Here we go again. Today, Daniel Andrews announced a plan to build a new suburban railway system even though he has no idea how much it will actually cost, who is going to pay for it, and how long Victorians will actually have to wait until it is finished. This is another pragmatic, yet pie in the sky announcement which typifies the Andrews government. Victorian taxpayers have already been saddled with a $330 million tax burden after the premier abrogated contractual responsibilities by cancelling the contract to build the East-West Link. The reality is, as now confirmed by Infrastructure Victoria, that this project would have been a very good idea after all.
But the Andrews government appears to be operating in a different kind of reality, a reality in which it is blatantly more concerned with social engineering than it is with the kind of scientific and mathematical engineering which gets roads and tunnels built. These days, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to work out where gender departments finish and governmental departments begin, so blurred are the lines between them.
In Victoria, the Department of Premier and Cabinet has decided that one of the best uses of taxpayers’ money is to come up with an inclusive language guide, which is to be disseminated to the Victorian entire public service. Accessed via the ‘Equality’ page of the department’s website and introduced jointly by the Minister for Equality and the Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality, it’s exactly the kind of social activism that Victorians have wearily come to expect from the present incumbents of a state government. This Orwellian newspeak is continuously piped in directly from our academic centres into the echo chamber of the government, bypassing the common sense of the people.
The inclusive language guide is essentially an exposé of the post-modern radical gender theory that has been peddled in across the humanities as unquestionable orthodoxy since the 1960s. Inclusive language rests on the concept of gender, which is a vague social construct whose ever-changing definitions are increasingly untethered to traditional concepts of biological sex.
According to DPC’s guide, ‘Gender identity refers to the way in which a person understands, identifies or expresses their masculine or feminine characteristics within a particular sociocultural context.’ Back in 1949, Simone de Beauvoir wrote that ‘one is not born but becomes a woman.’ The guide’s authors, undoubtedly university graduates, have clearly been worshipping at the altar of the high – priestess of gender theory. There is no doubt that they will also be acolytes of Judith Butler, who decided in 1990 that the perception of gender had become outdated, posing instead that gender is nothing but a performance.
The guide also makes reference to ‘misgendering’, which it defines as ‘using language to refer to a person that is not aligned with how that person identifies their own gender or body.’ Having thus established an arbitrary and whimsical crime, the department then goes on to helpfully explain just how such a misdemeanour can be avoided. It explains;
Some people prefer to be described with their first name only or a non-binary pronoun such as ‘they’ rather than a gendered pronoun. Others prefer no pronoun at all. Also be aware that some gender-neutral pronouns exist, such as ‘zie’ and ‘hir’. If unsure, you can ask someone directly what their preferred pronoun is in a respectful manner. If you do make a mistake, apologise promptly and move on … try to avoid making the same mistake again.’
Confused? Not for long! The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has come up with an initiative called ‘They Day’. In order to clarify things, it has mandated that every first Wednesday of the month, its 10,000 employees are to use gender-neutral pronouns such as ‘they’ and ‘them’ rather than ‘he’ and ‘she’.
‘They Day’ is a considerable misnomer. Under the auspices of inclusion, DHSS is effectively fostering exclusion and division, which of course is one of the many ugly characteristics of the post-modern theory of identity politics which is currently blighting our social, political and corporate landscape. What possible course of action will those employees who are uneasy with language compulsion now face? If they do go work but refuse to participate, the chances are that they will be disciplined and re-educated at the hands of the pronoun politburo. And while this option might be sustainable in the short term, it certainly you won’t be in the long term because before they know it, the first Wednesday of the month will turn into all Wednesdays of the month, and then in no time at all, ‘They Day’ will become ‘Every They Day’.
Those who choose to avoid work every first Wednesday of the month will be singling themselves out as dissidents. In the short film made to accompany ‘They Day’, viewers meet a selection of employees sporting ‘they/them’ badges while enthusiastically extolling the many virtues of the gender-neutral pronoun. One participant, who could perhaps be considered a veteran in this business because ‘they’ and ‘them’ have been her pronouns of choice for ten years now, gushes to camera ‘I love gender-neutral pronouns… when people use them, I feel affirmed and I like myself’. Another says ‘they [the pronouns] make me happy.’
With language and comments such as these, it’s not difficult to see where this is going for future ‘They Day’ dissenters. Absentees will be cast immediately as haters, whose unwillingness to comply with the directive will be taken as proof of their wretched misanthropy. After all, what kind of a person is anti-happiness? What sort of individual wants their co-workers to hate themselves? According to the bureaucrats at DHSS, it’s the kind of person who ‘misgenders’ in casual conversation with their colleagues during staff morning tea.
When it comes to forging a career for yourself in the Victorian public service, it appears the best thing you could do is to undertake a Bachelor of Arts in Gender and Cultural Studies at an Australian university. Indeed, on the University of Sydney’s Gender and Cultural Studies department webpage, future students are promised that a wide range of career of options will be opened up to them. Certainly, three years of study in the department will get you on the payroll of a government department faster than you can spell LGBTQI.
These latest initiatives from the Andrews government confirms that it more committed to imposing radical gender theory on the society, at the society’s expense, than it is to solving the Melbourne’s growing congestion problem.
Dr Bella d’Abrera is the Director, Foundations of Western Civilisation Program at the Institute of Public Affairs.
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