Who has agency?

Those unfamiliar with the principled, intellectual and classy world of Australian politics may have missed this current affair (s’cuse the pun); the Deputy Prime Minister has left his wife and family for a member of his staff and has subsequently had a child with her.

As always, there are some other periphery issues to be aware of; the staffer was recently moved into a new tailor-made taxpayer-funded position and the Deputy PM, Barnaby Joyce, has previously been a drum-beater for such things as “family values”. Whoops.

Well, nepotism and hypocrisy are nothing new in politics. Hand out the appropriate penalties, hoist him by his petard and move on.

What is more interesting, however, is the left’s take on all of this. There is a concerted effort to compare and contrast the situation with a hypothetical gender role reversal, obviously to bring our old nemesis duh patriarchy in to the firing line.

The link above has a TV monologue piece by veteran broadcaster (one hesitates to use the noun, “journalist”), Lisa Wilkinson, where she poses questions about how the story might have been handled should the genders have been reversed.

We’ll answer that question in a moment, first let’s look at one of the facts that are being touted in the list of reasons to damn the, already fucked, Barnaby Joyce; his paramour is 15 years his junior.

How do we feel this is relevant? Is she under the age of consent?

Not exactly, she’s 35 years young.

So why would the feminist, Lisa Wilkinson, think this is a relevant fact?

Bill’s Opinion

It’s subtle but the inference we are being offered is that a 35 year old woman was taken advantage of by the Deputy Prime Minister. Let’s rephrase that; a 35 year old professional woman does not have enough agency to make an informed decision about selecting her sexual partners.

That’s a fairly damning report card for the outcomes delivered by 3 waves of feminism.

Lastly, we can answer the “what if the genders were reversed, how would the press report it?” question with three words;

Julie “bicycle” Bishop.

Every Australian journalist reading this will be aware of the in-jokes, rumours and innuendo surrounding the Foreign Minister’s complicated and “busy” personal life. They will also be aware of how much of that has been investigated and reported on by the Canberra press corps – zero.

Hypocrisy is contingent on the observer’s viewpoint, it would seem.

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