fbpx

Abusing women, abusing power

The lack of respect towards women we have seen from a certain section of the Australian community has left us gobsmacked

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Heard enough from old white men.
Seeing these words on the t-shirt of a fellow public transport user recently left me strangely uncomfortable. I’ve waxed forth frequently about not generalising about people in this manner, not stereotyping fellow human beings based on race and gender, religion and language, age and sexual orientation.
And yet this week, the lack of respect towards women we have seen from a certain section of the Australian community has left us gobsmacked.

Demeaning comments targeted at women have been made by men in positions of social power – politician David Leyonhjelm in Parliament, and Australian entertainment personality Bert Newton at the Logies. Sporting legend Barry Hall was a similar culprit on Triple M radio, but has since apologised for his unacceptable behaviour.
Worse still, the offenders – a media icon, a politician and a sporting legend – failed to understand the gravity of their comments. While Hall has been stood down from his role on radio, Newton and Leyonhjelm refuse to accept their mistakes and see no reason to apologise.


Eighty-year-old TV star Newton, an MBE, and recently honoured by Australia Post with a series of postage stamps, told an offensive joke about his late, great friend Graham Kennedy at the 2018 Logie Awards ceremony. “He was a great mentor,” he said, adding “You knew if you went to his dressing room and it was locked, he will be inside doing some mentoring”.
Days later, Newton fails to understand that his ‘joke’ condones the behaviour of powerful people who use their clout to exert influence on younger people in return for sexual favours.
Leyonhjelm, a Liberal Democratic Party senator, used derogatory language while speaking with Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and again when referring to her afterwards. Despite intense political pressure from both the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition leader Bill Shorten, and threats of legal action, Leyonhjelm is refusing to apologise, saying he has said nothing wrong. As we go to press, his direct verbal attacks on women continue on mainstream TV.
Amazing that this type of behaviour continues when the #MeToo movement is so strong. Leyonhjelm in his own way is hitting back at #MeToo, citing previous statements made by the Greens Senator against men.
The trumpet call for greater diversity in our social discourse needs to be heard now more than ever. Because the Newtons and the Leyonhjelms will continue as long as we continue to have concentrations of social power that are not diverse.
The massive over-representation in positions of power by certain sections has gone on for way too long. Whether in business or in politics, entertainment or sport, we need to hear the diverse voice louder and clearer. We must ensure that more women, more people of colour, more people of different religions are able to educate themselves, accumulate wealth and attain positions where they can take decisions. As leaders who reflect a diverse population, they will influence and inspire one another, thrive together, and shape our society to be truly equitable.
And to the men in positions of power making these denigrating comments – perhaps it’s time to use the family test. What would you do if someone hurled profanities at your wife, sister or daughter? Would you take it sitting down?

- Advertisement -
Pawan Luthra
Pawan Luthra
Pawan is the publisher of Indian Link and is one of Indian Link's founders. He writes the Editorial section.

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Podcasts

Listen to Indian Link’s NEW Travel Podcast

0
  Indian Link's NEW travel podcast- Feel New In NSW is all about travel and especially made for people who love to explore places in...

It’s National Blood Donor Week

0
  It’s National Blood Donor Week. In our new podcast host Ekta Sharma speaks to Canberra‘s Nidhi Kaushik who runs an amazing donation campaign every year....

Let’s Talk Boosters: Indian Link podcast

0
  In LET'S TALK BOOSTERS, a new podcast series by Indian Link, host Ekta Sharma quizzes Dr Kritman Dhamoon of Blacktown Hospital Sydney about booster...
- Advertisement -

Latest News

Jiva Parthipan’s ‘The River Project‘: And the river flows on

0
  When my family first immigrated to Australia in 1994, it was in Warwick Farm where we first dropped our worn bags and surrendered our...
geeta film

Geeta: Filmmaker Emma Macey-Storch’s close look at acid attack victims

0
  Directed by Emma Macey-Storch, Geeta is a feature documentary about a mother’s resilience to bring change to her daughter’s life after a brutal acid...
cochlear implant india

New opportunities in Indian MedTech following India-Australia trade agreement

0
  With lowered tariffs for medical products after the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AIECTA), Australian products like the AirPhysio and the Cochlear implant...
Shashikant dhotre drawing

Artist Dhotre celebrates his mother in his drawings

0
  For Shashikant Vaman Dhotre, a Solapur school dropout and self-trained artist, his mother Ratan remains the centre of his universe, and also the inspiration...
Dr. Arati Prabhakar

Dr Arati Prabhakar is nominated by Biden to join the US...

0
  US President Joe Biden has appointed Indian-American scientist Dr Arati Prabhakar to the US cabinet as the director of the Office of Science and...