Citizen Journalism

Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Capper’

Using Thatcher’s death to rewrite history, past and present

In Ideology, Misogyny, News Limited, Sarah Capper on April 18, 2013 at 5:17 PM

Thatcher-loc

By Sarah Capper, Sheilas Editor

Source: Sheilas
18 April 2013

When Germaine Greer penned a piece on the late “crocodile hunter” Steve Irwin for the Guardian shortly after his death from a stingray puncture, it was followed by howls of protest from all parts of the globe. Greer ended her ‘barbed’ take on the much-loved ‘Aussie legend’ with:

“The animal world has finally taken its revenge on Irwin, but probably not before a whole generation of kids in shorts seven sizes too small has learned to shout in the ears of animals with hearing 10 times more acute than theirs, determined to become millionaire animal-loving zoo-owners in their turn.”

As a result, Greer was lambasted as insensitive, cruel and GASP, “unaustralian” for daring to write such a critique. Some called for her to be banned from entering the country again. The National Portrait Gallery replaced a picture of Greer with – you guessed it – Steve Irwin.

In such situations, the assumption is that we should never speak ill of the dead, even if those who have died have been major public figures and divisive ones at that.

Former British Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher was indeed one such public figure, who at the helm of the United Kingdom during the 1980s presided over policies which had huge impacts on the people she governed. Her passing last week led to a barrage of global tributes from political leaders of various persuasions.

In response, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said that “as a woman, I am admiring of her achievements on becoming the first woman to lead the United Kingdom”.

Locally, conservative columnists took the opportunity to elevate the memory of Britain’s first and only female PM as a chance to sink the boot into Australia’s first and current female Prime Minister.

Under the headline ‘JULIA’S NO MAGGIE’, News Limited columnist Andrew Bolt lambasted Gillard’s response to the news as “pathetic and graceless”, as “Thatcher never sold herself as a victim or just a representative of her gender”.

Bolt used his column to have another spray at Emily’s List, a terrible organisation in the eyes of the Bolt’s of this world, which, god forbid, aims to support progressive women in political positions within the Australian Labor Party.

Referring to an Emily’s List function two years ago, Bolt quoted Gillard at the event as saying she “didn’t get here [to be Australia’s first female Prime Minister] alone … I think of all the women who made my journey possible … a century of activism by women of matchless courage and resolve.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Speculating Poll Dating

In Federal Election, Sarah Capper on February 14, 2013 at 8:22 PM
Margo’s note: Sarah Capper edits the Victorian Women’s Trust feminist monthly Sheilas. She’s an old friend who has kindly let AFHP publish her first column in 2013. Each month she interviews a bonza sheila and this time it’s Ita (registration for Sheilas is free). I love Sarah’s writing, this time on timing the election, and hope you do too.
227 Days of MSM Farce

227 Days of MSM Farce

By Sarah Capper
Source: Sheilas
February 14, 2013

If you google ‘election date speculation’ or ‘election timing’ and any of the last federal election year dates (eg. 2010, 2007), you get millions of results. So much so, that in the lead up to a federal poll (or state for that matter, where there are no fixed terms), a large media focus becomes fixated on the exact date on which we will vote.

When the Prime Minister surprisingly announced September 14 as this year’s federal poll date (at her National Press Club address a fortnight ago), it sucked a lot of oxygen out of a tedious debate that would normally ensue.

Of course, there’s always certain supposed ‘rules’ in setting election dates. The main ones to consider are that elections are not to be held to interrupt any religious (secular or sporting) festival. Yes, as a sports mad nation, the notion that we might have to vote and watch a football game on the same day for some is said to be sacrilegious.

For example, it is seen to be a no brainer that an election would be called on a grand final weekend. Even a clipping from the Sydney Morning Herald from June 1946 carries this ominous passage:

“CANBERRA, Thursday.-Victorian members of Parliament are frowning on September 28 as the Federal general election date because a big football match is to be played in Melbourne that day … They claim that the game will attract 80,000 people and will affect polling figures.”

The election was held on September 28, and Chifley was returned to Government.

According to the AFL, there have been nine federal elections that have fallen during the “football season” since 1946, which is presumably a bit of a broad statement given that the season lasts for nearly six months of the year and general elections are held on Saturdays.

But if you listen to the current doomsdayer commentary surrounding the latest ‘drugs in sport’ scandal, we might be lucky to actually get to footy finals this year (queue doctored tabloid images of Lance Armstrong wearing an AFL jersey, or a photo of random footballs from various codes with syringes in the foreground).

And presumably as a Western Bulldogs supporter the Prime Minister may not think she herself will be preoccupied with her team being in one of the finals.

Of course, whenever an election date is announced there will always be someone or some group unhappy. Queue the Member for Wentworth Malcolm Turnbull, who immediately took to Twitter to bemoan the coinciding date of Yom Kippur with this year’s poll date. Read the rest of this entry »