On Tuesday night, outgoing Liberal MP Nicolle Flint gave Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, former deputy leader Tanya Plibersek and Labor Senate leader Penny Wong both barrels in a devastating five-minute parliamentary speech.
In the 2019 election campaign, Flint was personally targeted by Left activist group GetUp!, as well as by a Labor party certain her Adelaide seat of Boothby would fall in the eagerly-anticipated Shorten surge. Her office was defaced and Flint herself was harassed and personally abused.
In answer, Albanese merely said he wasn’t opposition leader at the time, although he now condemns the treatment of Flint. Wong angrily denied she knew what was going on and did nothing.
Plibersek, being from New South Wales, might get away with claiming ignorance of what was happening in Adelaide, but pull the other one Penny, it plays Jingle Bells. You are a South Australian. Even though you were on the road during the campaign, you must have known exactly what was going on in your home state, not least because Labor was confident of picking up seats there, with Boothby at the top of the list. As Senate leader, you were plugged into the national ALP campaign, which was in constant touch with Labor candidates and local campaigns, especially in target seats like Boothby.
And if you read the paper at the time, you’d have known about it too, for what was done to Flint was extensively reported by the media. In your ‘who, me?’ disingenuousness, you’ve been too clever by half.
As for Albanese, ever since the Brittany Higgins and Christian Porter issues arose, the Opposition leader wants to have his cake and eat it too. To get at Morrison, he has eagerly made common cause with the likes of radical Left feminists Mad ****ing Witches, who see current events as a golden opportunity to destroy conservatives first and the mythical patriarchy second.
And although Albanese wasn’t leader in the 2019 campaign, when as a senior shadow minister he campaigned in South Australia, he would have been briefed on local matters. He would have been told, or should have been, what was happening with Flint in Boothby. And now, with a Facebook page filling up with allegations of sexual misconduct in the parliamentary workplace from current and former Labor staffers, Albanese dodges and weaves rather than confront the filth and abusers in his own ranks.
But the key person Flint didn’t mention is then Labor leader Bill Shorten. For Shorten, Boothby was a prized target seat. It was in the interests of his prime ministerial ambition for the local and South Australian campaigns to keep Flint, the defending MP, off-balance. He too would have been briefed on progress in target seats by campaign HQ, and he would have been well aware of GetUp!’s handful of personalised campaigns – which included Tony Abbott as well as Flint.
It beggars belief, therefore, that Shorten could have not known what was going on in Boothby. Flint deserves to know what Shorten did to call off the ugly attacks on her, whether by Labor supporters or GetUp!. He must prove that, as Labor leader, he did not in any way condone or knowingly ignore such vile tactics against her. In Shorten’s case, ignorance is no excuse: it was his campaign, and he was the one who stood to gain the biggest prize from the demise of Flint and other Liberal MPs; the prime ministership.
Shorten has a case to answer: he must answer it.
Flint spoke again on Thursday, after GetUp! claimed on ABC radio – enthusiastically endorsed by “Father” Paul Bongiorno (who’ll never be of this parish) – that she and Sydney Liberal MP Fiona Martin were highlighting their misogynistic mistreatment in 2019 merely to distract from the woes of the Morrison government over Higgins and Porter, and the vicious trolling she’d experienced since Tuesday. In a passionate response, she said this:
I have tried not to cry during my speeches and during TV and radio interviews I’ve done and at times I’ve failed, and I’ll probably fail now.
As a woman I hate myself for doing this but … I’m tired of the political fight, I’m tired of pretending to be brave, I’m tired of having to defend the fact I’m a woman and yet here I am having to fight and defend myself again.
Why should she have to defend herself now, simply for being a conservative woman in public life? Why did she have had to do it in 2019? And why does the Labor party, GetUp! and the Twitter sewer think that conservative Liberal women are fair game and must be broken and destroyed because they are conservative Liberal women, all the while hypocritically parroting the pompous propaganda of gender quality?
After a month of one-way traffic against the Morrison government on sexualised misconduct, thanks to Nicolle Flint the spotlight has finally turned on to Labor and its own rancid woman problem. In her so prematurely giving up a political career made intolerable by the bullying and vicious abuse of the supposedly feminist Left, Flint may be contributing to public life more significantly than if she had stayed on to become a minister.
If Albanese truly is the alternative Prime Minister he believes he is, it’s now up to him to act like one and clean out the pigsty that is his own party’s culture.
Terry Barnes edits The Spectator Australia’s Morning Double Shot newsletter, adding his daily comment to the best of our Australia and world articles. Sign up for your Morning Double Shot here.
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