Daily Archives: March 17, 2012

Why this man is the quintessential Opposition leader

Margaret Whitlam died yesterday, aged 92.

Here’s what our Opposition Leader had to say:

On behalf of the Coalition, I offer my deep condolences to Gough Whitlam on the passing of Margaret. Margaret was a marvellous consort to a very significant Labor leader and an epochal Australian Prime Minister. There was a lot wrong with the Whitlam Government, but nevertheless it was a very significant episode in our history and Margaret Whitlam was a very significant element in the political success of Gough Whitlam. She was a great patron of the arts, she was a woman of style and substance and we should mourn her passing as we extend our deep sympathies to her friends, to her family and especially to her husband.

What does sexism look like?  When a woman can spend sixty years in public life and still be defined almost solely by her husband. Just thirteen words about her.

What does obsession look like? When even in extending condolences, he cannot help himself plunging the knife and twisting it.

Susan Ryan, former Labor minister:

It sounds an old-fashioned thing to say these days, but women were supposed to be in a servile relationship with their husbands, particularly if you were married to a famous man.  You were seen as the consort, whereas Margaret saw it as an opportunity to be engaged.

What does old fashioned look like? “She was a marvellous consort to a very significant Labor leader and epochal Prime Minister”.

What does churlishness look like? When we “should” mourn her passing, not that we “do”.   We do mourn her passing. We do.