27 Feb 2008, Comments Off on Don’t Fuck it Up part 1

Don’t Fuck it Up part 1

Author: Helen

When I turned my newspaper page to the Fed News yesterday and saw the new Steering committee for the PM’s 2020 summit, and I saw 10 blokes staring back at me from the composite photo; all of whom were white Anglo, Irish, Welsh or European types, except for one (Kelvin Kong)… and one woman…

…that’s one woman plus ten men, not one out of ten…

Do you think I felt sanguine about the immediate future of our nation in terms of the directions it’s going to take with this steering committee steering it?

The selectors’ idea of “get[ting] as broad a range of people as possible” was including opposition ministers. D’oh!

And the one woman included, and I’m sorry, and I know how bright and hardworking Cate Blanchett is, but she’s a bloody actor. And. Did you notice that the linked article in the online version of the AGE is not in the News section any more, but in the Life and Style section? Don’t tell me that means nothing.

Other people have noticed.

Comments (0)

  • […] Or, What Helen said. I get the feeling that “Don’t Fuck It Up” is going to be a series with rather more instalments than anyone would like. […]

  • Ariel says:

    ‘I know how bright and hardworking Cate Blanchett is, but she’s a bloody actor.’

    Well put! She was the best and brightest woman Kevin Rudd could find to represent Australia? Didn’t Julia, Australia’s first female 2IC, have any ideas? Did she have a say? Does she care?

  • Anastasia R. says:

    Doesn’t Cate Blanchett self-identify as an “actress” rather than “actor” – i know a lot do – I’ll never forget that Doctor Who convention video where someone referred to Katy “Jo Grant” Manning as an “actor” and she pointed to her chest and said “Boobs = actress!”

  • Helen says:

    If she does, I’d take it as one small telling point why not to appoint her to head the “culture” portion of a national “summit” (who else detests that silly word?). Note that I said a small point – but it sounds a bit I’m-not-a-Feminist-But. Or, “I’m not one of those silly feminists who don’t wax and insist on that inclusive language.” Or something. I could be wrong.

    I’d also like to reiterate – because I probably didn’t give it enough prominence in the original post – that there is also only one POC as the Yanks say to ten white people, and that didn’t get nearly as much of a run in the media.

  • Oz Ozzie says:

    Don’t really see what the noise is about. You thought this thing had meaning? Anyway, inasmuch as it does, you need some prime names, but people who are prepared to put their name to it. I’m not quite a candidate for attending, but I know a couple who are …. but won’t put their name to it. Guess the had to scrape the barrel

  • Brian Hughes says:

    “…that’s one woman plus ten men.”

    There’s a woman round our way like that.

    Then was a time in Blighty when women would always say, “Look at the state of this country. If a woman was in charge there wouldn’t be any wars, or arguing in parliament or stuff.”
    Or words to that effect.
    Then Maggie Thatcher happened.
    Women don’t say that any more.

  • Dr Paul says:

    I’m sure Kevvie and Glyn Davis have had their ears appropriately chewed by Therese Rein and Margaret Gardner over this stuff-up – which is, I think, almost certainly the kind of stuff-up which arises from the “soft” forms of institutional sexism and institutional Anglocentrism, rather than the result of overt sexism and racism on the part of Mr. Rudd and Prof. Davis.

    That said, it’s a bad look and a bad stuff-up by a Labor government, and should be frankly admitted to be a stuff-up and substantively rectified. Thus far we have yet to see an admission of error, and no remedial action beyond the palliative afterthought of appointing six female co-chairs from the Ministry, which falls well short of substantively redressing the fundamental flaws in the original decision.

    Also, I’m old enough to remember the Hawke and Keating Labor governments. Hawkie’s big summits such as the 1983 National Economic Summit and the Ecologically Sustainable Development Process were both roundly criticised at the time for lack of gender balance and exclusion of non-Anglo and indigenous representatives and concerns. After 25 years you’d think Labor would know better.

  • Anastasia R. says:

    Helen:

    I agree about the “I’m-not-a-Feminist-But” thing – other people i hate are people that subscribe to the “children are property not people” belief.

    It starts with “you can’t tell me how to discipline MY child” and ends with the enabling of child abuse and molestation. “children are property not people” also leads to mothers giving their baby girls names with no regard to what will happen to the school-aged kid and the grown woman because of it. I was named after the lost Russian Grand Duchess and there was a “Sunshine” and a “Princess” in the birth notices the other day.

  • Dysthymiac says:

    Helen Caldicott nee Broinowski has a brain the size of this entire country.

  • Helen says:

    But Anastasia, I think your name is beautiful.

    Bwica, here’s a funny bit of autobiographical trivia: once as a toddler I was babysat by HC, according to my parents. I can see a lot of people nodding sagely and thinking, “Well no wonder she turned out the way she did!!”
    LOLZ

  • Helen says:

    Brian, and your point is…?

    Oz ozzie, what the noise is about is what this action projects about the new government’s view of women. Not good at all that hard technology and governance stuff, but, you know, creative. What’s your gender, anyway?

    Also, what Paul said.

  • Brian Hughes says:

    To be honest Helen, I’ve no idea now. A bottle of whiskey and I end up typing loads of stuff that doesn’t make an awful lot of sense the morning after. Perhaps if I downed two bottles of whiskey I might re-emerge into the logical part of my head again…or fall asleep…either of which might be an improvement.

  • Anastasia R. says:

    Helen:

    why do you think it is beautiful?

    sorry im not used to people being nice to me

  • Helen says:

    Well, personal taste I guess, but I think most people would say the same.
    Girlchild is very snarky with me sometimes about the name I gave her – but most people think it’s beautiful and fully get it.

    Brian, as the author of the Robotic Pea of Death, you are entitled to a few drunken moments. Just don’t destroy the Art and Ridiculous things part of that brain of yours, ay.

  • Anastasia R. says:

    Thank you Helen

    really sweet of you – it was difficult time for me when the movie Anastasia was on TV

  • Oz Ozzie says:

    Oz Ozzie is male. But I live with a female – 3 actually. So what’s the point?
    Agree that this ‘arises from the “soft” forms of institutional sexism and institutional Anglocentrism’ – but this is a reflection of society as it is, not how we might like it to be.

    Like I said, who cares? Agree with correspondent above – easy to say that a women would do things better, but then it turns out that they are just the same – because what the politicians are is a product of how they get to where they are, and who it is that chooses that path.

    Oz

  • […] Don’t Fuck it Up part 1 – Helen at the Cast Iron Balcony has noticed the very unrepresentative nature of the 2020 talk fest steering committee – one woman (and a glamorous one at that) and lots of old, white, anglo types. […]

  • Helen says:

    Right, so as a male, you don’t see anything wrong with “society as it is’ and, despite tectonic changes since WWI, you see no possibility for change, and you’re fine with that.

    “Who cares?” Well, tautologically, those who do. Obviously you don’t, and enjoy your privilege. Therefore, you do I think understand where those women who criticised the dicision are coming from, but would rather hang onto that privilege. We’re not here to force anyone to change, but don’t expect not to be called on that kind of thinking if you venture into a feminist blog.

    http://www.amptoons.com/blog/the-male-privilege-checklist/

  • Anastasia R. says:

    Helen:

    Oz Ozzie is like that young staff member at Myers that caught a whiff of my name and basically screamed “go back to Russia!”. To my face.

  • Oz Ozzie says:

    hey. I expect that you should at least read what I wrote accurately. Is that unfair?

    I said: “this is a reflection of society as it is, not as we might like it to be”. This is different from “you don’t see anything wrong with ‘society as it is’”. No? (At this point I’m tempted to indulge in some sweeping generalisations of my own about radical feminists who don’t actually listen… but you might be different from my lab partner back when I did biochem in uni!)

    And I didn’t mean, “who cares” in general. In this respect, I don’t care. It’s only some government talk-fest….

    btw, in regard to the link. I disagree with 22, 23, and 25 (particularly). and 46. Should I feel guilty about the rest? I can’t do anything about how other people behave.

    Anyway, this all seems airy-fairy to me when the reality is that for all the supposed progress we have made, women today have less control over who they sleep with than fifty years ago. (Admittedly this is based on a small same, a personal survey of the women I am close enough to to actually know, and their mothers and grandmothers). Rape, sexual abuse, date rape and variations…. I don’t really know why we worry about other things when these are so prevalent.

    I just hope and pray that my daughters will be safe….

  • Oz Ozzie says:

    typo: “small same” = “small sample”. And I am not at all like Anastasia suggests. In fact, I am an immigrant myself

  • Wallaby says:

    The more things change, the more they stay the sam

    As has been widely noted, Rudd’s panel to choose the representatives for his 2020 summit is, well, skewed towards white men.

  • Anastasia R. says:

    I really don’t want to feed the trolls but:

    To take a line from Indiana Jones: “If you are immigrant, then i am MICKEY MOUSE!”

  • Helen says:

    I said: “this is a reflection of society as it is, not as we might like it to be”. This is different from “you don’t see anything wrong with ’society as it is’”

    vAnd I didn’t mean, “who cares” in general. In this respect, I don’t care. It’s only some government talk-fest….

    I wasn’t responding 100% directly to what you were saying but rather to what was between the lines, which was “I’m all right, Jack”, or as the Americans say, “I’ve got mine”.

    No-one has the right to say that people can’t be upset about exclusion because they themselves wouldn’t endorse what the group is being excluded from. Also, as I think I’ve pointed out, it’s the demonstration of the new government’s underlying residual attitudes towards women that has upset people the most. It’d be the same if it was only a “Sunday Lunch with Kevin for 100 prominent citizens” or some such, and was only one token woman and one POC.

  • Oz Ozzie says:

    So, that wasn’t between the lines. But I can see how it could’ve been.

    I wonder whether it’s fair to take this as a demonstration of the governments attitude to women. Are any country folk included? Any unionists? any royalists (to truly mix the metaphors)? Any immigrants? Any Christians? Any parents? Any gays? Any PhD’s? any (ex) street kids?

    They’ve got to pick ten people, ten people who’ve presumably demonstrated some ability to meet some requirements, who are willing, who are respected, who have the appropriate connections, etc….. I think you might be reading too much into their choice.

  • Oz Ozzie says:

    oh – and Hi Mickey Mouse. But I admit to only being an immigrant from NZ, which isn’t quite the same.

  • Helen says:

    They’ve got to pick ten people, ten people who’ve presumably demonstrated some ability to meet some requirements, who are willing, who are respected, who have the appropriate connections, etc….. I think you might be reading too much into their choice.

    Exactly. They’re saying that in everything except the “creative” arts, women have no ability to meet the requirements and are not respected. And “appropriate connections”; that’s a whole topic in itself about how social elites replicate themselves with others just like them, no?

    In a population of approximately 22 million, you don’t find that somewhat shocking? And you know, it’s not like I’m Robinson Crusoe here. Many more prominent and worthy people than yours truly have commented about it in the media in the last few days. Also, for someone whose line was “who cares?”, you seem incredibly … invested… in this thread. I don’t think I’ve ever received so many comments from the same commenter for one post. Why the passionate defence of something you profess not to care about?

    I wonder whether it’s fair to take this as a demonstration of the governments attitude to women. Are any country folk included? Any unionists? any royalists (to truly mix the metaphors)? Any immigrants? Any Christians? Any parents? Any gays? Any PhD’s? any (ex) street kids?

    I find this list disingenuous. Women constitute slightly more than 50% of the population and including members of these groups would not preclude making the representative a woman. (As they say, women are the only category where people speak of over 50% as a “minority” group.)

  • Oz Ozzie says:

    I’m wondering why I’m so invested too. Specially since the talk-fest was from the start only for the elite by the elite – something I thought would attract more attention than it has.

    The point of the list was that none of those things should matter. Like gender (unless the matter is gender centric)

    I shall retreat my normal life now

  • Brian Hughes says:

    “Just don’t destroy the Art and Ridiculous things part of that brain of yours, ay.”

    What do you mean ‘part’? That’s all there is left of my brain nowadays…and the ‘Art’ bit’s struggling under the strain.

  • matilda says:

    A genuine mechanism through which sparkling, fresh ideas could be channelled and incubated would be ongoing think tanks in specific areas eg: health, housing, education, womens issues, climate change and so on – not one-off whitebread blokey talkfests. I also think local councils should adopt this type of community consultation. It would facilitate lobbying to State departments on public transport, over-development etc. But no level of government actually wants grassroots feedback that they are compelled to take seriously, we the people are simply an annoyance! can you imagine the input big business will have at Kevin’s gabfest?

    the Whitlam, Hawke/Keating & Cain-Kirner govs were much better incubators of social change via community participation. Don’t get me started on the Bracks-Brumby contempt for commoners. I’m deeply involved in public housing issues – all of the consecutive ministers, Pike, Broad & Wynne refuse to meet with public tenants on any issue, unless it’s simply for a gratuitous photo opp.

    As for dear Cate, apart from the Arts & the fashion industry, she doesn’t even cut it as a spokeswoman for working mums, in the sense that she would be travelling the world with an army of nannies and personal lackeys. I don’t mean to be unkind, but she’s a multi-million $$$ earning film star, for god’s sake!

  • Chris Grealy says:

    Get over it! Watching the news this week, the faces I’ve noticed the most have been Julia Gillard, Jenny Macklin, Penny Wong, and Nicola Roxon. The Rudd government is filled with strong capable women with hard-working social consciences. Australia is in good hands, more so than ever before.

  • Jack Robertson says:

    H, sorry this is a bit off-topic…let me tenuously seque…high time we had more women power trio drummers, too…females smashing through the skin ceiling…erm…oh, bugger it…you up for a power trio jam some time, chicky-babe? I’m fiddling with a new blog-jam idea, do you fancy smacking down a beat – even just some percussion, whatever – onto a wav/mp3 file to go vaguely with that Monk blues thing I recorded a few days ago? I’m trying to figure out how easy (hard) it’s going to be tech-wise to get an online jam session/musical mashup blog happening…just tech fiddling at this stage. Trying to rope in Shaun C at RR Damnation to do some Claptoning on this track, r you up for the Ginger Baker thang?

    If so more here. If not, cool…and again, pardon the OT. Could contain myself and wait for a general thread…mwah-hah-hah…

  • Helen says:

    Jack, I’ve replied on the Blackroomjam blog. Awe-sum!

    Back on topic, the other Shaun C rudely refuses to get it in the Saturday paper today. Shorter Carney: I’m a white male and I refuse to understand why non-white non-males would be so pathetic as to complain about non-inclusion in the heads of various consultancy committees, so I’ll just bag them! (AKA: refusing to listen; so what else is new in politics?)

    As to the inclusion of more women as MPs and heading portfolios: Yes, we get it. but we also know the Labor party is an unregenerate old beast in some of its rightwing remnant back-eddies, and there are some characters that still won’t get the non-white non-male thing unless constantly prodded. They can’t just sit back and say “well, we appointed Penny Wong and Julia Gillard so you can all just STFU and go away and we can just rest on our laurels, inclusion-wise, forever.”

  • blue milk says:

    Thanks for the link Helen.. wow, things got busy here huh?

  • Gianna says:

    with the obligatory ‘no disrespect to Cate’…

    yeah Helen, i cared too; i thought it was an unforced error; and i thought it was highly embarrassing for Labor. geez, did Kevin really think the gender imbalance wouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb? to say ‘oh no, it’s got to be purely merit based!’ but then only find ONE female worthy is unimaginative and insulting.

  • Helen says:

    to say ‘oh no, it’s got to be purely merit based!’ but then only find ONE female worthy is unimaginative and insulting.

    Because that would mean that out of a population of 22 million, they can’t find more than one woman who can chair a committee on the big stuff.

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