anything to save it, and beat back Rudd and has taken the ALP with her. No promise means anything (Wilkie and poker machines, ‘under a government I lead’ and all the rest). Even calling an early election to stave off Rudd. Floods in Qld and Anna Bligh breaks down, movingly and openly at what she sees, her companion Gillard handles it okay (until it is noted in the press and Gillard finally breaks down – in Parliament under TV lights. The PM handles it well and for longer than most but she breaks down at the most inappropriate moments, when she would really like to do it away from the public glare – as if!). Brilliantly done. Public trashing of Rudd by the usual suspects from her team, Slipper to be protected at all costs ….and so on.

    Even when faced with the Slipper harassment case, bluff it out. Go big on political pressure (whoops, Ashby protected himself – on good advice no doubt- a legal team as public and as hard fighting as her old Slater Gordon team when they leaked details of a politician’s case to the media. That case was false, and we don’t know yet about Ashby/Slipper). What we do know is that Crash Through or Crash ended up crashing in the vexatious litigation matter.

    What is strange, though, is that four whole months after knowing of the nature of the texts of Slipper, when they became public her brains trust would prepare for her to guard Slipper by creating this ludicrous script of the Abbott sexism and misogyny. Yes, it got given a dry run that morning when Albanese let it out to the media, including all Gillard’s quotes. Very spontaneous that afternoon. Very. Not even needing a teleprompter either, just the Albanese notes.
    No, you have to respect such chutzpah.

  11. She is too tough for Abbott as women can be. Thatcher took the whole ship down as women can do. You cannot win an argument with a smart headstrong woman and not be permanently scarred. Poor Tony, What can he do. Another year of this and he should be ready for the asylum.

  12. Woman throughout the ages have a habit of winning over the boofheads of Abbotts ilk in the first instance but unfortunately were tortured or burned at the stake in retribution. Poor Tony in another time would be most comfortable but alas he is sentenced to squirm in bitterness and hatred across the floor for another year. His mental state by election time will be entertaining to us all I’m sure. Margie will be there to console him I’m sure but I don’t think she is the one he wants to fuck!

    • I get it now. Your worried about the Warragamba Dam overflowing. Don’t worry, I was compelled to give myself a good scrubbing after reading this as will many others I’m sure.

      • For you Soil(appropriate name). In this case Fuck means to destroy in a metaphorical sense. Now go wash your hands or leave the room.

        Really I think we should all have a good look at what is going on. Abbott over the last two years has brought political discourse to a rock bottom level It will stay until the next election. He with the collaboration of the shock jocks and News Media has been trying to break Julia. Well we all know what she is made of. If one has any doubts about this lady then they are deluding themselves. She has great strength of form on the board and I believe when Abbott trotted his wife out it was a gross mistake and showed publicly what a weak human being he really is when put under pressure by his own tactics which have blown up in his face. That is not to say that his party will suffer as much. If Turnbull is ever going to lead the party he must strike now

        • Was that a bowling metaphor?

          • The Steve Bartman incident occurred during a Major League Baseball playoff game between the Chicago Cubs and the Florida Marlins on October 14, 2003, at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

            In the eighth inning of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, with Chicago ahead 3–0 and holding a 3 games to 2 lead in the best of 7 series, several spectators attempted to catch a foul ball off the bat of Marlins’ second baseman Luis Castillo. One of the fans, Steve Bartman, reached for the ball, deflecting it and disrupting a potential catch by Cubs outfielder Moisés Alou. If Alou had caught the ball, it would have been the second out in the inning, and the Cubs would have been just four outs away from winning the National League pennant. Instead, the Cubs ended up surrendering eight runs in the inning, giving up the lead. They went on to lose the game. When they were eliminated in the seventh game the next day, the “Steve Bartman incident” was seen as the turning point of the series.[1]

            In the aftermath of the incident, Bartman, a lifelong Cubs fan, had to be escorted from the stadium by security guards, and received police protection for a time when his name and address were made public on MLB message boards.


            Peter Slipper catches the foul ball.

          • Good one. I used to love bowling.

  13. Since when is homosexuality a ‘gender’?

  14. Try gendrafiction

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