Friday, 5 August 2011

Wanted: suffragettes to engage with lost cause

On Thursday I attended the launch of the Mid North Coast Climate Alliance, a group made up of various community groups who want something done about climate change. The Uniting Church is the lone Christian voice on the group, but that doesn’t particularly disturb me, as the Uniting Church is often the lone Christian voice on many social and ecological issues.

While we were waiting for Mr Oakeshott to turn up and hear our carefully prepared speeches, and accept our signed statement (why is it that politicians are habitually late?) I got chatting to two women sitting at a nearby table.

And I made an interesting discovery. Both of them, upon arriving in the electorates that comprise greater Port Macquarie did not get the standard ‘welcome to the electorate’ letter. But their husbands did. One woman moved here when Mark Vaille held the seat. He wrote to her husband. The other moved here under the statesmanship of Mr 72%. He also wrote to her husband.

And neither woman received the welcome letter.

I can’t believe that welcoming men to National Party electorates and not their wives is unofficial National Party policy. Haven’t they worked out yet that women were given the right to vote decades ago?

I had originally been prepared to give Mr 72% the benefit of the doubt, wanting to believe that my lack of a welcome letter had been due to an oversight on the part of those in his office who scan the mail for new electorate members.

I am no longer prepared to give any such concession. For now here is the evidence that the National Party is of a sexist bent and is a Party which still appears to dwell in the halcyon days of the 1950s, where real women were unpaid servants who stayed in the kitchen, laundry and nursery while real men were the bread winners and expected dinner on the table every night and clean socks and underwear in their drawers every week.

What we need here is an education program to gently break the awful news that women can now vote to the party faithful. Perhaps there are still a few old suffragettes that could be asked to perform the task, and to also help the NP understand that women are now considered to be the equals of their male counterparts.

Trained nurses (male ones, of course) could be standing by to treat the inevitable signs of trauma and shock. The news that Australia’s Prime Minister is a woman could be shared at the same time, though only if a resuscitation trolley is nearby, re-stocked and ready to go.

Instead of the CWA, perhaps one of the Men’s Sheds could provide the refreshments whilst all this is happening. Just to reinforce the message of gender equality.
Shame on you, National Party. I know that your ranks are rife with some pretty strange bitter and twisted people. But this exclusive behaviour has now put you completely beyond the pale, and has therefore assigned you in my eyes to the outer darkness found in the gospel according to Matthew. For while I am happy to have you call me names and send me hate mail, seeing me as an inferior cannot be tolerated in this day and age.

From now on, I demand to be treated with the very same disdain that you show my husband.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. I got a welcome letter from our two local members, but I discover that they're both Libs, not Nats. I assume you registered as Raine and your husband as Squires, so it would have taken some careful reading to determine that you were married. And they weren't just saving postage by sending one letter to the address because you would have come first alphabetically. You might like to try sending an edited version of this post to your local paper. Could be entertaining if they publish it. :-)