I never intended to write a part 2 to my blog “Is this the real Australia”. But I asked myself tonight, what have we done in Australia today to show we are a mature, caring nation?
Well, more than 100 of our defence force personnel, presumably all men, deemed it ok to pass around derogatory and explicit emails featuring several women.
A Perth shock-jock deemed it ok to ask the Prime Minister if her partner is gay.
And on the other side of the world, a bloke who was once touted as a future captain of the Australian cricket team punched an opposition player in the head at 2am in a nightclub.
Surely now it’s time to lift the lid on the secretive, blokey culture that has made our defence forces a home for misogynists and perverts. Yes, the vast majority of men and women in our army, airforce and navy are outstanding people who would be outraged and offended by this scandal.
But 100 people is a lot. 100 people who either created or forwarded on emails that army chief Lieutenant-General David Morrison described as repugnant, demeaning, explicit and profane.
This is an organisation that has just been, apparently, subjected to one of the most painstaking self examinations of its culture and ethic in its history, off the back of the disgraceful Skype scandal.
Well it seems at least 100 of your members, mostly army, still don’t get it. Surely it’s time we stopped allowing our defence forces to stop behaving like some secret society.
Surely if the main perpetrators, starting with the three who have been stood down, are found guilty, they will be named. In every other part of society people who peddle this sort of offensive, demeaning muck are held accountable.
It will be a test of the metal of those who claim they want to clean the defence forces up, to attract more women. Make an example of these sleaze bags.
And what of the 100? Do they not have women in their lives, be it mothers, sisters, wives, girlfriends? What would they think if people started sending emails around depicting them in this way? Surely this is not what we’ve become.
And surely we have not become a nation where it’s ok for a radio shock jock to ask the Prime Minister if her partner is gay.
I’ve known about Howard Sattler for a long time. A Perth blowhard shock jock desperate to mix it with the big boys, finally getting his chance today with the PM in his studio.
It’s a common approach, when you have to ask an uncomfortable question of a guest, to preface it by saying “some people have been saying..”, or “there are rumours..”
But what usually follows is a serious, necessary question which warrants an answer.
Sattler’s question was neither. It was a disgrace. And then to try and justify it by saying people were wondering if he was gay “because he’s a hairdresser and all that” just deepens the offence. This is the Prime Minister of Australia, for goodness sake.
At least his employers appear to have had the decency and good sense to rip him off air.
And finally, in a dimly lot nightclub on the other side of the world, members of an Australian cricket team many are already describing as one of the worst of the modern era, are out drinking at 2am.
Goodness knows what they’re celebrating. A couple of days earlier they were bowled out for 63, and on this particular day they’d been flogged by England.
According to eye witness reports, David Warner, the cocky Australian opening batsman who’s been in trouble more than he’s been out of it lately, had had a skinful. In fact to quote one barman, he was ‘slaughtered.”
The story goes Warner apparently took offence to a fake wig England player Joe Root was wearing. So he punched him in the face. Australian teammates had to drag him from the bar.
David Warner is as Australian as they come. So is Howard Sattler. So, I’m sure, are many of the more than 100 defence force personnel sniggering and leering at offensive, sexist emails.
Is this the real Australia?