Liberals lose yet another high-profile woman, yet still no action on gender


Mark Kenny, Australian National University

Liberal women must surely be asking why their party is so clear-eyed when facilitating the departure of competent women, and yet so mealy-mouthed about recruiting and promoting them.

Prominent among Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s comments on Kelly O’Dwyer’s retirement to pursue family life, was to say he supported his minister’s decision, and indeed supported all such choices by women.

Such clarity has been conspicuously absent from the Liberal Party’s leadership since its now widely accepted “women” problem came to the fore in 2018 amid claims of bullying, implied career threats, ingrained gender bias, and other generally oafish behaviour.

Even more opaque has been the Liberal Party’s puzzling refusal to broach any corrective action to address a powerful internal preference for men, when selecting candidates in winnable seats. This, despite a miserable return of just 13 female MPs of its 76 in the lower house after the 2016 election.

It is even worse now, and voters are on to it.

Not the first such departure

O’Dwyer is the second female Liberal from Victoria to call it quits in six months after her friend, the talented rookie backbencher Julia Banks, spectacularly called time on the party in the wake of Malcolm Turnbull’s brutal ouster.

Banks went to the cross bench to form a quartet of competent female moderates with past ties or sympathies to the centre-right – Banks, Kerryn Phelps, Rebekha Sharkie, and Cathy McGowan.

There have been other high-profile departures this term also on family grounds with two frontbenchers on the Labor side – former minister Kate Ellis, and rising star Tim Hammond – both bowing out.

That federal politics is hard on families and relationships is hardly news, but the slew of resignations / defections underscores how little has been done to change things.

And poignant, given her portfolio

In any event, O’Dwyer’s retreat is arguably the most pointed given the current debate, her particular government portfolio, her hard-won ministerial seniority, and her party’s woes.

It makes Liberal retention of her previously safe Melbourne seat of Higgins somewhere between problematic and unlikely.

On the social media platform Twitter where cynicism and vitriol flows freely from people hiding behind false identities, her departure has been met with some appallingly personal abuse, exaggerated outrage, and claims she was merely a rat leaving a sinking ship.

It is true that retaining the seat would have been no certainty even with O’Dwyer still as the candidate, especially given Victoria’s recent anti-conservative tendencies in state election races, but with a new candidate, the Liberal jewel is undoubtedly more vulnerable.

Feminists will be aggrieved to see another senior woman go but they might also be quietly disappointed in her stated reasons.

In contradistinction to some of her predecessors, O’Dwyer, did substantive work as minister for women, and unlike some, gave the impression of actually believing in the mission.

She also garnered respect from across the aisle and within the press gallery as a person of warmth and humility – stand-out qualities on Capital Hill.

It is a portfolio she believed in

O’Dwyer created enemies however on her party’s increasingly reactionary right flank by outlining the challenges for women – especially in politics – acknowledging the Liberal Party’s poor image in some quarters.

She was even reputed to have told colleagues they were seen as a bunch of “homophobic, anti-women, climate change deniers”.

Her introduction of a women’s economic security statement last year was another material achievement resisted by some as political correctness.

But in declaring her job’s incompatibility with family life, there was an unmistakable note of resignation, even defeat in O’Dwyer’s “choice”. And coming from the minister most directly involved in remediating that problem for women, her resignation cannot help but reinforce the message that politics may well be no place for women.

Morrison’s superficially virtuous support for the choices for women, was no help either – typical of much conservative sophistry around this whole issue.

Morrison isn’t helping

Masquerading as a pro-choice feminist while endorsing a senior colleague’s decision to give up her career for child-rearing and home duties takes some chutzpah.

An alternative approach might have been to lament her departure as symptomatic of a flawed representational system, acknowledge the failure of politics to renovate its male paradigm, and vow to change the culture in material ways.

It might even be called leadership.

For a government laced with longstanding (if undeclared) quotas for ministerial selection – think ratios in the ministry applied to the number of Libs to Nats, House to Senate, moderates to conservatives, and even between states – the blind spot over women’s under-representation and the philosophical objection to corrective action (quotas) is all the more bizarre.

It is a mark of how far conservative Liberals have drifted from contemporary public attitudes and even their own philosophy that some would countenance re-nationalising of energy assets and building new coal-fired power stations before correcting a clear market imperfection within their own organisation.




Read more:
View from The Hill: Julie Bishop will be open to post-politics offers


And with speculation that Julie Bishop could also withdraw from the 2019 field, the situation facing Morrison’s Liberals threatens to deepen.

Through all of this, voters’ views come second.

Not so long ago, Bishop was easily the most popular alternative to Malcolm Turnbull in voter land but such unrivalled public support was good for just 11 votes in the party room.The Conversation

Mark Kenny, Senior Fellow, Australian Studies Institute, Australian National University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

View from The Hill: O’Dwyer’s decision turns the spotlight onto Bishop


Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

The political down time over summer can be something of a respite for
an embattled government. But for Scott Morrison, it has just brought
more setbacks. The weekend announcement by cabinet minister Kelly
O’Dwyer that she will leave parliament at the election is the latest
and most serious.

O’Dwyer says she wants to see more of her two young children, and
would like to have a third, which involves medical challenges.

Her decision is understandable. The first woman to have a baby while a
federal cabinet minister has been juggling an enormous load.

But with the general expectation that the Morrison government is
headed for opposition, many people will think (rightly or wrongly)
that O’Dwyer was also influenced by the likelihood she faced the grind
of opposition, which is a lot less satisfying than the burden of
office.

Bad timing for the minister for women

Her insistence at Saturday’s joint news conference with Morrison
that he will win the election won’t convince anyone.

If the Liberals didn’t have their acute “woman problem”, O’Dwyer’s
jumping ship wouldn’t be such a concern. She’s been a competent
minister, not an outstanding performer. She was not in “future leader”
lists.

But it’s altogether another matter to have your minister for women
bailing out when there has been a huge argument about the dearth of
females in Coalition ranks, damaging allegations of bullying within
the Liberal party, and high profile Victorian backbencher Julia Banks
deserting to the crossbench.

All in all, the Liberal party is presenting a very poor face to women
voters. It was O’Dwyer herself who told colleagues last year that the
Liberals were widely regarded as “homophobic, anti-women,
climate-change deniers”.

Anti-women climate-change deniers?

An effort earlier this month to have assistant ministers Sarah
Henderson and Linda Reynolds talk up the Liberals’ credentials on women looked like the gimmick it was.

O’Dwyer says she has “no doubt” her successor as the Higgins candidate will be a woman. Morrison also says he thinks there will be a female replacement.

But this just highlights how the Liberal party’s failure to bring
enough women through the ranks now forces it into unfortunate corners.

The candidate will be chosen by a local preselection. As one
journalist quipped at the news conference, is the situation that blokes needn’t apply?

And what if a man happened to win? Remember Morrison’s experience in the Wentworth byelection, where he wanted a woman and the preselectors gave him Dave Sharma?




Read more:
Grattan on Friday: Wentworth preselectors’ rebuff to Morrison caps week of mayhem


Sharma was generally considered a good candidate – and Morrison is happy for him to have his second try against independent Kerryn Phelps at the general election.

Assuming, however, that Higgins preselectors heed the gender call,
it seems they will have some strong female contenders to choose from.

Paediatrician Katie Allen, who contested the state election, has
flagged she will run; Victorian senator Jane Hume is considering a
tilt.

There is inevitable speculation about whether former Abbott chief-
of-staff Peta Credlin might chance her arm for preselection.

But her hard-edged political stance would be a risk in an electorate
where the Greens have been strong – savvy Liberals point out a climate
sceptic wouldn’t play well there. And it would be embarrassing for her
if she ran for preselection and was defeated.

O’Dwyer rejects the suggestion she was swayed by the possibility she
might lose Higgins. Some Liberals were pessimistic about the seat
after the party’s drubbing in the Victorian election, and Labor was
ahead in two-party terms in a poll it commissioned late last year.




Read more:
Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer says Liberals were ‘subject to threats’ in leadership battle


But the government has a 10% margin in two-party terms against Labor, and despite the polling the ALP doesn’t expect to win the seat. (In 2016 the Greens finished second.)

O’Dwyer, who is also minister for jobs and industrial relations,
remains in her positions and in cabinet until the election.
Understandably Morrison would not want a reshuffle. But having a lame
duck minister in the important IR portfolio is less than optimal.

Attention turns to Bishop

Inevitably O’Dwyer’s announcement has turned attention onto the future
of former deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop. Bishop has said she is
contesting the election but there is continuing speculation she might
withdraw.

While she has previously left open the possibility of running for the
opposition leadership this makes no sense.

Now in her early 60s, her chances of ever becoming PM would be
virtually nil if Labor won with a good majority and was set for two
terms. That’s if she had the numbers to get the leadership in the
first place.

It is assumed Bishop has said she’s staying so she stymies any replacement
she doesn’t want (such as attorney-general Christian Porter whose own
seat is at risk) and can secure a candidate she favours.

Even though she’s a backbencher now, it would be a another blow for
the Liberals if Bishop does decide to retire at the election.




Read more:
Julie Bishop goes to backbench, Marise Payne becomes new foreign minister


She was humiliated when she received only a handful of votes in the
August leadership ballot. Her treatment left her deeply angry,
especially because none of her Western Australian colleagues supported
her.

But out in the community she is very popular and many voters still
can’t understand why, when there was a change of prime minister, she
was not the one chosen.

If Bishop were to walk away, she would be making a rational decision.
But it would send another powerful negative vibe to voters about
the Liberal party and women.


UPDATE: Jane Hume, interviewed on the ABC on Monday morning, has
ruled out running for the Higgins preselection.

UPDATE: In reply to queries to her office, Bishop said on Monday: “I am pre-selected as the member for Curtin and it is my intention to run”.The Conversation

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Luke Foley’s resignation is a disaster for Labor but may not bolster Berejiklian much either



File 20181109 116841 4xo4rr.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Luke Foley holds his resignation press conference, in a disaster for Labor as it prepares for an election in just over four months.

Michael Hogan, University of Sydney

The resignation of Luke Foley as Labor opposition leader in New South Wales is a disaster for the party as it faces a March 23 general election – but it isn’t necessarily great news for the ailing Berejiklian government either.

To form a judgement about the impact of Foley’s resignation on Labor’s electoral chances, just take a look at the state of play about a month ago.

First, we need to look at how the government and opposition were travelling before Corrections Minister David Elliott accused Foley of sexual misconduct under parliamentary privilege on October 18, effectively setting off Labor’s leadership crisis.

Virtually all media attention was on the performance of the Berejiklian government and on the premier herself. Foley was little known and little regarded. However, he was steering the ship with some skill, albeit with occasional problems.

It says a great deal about the low political esteem in which the government was held that, even without a popular opposition leader, the Coalition was seen to be in electoral difficulty. Not that a wager on a Labor victory would have been a safe bet back then, either. Still, the Coalition was likely to lose seats and quite likely to lose majority status in parliament at the upcoming elections.

Nothing has changed on that side of politics. Berejiklian still faces discontent about her hasty policy decisions and frequent backtracking; uncompleted grand projects like the new tram network and WestConnex remain problems rather than achievements.




Read more:
Privatising WestConnex is the biggest waste of public funds for corporate gain in Australian history


Add to that the difficulties over electoral support for the Coalition – especially for the National Party in regional New South Wales, and there is a flow-on from the disastrous performance of both Coalition parties at the federal level.

The unhappy picture only gets worse with the prospect of factional warfare in the Liberal Party as conservatives, led by Tony Abbott, attempt to take control of pre-selections and the state party machinery in the next few months.

Maybe the present crisis in the Labor Party will also have a negative effect on the Coalition, since David Elliott’s intervention smacks of the worst kind of “bear pit” politics that brings party politics into disrepute.

A mea culpa from Foley might have helped

Still, the Foley resignation is a disaster for the prospects of the Labor Party. Perhaps a quick transfer of power to a new leader, and apologies all round, might have left the party with a chance of winning the election. But Foley’s stated determination to fight the accusation with defamation proceedings makes the situation worse.

Foley can hope to remedy his plight only if he can prove that the allegations against him are false. As the likely new leader of the party, deputy leader Michael Daley, has pointed out, it is not politically (or ethically) acceptable for a political leader to blame his alleged victim.

Daley is also the shadow planning minister, and served as a former roads and police minister before Labor lost government. After Foley stood down, Daley quickly emerged as the most likely successor.

He was Foley’s main rival in the wake of the resignation of former Labor leader John Robertson in 2014.

Foley’s likely successor urges Foley to leave parliament

Daley, quite sensibly, has said that Foley should consider his position, and resign from parliament, and presumably drop his plan to sue for defamation. Foley has since said he will not re-contest his seat in the March 2019 election.

Presuming that Daley is the new leader, he will have little time to assert his authority and impress the electorate. He has ministerial experience, but that was in the disastrous last Labor administration, which was thrown out of office for the corruption that resulted in two of his ministerial colleagues going to prison.

His reputation in the party is of experience and competence, but he can expect to be reminded of his friends and colleagues, Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald. That is a lot of baggage to carry.The Conversation

Michael Hogan, Associate Professor and Honorary Associate, Department of Government and International Relations, University of Sydney

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Xenophon’s shock resignation from Senate to run for state seat



File 20171006 9753 1bd8dwa
Nick Xenophon will resign from the Senate to pursue a career in South Australian politics.
AAP/David Mariuz

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

Key crossbencher Nick Xenophon, whose party commands three crucial Senate votes, has announced he will quit federal parliament to run for a state seat in the March South Australian election.

Xenophon’s shock announcement comes ahead of the High Court judging whether he is entitled to sit in parliament, because he is a dual Australian-British citizen by descent. The case will be in court next week, and a quick decision is expected after that.

His departure won’t change the numbers in the upper house. If he loses the court case, he will be replaced by the next candidate on the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) ticket. If he wins, his party will fill the casual vacancy he creates. Either way, the NXT will have three senators. It also has a House of Representative member, Rebekha Sharkie.

But Xenophon’s exit could substantially affect the dynamics in negotiations with the government. He has been a tough, canny but pragmatic bargainer, extracting concessions in return for supporting legislation. The two other senators in the NXT, Stirling Griff and Skye Kakoschke-Moore, only entered parliament at the 2016 election.

Xenophon said he would remain in the Senate until the High Court handed down its decision. He denied his decision to quit had been made because of the threat to his position.

Xenophon, heading a team of state SA-BEST candidates, said he would run in the electorate of Hartley, where he lives. It is a marginal seat held by the Liberals.

He hopes the party can gain the balance of power, but ruled out serving as a minister in a SA government. “Once you do that, you’re in the tent”, and then “you can’t be a fearless watchdog,” he said.

“Unashamedly, we want the balance of power to drive deep and lasting reforms in our state’s political institutions and our processes because there is a lack of transparency and accountability,” he said.

“Having candidates that get elected to hold the balance of power will be a game changer for lasting reforms for the state. It is coming from the political centre, not the extreme right or left.”

He plans to keep a strong hand in with the federal party. “I will, of course, still have a very active and direct role in decisions made at a federal level with NXT,” he said.

“With SA-BEST and NXT holding the balance of power in both the state parliament and the federal Senate, we will work together as a united team under my leadership to drive real change to improve the lives of all South Australians.”

Xenophon started in state politics, elected on an anti-poker-machine platform and serving in state parliament between 1997 and 2007, before winning a Senate seat at the 2007 election.

He said SA politics was “broken, politically bankrupt”.

“I’ve decided that you can’t fix South Australia’s problems in Canberra without first fixing our broken political system back home.” He said since last year’s massive power blackout in SA and its record power prices, “I have concluded they are symptoms of a much bigger and deeper problem”.

The ConversationSA was at a crossroads, he said. The state had long been falling behind because it had been failed by its leaders, parties and institutions.

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Mark Driscoll Resignation


The link below is to further news concerning the resignation of Mark Driscoll from the Mars Hill Church pastorate in Seattle, USA.

For more visit:
http://www.christiantelegraph.com/issue25092.html

Australia: Victoria – Political Crisis in Government


The link below is to an article covering the resignation of Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu and the crisis in Victoria’s government.

For more visit:
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/baillieu-government-in-crisis-talks-after-mp-geoff-shaw-quits-liberal-party/story-e6frgczx-1226591459409

Australia: NSW – Brett Lee Gets His Man


The link below is to an article reporting on the resignation of the NSW Cricket CEO Dave Gilbert, following a very public falling out with Brett Lee.

For more visit:
http://www.espncricinfo.com/newsouthwales/content/story/600834.html

Nigeria: Boko Haram Demand Resignation of President


The link below is to an article reporting on the latest persecution news out of Nigeria, where the president has been told to resign by Boko Haram terrorists.

For more visit:
http://www.worthynews.com/11679-muslim-group-demands-christian-prez-convert-or-resign

Plinky Prompt: Name One of the Best Decisions You’ve Ever Made


resignation

One of the best decisions I have made, if not the best, was to resign from my job after 20 years of work there. I moved on and now work in a lesser paid job – however, my health has improved across the board as a result and I am far happier now than I was back then. I no longer work the excessive hours and have more time to do my own thing. What’s not to like.

Powered by Plinky

Christian Woman in Pakistan Abused, Forced to Resign


Sanitation worker on verge of receiving benefits; in another village, church builders attacked.

SARGODHA, Pakistan, June 10 (CDN) — A Christian woman here said she has been falsely accused of theft, beaten, threatened with rape and forced to resign her job in a bid to keep her from obtaining full benefits as a regular government employee.

Razia Bibi, a 38-year-old sanitation worker known as Rajji of village No. 47-NB (Northern Branch), Sargodha, was due to obtain regular status as a government employee at Aysha Girls’ Hostel at the University of Sargodha at the end of May. On May 7, however, Muslim office worker Safia Bibi accused her of stealing 10,000 rupees (US$120) from her cubicle – and when Muslim hostel warden Noshaba Bibi learned of it, she called female police officers and ordered them to beat her until
she confessed, Rajji said.

“Lady police constables subjected me to inhumane thrashing with bamboo sticks and kept saying that I must confess or they would not spare me,” she said, adding that she was beaten for four hours in one of the hostel rooms. “I said that, being a Christian from childhood, I had learned not to steal, therefore I told them the truth, but it seemed they were bent on making me confess a crime I had not committed.”

Her comment about being a Christian and therefore not having stolen anything seemed to especially enrage Safia Bibi and Noshaba Bibi, she said.

“Hostel officials turned violent, and they called Haaser Khan, the chief security officer of the university, accompanied by two junior security guards, and ordered them to take me into a cubicle and take off my clothes and rape me,” she said. “I raised a cry for help, but there was no one to help me.”

Her husband, Nayyer Aftab, told Compass that someone informed him that his wife was in serious trouble at her workplace. Rushing to the girls’ hostel, he said, he found the security guards dragging his wife on the ground as she screamed for help. When Aftab asked why they were treating her this way, Khan charged him with his baton and left him injured on the ground, Aftab said. The chief security officer took Rajji inside.

“Both hostel officers, Noshaba and Safia, told me that Rajji had stolen 10,000 rupees, and that because she didn’t confess her crime the security guards were going to teach her a lesson,” Aftab said.

Aftab said he knew that his wife would not confess to theft even to spare herself from rape, and he pleaded with the two accusers to stop the security guards, promising that he would pay them the amount of the allegedly stolen money.

“At this both Safia and Noshaba ordered to bring Rajji out and not rape her,” Aftab told Compass. “They gave me an hour to make payment of the allegedly stolen amount.”

He said he went to friends and relatives to gather up the 10,000 rupees and gave it to Safia Bibi and Noshaba Bibi, but Aftab said they still compelled his wife to resign by forcibly obtaining a thumb print from the illiterate woman on a resignation statement.

Rajji said she had been happily looking forward to obtaining regular employee status.

“In three weeks I was going to become a regular employee as a sanitation worker at the university, but as I am a Christian, the Muslim hostel officers Safia and Noshaba wanted a Muslim regular employee after their hearts instead of me,” she told Compass.   

Noshaba Bibi initially refused to comment on the allegation that she falsely accused the Christian woman of theft in order to provide a job to someone of her choice. After repeated questioning by Compass, however, she became exasperated and used coarse language, yelling, “Yes, I have done it, do whatever you want!”

The Christian couple in the village in Punjab Province has an 8-year-old daughter and two sons, ages 9 and 5.

 

Christians Beaten, Jailed

In a village in southern Punjab Province, Muslim extremists on Saturday (June 5) attacked Christians trying to construct a church building, and then got police to file charges against them for defending themselves, according to the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA).

A club-wielding Muslim mob led by Muhammad Nazir Ahmed beat Christians who were laying the foundation for the church building in village No. 184/9-L, in Cheechawatni of Sahiwal district, seriously injuring several of them, said Javed Akber Gill, APMA district coordinator in Sahiwal.

Ahmed later enlisted Inspector Allah Ditta, station house officer at the Dera Rahim police station, to file charges against four Christians – Noreen Mumtaz, who is pregnant, and her husband Mumtaz Inayat, Aftab Inayat and Kashif Masih, Christian sources said. All four were charged with critically injuring others and attempting to kill or threaten to kill, they said.

Inspector Ditta refused to respond to repeated requests by Compass for comment on allegations that he colluded with the Muslim extremists to falsely accuse the Christian victims of the attack.

The accused Christians pleaded with police that they were innocent, to no avail. Gill said that he was doing his best to resolve the issue peacefully in an attempt to avert the kind of violence that hit the Christian communities of Gojra and Korian in July and August of 2009 and Shanti Nagar in 1997.

The Rev. John Rizwani of Cheechawatni city said the government had allotted a small piece of land to the Christians for the building and that they had permission to build. There are only 25 Christians’ homes amid the approximately 500 Muslim homes in the village.

Ferhan Mazher, chairman of Rays of Development Organization, Azher Kalim, general secretary the Christians Lawyers Foundation and Khalid Gill, head of APMA in Punjab, condemned the attack.

“Attacks on worship places usurp basic human rights and constitute a conspiracy to belittle the name of Pakistan worldwide,” Mazher said.

Report from Compass Direct News