It’s different when it’s a woman. When it was Christine Holgate, now departed from Australia Post, under fire for getting a little spendy with the ol’ corporate credit card, the Prime Minister was a frothing blowhole of righteous outrage. Holgate could ‘stand aside or she could go,’ he roared. On hearing the AusPost CEO had bought a twinkly watch for another executive as a bonus for outstanding achievement in the field of excellence, Morrison declared himself appalled and disgusted by the abuse of taxpayers money.
He told the House that he decided immediately there had to be an independent investigation and the Chief Executive must stand aside.
But that was then and this is now and it turns out there are other forms of abuse that don’t appal and disgust a fellow quite so much and certainly not enough to go cranking up anything like an independent investigation.
Holgate had her turn in the barrel. This week it was another woman, Annette Kimmitt the CEO of gigantormous legal firm Minter Ellison. Kimmitt’s mistake was to email staff expressing sympathy for any distress experienced upon learning, through social media, that Minties had taken on Attorney General Christian Porter as a client.
A senior partner and defamation expert had agreed to advise Porter - raising the prospect of the firm suing anybody who dared advance the cause of the dead woman who had accused the First Law Officer of raping her, decades earlier. Still, that shouldn’t have been a big fucking deal to lawyers. Except that according to Kimmitt the agreement did not pass through Minter Ellison’s usual processes for taking on clients.
So, more of a mate-looking-out-for-a-mate-thing then?
Nobody was looking out for Annette Kimmitt, though. She was gone within a week.
Good luck to Minter Ellison in this year’s round of recruitment interviews. I’m sure the top female graduates from all the best universities will be lining up overnight and around the block for a chance to walk into Minties’ forest of big swinging dicks.
It is amazing just how quickly payback and consequence can catch up with you, if you don’t enjoy the magical protective powers conferred by a small tube of man-spam dangling between your legs. If you do have the magical pork sword, however, you’re cool and the gang, especially if you’re also white and wealthy.
It doesn’t seem sustainable.
These last few weeks it has felt increasingly like we live in two worlds. In one, women have been talking to each other and they’ve had enough. Enough of the glances that become leers, of the leers that lead to unwanted hands, of hands that become fists. Of everything. Of men smirking. Of men clubbing together. Of mates looking out for mates.
If you’re a woman reading this I’ll lay money on the table that you’ve had at least one conversation this week with another woman, a friend, a colleague, a family member, maybe even a stranger who was not so strange to you because you shared a common history of simply being women and suffering for it. You might’ve talked about men who talked over you. Men who walked over you. Men who got right up in your fucking grill and promised that violence was next. And men who delivered on that promise.
The women I’ve asked, they’ve had these conversations many times this week. They’ve revealed things to each other that had been held close for years. Decades, sometimes.
But the boys?
Nah, not so much.
We’ve been kicking it in our own alternate reality. The way we do.
Example? I caught up with a mate this week. Andrew Stafford, the author and journo. He was in my ‘hood so we grabbed a sandwich. Two more gender-woke squish-cucks you could not hope to meet. But we didn’t talk about any of that stuff. As I recall, we discussed our rather nice chicken pesto sandwiches and all the ways a couple of cheeky lads might go about making bank in a collapsing media industry. Because we have the privilege of having those conversations instead of the ones women have.
In fairness to Andrew he’s actually red hot on this stuff when I’m not distracting him with pesto chicken panini.
He’s right when he says, “It’s time we looked our mates in the eye and ourselves in the mirror.”
This shit is our mess to clean up. And by our’s I mean men. All men.
It’s fucked up, fellas. And it can’t go on. No matter how hard ScoMo and his ilk want it to.