Modern Woman

If you'd only read the mainstream media reports about Julia Gillard's now world-famous speech giving Tony Abbott a lesson in assertiveness and explaining to him exactly what sexism is, and not watched it for yourself, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the PM had performed better than her usual lacklustre self but was, once again, an opportunistic hypocrite only motivated by hanging on to power.

But many of us were able to watch and judge for ourselves. And the overriding reaction was that when the real Julia finally stood up and articulated with devastating accuracy that she was sick of being made a target by the opposition because of her gender, we respected her.

We loved angry, passionate, fiery Julia Gillard - and we loved her putting New Age Sensitive Tony in his place. A man who the previous week had sat side by side with his wife, who claimed her husband 'gets women' (I assume she means 'understands women').

Well, maybe he does, but not deeply enough to realise that his referencing of Alan Jones' 'died of shame' dog-whistle - whether intentional or not - was going to be taken as fighting words.

Gillard's speech was the best example of passion in the House of Reps I've seen for far too long. I am sick and tired of the bleating by Christopher Pyne, relentless negativity by Abbott and his attack dogs, blustering bully-boy tactics of Anthony Albanese and self-inflated outrage by Joe Hockey. I do love Julie Bishop's death stare but it doesn't really make for exciting vision.

That example of MSM reportage is a cut-and-dried example of how a power system works: those in positions of power, whether knowingly or not, work towards keeping that power. So even commentators who are feminists, and good journalists, can, on occasion, fall victim to seeing only the narrative that serves the masters.

I just wish there was more passion for important issues that affect those at the lower end of the power structure: single parents (mostly women). Senator Doug Cameron and the hardest working back-bencher in parliament, Page MP Janelle Saffin, moved a motion in caucus to delay cutting the single parent's pension but were defeated and pushed off the front pages by Gillard's mesmerising performance.

Working full-time and trying to be a good parent is hard enough when, like me, you're in the lucky position of being in a stable partnership, loving your work and enjoying enormous support and help from grandparents.

It can still be exhausting even when everything is in your favour and you know it's the most important thing you will ever do.

For those trying to do their best on their own, it's difficult enough, without having our government suggesting by its actions that they are bludging off the system.

Target those at the top end of the tax scale who would seek to defraud the population by cheating on their taxes.

Leave single parents alone - it's a hard job and one where people need as much support as possible, not another kick to the hip-pocket, where it hurts those who can least afford it.

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