Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Representing Australia as misogynist is the lie

Feminist hysteria over the top

According to the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, it is wrong to talk down the economy since Australia has one of the best performing economies in the Western world. Fair enough.

However, supporters of the Prime Minister such as Anne Summers have expressed delight that Gillard's speech in Parliament last Tuesday has been noted in New York and London and has had more than 1 million downloads from YouTube. Yet the message of the Prime Minister's address is that Australia is a society riven by sexism and misogyny.

Gillard presented herself as a political leader who is attacked because of her gender. More seriously, the lead attack-dog is Tony Abbott, the Leader of the Opposition and, as such, the alternative prime minister. According to the Prime Minister, she hears "misogyny, sexism every day from this Leader of the Opposition".

The message is clear. All that is standing between a civilised society, in which women play their proper role, and rampant woman-hating is the continuation of a Labor government. Yet such a message to overseas audiences is much more negative than talking down the Australian economy.

The facts are obvious. Women occupy senior roles in politics, business, the judiciary, medicine, law, even sections of the clergy. Labor's Gillard is Australia's first female prime minister. If the Coalition wins next year's election, the Liberal Party's deputy leader, Julie Bishop, will become the most senior female Coalition minister ever.

Certainly Gillard has experienced a degree of misogyny - especially from the likes of cartoonist Larry Pickering, who, these days, is a bit player on the edge of Australian politics. Some of this unpleasantness is documented in Summers's 2012 Human Rights and Social Justice Lecture.

The problem is that, at times, Summers goes right over the top. For example, she claims the word liar "was not a term used against back-flipping male prime ministers". But it was. In the early 1980s, Bob Hawke called Malcolm Fraser a liar. Summers went on to work for Hawke. In 2006, Kevin Rudd called Howard a liar. There are all too many examples.

I agree with Summers it is "terrible" to call the Prime Minister a liar. However, when I asked her if she had expressed such a view when Howard was called a liar, she declined to answer the question. Summers also takes offence that, on occasions, Gillard is referred to as "she" or "her" and maintains that "previous prime ministers were accorded the basic respect of being referred to by their last names".

This is manifestly not so. Moreover, last Thursday Gillard used the words "he" and "he's" in one sentence when referring to Abbott.

This is normal conversation.

It seems that Summers's evident sensitivity has had an impact on Gillard. Last Tuesday, the Prime Minister complained that Abbott was "now looking at his watch because, apparently, a woman has spoken for too long". In the 1992 US presidential campaign, George H.W. Bush was criticised for looking at his watch when debating Bill Clinton. This is not a gender specific act. Nor is being told to shut up. Nor is being called a "piece of work". Last year I was called a "piece of work" by the Sydney University academic Simon Chapman. It took me a full eight seconds to recover.

The problem with such over-readiness to take offence is that it can lead to setting impossible standards. Last Tuesday, Gillard stated Liberal parliamentary members who were present when Alan Jones made an offensive comment about her late father should have either left the room or walked up to Jones "and said this was not acceptable". Yet neither Wayne Swan nor Tanya Plibersek took either course of action last Wednesday when a comedian at a trade union function they attended made an indefensible reference to a senior female Coalition staffer.

Conservative female leaders such as Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel - and social democrats such as Hillary Clinton - have learnt to accept criticism and to dismiss abuse. Last week in Greece, for example, Merkel was confronted with banners depicting her as a Nazi. It is difficult to imagine a greater insult. But she did not take offence. Likewise Thatcher, when some radical feminists declared she was really a man.

Gillard was very popular when she became Prime Minister in June 2010. Her credibility was diminished by Abbott doing his job as Opposition Leader and by the damaging leaks against her from inside Labor. Then, after the election, the Prime Minister did the unnecessary deal with the Greens and broke her promise not to introduce a carbon tax. Her problems stem from politics, not gender.

Gillard has suffered no greater abuse than that experienced by such predecessors as Fraser, Keating and Howard. Commentators who look at contemporary Australian politics and see wall-to-wall misogyny, diminish the very real achievements of Australian women in recent decades.


Turning back boats discussed: Opposition

THE federal opposition says people smuggling was discussed at leader Tony Abbott's meeting with Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.  However, Indonesian foreign minister Marty Natalegawa, who was in the meeting on Monday, says Mr Abbott did not raise the coalition policy of turning back boats.

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison has confirmed Mr Abbott discussed people-smuggling issues with Mr Yudhoyono.

The issue of turning back the boats was discussed in a later meeting with Mr Natalegawa.

"The content of these discussions is private, as it should be," Mr Morrison told ABC Radio on Tuesday, adding the opportunity to discuss a broad range of matters at such a senior level was unprecedented for an opposition.

"(It) has been invaluable, serving to add further to the understanding and trust that already exists."

That would be critical to working in partnership with Indonesia to address people smuggling if the coalition was elected to power, Mr Morrison said.

In a speech to a business function in Jakarta on Monday, Mr Abbott said for Australia, people smuggling had become "a first order economic and security issue".

Border protection blowouts had cost almost $5 billion during the past four years.

As things stood, Australia had partially subcontracted its immigration program to people smugglers, Mr Abbott said.

On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Bob Carr said he had zero concerns about Mr Abbott's one-on-one with the Indonesian's president.

"No, I think it's very positive," he told ABC radio.  "Any Australian opposition should have an engagement with Indonesia."

Senator Carr said the government had nothing to be worried about given its own excellent relationship with Jakarta.  "I've had more meetings with Marty Natalegawa ... than I have with any other foreign minister," he said.


New study finds migrant doctors working in Australia get more complaints

I suspect that this even more so in Britain.  I monitor British medical disasters daily at EYE ON BRITAIN and the erring doctors named mostly seem to have foreign names, with names like Mohammed, Hussein and Ali being particularly common.  I will have to do a formal count of them some day

OVERSEAS-trained doctors are more likely than Australian-trained ones to have complaints made about them and disciplinary action taken, a new study says.

The University of Melbourne research, published in the Medical Journal of Australia's October 15 issue, found that the results differed markedly by overseas country of training.

The study found that doctors who qualified in Nigeria, Egypt, Poland, Russia, Pakistan, the Philippines and India had more complaints to medical boards than Australian-trained doctors.

The researchers analysed over 5000 complaints resolved by the medical boards in Victoria and Western Australia between 2001 and 2010.

They found that overall, overseas-trained doctors had 24 per cent higher odds of attracting complaints than Australian-trained doctors, and 41 per cent higher odds of having adverse disciplinary findings made against them.

The numbers of international medical graduates in Australian clinical practice have grown and now account for nearly 25 per cent of doctors in Australia.

The study's lead author Katie Elkin and research group leader David Studdert said high-profile cases featuring incompetent overseas-trained doctors had ignited public concerns.

But they said there had been very little hard evidence about whether the quality of care delivered by this large section of the national medical workforce was better or worse.

They found complaint rates against doctors trained in some countries were more than five times greater than complaint rates against doctors trained in other countries.

The authors said more research was needed into the reasons for the inter-country differences.

In an accompanying editorial, Professor Balakrishnan Nair said the report highlighted the need for better assessment, mentoring and support systems for overseas-trained doctors.


More carelessness at Qld. hospital

Is Redcliffe a second Bundaberg?

A MOTHER-of-four's dream of having more children was dramatically cut short when she was caught up in a southeast Queensland hospital's clerical mix-up.

Disability pensioner Lisa Beckwith said she remained "shattered" and "distraught" after she was mistakenly told by staff at Redcliffe Hospital she had stage 3 cervical cancer and was advised to have a tubal ligation.

She has spoken out about her ordeal that occurred in 2006 after The Courier-Mail's exclusive reports last week revealed the death of 87-year-old grandmother Lillian Ivy Lane of Margate.

She died after receiving "excessive" doses of drugs at Redcliffe Hospital after routine knee surgery.

Mrs Beckwith, 42, yesterday told of how the birth of her daughter Olivia, now aged six, turned to heartbreak.

"Two weeks before I was to have my daughter Olivia in 2006 I was told to have a tubal ligation," she said.

She said she went to see hospital staff before her daughter Olivia was born to be told she would need a biopsy six weeks after delivering her baby. I said, 'excuse me, what for?' and (they) said 'for the cervical cancer you have'."

Mrs Beckwith said she was so concerned with the news she had been told, she signed a form to have a tubal ligation after Olivia's birth.

Several months after Mrs Beckwith had the procedure she was called in by hospital staff and told there had been a mix-up.

She said she was informed her details had been jumbled up with another patient's information which showed they had been diagnosed with cervical cancer. Mrs Beckwith contacted the Health Quality and Complaints Commission, an independent and impartial statutory body, in September 2006 regarding the issues relating to her care at Redcliffe Hospital.

She also lodged a complaint which stated during her caesarean delivery of Olivia she was given an epidural that a contained a drug she was allergic to morphine.

An internal review was conducted by the hospital's senior officers and she was provided with a written response which the HQCC said was resolved to their satisfaction.

Mrs Beckwith contacted the Health Minister Lawrence Springborg this year outlining her complaints regarding poor treatment at the hospital and received a letter from him in August.

In the letter Mr Springborg stated "the results of the hospital's internal investigations concluded that the treatment provided was reasonable".

A spokesman for Mr Springborg yesterday said Queensland Health "handles hundreds of thousands of cases each year and, unfortunately, in a very small percentage of cases mistakes do occur".


1 comment:

Paul said...

The study found that doctors who qualified in Nigeria, Egypt, Poland, Russia, Pakistan, the Philippines and India had more complaints to medical boards than Australian-trained doctors.


(At least the parents are proud and the moneys good, job done)