Continuing its slide into a national joke – a right-wing, better financed version of Green Left Weekly* – the Australian finished off its frankly embarrassing Thursday by publishing a humiliatingly stupid attack on Julia Gillard, suggesting that the Prime Minister is somehow an elitist because she doesn’t carry a handbag into events:

Julia enjoys the high life free of old bags

JULIA Gillard may have chosen a dress for her first visit to the Governor-General as the newly elected Prime Minister of Australia, instead of her traditionally efficient power pants suit.

But she continues to show her superwoman characteristics by walking into events sans handbag.

Well, I’ve never seen Tony Abbott, or any other leader or Minister, walk into an event carrying a briefcase, either. Presumably by that point they all have minders who hold their stuff for them when they’re on camera.

No, wait, stop applying logic! It’s obvious what Julia’s lack of a handbag over her shoulder at press conferences means: she’s an unwomanly harridan who Australian women should resent!

There is an air of royalty about her that assumes someone else is following along answering the phone, parking the car, taking notes and paying for whatever needs to be paid for…

Maybe life inside the hallowed halls of Parliament House allows for a different lifestyle from the rest of us, one in which handbags can be left safely in a secure office.

“Royalty”, “the high life”, “the hallowed halls”, “a different lifestyle”, “the rest of us”… WHISTLE. WHISTLE. WHISTLE. And that’s without repeating the writer’s disingenuous “while one does not want to do a Bill Heffernan here” before essentially having a go at Gillard for not having had children.

Yup, this is nothing more than an insidious attempt to prick irrational subconscious prejudices that don’t make an ounce of sense when held up to the light, in the hope that in the minds of a significant enough number of readers they’ll help damage the woman who defied News Ltd’s best efforts to install their preferred candidate for PM.

It’s fairly shameless, if somewhat ironic – a female journalist using subtle misogyny to inspire contempt for a female leader from other women.

I guess I should no longer expect any more from the formerly respected national broadsheet. Never heard of Glenda Korporaal before, but writing this one should hang around her neck like an albatross.

*To be fair, I’ve never actually read Green Left Weekly. It’s used on the internet as a punchline, but who knows – it might actually be a fair-minded progressive journal of record. In which case, I sincerely apologise for comparing it with The Australian.

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