An Open Letter to the Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister,

Please do not step down.

I’m not sure if you read the newspapers any more; I wouldn’t if I were in your position. Recently I stopped reading The Age on-line because they seemed more interested in Kim Kardashian and My Kitchen Rules than, well, news. Today, however, I had the displeasure of reading The Age’s editorial. This piece along with other editorials and opinion pieces from the Australian media might have you feeling as if the whole nation is against you. They are not.

I’m not.

I know many, many people who are not.

I don’t know who they actually poll in the Nielsen Poll but it is never me.

I don’t know who Andrew Holden thinks he is writing for in today’s editorial but it is not me.

So, please do not step down.

I am no political expert. I merely have an interest in politics; I was overly excited to enrol to vote, I read widely about Australian politics, I often write to my local member of parliament and I like to be up to date on policy. That’s it though. I am no expert, nor do I pretend to be, so who am I to tell you what to do?  But then again, what right has Andrew Holden or Mike Carlton or Alan Stokes to tell you what to do either?

As someone who takes her right to vote very seriously I am asking you to please not step down or aside or out. As childish as this may sound (and I sincerely hope it does not) if you step down it means they have won. Who are they? The shock-jocks and misogynists and the right-wingers and even the mainstream media. They have all won. From where I am if you step down it looks as if you have been bullied and harassed until there is no other option but to stand aside for a patronising, condescending man whom we had all lost faith in long ago. The bullies should not win. We all know that you, Ms Gillard, are stronger than that.

There are not enough role-models in Australian politics. Now, I am not saying that I agree with you or support you on everything. I do not agree with your stance on asylum seekers or gay marriage rights to name but two areas. I do agree with your Carbon Tax but wish it had been handled better. I don’t usually even vote ALP and I certainly do not vote for the Liberal Party. Those points aside, you are a role-model to so many women, including myself. Your role as Prime Minister means more than you could ever imagine. For young women to see a woman leading a nation means we can, indeed, do anything and that we are, indeed, equal; for young men it helps instil a respect for women, and highlights the fact that we are all equal and should be treated as such.

I spoke with my 11-year-old niece the other day. She is very bright and has just won a scholarship to a great school. When I asked her about the way you have been treated she said; “Yeah, well, it’s like that for girls”. She went on to say she’d like to be Prime Minister one day but she believed that you, Ms Gillard, were getting treated poorly because “girls have to put up with more of that stuff”. What a terrible indictment on our society. We have girls believing they just have to put up with poor treatment, with misogyny, with disrespect, with bullying because that’s the way it is – deal with it.

In my eyes, stepping down is a way of “dealing with it”.

It is the way women are supposed to “deal with it”: don’t make a scene, be graceful, be humble …

Ms Gillard, you nor any human being should have to “deal with it”. If only the media, the Liberal Party, some of your own backbenchers and all those others who hound you, if only they knew the damage they were causing in the hearts and minds of young women across the nation; young women who could potentially be incredible leaders for this country. But maybe that’s their goal – to humiliate, embarrass and scare women away from important leadership roles and keep us in our traditional places.

I do not believe these wild exclamations that this has nothing to do with gender; it has a lot to do with gender. I have never witnessed the same level of disrespect for a Prime Minister as I have seen thrown at you. Your leadership of this nation has been treated like the scandals that fill gossip magazines – the leadership “battle”, your glasses, your empty fruit-bowl, menu-gate, your martial status

Prime Minister, you are not the reason for a lack of, as Holden writes, “policy-driven democratic debate”. Of course that debate occurs. The mainstream media just chooses to write, talk and focus about this so-called “leadership battle” as if it were the latest Hollywood break-up. We are not being given the news we want or the news we deserve. We are being fed rubbish to distract us from what is really happening in this country.

Please do not step down; please show my niece, her friends, young people across the country and future generations that bullies cannot win. You have already shown us that women need not “put up” with the outdated, misogynistic attitudes you face daily.  Please show us that Australian politics can be decent, can lead the way, can be full of good policy and without character-assassination, especially that which is based on gender. Please do not step down– for if you do I fear my niece, her friends, young women of future generations may never feel they have the opportunity to be a leader.

Yours truly,

Katy Warner

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5 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Prime Minister

  1. Well spoken Katy! Like yourself I was appalled when I read the Age editorial. The tone of the editorial is almost unparalleled in Australian political history. Traditionally, newspapers/media editorialize on the eve of the electorate casting their vote – not a week before election campaigning has even begun! The editorial both a perversion of the role of the media and an attack on the processes of democracy. Under the masquerade of ‘concern for public debate’, the media is now saying; we are the ones who will tell you how to cast your ballot and we can make or break governments at our whim – not so! Katy, there are tens, nay, hundreds of thousands of us out here who feel exactly the way you do, and we will not be bullied or dictated to by oligarchs or plutocrats under any circumstances!

    • Thanks Edward. I cannot get over the hypocrisy of the editorial – it is mind-blogging to me. To heap the blame onto the PM, a PM who was never reported upon in ways which were equitable with her male counterparts, is absurd. I really think most politicians would prefer to speak about their policies and real issues rather than their martial status or new glasses … Thanks for reading and posting. I had a lot of ranting to get down on paper yesterday and appreciate you taking a look!

  2. First of all I would like to say wonderful blog! I had a quick question which I’d
    like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your head before writing.
    I’ve had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting
    my thoughts out. I truly do take pleasure in writing but
    it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be wasted
    just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips?
    Many thanks!

    • Hey! Thanks for stopping by and for your comments.
      To be honest, I spend way too much time procrastinating so I am probably not the best person to ask … But when I am feeling like that, like I don’t know where to start, I just write whatever falls out of my head and onto the page. Just scribble. No one has to read it. No one will judge it. And you may just find that starting point you are looking for once you remove all that pressure.
      Let me know how you go and if that helps at all!

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