Women required to wear Hi Vis in Australia’s Parliament House.

Women must now wear Hi Vis at all times in Australia’s Parliament House in Canberra after the seat of government was declared a site of high risk women. The new law comes into effect immediately and means that female politicians, staffers, bureaucrats, security staff, media, ancillary staff and visitors will be denied entry if they are not wearing some form of Hi Vis clothing.

“Parliament House is not a safe place for women,” confirmed a government spokesman.

“All women who work in, or visit, the seat of government must wear at least one piece of Hi Vis clothing at all times while they are on the premises, for their own safety.”

The law was created in response to various highly-publicised example of mistreatment of women in Parliament House, including allegations of rape, masturbation on other people’s desks, distribution of sexually-explicit videos and visits by prostitutes, as well as an underlying culture of toxic masculinity.

Authorities stressed the law was not rushed through after Barnaby Joyce’s return.

“It’s just coincidence”

The rationale behind the law is simple, according to its creators.

“Forcing women to wear Hi Vis is much easier than creating institutional or cultural change which would keep them safe. Forcing these conditions on women also allows the men who perpetrate crimes and offences against women, and those who protect the men, to blame the woman if she does get attacked or harassed, or mistreated in any way. A woman will never be bothered if she is wearing Hi Vis. Thus, if she is not, she can be accused of failing to take necessary measures and of breaking the rules.”

Hi Vis clothing can take any form, and authorities believe women will be happy to wear them.

“Hi Vis apparel comes in pink these days, so women will love it. We believe they will enjoy matching their Hi Vis with their outfits and make-up every morning.”

Critics slammed the new law, and said that if women are forced to wear HI Vis, then men in parliament house should be forced to wear a bell around their neck, the same way that cats wear a bell to stop them from killing native wildlife. The government replied:

“What a ridiculous suggestion. It would make us a laughing stock around the world.”

Government insiders also pointed another benefit of Hi Vis clothing in the halls of power.

“Hi Vis is normally worn by Tradies and construction workers, and they are now the most sought-after constituents of both major parties, so women are likely to be well received. Hi Vis is also worn by workers at mining sites, and we know how much the LNP, and even large parts of the Labor Party, love the mining sector and do so much to protect them.”

Authorities see only one potential problem with the introduction of the new law.

“Now we have to get ScoMo and Matt Canavan to stop doing so many photo ops in Hi Vis.”

Image: Aditya Joshi

Parliament House prepares for a royal visit.

EXCLUSIVE: Australia’s Parliament House is secretly preparing to host Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei. Leaked documents reveal that the famous sex addict and brother of the Sultan of Brunei will spend a week in the nation’s capital for both business and pleasure.

Prince Pengiran Digadong Sahibul Mal Pengiran Muda Jefri Bolkiah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien was once the country’s finance minister. He will travel by private jet and skip quarantine protocols, before heading straight to an official reception at Parliament House. The exclusive reception is open only to male politicians and staffers, as well as hand-picked female junior staffers and some of Canberra’s best escorts.

The younger brother of the Sultan is renowned for his playboy lifestyle. He famously kept a large harem of up to forty women, including Jillian Lauren, an American women who revealed all in her book Some Girls: My Life in a Harem. He has had five wives and eighteen children. He is just as famous for his luxury yacht named Tits, with tenders named Nipple 1 and Nipple 2. Furthermore, leaked pictures revealed statues the Prince had made of him having sex with his fiance Micha Raines.

This lifestyle cost the Prince billions of dollars, which he was accused of stealing from the Bruneian people. After a lengthy legal battle, he apparently repaid the money to the Brunei government…or to his brother.

Secret correspondence between government officials in parliament house reveal that desks are being sanitised and the prayer room is being deep cleaned in readiness for the Prince. Junior female staffers have been issued with a strict dress code and escort agencies have been advised to make available their most popular ladies. Caterers have also been instructed to ensure that all food is halal.

Organisers of the visit have also attempted to match the decor in the prayer room to the Masjid Jefri Bolkiah, or the Jefri Bolkiah Mosque.

News of the visit is sure to surprise Australians, many of whom have never heard of the Prince, and would have expected a member of the British royal family to be visiting. Sources within parliament conceded, however, that Prince Jefri is more attuned to the daily occurrences and general culture of Australia’s federal parliament.

Image: Aditya Joshi

…no religion too…

Imagine there was no religion taught in Australian schools. Imagine removing religion from the curriculum of every school and thus removing the primary justification for the existence of private schools.

Why?

Private schools are detrimental to the Australia education system, and almost all private schools are faith-based.

How?

Ban compulsory lessons which teach students a particular faith and allow schools to only teach about religion, the way government schools currently approach the subject. Students at government schools currently receive instruction in their chosen faith only in lessons taught by religious specialists from outside the school, and only if their parents have chosen that option. The remaining students participate in other subjects. In contrast, religious education lessons at faith-based schools are compulsory.

Teach about religion.

Religion underpins Australian society. The Judeo-Christian world view informs our parliamentary and legal systems, so religion cannot and should not be ignored. History and Humanities subjects can still examine the role religion played in events such as colonisation and the Stolen Generation in Australia. Students can study, and even join, religious volunteer organisations like Vinnies and the Salvation Army. They can also research the Crusades and the Reformation, the conflict in the West Bank and Northern Ireland, and even the convergence of major religions in the court of Kublai Khan.

Is it possible to teach about religion without teaching religion?

Yes.

Government schools do it. Steiner schools do it, so do the small number of independent secular schools. I’ve done it. I had to explain the term BC to secondary students at a government school in Brunei, a country under strict Sharia law.

A module entitled ‘Belief Systems’ or ‘Faith’ could also present the broad principles of the world’s major religions, without instructing students to follow any of these systems of belief.

Would any fee-paying schools survive?

Yes. Non-religious private schools exist in Australia and include the following:

  • Steiner, Waldorf and Montessori schools.
  • International schools, such as International Grammar School in Sydney.
  • National schools, such as Japanese, French, German schools…
  • Schools such as Reddam House and Ascham in Sydney.

What if private schools dropped religion?

Many may survive. Reddam, after all, is famously non-religious and is entering its 21st year, while Ascham is one of the most prestigious girls schools in the country – for families who can afford it.

How are private schools detrimental?

Funding

Private schools continue to receive substantial government funding as well as contributions from the religious organisations which run them, plus fees from parents. The same religious organisations receive additional government funding – for being religious organisations, and enjoy tax concessions – for being religious organisations.

This reduces the funding provided to government schools, which are poorly resourced and struggle to offer a strong education to their students. An underfunded public education system produces an undereducated population, and this is bad for most of the country – most, but not all. A weakened public education system strengthens the private education system and offers an automatic head start to the students of private schools. So much for an egalitarian society.

Studies have indicated that the single biggest determinant of academic success in Australia is wealth. Thus, it is not surprising that the following attitudes exist among everyday Australians:

  • Private schools are better than public schools
  • People only send their children to public schools because they can’t afford private schools.
  • Private schools, especially Catholic schools, have better discipline.
  • Private schools are great for networking, which helps students secure employment later in life.

They’re not learning anyway.

Most students at Christian private schools know very little about their own faith. I can’t comment on Islamic or Jewish schools, because the majority of my teaching has been in government schools or Catholic and Protestant schools. Despite up to 12 years of instruction in one particular faith, most students will leave Christian schools with very little knowledge about the teachings of their own faith. So why should these Christian schools exist?

Australia is a secular society. Most students are not practising Christians, neither are their parents. Some students don’t belong to the faith of their school, nor do some of the teachers. Religious education is seen as the ‘bludge’ subject and very few parents ever book appointments with teachers of religion during Parent/Teacher interviews – but they all see the Maths teacher!

In fact, the dearth of religious knowledge among students at Christian private schools prompted a previous article on this site. The article proposes an independently administered exam in the faith of that school, to be sat by every student at that school (except K-2 students). If schools do not score an average of 80%, across the entire school, then they do not receive any government funding in the next round of funding distribution. They can only regain their funding when they score an average of 80% in the exam.

I am certain most Christian schools in Australia would not pass such an exam.

In addition, most Christian churches are largely empty during weekly church services, and Christmas and Easter are now a celebration of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Most children are sent to private schools because they are ‘better than the local public school’. Furthermore, the religious education subject is often given to (or forced upon) young teachers or new teachers at Christian schools, who can only ‘off-load’ the subject once they’ve proven themselves in their core subjects.

Australia is a secular country, and yet almost all of its private schools are religious.

Single-sex education

Most private schools are still single-sex. In 2021. Some have become wholly or partly co-educational, but most cling to their single-sex traditions. This can be beneficial to some of the students, depending on which educational theorist you read, but is it beneficial to society?

Students at single-sex schools miss the opportunity to mix daily with members of the opposite sex, but are suddenly forced to do so when they enter the real world. Moreover, some exclusive private schools still provide boarding. Thus, students study and live among their own gender, for up to 12 years. This informs their world view, and many of these students, especially boys, become leaders of society and make decisions which directly affect the lives of every Australian.

We are still suffering the results of this phenomena.

Attorney General Christian Porter was recently accused of historical rape. He was never found guilty, but was exposed for infidelity and sleazy behaviour with young female members of his staff, in a public bar near Parliament House. Porter attended Hale School in Perth. He and the remainder of his party have refused to allow an independent inquiry into his behaviour, which many Australians see as a disregard for the victim of the alleged rape and to women in general. The revelations prompted widespread protests throughout the nation calling for greater gender equality.

The response from the government has been appalling, and continues to inflame the conflict. Most of the politicians responsible for the response are male, and most attended single-sex, faith-based, private schools.

This follows the very public and misogynistic behaviour of students from two of Melbourne’s most exclusive boys private schools, Wesley College and St Kevin’s. It also follows allegations of a culture of rape and sexual abuse of girls by boys from Sydney’s most exclusive private schools, which was recently revealed in the mainstream media. An online petition signed by thousands of former private school girls alleges sexual assault by private school boys, and calls for greater focus on consent in sex education lessons delivered to boys. The creator of the petition, Chanel Contos, claims the culture of rape in Sydney is the worst she witnessed, despite having lived in two other countries.

Recent articles by Mike Seccombe in The Saturday Paper, and from respected child and adolescent psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg, do not blame private schools for the toxic masculinity that pervades Australian society. They do, however, concede that they are a contributing factor.

Restricted curriculum

Religious schools present a restricted curriculum. Religious doctrine determines their teaching of science, gender, sexuality and other social issues. Future leaders carry this particular world view into politics and make judgements based on that world view. Our government and business leaders have also grown up in a world in which religious chaplains replace qualified counsellors at schools.

Where will students learn religion?

At home.

Place the onus on parents to provide their children with a religious education, either entirely at home or at institutions like Sunday School. The classes would take place outside of school hours and receive no government funding.

How can students learn morality?

At home.

Religious devotees of all faiths often argue that a non-religious person cannot learn morality. The boys at St Kevin’s, Wesley College and Hale clearly did not learn morality. The male politicians in the LNP, most of whom attended faith-based, single-sex private schools, show no evidence of moral learning. It is clear that notions of gender, class and racial superiority took precedence over values such as compassion, morality, respect, tolerance and service, for students of these private schools.

Is this article just religion bashing?

No.

Religion bashing is certainly on trend in Australia, but this article is not targeting religion per se. The article cites religion as the primary justification for the existence of most private schools in the country, and nominates private schooling as the problem.

A precedent

Private schools are rare or non-existent in countries such as Finland, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Scandinavian countries. Singapore does have private schools, but these cater mostly for international/expat children. These same countries consistently top the rankings in international standardised exams. Experts suggest there is a correlation. When almost every child is forced to attend their local government school, every parent has a strong vested interest in the quality of that school. Thus, parents put pressure on the government to maintain high standards at local government schools, and hold the politicians and schools accountable. In addition, the people who make the decisions about school funding and educational standards, politicians, also send their children to government schools.

In Finland, apparently it is illegal to charge fees for a child’s education.

One must also point to the culture of these countries, not just the lack of private schools. Academic achievement is highly regarded in countries such as Japan, South Korea and Singapore, and this explains their success. The countries themselves are also far from perfect. Enormous pressure is placed on students in some Asian countries and this can have disastrous effects on young people That said, Australia can learn something from these countries as literacy and numeracy rates continue to fall throughout the nation.

What happens next?

What would happen if schools were prevented from teaching religion in Australia? What would happen to the schools?

Schools could drop religion and remain private. Many parents would not remove their children, because we’ve already established that most parents don’t send their children to private schools for a religious education, but for a better general education.

If private schools are not religious, religious organisations have no reason to fund them. They may run into financial ruin, at which point they would be taken over by the government and become public schools. Parents could leave their children in that school, or seek another private school and compete with other parents for limited spaces.

If existng private school parents were forced to send their children to a public school, they would put more pressure on the government and educational authorities to adequately fund and resource the school and to ensure strong academic outcomes. More parents would have a vested in in quality public education, just as they do in countries such as Finland, Japan and Singapore, and governments would have no choice but to allocate more resources and care to public education.

Not only would parents demand adequate funding for their child’s school, but children from different social backgrounds would attend the same schools, and this has been found to create greater empathy between all groups in society, including those who formulate laws.

Where will they find the money?

The money to fund public education exists. Much of it is currently being directed to private schools, some of it is sitting in government coffers waiting to be spent on projects which will win votes at the next election. If there were fewer private schools in Australia, public education would become one of those central issues which could determine the outcome of an election.

The main obstacle to adequate funding of public education is political will, and religion.

Images: Element5Digital, http://www.pridelife.com.

Scott Morrison recruits Darren Lockyer.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison has appointed former rugby league player Darren Lockyer as the federal Minister for Women due to Lockyer’s dedication to the rights of women. The appointment ensures that the Liberal National Party will always contain one male member who has been involved in a controversy surrounding sexual assault.

Morrison persuaded the former Australian captain to join the coalition while they were both attending a summit to advance the interests of the fossil fuel industry. The prime minister was particularly attracted to Lockyer’s ability to make light of accusations of sexual assault.

“How good is Darren Lockyer!,” Morrison gloated while announcing the appointment.

“You know I love my footy, and I love Darren, even though he never played for the Sharkies,” he smirked.

“But no, in all seriousness, I’m very excited to announce Mr Lockyer as the new Minister for Women because he is a great role model for young Australian men who has a great empathy for women.”

The Queensland State of Origin hero created controversy in 2004 when he joked about an alleged gang rape involving players from the Canterbury Bulldogs team. As guest speaker at a function in Brisbane, Lockyer commented:

“St George, they won 11 premierships with one Raper. Imagine how many Canterbury will win.”

Morrison said good fortune led him the the new appointment.

“Gina ordered me to attend a conference for the resources sector in Australia, and after Rupert agreed, I cancelled all my other appointments and attended. Luckily, Darren was there in his role as ambassador for the coal seam gas and wider fossil fuel industry, so I chatted to him during the lunch break and invited him to Canberra.”

The smirk returned when Morrison explained:

“I did have to remind him though that I’m now the captain of Team Australia.”

The former Bronco will begin his new role immediately, and he is looking forward to the challenge.

“I love women,” he stated.

“I love making jokes about their suffering too, so when Scotty asked me to be his Minister for Women, I said yes straight away.”

Lockyer will work alongside a special group formed in response to recent allegations of sexual assault and bullying of women in parliament house. The group contains politicians such as Christian Porter, Barnaby Joyce, Peter Dutton, Alan Tudge and George Christensen, and will report directly to Morrison – except when the prime minister needs to claim plausible deniability.

Image: http://www.abc.net.au

Scott Morrison recruits Craig Wells.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison has appointed former rugby union player Craig Wells as the federal Minister for Women due to Wells’ dedication to the rights of women. The appointment ensures that the Liberal National Party will always contain one male member who is under investigation for sexual assault.

Morrison persuaded the former Wallaby to join the coalition while he and Attorney General Christian Porter were visiting a prison to announce major new law and order policies. Wells is currently serving time in the same prison after being found guilty of raping a 14-year-old girl in 2015.

“How good is Craig Wells,” Morrison gloated while announcing the appointment.

“You know I love my footy, and I love Craig, even though he never played for the Sharkies,” he smirked.

“But no, in all seriousness, I’m very excited to announce Mr Wells as the new Minister for Women because he is a great role model for young Australian men who has a great empathy for women. He also coached U/16 and U/14 girls footy teams on the NSW South Coast. For that reason, Christian and I met him during his allocated yard time and invited him to Canberra.”

Wells was found guilty of plying the girl with drugs and alcohol and raping her twice on the same night in 2015. His female accomplice is said to have sat on the girl’s chest to stop her from moving while Wells was raping her.

Media outlets reported that Wells told the girl:

“I wish I could get you pregnant and have babies with you but you’re too young.”

He is also reported to have cuddled up to her the morning after the rape and asked:

“Did you have fun?”

Wells was sentenced to six years in prison.

The former Waratah will begin his new role immediately, and he is looking forward to the challenge.

“I love women,” he stated via his parole officer.

“I really love them, especially young ones, so when Scotty asked me to be his Minister for Women, I said yes straight away. Plus, I don’t do much these days since I’m stuck in prison. I’m also proud to be the first Cabinet Minister to carry out my duties from inside prison.”

Wells will work alongside a special group formed in response to recent allegations of sexual assault and bullying of women in parliament house. The group contains politicians such as Christian Porter, Barnaby Joyce, Peter Dutton, Alan Tudge and George Christensen, and will report directly to Morrison – except when the prime minister needs to claim plausible deniability.

Image: Fairfax Media

Scott Morrison recruits Jack de Belin.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison has appointed rugby league player Jack de Belin as the federal Minister for Women due to de Belin’s dedication to the rights of women. The appointment ensures that the Liberal National Party will always contain one male member who is under investigation for sexual assault.

Morrison persuaded de Belin to join the coalition while they were both posing for photos at the beach.

“How good is Jack de Belin,” Morrison gloated while announcing the appointment.

“You know I love my footy, and I love Jack, even though he never played for the Sharkies,” he smirked.

“But no, in all seriousness, I’m very excited to announce Mr de Belin as the new Minister for Women because he is a great role model for young Australian men, who has a strong empathy for women. For that reason, I approached him while we were posing at the beach and asked him to join us in Canberra.”

“Even more importantly, Jack has a baby daughter, so every time one of our staff is accused of rape, Jack can think of his daughter, just like I do.”

De Belin will begin his new role immediately and his first task will be to recount his trip to a Wollongong nightclub in 2018.

“We’re look forward to hearing Jack explain how he left his heavily pregnant partner at home with his unborn child on the night of question, then took a 19-year-old girl back to an apartment with his male friend, even after that young women reminded him that he had a girlfriend.”

“We’re also seeking advice from Jack’s legal team on how to make a rape trial drag on for so long without reaching a verdict – so long that people start to forget that it ever happened.”

The St George-Illawarra and NSW Origin player was equally excited about the new role.

“I love women,” he stated.

“I really love them – especially young women, I love them all, so when Scotty asked me to be his Minister for Women, I said yes straight away. Plus, all I do is train these days since I can’t actually play NRL – so at least it’s one way to pass the time.”

De Belin will work alongside a special group formed in response to recent allegations of sexual assault and bullying of women in parliament house. The group contains politicians such as Christian Porter, Barnaby Joyce, Peter Dutton, Alan Tudge and George Christensen, and will report directly to Morrison – except when the prime minister needs to claim plausible deniability.

Image: http://www.gettyimages.com.au

The problem with Harry Styles and the Vogue cover.

The Vogue magazine cover featuring Harry Styles is problematic. The decision to dress the famous singer in female attire has and saturated the mass media with supportive and critical gender-based commentary, and this is a problem.

Placing a man in a dress on the front cover of a mainstream fashion magazine is a distraction. It is a distraction from more important gender issues facing the modern world.

There are real discussions to be had, and real action to be taken, in the realm of gender inequality. A man wearing a dress is not one of those. If a man wants to wear a dress, let him wear a dress, it’s not a big deal.

Violence against women, workplace harassment, the gender pay gap, gender discrimination and domestic violence are all important issues.

Violence against women continues throughout the world. Women continue to be victims of violence at the hands of men, and this issue needs to be discussed and dealt with. The physical and emotional powerlessness of women in so many contexts needs to be discussed and acted upon so that women throughout the world can live without suffering violence.

If there is one advantage of the Vogue cover, it is the potential to challenge the toxic masculinity which fuels a lot of the violence against women.

The world should be discussing measures to end violence against women, not discussing Harry Styles in a dress.

Workplace harassment is a reality for many women throughout the world. In so many workplaces, women’s voices are not heard. They suffer power imbalances and the men who hold that power exploit it to harass women physically, mentally and emotionally. This continues to happen in every nation and can only be addressed when it is part of a daily discussion, and daily action.

Women are still excluded from more senior and more lucrative professional positions on the basis of gender. Women are still being excluded from the decision making cliques within workplaces, even though all of the decisions made impact upon them.

The world should be talking about ending workplace harassment, not Harry Styles in a dress.

Somehow, the gender pay gap still exists. In 2020, women are often paid less for doing exactly the same job as men, or earn less because the occupations in which they are more likely to work (health, education, community service…) earn far less than occupations dominated by men.

One of the most vulnerable groups in society is older women, who are not able to save as much money during their lowly-paid careers and find themselves in financial hardship later in life – but not many people talk about this.

It is said that pornography is the only occupation in which women earn more than men. Thus, the only occupation which collectively advantages women is an industry which objectifies women.

We should be discussing how it is possible to pay women less than men, and not the fact that Harry Styles wore a dress.

Underlying the gender pay gap, sexual and physical violence against women, and workplace harassment, is gender discrimination. Within society, within relationships and families, within the media and within other institutions such as religion and the legal system, women are still discriminated against.

Institutional and entrenched gender discrimination should be at the forefront of discussions in the media and society, not the fact that Harry Styles wore a dress.

Publicity…

It’s important to remember that the Vogue cover has generated an enormous amount of publicity. Whether opposing or supporting the cover photo, people are talking about Vogue (as is this article). Publicity was always going to accompany the first ever Vogue cover featuring a man, but the comments have all centred on his wardrobe choice.

Who decided to put the pop star in a dress? Did Styles decide? If so, good luck to him. Did Vogue decide? It is a fashion magazine compiled by fashion experts, so perhaps it was a stylistic decision. Perhaps a designer or fashionista decided that Styles looks good in a dress – don’t forget that fashion is entirely superficial and based on appearance, and aesthetics had to have been a major consideration when arranging the clothing for the photo shoot.

It’s all good publicity for Styles, for Vogue and the designer. In an era of global financial hardship and falling magazine sales, the publicity generated by this cover is extremely valuable. The internet is also flooded with merchandise featuring the famous image.

The end of masculinity.

Scores of men rushed to social media to decry the end of traditional masculinity, but did Styles ever conform to stereotypes of traditional masculinity?

Harry Styles put on a dress. Someone took his photo, and it appeared on the cover of a magazine. It’s not a big deal. Gender discrimination which underscores violence against women, workplace harassment and the gender pay gap are all big deals. This is what we should be talking about.

And don’t forget, this debate surrounds a magazine cover featuring…a man.

Image: Vogue, Tyler Mitchell