Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Brittany Higgins beatup

Bettina Arndt

What a week. My inbox is overflowing with emails from people bombarding me with commentary on the Brittany Higgins affair – comments they uniformly tell me they don’t dare express publicly.

It’s a very telling example of how readily our mainstream media hops onboard the prescribed feminist narrative, silencing anyone who challenges their view on how this should all play out.

For those of you living overseas, or under a rock, Brittany Higgins is a young woman who last week announced, through the media, that she was raped two years ago, when working as an adviser for the Defence Minister, Linda Reynolds.

As the story unfolded, it was used to mount a ferocious attack on the government. Note the timing – coinciding with the arrival of the Covid vaccine, which should have been a high point for the Coalition which is decimating the Opposition in the polls. It is also hardly a coincidence that Higgin’s current partner, David Sharaz, is a former press gallery journalist, now working for SBS and known to be a fierce critic of the government.

My correspondents, many of whom were women, made some very telling points:

“She may well be telling the truth, but the man has been convicted under ‘trial by media’. The same media who've repeatedly referred to the young woman having ‘been raped’ - an emotive term designed to ensure the man is denied the right to the assumption of innocence.”
“Yet another instance of allegation by public announcement which has the effect of creating a smear on all men who work in Parliament house. No proper investigation, no facts.”

“She was 24 years old - not some naive teenager. She was pissed out of her mind, and that’s how she excuses herself from culpability. He was likely pissed out of his mind – but no such excuses allowed there. She was counselled by the Minister to report it to police but didn’t follow through, which fact does not sit congruently with her alleged fear of losing her job. Now we can expect a huge compo claim, backed by all the woke activists. This crap makes me sick!”

“How close to the truth do you think this might be? Young woman starts out on Kingston ‘pub crawl’ with a date. Accepts drinks all night off another bloke from her workplace. She allows herself to get ‘shitfaced’...goes off with the latter in a taxi which stops at PH so bloke can duck into an office to get something. Rather than stay in taxi until he returns, she goes with him for non-work purposes. He signs her in going through security as she does not have her pass with her. They both finish up on a couch in a Minister's suite where they get it on. He leaves her to wear off the night’s activities & goes home to his own bed. She gets sprung sometime later half naked by a security guard. Caught in an extremely embarrassing situation, she makes the excuse ‘I was raped’. Now she is expecting politicians including the PM & others to salvage her dignity by doing what?”

“I notice that now, two years later, she has announced she wants a comprehensive police investigation - ‘in a timely manner as to date I have waited a long time for justice.’ Whose fault is that? Two Ministers urged her to go to the police, she made an initial report and then pulled out because she was concerned it could damage her career. And now this is the fault of the Ministers, The Prime Minister, the system, anyone but her. No one buys this twaddle except the female journalists conducting their ‘believe the victim’ witch hunt aimed at damaging the government.”

“I’ve been thinking about the Higgins business and relating it to the focus on sexual assault in universities. A major campus advocate is Sharna Bremner of "End Rape on Campus" – see below one of her recent tweets, responding to idea that police should have been called. As you can see, she advocates that police only be involved if that is emphatically chosen by the victim - part of being caring and kind. But the problem with that approach is that two years later the victim can change her mind and then the institution is placed in a difficult position - was there a cover up?”

Once again, ordinary people reach their own conclusions but in public remain silent, nervously watching what happens, even to those who do their best to dance to the feminist tune. A Prime Minister ripped apart for “victim blaming” as he bends over backwards to be sympathetic to Higgins, Linda Reynolds in tears in parliament after being savaged for doing the wrong thing when handling the complaint.

And barely a word about Higgin’s acknowledgement that she was so drunk she fell over even before going back to parliament. The rare exception was a carefully-worded comment piece by Jennifer Oriel, which laments our failure to stop “the scourge of rape” but bravely mentions a Royal Australasian College of Surgeons report showing excessive use of alcohol is related to about half of reported sexual assault cases. Drug and alcohol researchers point to large numbers of studies showing sexual assault is most likely to happen if both parties have been drinking.

Brittany Higgins has acknowledged she chose to speak out after seeing the Prime Minister congratulating Grace Tame, Australian of the Year, and a “survivor of sexual assault.” In turn, Higgins’ decision to speak out has inspired two other women to make allegations about the same man – both also claiming to be heavily intoxicated when the events took place – and now a fourth claiming he put his hand on her thigh whilst they were drinking in a favoured bar. And now there’s a petition which has attracted over 2000 testimonials from school girls who claim to have been sexually assaulted.

#Metoo seems to have fizzled out and been replaced by far more potent allegations about men’s abhorrent behaviour. 2021, the year of the rape victim.

Bettina Arndt newsletter:


Amendments forced into media bargaining code undermine core principles, reinforce need for tougher regulation

Statement attributable to Chris Cooper, executive director, Reset Australia:

We are concerned that the amendments to the media bargaining code announced today undermine some its core guiding tenets.

It is deeply concerning that a couple of powerful foreign corporations can create such a powerful bargaining position with the Australian Government by holding the distribution of Australian news and information to ransom.

The point of the code was not just to force commercial agreements between the platforms and news publishers, but rather to force agreements that are made under the code. If the platforms and news publishers simply bargain outside the code, the power imbalance will remain and publishers will lack the guarantee the arbitration measures provide under the code.

We are concerned that the Treasurer's amendment shifts power away from fair and objective rules and toward ministerial discretion. Allowing the Treasurer to decide whether or not the code should apply to any given platform at any given time creates enormous potential for platforms to use their outsize power and influence to gain favourable decisions.

Ultimately what we need most are compulsory audits of the algorithms these platforms using to ensure they are complying with this Code mitigating the broader harms we know they create.

Press release. Contact: Chris Cooper 0403 353 621


Fears illnesses other than COVID-19 will mar 2021 as RSV cases rise in south-east Queensland

The spread of a highly contagious virus with similar symptoms to COVID-19 has prompted warnings that 2021 could be a year of illness and disease as social distancing rules start to relax.

South-east Queensland is already facing a surge of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus, which primarily affects children between 18 months and two years.

Roger Faint, the head of the Sunshine Coast Local Medical Association, said paediatric wards on Queensland's Sunshine Coast had been relatively quiet up until now.

He said the increase in presentations was probably driven by children returning to school. "The hospital wards have not been busy in paediatric wards up until the last month or so," Dr Faint said. "There's been less diarrhea, less pneumonia, and less respiratory infection.

"As time has moved on, people got more relaxed — I suspect that's a large part of what's happening."

The Sunshine Coast University Hospital's emergency department recorded 12 cases of RSV so far this year. There were three during the same period last year and zero the year before.

Most children recover easily, but some suffer from a pneumonia-type infection that can put a small number in hospital.

Some of those will need to be treated in an intensive care ward and ventilated, because their breathing is affected.

Gold Coast University Hospital emergency medicine director David Green said an outbreak of RSV at his hospital was putting pressure on staff.

He said the rise of RSV cases was also impacting the Queensland Children's Hospital and others across the south-east.

Dr Faint said as Queenslanders begin to socialise and mix with confidence, and social distancing requirements continue to ease, there was a risk that 2021 could be a dangerous year for infections, including the flu.

"As those issues break down and we go back to our pre-COVID behaviours, then you're going to start seeing a spike of infections," he said.

Only 6,034 people were diagnosed with the flu in Queensland last year — a 90 per cent reduction on the year before, when 66,135 were diagnosed.

At least 37 people died from influenza in Australia in 2020, down from 921 the year before.

But Dr Faint said Australians now seemed less willing to go to work when they were sick. "Probably only 18 months ago, you were expected to tough it out and go to work if you've got a cough and a fever," he said.

"It may be that way from now on — we expect people to stay home and work from home if they've got a cough and a cold, just to protect our kids or protect each other."

Queensland Health is urging people to get inoculated once the flu vaccine becomes available. "It's vital Queenslanders book in for their flu jab this year," a spokeswoman said.

She said the best time to be vaccinated was between mid-April to the end of May, ahead of winter.


State Government would face a community backlash if parts of Moreton Island are made off limits

The trepidation so many Australians felt when that ban was placed on walking up Uluru may well have been justified.

Today we have learned that access to a section of Moreton Island in the control of an indigenous group could potentially be restricted.

The information is not yet clear cut. But we do know management of the southeast section of the island is set to be shared between the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation under a new law set to go before the Queensland Parliament.

The QYAC have been unequivocal about their determination to allow the general public to visit and holiday in the area, and urged the State Government to educate non-indigenous people about the reality of native title laws.

“Native title is not accompanied by education or information for the general public, and other users tend to have concerns which are not correct at law and often are very damaging to Aboriginal people,’’ a spokeswoman has said.

But the QPWS have also been unequivocal in their negotiations with tourism operators active in the area _ closure of areas of Cape Moreton are “on the table’’ under this proposal.

It was in November 2019 that the Federal Court formally recognised indigenous ownership of Moreton Island.

Non indigenous Queenslanders have constantly been reassured that native title does not mean they will be barred from the island. But the new legal regime means indigenous owners could develop a monopoly control of tourism in that area recognised by law as in control of native title holders.

That suggests, at the very least, a range of areas could be placed off limits to the general public for traditional or spiritual reasons.

The trek up Uluru was something many ageing Australians had on their “bucket list’’ until October 2019 when it was banned - a ban which appeared to be accepted by the majority, even if some did so grudgingly.

The State Government must be aware that any similar restrictions on access to Moreton Island would not be taken so lightly.

Uluru is thousands of kilometres away in a desert environment. Moreton is a boat ride away, and a regular destination for thousands of Queenslanders, many of whom cherish a lifelong connection to the island.

And if the government is hoping a four-year term is a comfortable enough buffer for the outrage to die down until the next state election, it doesn’t quite understand the nature of its own electorate.




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