A gloating headline this week has spoken so many volumes about gender politics it’s not even comical.
Treasury did not model Australian budget’s impact on women, screeches The Guardian Australia.
Let’s pause right there, just for a moment.
Imagine, for one split second, we’d actually achieved equality.
Imagine what politics would look like if the omnipresent chuckling strand of gender hadn’t craftily knitted itself into cosy the government shawl.
When Kate Millet wrote Sexual Politics in 1969, I wonder if the intention was to inspire a third wave of ongoing hatred between the sexes, biased policy and destruction of lives 48 years later?
If so, she aced it.
When Michael Brennan, deputy secretary of Treasury’s fiscal group told the Senates estimates his department didn’t measure the impact on one gender, he didn’t realise he’d gone to war.
“I’m not aware that we’ve done anything for this particular budget,” he replied when asked if the Office for Women had asked the Treasury to look at the impact of the budget on marginal tax rates.
He may not have realised, but National Foundation for Australian Woman had already broken out in a blotchy rash after the budget. In they swiftly zoomed with their Gender Lens On The Budget.
Even the title is amusing; gender lenses are as popular as beer goggles these days. The crucial difference is, it’s only acceptable to admit to looking through one set in parliament.
“First we had a minister for women who was unable to answer basic questions about what role, if any, the Office for Women, played in the budget process. Today we learn that no one was asked to calculate the real effect of this budget on Australian women,” ranted Labor Senator Jenny McAllister.
How dare they? It’s almost as if women were equal citizens. Perish the thought.
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