Archive for March 11, 2012

The former frontman of The Smiths, poet and uber-hipster recently described the woyal weds as “so dull as people that it is actually impossible to discuss them”. His band wore  these t-shirts at last Sunday’s Buenos Aires show. Hats off Morrissey & Co.

Fondly gazed upon by two adoring female federal MPs Julie Bishop and Michaela Cash, the intrepid Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, Tony Abbott launched another thoughtless diatribe at the Gillard Government. Abbott’s primary target was Defence Minister Stephen Smith.

Abbott who has a history of conflict with Australian women, demanded that the Minister should apologise to the Defence Force Academy Commodore Bruce Kafer for reprimanding him. This reprimand came after a distressed female ADFA cadet, 18, identified only as “Kate”, went public after discovering her sexual encounter with a male colleague had been broadcast on Skype to his AFDA mates in another room.

Commodore Kafer decided that his first action after the complaint should be to beat up the victim and further sully her reputation by bringing disciplinary charges against her of alcoholism and absenteeism. These charges are said to be unrelated to the girl’s victimisation, but anyone except Tony Abbott and Murdoch journalists can see that the disciplinary charges put in doubt the girl’s character and undermine her complaint.

Stephen Smith properly stated that, “one should never, inadvertently or advertently, allow the character of a potential victim of an alleged sexual assault to be brought into play”.

Abbott and a range of high-ranking ex-military commentators have called for Smith to apologise and for him to be reprimanded because the Defence Minister refused to apologise for accusing the Commandant of the Australian Defence Force Academy, Commodore Bruce Kafer, of an error of judgment.

Andrew Kirkham QC, a barrister hired to inquire into the matter, had the view that Kafer had the legal right to go ahead with the charges against the girl but he pointed out he did not need to bring them at that sensitive and harrowing time for the girl.

Kafer may have been legally correct in bringing charges against the girl at that time, but his decision-making at best lacked in common sense and decency and at worst may have been deliberately undermining the legitimacy of a young girls complaint who was victim of a sex crime.

Those calling for an apology from Minister Smith, include Tony Abbott, the line up of ex-military figures like Neil James, Jim Molan and Peter Leahy, and of course Tony Abbott’s backup team at the Murdoch press. These dinosaurs are aligning themselves with those who are clearly more concerned about the reputation of the ADF than about the continuation of mistreatment and sexualisation of women in the ADF. They deserve the contempt of the Australian people.

The InterpretOr says well done Stephen Smith. You are doing an important task in making the ADF conduct its business in a professional manner that supports and respects its women members. For that you deserve our support.

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