Australian politics

Sep 13, 2013

When you hate on Mirabella, you’re one step from the fruit bowl

It's become the hobby du jour in Leftie ghettoes to hate on Sophie Mirabella as she struggles to hold her seat. Mirabella's crime? She is apparently annoying and unlikeable. Let's stop and think about that.

Cathy Alexander

Freelance journalist and PhD candidate in politics at the University of Melbourne

Liberal frontbencher Sophie Mirabella’s struggle to hold her seat at the federal election has spawned a cult of vitriol from many on the Left. It’s the hobby du jour in inner-city Melbourne to hate on Mirabella, and the prime target is her personality. A quick read of social media left me thinking: “imagine if she got terminal cancer. These people would be over the moon.”

Mirabella’s crime? She is, apparently, annoying and a bad person. She is a terrible woman. She did not help Simon Sheikh when he fainted on TV. And no — there’s not necessarily a great deal more to it than that.

Mirabella’s failure — the result is not final, but she may well lose her Victorian seat of Indi to charismatic independent Cathy McGowan on preferences — has been seized upon by the Left as a redemptive foil to all that’s gone wrong for Labor over the past six years. And there’s a lot. After six troubled years of ALP government, most of it plagued by leadership instability, capped off by a resounding election defeat, those sympathetic to the Left don’t have much to celebrate. Mirabella’s defeat, along with Adam Bandt’s win in the seat of Melbourne, is it. That’s two seats out of 226. It makes sense that lefties are crowing about Mirabella. There’s so little else to crow about.

For that crowing to take the form it has — intense dislike of someone’s personality — is demeaning, to Mirabella and to the haters.

Ironically, it’s similar behaviour to that displayed by people on the Right who so hated former prime minister Julia Gillard. Gillard was, in the eyes of some critics, an awful and annoying woman. She deserved to be hated. She had no children, a hairdresser boyfriend, and her fruit bowl was empty. Kick her out! Burn the witch!

So here’s a tip. If you railed against the treatment of Gillard, stop and think before you do the same thing to Mirabella.

Clearly Mirabella is not a popular MP, despite having quite a senior role as the opposition’s spokeswoman for Innovation, Industry and Science. While the Coalition nationally received a favourable 3.5% swing on the two-party-preferred, Mirabella’s vote went backwards by 7%. Is she loses Indi, it will be one of only two lower-house seats the Coalition lost in the election (the other being Fairfax, which looks likely to fall from the LNP to Clive Palmer). Mirabella was not seen as a strong local member. She is indeed towards the Right of her party (although if you think she was actually pushing the Coalition towards the right, you’re on the wrong track. You should be hating on others). And there is a bad smell around a relationship she had with an older man, Colin Howard — Mirabella ended up in dispute with Howard’s adult children over his estate. By all means, criticise her for all this. It’s fair game.

Criticise her policy statements. Fact check her arguments. Dispute her speeches. Attack the policies which she had carriage of as a frontbencher.

But for those who are lazily hating on her because of her personality, beware. You’re turning politics into a nasty, spiteful place where the latest witch is selected by Twitter and thrown onto the pyre.

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59 thoughts on “When you hate on Mirabella, you’re one step from the fruit bowl

  1. David Howard


    The personality is nothing but a reflection of ones core, or some would use the word soul. When our receptors sense the core dwells on the dark side of the moon for an extended period, one can not help but criticise the personality. There is no such thing as perfection, it is all a question of balance. Hate is a misunderstand word. It is human nature to rail against the darkness within a soul. I do not label such criticism as deriving from hate but a plea to dwell longer in the light. The phases of the moon are natures design but our spiritual journey within those phases is within ours.

    “A quick read of social media left me thinking: “imagine if she got terminal cancer. These people would be over the moon.”” (forgive my grammer)

    Your imagination is born from an unhealthy place. Terminal cancer is not the answer a spiritual journey is the key. Those that you seek to brand with your imagination have many many voices and each of them possesses their own imagination.

    Can it not be that such voices rejoice in the slogan “Tony Windsor Lives”?

  2. Hamis Hill

    Fear and hate are the mythical companions of the god of war (and of conservatives?)
    So what do those who hate the person in question fear so much about her?
    The fear is more revealing than the hate.
    What did the conservatives in either of the major parties fear so much about Julia Gillard for example?

  3. phyllis stein

    Apples and oranges. And where was all this outrage when Julia Gillard was being mocked, abused, vilified and slandered for over three years. I note with some amusement that “Helen Razer’s” intemperate comment was posted at 1 minute to midnight. It’s possibly the perfect parody post. If it really is HR, then, oh dear.

  4. Rumplestiltskin

    Unfortunately the style has been set.
    The policy of the right in opposition – the ONLY policy – was relentless character assassination, ridicule and meaningless sloganeering.
    Its obvious success as a political strategy means it is now the style du jour. You don’t get to play this way for four ugly years and then call ‘bar’ when you’re ‘it’.
    The apparent glee over Mirabella’s failure isn’t actually about her failing – which will soon be forgotten – it’s in case she wins, whereby the current wisdom decrees putting the boot in early and often, until the target is rendered impotent on serious issues because of the barrage of mean and ridiculous statements in accumulation.
    Welcome to the brave new world of Mr Abbott. As you sew…

  5. westral

    I agree that personality politics is self-defeating and can not help but observe that is what has happened to Sophie – it seems that her own personality has come back to haunt her.

  6. nathan rogers

    When did judging someone on the content of their character become socially unacceptable? It’s all down to facts. Julia is no Mirabella and Mirabella is no Hitler. Your claim that the majority of people will be wishing terminal cancer on her is sensationalist and hypocritical considering your dislike of character judgement.

  7. Edward James

    Why would you try to brand people who “don’t like” Mirabella as lefties? I am already focused on getting effective representation from the LNP. How Sophie fares in the final ballot count is not a priority for me. I am more interested in hearing about the fact that the business use of Prime Ministers car in 2007 by her “hubby” is now finally being reported in the Australian. I expect more to come on the use of that car because there are speeding tickets involved. Julia Gillard with her earlier work experience, could be expected to know the car was not insured for business use. What an amazing risk to take. No wonder it took years to get at the truth. Edward James

  8. Liamj

    Its notable that yet another ‘poor Sophie’ article doesn’t quote those supposedly doing the hating – evidence or it didn’t happen. I’ve met plenty of voters glad that SM might be packed back to Toorak (i live in neighbouring electorate of Murray), but read nothing hateful enough to make any page of The Telegraph. I sorta sympathise with Razer and Alexander tho, when the biggest boss in your industry has a fetish for brownshirts, its pragmatic to revise your wardrobe.

  9. Paddlefoot

    I dispute her opinions and, although I get the witches “burn one, burn them all” view, I don’t think I’d get a gracious audience. Her legal history smacks of Gina Flinthart, whose opinions I also dispute. Sisters doin’ it for themselves. Oh and Labor did save us from the GFC by spending up .. I recall a lazy $1000 spent immediately on plasma. Seemed to work OK.

  10. geomac62

    I think the voters of Indi have registered their displeasure with Sophie . They have not switched to Labor but to an independent who could claim to be a conservative . Clearly Mirabella must have done a lot to put the electorate off side .
    Its a long bow to compare Julia being bagged for red hair , fruit bowl and her partner to the Mirabella schadenfreude for nasty remarks and dodgy will of aged ex lover .

  11. Professor Tournesol

    I was sitting in a cafe in Wangaratta today. 3 adjacent tables were talking about the Indi result. The ages of the people in the cafe ranged from 20s up to 60s and they all said the same thing, they were all pleased that she was likely gone, she was a poor local member and they hoped now that their seat would not be ignored by either major party. They weren’t ‘lefties’. It may be suddenly fashionable for Crikey journos to attack ‘the left’, but this opinion of Mirabella is far from confined to the left so what noble standards are you holding them to?

  12. mrsynik

    I disagree with this article. If you can dish out vitriol you have be prepared to take it. Her chickens have now come home to roost.

  13. rhwombat

    Leave Sophie ALOOOOOONE!

  14. Tim nash

    Haters gunna hate,

  15. Rubio Diego

    There mustn’t be much to write about these days. It’s too late to expect any sympathy for Sophie, she’s burned too many bridges, been nasty to too many people and generally annoys the living daylights out of most people including her constituents. What’s to like?

  16. john davies

    What an astonishingly ill informed article. No more than didn’t help Simon Sheikh?
    What about not attending for the “apology”, general obnoxious behaviour in Parliament, including to members of her own party who dared to question Howard’s treatment of asylum seekers, participation in the most extreme anti Gillard rallies and numerous reports of rude and patronising behaviour towards her constituents. There is more, but I won’t go on.
    A nasty person, regardless of gender, and one who antagonised too many of her constituents.

  17. macca

    I am not a leftie!!

  18. Rage Reset

    Sophie was a mean piece of work and people are glad to see the back of her – so what? This, along with the idiotic piece about the pun headline “Ciao, (Mira)bella” are well below the standards I expect (and pay for) of Crikey.

    It’s hilarious to see that this shadenfraude from a few Labor supporters has got under the skin of whoever wrote this article, though! LOLOLOL etc..

  19. Julia

    Gee, Cathy. “After six troubled years of ALP government” — you finger point at those who are manipulated into believing something regardless of facts simply because it is said enough times it becomes a truism for them. Pfftt.

  20. ozobken

    We’re not allowed to dislike the person that questions whether any Victorian children were ever “truly stolen”?

  21. jsladden

    Helen Razer has often struck me as being contrarian as a knee-jerk reaction, perhaps Cathy Alexander is also susceptible to this bias? Evidence has been readily provided which supports the argument that Sophie Mirabella is an ethically reprehensible person and thus deserving of little respect. This evidence has apparently been ignored by both dissenters.

  22. Brendan Jones

    Whatever you think of her conservative politics, Mirabella was a very effective shadow minister. She acted against bullying, corruption and alleged fraud in the CSIRO which Labor had dropped the ball on. If it wasn’t for her pressure, I doubt there would have ever been an inquiry. And when it emerged that the inquiry was deeply flawed, she called it out.

    I think it’s important to drop the “left” and “right” label and take each issue by itself, on its own merits. My politics are left-leaning, but I recognise she was a very effective shadow minister. Ask Victims of CSIRO:

    BTW This is interesting:

  23. Sharkie

    And I just found her unlikeable because her entire political career was about being an ideological warrior rather than someone who developed sensible policy.
    Seriously, can anyone recall even one instant where Mirrabella put away her sword and came up with a policy position that was rational and do-able.
    Good riddance to intellectual lightweight who gave the country and her constituents absolutely nothing of substance. She is the last thing parliament needs. But I suppose I’m a hater.
    PS I also hated Mirrabella’s last ditched dog whistle campaign saying “Independents can’t stop the boats” to save her job. Genuinely pathetic.

  24. rowboat

    Cathy and Helen, articles that rail against some of the trollish ‘great unwashed’ of social media are getting boring and reek of media snobbery.

    That’s probably why you are pissing off some people when you pen these articles that bash a social media strawman.

    Yes, I’ll go on disliking SM for her personal life as well as her general tone and behaviour in the public sphere.

  25. Jean

    Saw Sophie M on TV a few times, found her quite entertaining.

    You want annoying and unlikeable? Try the fat guy with the beard on Sky News

  26. robynfrombrisbane

    How offensive to lecture readers based on your lazy presumption that we do not have good reason to dislike this extremely unlikeable politician. Your bias jumps out with your statement that people dislike her simply because she is an annoying and bad person, ie “And no — there’s not necessarily a great deal more to it than that”. As other commentators have pointed out there is a great deal more to it than that – her attitude to the Stolen Generation, her antagonistic attitude to asylum seekers etc.etc. And then you go on to characterise those who are pleased she has not been re elected as lefties crowing because there is not much else to crow about. Again, you ignore the substantial reasons why there was such an unusual grassroots revolt against the sitting member in Indi. I am trialling Crikey at the moment and if the Deputy Editor writes such a poor standard of journalism – forget it. This article would fail a ‘clear thinking’ assignment in year 10 English. You make rash assumptions, you are offensive, you do not understand your readership, you are clearly partisan and you don’t check your facts. You seem to want to cheer on the Conservative win by referring to the ‘favourable swing of 3.5% tpp’. Favourable? The primary swing against Labor was 4.3% compared to a 1.4% swing to the Liberal Party – with the remaining 2.9% going to other parties. One could conclude that although people wanted a change they were not all that attracted to Abbott and his colleagues who are every bit as right wing as Mirabella. And by the way, let’s all shout in joy. Antony Green has just ‘given’ Indi to the Independent.

  27. Andybob

    Alright Cathy, you sit next to her, she’s your friend now.

  28. tonysee

    Seems to me that you are using classic ‘straw man’ arguments to characterise those who’ve expressed their views of SM. It’s that kind of argumentation that is the problem.

    I first saw SM at a meeting where she was speaking at a debate about the republic. I found her patronising, belittling, simplistic and bullying. So much so that the substance of her argument was lost.

    Seems to me she’s dying by the sword she lived by.

  29. Griffiths Karen

    “The cult of vitriol” is not just from the left!

  30. bcsmelb

    I suggest the author reads Corinne Grants article in Hoopla or actually speak to the locals before you comment further.

  31. Persia

    When you “hate on Mirabella”, you are talking like an American. In Oz we merely “hate Mirabella”.

  32. Vicki Kyriakakis

    No offence, but the Liberal Party (Mirabella among them) fostered the most toxic, negative, hatred-focused debate while they were in Opposition. Their actions were designed to demean and humiliate. Their supporters used every opportunity to throw hateful bile and misogynistic hatred at our PM. They cared nothing for the Office of PM. As they sowed, so they shall reap. It really is pointless asking people on one side of politics to now show more respect than they were afforded when the shoe was on the other foot. I am flummoxed by all the commentators now coming out demanding respect for the Office of PM and the government. Where was their voice when the right-wing demeaned the entire national debate with their toxic and misogynistic hatred?

  33. bluepoppy

    How is a grass roots movement that supports an Independent in the seat of Indi a campaign targeted specifically against Sophie Mirabella? The Independent concerned is more closely aligned to the Liberal Party than to the Left and has personally behaved with dignity.

    SM may be of poor character, I guess this would only be known by those who have met her. There are many in politics who might fit this bill, but if the electorate feels the current member no longer properly represents their interests then democracy has spoken.

    However, while criticism or praise of policies is most important, personality and character is is not irrelevant. Personality and character (the way you treat others) is important for a politician. It goes to their ability, compassion, empathy and motivations in representing their electorates.

    The author makes a good point about vitriole. There is no need for nastiness at any time.

  34. Cher McGrath

    Well, Cathy Alexander; I take your point about the danger of hating a person for their personality – there be dragons! But it could well be a case of: “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”. People may be “hating on” (what the hell sort of grammar is that, by the way?) Mirabella because of what they’ve seen on Q&A; or they may be despising a woman that Tony Windsor said should take the ‘Nasty prize’ for parliamentarians; [one who’s been seen to be not compassionate – eg: Sorry day, tobacco et al, & not supporting human rights issues]. So would it be ok to think that a person’s conduct in parliament & public usually reflects their personality? I wonder.
    People on the right made stupid remarks about Gillard; but comments on the lack of children/fruit/husband didn’t actually reflect badly on her personally, & didn’t demonstrate that she was an unsavoury personality.
    It’s the lowest common denominator – there’ll always be some who can’t help themselves on ‘social media’.
    PS: I hate/despise S Mirabella too, in a kind of political/personal way. I’ve never met her, & I live in a southern suburb of Adelaide, surrounded by voters of all stripes. Am I part of the ‘Leftie-Ghetto’ too?
    PPS: And it’s a bit disturbing that you decide that these commentators would be ‘over the moon’ if Mirabella contracted cancer…..

  35. Michael Fink

    Corinne Grant – who comes from Indi – wrote a reasoned piece about why Mirabella attracts such vitriol on The Hoopla. It’s worth a read.

  36. cnewt27

    Hating on? I don’t believe I’ve ever heard this form of words. Is this part of Crikey’s move to the right? Talk of “haters” and leftist ghettoes reminds me of, say, any issue of the Australian so I’m puzzled why I need to pay a subscription for this stuff.Maybe Ms Alexander is angling for a gig at the Oz. I don’t live in a left ghetto in Melbourne so I guess the writer of “hating on” isn’t talking to me. I know little about Ms Mirabella from up here in Palmerland, but the stuff about her former partner’s will (oddly unmentioned by Ms Alexander)was enough for me. Hate? Hardly. I guess I could invent some social media quotes but I lack the training of a journalist. All in all a shabby piece that is part of making me feel I don’t need to renew my subscription. I guess this colours me “hating on” Ms Alexander’s piece.

  37. Blue Robbins

    Why does this mass called ‘the Left’ keep being blamed for hating on Mirabella? It seems she didn’t have many fans on the right either, and, most crucially, dropped the ball on local issues.
    Certainly locally, it seems the Independent campaign focused precisely on the issues the writer outlined in the second last paragraph.
    But is it really so wrong for we punters to be averse to politicians based on their public demeanour? Political parties spend a shed load of money and employ an army of strategists to present their candidates as being approachable, receptive and effective. To ‘humanise’ them. So if a candidate comes across as abrasive, ineffective and hostile, is it the fault of the meanies on the left that people baulk at him/her?

  38. Paul Aviator

    Cathy Alexander and Helen Razor make valid points about the hate campaign being conducted by the indigocathy leaders. I’ve been watching the site since the election and whenever I posted a comment condemning the hate I invariably received a crude response. My criticism of the campaign is that their leadership did nothing to stop the vitriol. In fact it is clear that much of the incitement is being fed by McGowen’s family and the core team. My concern is that many of the local people posting the hate are young students and parents who now believe that hate is a valid form of criticism. My concerns have centred round how this validation of their behaviour will impact on their futures. How would they treat a work colleague or an employer they didn’t like? Would they conduct a hate campaign to get their way in a dispute? How would they treat other people on local committees who disagreed with their point of view? What would they do to a business competitor?
    At no time have I defended Mirrabella, only the methods used to destroy her. I’ve never seen her on QandA or met her so I don’t believe I can make an argument for or against her. I can however condemn the vitriol, videos and photos the McGowan team post continuously with the sole purpose of ridicule and hatred. To me they seem to be replacing Mirrabella with someone who represents everything they detest about her.
    If Mirrabella hasn’t served her electorate well then by all means run another candidate, but show some leadership and do it with dignity and a modicum of ethics.
    If you investigate who is actually behind this campaign it makes an interesting read and you could be forgiven for not believing that they have the overwhelming support of the electorate. The count supports this view. To me this is an example of a small group of people manipulating votes to achieve the result they want.
    Well done to you both for condemning hate for hate’s sake. I don’t pretend that because I agree with you that I am better than the indigocathy group. I’m just an observer of human behaviour. Outcomes achieved through public hate and vitriole don’t usually result in a happy ending. I think Julia Gillard’s and Kevin Rudd’s demise are perfect examples of this. Although JG, like CM did not say much publicly about Rudd, her team and Rudd’s team, like MGowen’s are a different matter altogether. Unfortunately the people of Indi will have to live with the result just as all Australians now live with the consequences of the hate between JG and KR.

  39. Partridge Matthew

    So let me get this right?

    We have haters, hating on the haters, because they hate the type of hating they’re doing to the other haters.

    Hate is a strong word – seems like it’s only used in this article in order to pigeonhole a wide and diverse group of people (who, inconveniently it seems, have numerous reasons to take an interest in the Indi result). This is something I think our author recognises, given the necessity of the straw men she had to erect at the beginning of her piece (to justify its existence), the overreliance on guilt by association, and the concession offered the reader towards the end (that there apparently ARE legitimate reasons to dislike Sophie Mirabella).

    Then again… if it prompts one to justify, or reconsider, one’s position, then…

  40. Michael Fink

    “A quick read of social media left me thinking: “imagine if she got terminal cancer. These people would be over the moon.””

    Did you really think this Cathy? Because if so you’ve completely misread the mood.

    Many of us are rapt because a politician who clearly placed her own political progress miles ahead of any other consideration, and on numerous occasions revealed a very nasty streak, has (likely) lost the very thing she clearly took for granted. Her seat.

    I doubt many of us wish her dead, but the Parliament (and the Liberal party) is better for her not being there.

    If we she lives a long, contented life but we never have to hear of or from her again I for one would be a very man man.

  41. Aidan Stanger

    I doubt it – Judging by her comment here, Ms Razer doesn’t even appear to have read those 500 comments to her Guardian piece, as many of them explain quite clearly why the hatred is based on things far more substantial than personality or gender.

  42. Bobalot

    Sophie Mirabella hated and on many occasions openly abused her political opponents on a personal level.

    Who are you are to lecture the rest of us should respond to her demise?

  43. lady day

    So let me get this straight…It’s fine to condemn all inner Melbourne lefties as hating someone simply because everybody else does (because clearly, anyone from Melbourne who dislikes Mirabella does so out of complete ignorance of her thoughts, never having been exposed to her until now…Oh, wait – )but to take a considered view of the woman’s public statements and actions and various articles that have been written about her history and arrive at a point where I am glad she is potentially no longer in a position to influence the course of the country’s development, and to express that gladness, is not fine? I’m so pleased you left hypocrisy at the door when you sat down to write this piece.

  44. ladystardust64

    Swan Messiah I could not have said it better myself. It’s important to remember that Mirabella is not an ordinary citizen, she is an elected representative of our federal government. A position which demands at least a modicum of basic humanity and acceptance of those who don’t agree with her. She has consistently failed to conduct herself with any semblance of dignity or respect and I am thrilled to bits that the collective voice of the people is finally rejecting her form of politics.

  45. Tyler T

    Lazy article, Gillard was almost without exception described as being warm and personable on a personal basis. Whilst she was often described as wooden etc in her presentation you would not have found many labor people who’d criticise her personally.

    The contrast with Sophie Mirabella almost goes without saying, if you can find more than half a dozen liberals who will mourn her potential loss i’d be amazed.

    This is the laziest type of confected moral outrage. Wasting time bagging people who are, god forbid, excited at the fact an unpopular mp on the winning side of an election was actually or very nearly thrown out of office with a massive swing against the tide of the broader election. It’s a vindication of all of the cliches about local issues/candidates making a difference, people power overcoming financial disadvantages etc etc.

  46. robyn p

    What a fascinating article, and so full of vitriol. Heck Helen meeting you on a dark night would be the thing of nightmares. As I feel would be meeting Sophie. Note I use simple given names here, mostly as a mark of disrespect. This was a tactic introduced by the lessen a person, simply use this first name.”Don’t give them the dignity of a surname”. Tony will learn this lesson, as will LNP voters. The nasty hate geanie they unleashed over the past 3 years, with the Juliar, and Ditch the Witch/Bitch comments and posters that were accepted and embraced by the right, will not be put back in it’s bottle. Glass jar Helen? Seems there’s lots of voter folk out there who can give it, but they can’t take it.

  47. arnold ziffel

    I wonder whether either Ms Alexander or Ms Razer actually knows anything about Sophie Mirabella.

  48. Marian Smedley

    Suggest you read Corinne Grant’s article on the Hoopla. Mirabella was not a good local member and did not listen to her constituents. MPs are supposed to serve their local community, not be rude, arrogant and only concerned about their career. Her gender has nothing to do with it.

  49. mouse

    Mirabella has said and done things which suggest she’s nasty and small minded, but without the charisma to carry it off.
    What’s scary is that someone arguably nasty and small minded was never asked to moderate her stance. Maybe she was, and she refused. Or maybe she was encouraged to stand firm. Either way, her honest bigotry says little for the whole party.
    You don’t need a particular political leaning to think she’s better off Tony’s front bench than on.

  50. Helen Razer

    Cathy. Honey. Don’t you know it is okay to hate Mirabella because she is hate-able? Hate because hate. Apparently.
    I was writing a piece almost exactly the same as yours over the Guardian at the same time and 500 comments and some hate mail and a reprimand from Malcolm Fraser later, let me tell you: don’t spoil the hate wank.
    Mirabella is the petroleum jelly by the bed of the reclining left. Don’t ruin this sexy leisure-hate by mentioning that policy is more important than politician.
    McGowan, apparently, is a symbol of hope. And damn, but the leisure-left loves its symbols.
    Now. I am going to go and take a makeup-free selfie of myself and McGowan to prove how much I care about refugees!!!!!!!

    Effing idiots.

    Good piece, doll. I only wish you’d copped more crap for it to take some of the stink off my back.

  51. Cathy Alexander

    But Paul, what if you are someone else’s idea of an unpleasant person?

  52. Greg Louis:

    I do not dispute what you are trying to say here, and note I live in the the seat of Indi, and we have talked about this a lot during the campaign, on of the number one reason for people putting Sophie last was people said “she is rude” or “she turned up to a function several months ago and ignored everyone”. You might be the best person on policy in the world, but if you treat people with contempt, eventually if offered a decent alternative they will go for it.
    In no previous election campaign have I heard people talk about the candidates or their options so much. Overwhelmingly people in Indi wanted a Coalition government.
    Tony Abbott has said “We will be an adult government – and as importantly we will treat the Australian people like adults.” I actually believe this to be a very positive statement. Well we look forward to Cathy McGowen being an adult member, who treats people in Indi as adults. If a person has an abrasive personality that upsets people, it should not matter if they are from the left or right, people have a right to choose someone else. Voters usually want to vote for their favourite party, but will change their vote for all sorts of reasons. that again is their right.

  53. morphy richards toaster

    I love the way my comment is censored out simply because I quoted a Liberal insider’s comments about her. PC censorship at its finest , for an extremely PC article.

  54. Paul

    You’re comparing attitudes towards Gillard with attitudes towards Mirabella?

    Julia Gillard is not the ALP’s Sophie Mirabella. Belinda Neal was the ALP’s Sophie Mirabella.

    There’s nothing wrong with criticising someone for their personality. Unpleasant people should be ostracised out of our society, and should definitely not be in parliament.

  55. Swan Messiah

    Sophie Mirabella, a vile, entitled, arrogant sycophant, whose blatant ignorance and caustic debate, stifles any reasonable discourse on any given issue she takes part in. A troglodyte of the highest order, not because she’s a woman, but because she’s genuinely horrible. Why should her slow, agonising and public political death not spawn a “cult of vitriol” from the “Leftist ghettoes”? Mirabella is herself a member of this “cult of vitriol” you speak of, and I for one will unapologetically bathe in this rich lather of schadenfreude if indeed she is beaten. It is truly outrageous that you would accuse us haters of “turning politics into a nasty, spiteful place”. Mirabella has done this as much as any other Tory head kicker, including Pyne, Brandis, Abetz and indeed, Tony Abbott himself. All men for whom I would take similar joy upon their embarrassing, public downfall.

    We are not simply “lazily hating on her because of her personality” as you so lazily suggest. We hate on her for walking out on the apology to the Stolen Generation, for her denial of the existence of the Stolen Generation. We hate on her for her litigious nature that prevents the full story of her relationship with Colin Howard coming to light, and for his bankrolling of her into Indi in the first place. Lets not even delve into her alleged treatment of Howard in his final years of dementia, and her subsequent treatment of his children. We hate on Sophie for her ignorance of her electorate, her support of big tobacco, her loathing of workers rights, her general lack of compassion and her entitled attitude towards power in her electorate and in Canberra.

    It just so happens that the nature of Mirabella’s personality backs up all these claims, and thus it is used against her. Sophie would love to think of herself as a similar master of polemic, but she simply attacks when she is unable to grasp any reasonable arguments from which to pursue any reasonable and constructive political discourse. A nasty piece of work indeed. Any claims of misogyny would be silenced, if Christopher Pyne or George Brandis were to similarly lose their seats.

  56. Circus Taximus

    Thank you for this Cathy.
    I’d been wondering whether I’d missed something about Mirabella. I’d forgotten about the Sheikh incident, but that doesn’t seem to justify the outpouring of such targeted – and irrelevant – abuse.

    Mobbing behaviour is so unattractive.
    All the more so among we progressive types.

  57. mook schanker

    A personality where she talks over others with endless ideological rantings is what I find really annoying. A few others that fit the same bill would be Pyne. Couldn’t give a toss that she’s a women….

  58. Myriam Robin

    Hear hear!

  59. morphy richards toaster

    1) People may not have liked Julia’s personality, but she was never caustic and imperious.
    2) Is it possible to separate personality from deeds? Who’s to say people don’t hate her for all her past misdeeds, which seems to be perfectly encapsulated by her nasty, presumptious demeanour.
    3) Why are you assuming all the “lefties” (really anybody who isn’t dyed in the wool conservative, actually) aren’t aware of said misdeeds?
    4) Even if you weren’t going to count the above against her, all you have in the end is a soulless apparatchik who moved to the country to be in politics. She’s achieved bugger all professionally, or in life in general. Just a top student who picked up her carpet bag and treated a bunch of country folk like trash.

    One Liberal colleague was quoted as referring to her as: “uppity psycho trash with an eating disorder.”

    It’s not just lefties – I think the author is in the minority of Australians who don’t welcome this outcome.

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