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Holding the government to account is the mark of a democracy. Even in Tony Abbotts Team Australia there is a need for an umpire. One elected to ensure its conduct is fair and humane. To tell the self-proclaimed captain his team has broken the rules. To protect us all from bullying and abuse.
Such an umpire is Gillian Triggs, our Human Rights Commissioner.
Would you trust a government which vilifies and belittles its own Human Rights Commissioner? Which, because it doesn’t like the umpire’s verdict, throws a tantrum and demands her resignation?
Would Tony treat a male Human Rights Commissioner with such open hostility and lack of respect?
The aggression directed at Gillian Triggs is unprecedented. No former Liberal or Labor government has sunk so low as to try to remove the umpire. No democratic government in the developed world has behaved this badly, or been so out-of-control.
Clearly, Tony hates intelligent and strong women.
Her report, commissioned by the very government calling for her resignation, on our treatment of children in detention found Team Australia wanting. But not just Team Australia: the former Labor government also. Successive governments in fact.
The significant issue here is that Team Australia are the only ones who can improve on our treatment of children. They hold the power to make things better. They are, as they constantly remind us, The Government.
What a tragedy that the Abbott government has squandered its opportunity to alleviate children’s suffering, choosing, instead, to try to shoot the messenger.
Gillian Triggs, our Human Rights Commissioner, is made of strong stuff. And despite his tantrums Tony can’t rid himself of the messenger, or her findings.
Thankfully, Gillian, - is 2.5 years into a five-year statutory term that is legally protected to prevent political interference.
The results of her Commission belong to us all and are for all of us to ponder and act on. The misogyny and vitriol directed at this woman for doing the job she was asked to do is something we, as a nation, will also ponder.
As a woman I’m tired of little boys like Tony, the school yard bully cat-calling anyone he thinks he can intimidate.
It won’t work with Gillian. It won’t work with the majority of women in this country. Because we’re all tired of a government which demonstrates so little respect for us.
Tony calls himself captain. So did the criminal in charge of the Costa Concordia.