My partner felt a need to contribute to the blizzard of postal spam that preceded the Australian election of last weekend. So she signed her name to a letter declaring her belief, and that of some other women here in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, that Australian Liberal Party Prime-Ministerial candidate Tony Abbott is, among his many other fascinating qualities, no friend to women.
I can save you the trouble of reading those last few links, by just saying that Tony's a conservative Catholic. He actually studied to be a priest before deciding to switch to the less stigmatised profession of journalism, and thence to the even more upstanding life of a politician. The current watch-this-space, don't-get-too-attached-to-her Labor leader Julia Gillard is, downright astonishingly by the standards of modern Western politics, an admitted atheist.
The upshot of the election was a hung Parliament, in which the two major parties fought each other to a standstill, leaving Gillard as a "caretaker Prime Minister" and a few independents, plus exactly one Green, holding the balance of power.
Voting - well, technically just getting your name ticked off on the list, and then doing something which resembles voting - is mandatory in Australia. (The penalty for not getting your name checked off exceeds nineteen dollars!) But the process is enlivened by our preferential voting system. This allows one to at least indicate who one would like to run the country instead of the ratbags of Major Party A or the scumbuckets of Major Party B, while still being able to say that if you have to have ratbags or scumbuckets, you'd prefer the ratbags. Or the scumbuckets.
Which is to say, I don't think it's excessively presumptuous to say that the women who signed the anti-Abbott letter are not delighted beyond all human reckoning with the Labor alternative. They'd just prefer it.
Yesterday we received a letter, about the anti-Abbott letter. I find this second letter delightful in every way, and I wish its anonymous author - who's phoned us too, but regrettably only been able to leave a message - another 73 years of good health and Apoplectic Capital Letters.
I suppose I should show you the actual anti-Abbott letter first, but it's kind of boring while the reply is hilarious, so here's a compromise: Read on for the original letter, or click here to skip straight to the reply!
(My few additions below are in [square brackets].)
Dear [recipient's name]
We are writing to you as concerned members of the community. This election is critical and we are asking all women to seriously consider how they vote.
Australia is at serious risk of returning to an ulta-conservative Abbott-led Government. Women need to consider Mr Abbott's track record on a range of issues that impact women and their lives.
Whilst Mr Abbott has tried to distance himself from comments he has made by shrugging them off as a joke, we don't believe they are a joking matter.
Over the years Mr Abbott has made his views clear on the role of women in our society:
"I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation...simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons".
[to a reporter, back in 1979]
"For myself, I don't support "women's" causes. I support conservative causes."
[posted by Mr Abbott on his Web site in September 2008]
Just last week Mr Abbott said at a press conference:
"Are you suggesting to me that when it comes from Julia, 'No' doesn't mean 'No'?"
This is a clear reference to the anti-sexual assault campaign slogan. Mr Abbott should know that sexual assault is never a laughing matter.
We believe that Mr Abbott and his Government would take back all the gains that women have achieved over the last 50-odd years. Please consider how you vote on August 21 - don't send Australian women back to the kitchen.
Marg Acton, Helen Chapman, Kate Cooke, Irena Kesa, Naomi Parry, Sharon Dart, Libby O'Donnell, Jude Cooke, Chrissy Girard, Ashleigh Cummings, Anne O'Grady, Jackie Manners, Mary Travers, Angela Cleary, Samantha Clarke, Gay Thew, Kathy O'Hara, Susie McMeekin, Reenie Kuypers, Sarah Terkes, Xanthe Stavrakis, Genie Melone, Jo Hibbert, Susan Ambler, Sam Thompson, Lesley Sammon, Deanne Dale, Lorraine Vogel, Suzanne Langford and Sara Rose.
Residents of the Blue Mountains.
Authorised by Elizabeth O'Donnell, 9 Vale Street, Katoomba, 2780.
(The links in the text below were added by me. Everything else was in the original. It was, sadly, just two sheets of plain photocopied 24-pin dot-matrix printout, with no green ink or underlining. I have taken care to reproduce its exact content, though.)
To The LABOR Women of the Blue Mountains
What a lot of misguided people you all are. To align yourself with the Labor Party tells me that you are possibly not very well educated, domineering, rather spiteful and definitely 'Greenies' — who believe in the scam of 'Global Warming' which is actually caused by Natural Solar Processes which also control the Ocean Tides — the Change of Seasons — the Sun Shining — Winds blowing — Earth Quakes — and Volcanos
The Labor Party — the Unions — the Greenies or anyone else does not have the Power to change the way the Universe has 'worked' since time began. Nothing Julia Giilard can do will make any difference to the Atmosphere --- but it will make a huge difference to your Bank Account in a NEGATIVE way but - will boost the Bank Account of Magabi's personal Bank balance plus the Bank Accounts of Leaders of Third World, Asian and African Countries.
I am amazed how low you women have gone to dig deep into some garbage back in 1979 to 'print a portion' of something Tony Abbott said when he was a very young 20 to 22 year old. I would hope he would have different ideas now as a very responsible adult - than he had when he was in his twenties — it is a pity you women don't learn from him.!
Tony Abbott is well aware of womens needs being a married man with three beautiful daughters --- Julia Giilard will NEVER have the insight into womens needs as Tony Abbott does — being a Husband and Father of three daughters,
I was born at Wentworth Falls in 1937 - went to school at Wentworth Falls Primary and then Katoomba High — when it was in Parke St Katoomba .
My Father had a business at Wentworth Falls.
I have four Children and eleven Grandchildren and five Great Grand Children and have seen many changes over the years including a number of Prime Ministers and Politicians including the Great Sir Robert Menzies and John Howard. Then came the hateful — spiteful Labor Party who are so manipulative and eventually 'stabbed their own Leader in the back' so as Julia Gillard could fulfil her aspirations as Prime Minister --- and this is the Party you want people to vote for --- you must be joking.!
I think YOU lot, are the ones who should be giving a lot of thought about the Politicians you are so wrapped in.