Clive Palmer was recently rebuked for claiming Robert Menzies and Joe Lyons were former leaders of his United Australia Party. When, in truth, there is no connection despite a similarity in name.
It seems our electoral laws do not prohibit appropriation of previous party names and misleading claims of this type. Nor do they prohibit Palmer’s attempts to cast himself as a feminist in what would appear to be a transparent bid to secure the female vote. A recent leaflet by Palmer asserts that women “should be accepted not just because of their beauty, but valued as citizens due to the content of their character and depth of their contribution to Australian society”. Thanks Clive.
Or, take the recent spectacle of former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, leaving his wife and daughters to live with his pregnant staffer Vikki Campion. His story aptly illustrates that being a staunch defender of “family values” does not translate into prioritising the welfare of even your own wife and children.
So perhaps it should be no surprise that the recently registered Australian Better Families (ABF) Party has been set up by the by the Australian Brotherhood of Fathers (ABF). A group which focuses on strengthening fathers’ rights and which denies the gendered nature of domestic violence and discourages men from consenting to domestic violence orders. Let’s hope that women realise “family” is a code word for men’s rights activism, and is not about empowering women or protecting children.
Indeed, old fashioned philanderers seem to be the tip of the iceberg of male deceit and subterfuge. It seems anyone can campaign, or even register a party, based on misleading claims about what they truly represent.
So, for example, a white supremacist group could register a Racial Harmony Party and not be in breach of current electoral laws. And not only are our electoral laws insufficient to “keep the bastards honest”, but oppressive defamation laws also operate to ensure there is very little that can be said about it.
Our government has continued to give lip service to addressing the scourge of violence against women, whilst at the same time masterminding the effective dismantling of the NSW Women’s Refuge Movement. Currently, the Women’s Family Law Support Service located in the Sydney Family Court is facing imminent closure because the government is unwilling to commit to ongoing funding for the service at a mere $120,000 per annum, let alone expanding it into other courts.
Women are too often cast as manipulative and if we’re a feminist we’re labelled ‘militant’, but it seems to me that there are actually several men who are playing with the truth and using threats of force. And they’re getting away with it.
It’s time we stopped voting for men who mislead us.