Recommended reading

Some recent articles on the sexism displayed towards the PM.

Following last week’s appalling display, here’s some reading for you:

John Birmingham says it very well in the SMH today.

My hero Annabel Crabb nails it.

This is another very good article from the weekend.

And I like what Paul Syvret says in the Courier Mail.

Stephanie Peatling does a good job of it.

Ben Eltham explains it in The Guardian.

And even the Irish are agog.

New Favourite (from so many not favourites)

A week in which sexism was showcased to be alive and well in Australia there was a shining light on the hill.

The week that was will go down as YET ANOTHER shocker in revealing just how far we have to go to eradicate deeply entrenched unacceptable levels of sexism in this country. A few weeks back it was racism’s turn. Quite frankly I’m getting tired of it and it’s getting as boring as it is demoralising. Can everyone just grow up?

It started earlier in the week when a grossly sexist, offensive  menu from a Liberal party fundraiser surfaced which had a dish titled “Julia Gillard Kentucky roasted quail” with “small breasts, huge thighs and a big red box”. Later in the week she endured a radio interview in which she was asked if her husband was gay because he was a hairdresser.

Are we done yet? Now? NOW? 

It does not matter what your political persuasion. This is the Prime Minister of our country. Pull your head in and put your manners back on.

Just for a moment imagine such a thing happening to a male Prime Minister or even a male politician? Tony Abbott gets about in his red budgie smugglers enough for many a shot across the bow but one has never, that I can find, been fired about the size of his penis or the colour of his pubic hair.

A friend posted a comment on Facebook about it all that had a ‘get over it’ feel about it and I stopped. And said ‘no’. Too often we excuse away sexist comments or actions with a slight of hand, or “it was a joke”. But you know what happens when you do that? You end up with someone thinking it’s OK to put on a party fundraiser menu references not only to the Prime Minister’s body and genitalia but their size and colour.

You end up with a radio presenter thinking it is OK to ask the Prime Minister if her husband is gay.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is a big fat lie . 

Felix asked me about it and asked how someone would think either example up there was OK. We had a long chat about how things that are demeaning, sexist (or racist) and offensive are often excused away as a joke.

I explained to him that people in positions of power and authority are held to a higher standard because they set the benchmark for what is OK and what is unacceptable. If a politician does something morally repugnant – like hold a dinner in which a dish refers to the PM’s genitalia or asks the PM about the sexual orientation of her husband – there are huge repercussions not only because they should know better, but because it gives a tacit approval to others in the community that to think like that is OK. “It was just a joke” is not an acceptable excuse anymore.

That could not have been better proven by the revelation on Thursday that ANOTHER scandal about systemic sexism in our armed forces was revealed.

But a week peppered with such a remarkable number of brain-snapping incidents of sexism was kicked to the curb when this came along. It was as if the week was a slow crescendo to it. Incident upon incident building upon each other until it all came crashing down in a voice saying ‘not on my watch’.

From 1:13 is particularly good. As is from around 1:40. Hell, the whole thing is awesome. What else is awesome is that it is coming from a man, and indeed a man in power who clearly has integrity. It feels like there are so few of them around. Oh yes, women can quite easily stand up and defend themselves, say enough is enough. But that stance can, by those who most need to hear it, be denounced as shrill and uptight. “Chill out lady”, “it was just a joke”, “calm down”. So yes, men need to stand up, they too need to say enough is enough. Chief of Army Lieutenant General David Morrison says it for all of us.


(Update: Annabel Crabb says it even better. As is always the case.)

Meet The Press

Kim Berry’s appearance on Meet The Press

So this was how my Sunday morning played out:

I watched it tonight with Chef, the inlaws and all the boys and didn’t wince once. In fact, I was quite pleased. And how hot are my new specs.

New Favourite

So yesterday (9/10/12) this happened:



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Morning Tea with the Prime Minister at Kirribilli House. I KNOW.

Morning Tea at Kirribilli House

Today I met with the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard for morning tea at Kirribilli House.

I did not drop or break the good china. I did not spill food down my front.

I spoke with her about why I blog, how online media offers far greater opportunity for conversations on complex topics rather than a three minute news story with a grab from two sides of the debate and no acknowledgement of the subtle nuances (yes I actually said that) that come with any big topic.

And I thanked her for bringing the disability sector to the front and centre of the stage. That it affects so many people and how important it was. Then I got that little quiver in my voice – you know the one – where you’re about to get teary. I do it ALL.THE.TIME. and it SHITS me.

Kim Palmer Berry meeting the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard
World Leaders


I met Marieke Hardy and Clementine Ford – two ridiculously witty and irreverant women I was determined to win over with my own wit and charm. I was carrying the unfortunate handicap of having my hairdressing appointment this afternoon not yesterday so I had my M’Lynn brown football helmet hair on but they seemed to warm to me. Either that or they were engaging the smile & wave approach to the scary lady with the hipster frames.


And then I gave the PM a jar of my plum and cinnamon jam. I indicated that it was for her and Tim to have on their toast at brekkie at the Lodge and not for some staffer. There was much laughter.

A couple of hours later this happened:

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It’s OK to frame a tweet yeah?