Australian Politics 2022-10-07 01:08:00


Gillard 'cool anger' drove misogyny speech

Words uttered in anger are rarely wise and this is a good example of that. The speech so pissed off male voters that her party's popularity dropped like a stone. Seeing the disaster, her own party promptly booted her out of the top job. Feminists sometimes seem to forget that men have a vote too

Nearly a decade since Ms Gillard declared in Australian parliament she would not be lectured by then-opposition leader Tony Abbott on sexism and misogyny, she has reflected on the speech that attracted global attention.

The former Labor leader said her chief-of-staff Ben Hubbard asked if she was sure she wanted to respond to an opposition bid to remove then-lower house speaker Peter Slipper, who had sent sexist text messages about women's genitalia.

"I wandered over to the adviser's box and I said to the advisers there, 'I'm going to take this, I'm going to do the reply'," she told a 5000-strong crowd in Sydney on Wednesday night.

"And Ben said to me 'are you sure?'. Because normally I used to hold myself above the tactics of the opposition on any given day.

"Yes I am sure because I am sick of this s***."

Ms Gillard said for many years she felt the speech was her constant companion.

"Wherever I went it was walking with me alongside me," she said.

"But I've come to realise that it's not my companion, it's yours because it's become your anthem of defiance when you are subjected to a sexist slur."

The former prime minister was joined by an eclectic bunch of women who shared their impressions of the speech.

Others beamed in via video message, including New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

The latter said the response to misogynistic attacks on Australia's first female prime minister had reverberated around the chamber, parliament, the nation and the world.

"With such an economy of words Julia captured and channelled the indignities and obstacles so many women had faced their whole lives," Mr Albanese said.

"Julia spoke to every woman and for every woman who had been excluded and bullied and harassed or worse.

"Australian women recognised themselves in the speech. That's what made it so powerful and that is why it will endure."

Ms Gillard said the unplanned speech was fuelled by a cool anger. "I felt analytical. I knew precisely what I wanted to say," she said. "And I felt empowered, not embattled, not cowed. "And that is the spirit of the misogyny speech."

Ms Gillard believes that a decade after the October 9, 2012 speech, sexist and misogynist behaviour is not tolerated as much as it was during her prime ministership.

The former prime minister, who serves as chair of leading mental health awareness body, Beyond Blue, appeared on stage in Melbourne and Sydney over two nights.


Top doctor Nick Coatsworth issues blunt warning about children as young as five getting the Covid vaccine as he urges Australia to SCRAP jabs for kids: 'The benefit just isn't there'

Dr Nick Coatsworth has demanded a review of the Covid vaccine for children amid concerns they barely benefit from getting the jab, and are more likely to suffer rare side effects.

Australia's former deputy chief medical officer said the country should reconsider its stance on giving the dose to children above the age of five.

The UK has stopped offering the vaccine to healthy children who turned five after August, while Sweden no longer recommends it to teenagers aged 12 to 17.

In Denmark, since July no one under the age of 18 can get vaccinated against Covid, with health officials saying very small numbers of children get severely ill from the disease, and therefore vaccination isn't necessary.

It comes after recent studies showed younger people, and particularly adult males between 18 and 25, and are at higher risk of myocarditis - the inflammation of the heart, a rare side effect linked to some mRNA jabs such as Pfizer and Moderna.

Dr Coatsworth clarified he was still a strong supporter of the Covid vaccine but admitted parents should take caution when considering vaccinating their child.

But he reiterated that there has only been one death from the heart condition linked to the jab in Australia.

'If you're a healthy child or adolescent, the benefit of the Covid vaccine just isn't there,' Dr Coatsworth told 2GB on Friday. 'Covid itself isn't going to kill you in that age group'.

Dr Coatsworth's warning comes after studies from peer-reviewed journal The Lancet found higher than expected rates of myocarditis in younger people.

'Specifically in individuals younger than 35 years, with the highest risk among men aged 18–25 years after their second COVID-19 mRNA vaccine dose,' the study read. 'The data indicate that this adverse event primarily occurs within 1–7 days of vaccination.'

The Therapeutic Goods Administration released its Covid weekly safety report on Thursday showing teenagers were more likely to experience myocarditis than adults.

The rate for boys aged between 12 and 17 was the highest with 13.2 per 100,000 experiencing the side effect after the second dose.

The figure was drastically higher than the 18 to 29-year-old age group with 9.2 per 100,000 coming down with myocarditis.

The rate for women aged between 12 and 17 was slightly higher than the 18 to 29-year-old camp with 2.8 per 100,000 compared to 2.7 per 100,000.

'As far I'm aware, only a single death has been associated with myocarditis in Australia, that's after 63 million doses of the vaccine,' Dr Coatsworth said.

Dr Coatsworth said it was an 'open question' whether or not Australia followed the UK and Sweden and stopped recommending the vaccine for healthy children. The vaccine is still recommended for at-risk groups in the two overseas countries.

In the UK, children who turned five since August are still recommended to get the vaccine, as is everyone over the age of 11.

'Many, many parents have made that decision not to vaccinate their kids and that is a valid decision regardless of the recommendation,' he said.

'That is clearly a valid decision because two countries, you've seen, have made that decision with their professional immunisation body'.


Nuclear pushback against Senate bill

The Greens sure hate nukes

Nuclear power in Australia would increase electricity costs, slow the transition to a low-carbon economy and introduce the potential for catastrophic accidents, a new Australian Conservation Foundation report says.

It comes a day after Coalition senators moved to introduce a Private Senators Bill to remove Australia's ban on nuclear energy, which has existed since 1998.

The bill says nuclear power is one of the safest forms of energy and will play a vital role in achieving the nation's emission targets moving forward.

The Nuclear for Climate Australia group has previously identified Liddell Power Station in Upper Hunter among a host of sites including Portland in Victoria, Lithgow, Gladstone, Rockhampton and Townsville that is says could form the backbone of a future nuclear-powered grid.

But the ACF report Wrong reaction: Why 'next-generation' nuclear is not a credible energy solution, argues that so-called 'next generation' nuclear power, which has been proposed for Australia, does not exist in the commercial world.

"Proponents of nuclear power in Australia are not calling for the deployment of existing nuclear reactor technology, which is known to be high cost and high risk. Instead, they promote 'next-generation' technology, which simply does not exist in the commercial world," ACF nuclear expert Dave Sweeney said.

"Existing nuclear power technology has been plagued by cost overruns and poor economic performance. Every independent economic assessment finds that electricity from small modular reactors would be even more expensive than power from large reactors.

"Small modular reactors have lower thermal efficiency than large reactors, which generally translates to higher fuel consumption and spent fuel volumes over the life of a reactor.

"Globally just two small modular reactors are understood to be in operation. One is in Russia and the other in China and in both cases the cost blowouts have been extensive."

The ACF report outlines several 'next-generation' nuclear projects that have been cancelled over the past decade.

It cites research from CSIRO and the national energy market operator showing renewables are the cheapest energy source in Australia, while nuclear would be the most expensive.

"We cannot afford to waste more time in transitioning to a low-carbon future. Nuclear is a dangerous distraction to effective climate action," Mr Sweeney said.

"Australia is blessed with amazing clean energy resources, good infrastructure and smart people. Our energy future is renewable, not radioactive."

The federal energy minister Chris Bowen recently said that nuclear power was the most expensive form of power Australia could invest in.

The government's low emissions technology adviser Alan Finkel said last month there was little need and "no social licence" to develop baseload nuclear technology in Australia.


More Aussies are socialising less in a post-pandemic world and going to extraordinary lengths to avoid it

A survey of 1000 customers who use the rideshare company Uber found that more than half were socialising less after the worst of the pandemic.

Almost half (48 per cent) of Aussies will walk down another aisle at the shops to avoid someone, with Gen Z the most likely to do this.

Half of that generation also admitted that they crossed the road or headed in another direction to steer clear of someone coming towards them.

More people are also lying about being sick to miss a social event, with two-fifths of people admitting to doing this.

One in four Aussies don’t know or can’t remember the last time they struck up a conversation with a stranger.

Technology is the main weapon people are using to avoid social interactions, with more than a quarter pretending to be on a phone call (28 per cent) or keeping headphones in without music playing (26 per cent) to appear busy.

Why are Aussies going to such lengths to avoid socialising?
Australian psychologist Emmanuella Murray said it was no surprise that people were feeling uneasy about socialising again.

“We have missed many opportunities to meet new people over the past year,” she said.

“We all feel a little uncomfortable socialising at times, though some of us are shyer than others.

“Whatever your needs, staying connected is important for our wellbeing and for most people, the trick to getting socially ‘unstuck’ is to start socialising again.”

The Uber research revealed that for those who admitted to socialising less, a third felt awkward and uneasy in social settings, a quarter felt it was too much effort and 42 per cent simply didn’t enjoy socialising as much as they used to.