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.
Yes, I think his comments leave a very sour taste in the mouth. The interesting question is, what constituency was he talking to? This was a carefully crafted comment, not Abbott just shooting his mouth off on impulse. Who is it, that Abbott and his minders think will be impressed by this? What sort of dog is it whistling to?
I am a socialist and a Labour voter, and am not likely to be fond of conservative politicians. However even conservative politicians can have dignity eg John Howard, Malcolm Turnbull. Just because a man is conservative doesn’t mean he has to be sexist, nasty, crude, anti-migrant, anti-Semitic, anti-equality in education or any other obnoxious quality.
Margaret Whitlam was a dignified, educated, professional woman who made an enormous contribution to Australian life. Despite the 1975 bloodless coup being arguably the most dangerous event in Australian constitutional history, she maintained her rage constructively. In 1975 I personally had expected riots, police action and long gaol terms for active women 😦
Yes- I remember being out at university when the dismissal was announced. It was in the middle of exam time, but I was just a little bit excited that perhaps the revolution was coming!
And to think he wants to be PM. I sincerely hope not. Well said.