Leading article Australia

Standing on principle

20 March 2021

9:00 AM

20 March 2021

9:00 AM

Is reality slowly dawning on the Prime Minister? Has his wilful and egregious myopia towards all matters cultural and ideological finally caught up with him? And will he now change his behaviour or is it already too late?

Whichever way Scott Morrison now turns, he is culturally outflanked. On the completely unconnected but poisonously entwined issues of the Brittany Higgins allegations of being raped inside Parliament House and the Christian Porter alleged 1988 rape of a debating friend, the Prime Minister turns to the morality locker and finds it is bare. Correctly demanding ‘presumption of innocence’ as regards the latter, and accurately or otherwise claiming ‘I did not know’ to the former, in both instances he has little to offer the baying mobs of agitated women. This is because on the one hand he never bothered to raise any questions around ‘always believing the victim’ as demanded by the #MeToo movement and, on the other, the ridiculous comment at the time of the Higgins revelations about not realising how serious things were until he’d spoken to his wife.

But this is the problem with virtue-signalling and pandering to the woke mob by eschewing ‘political ideology’ (an abused term that has been twisted to be derogatory to conservatism but admirable on the Left.) Ultimately, ‘ideology’ is simply a road map, a set of measures by which any given value or principle can actually be achieved. What is glaringly absent from those demanding some dramatic response to the two rape allegations, as well as to the broader issues of sexual misbehaviour in the workplace, are any concrete steps to address clearly identifiable problems. It is simply not good enough to have the debate at a purely emotional level (‘things must change’, ‘women are angry’, etc.) without firstly identifying what the genuine problem is, and then proposing practical, legislative and enforceable measures that could achieve a fair and just change. Thus far, the only solid proposal (from the UK, where for very different reasons a similar debate is being had) is a 6pm curfew for men in order to prevent nighttime sexual assaults on women. As preposterous and crazy as this suggestion may be (it came from the Greens, natch!) at least it is a solid proposal to a genuine problem. Here, the PM was forced to draw comparisons to neighbouring countries where demonstrators are met with bullets. A valid point perhaps, but laughable as well as way too late.


The unfortunate reality is that if you don’t always stand on points of principle and fight for values – such as the presumption of innocence or the importance of individual responsibility – when you have the leeway to do so, then you won’t get the opportunity to when you don’t.

Say no to ‘woke’

This week, the fourth episode of Spectator Australia TV’s must-watch show CounterCulture is released on YouTube hopefully to both inform and entertain Australia’s most discerning and intelligent audience (you!). Hosted by irrepressible Speccie writer and IPA director Gideon Rozner, the show features interviews with the finest writers from the current print magazine and our online magazine Flat White, along with sharp commentary and lashings of humour.

This week also marks the eighth week of our superb Morning Double Shot email, an adrenalin shot of news and commentary carefully collated by Terry Barnes each morning, including his own superb insights and commentary on the major stories of the day. If you aren’t already addicted, you can sign up on our website, spectator.com.au.

Subscribers also get full access to all the Spectator UK offerings, including the superb Coffee House blog, plus we give you the cream of the Spectator USA via our World pick.

With so much of the mainstream media, including what was once regarded as the conservative or centre-right media, pandering to ‘woke’ political correctness and virtue-signalling, it is more imperative than ever that like-minded, common-sense, rational and free-speech-loving Australians can rely on at least one news outlet to stick to classic liberal traditions of diversity of opinion and expression combined with a healthy dose of scepticism and irreverent humour. So why not help broaden our embrace? Encourage (or even gift) someone you know who’s had enough of ‘wokeness’ and might enjoy our many offerings to subscribe to The Spectator Australia by going to spectator.com.au or phoning 1800 809 233 for our special offer. We promise that they (and you) won’t be disappointed.

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