‘The Rule of Law’ has been the catch phrase liberally used by Scott Morrison (Australian Prime Minister) and Christian Porter (Australian Attorney-General) in recent times. So why is this mantra being used so strongly and vehemently at this point in our history.
Well, as most Australians would know, an allegation of rape has been made against Christian Porter. The rape was said to have occurred over 30 years ago, the victim, a young woman, 16 years old at the time. Whilst she reported the rape allegation to the NSW police early last year, she committed suicide prior to any formal interview. The NSW police are not proceeding with a criminal case, due to her death, and the lack of evidence.
From the Prime Minister’s perspective, there is nothing more to be done. In response to questions about whether an inquiry will be held, and whether the Attorney-General should be stood down, Scott Morrison has emphasised ‘the rule of law’, and claims it is not his role to make any judgements or even inquiry, about a criminal matter. He and Christian Porter appear to be aghast that the media and women throughout Australia want more, claiming trial by media, and expressing concerns that a man’s life and career could be destroyed by an unproven allegation.
Interesting that they are invoking the ‘rule of law’ principle, given their many instances of flagrantly denying the rule of law, such as the Liberal Government’s robodebt scandal. ‘Rule of Law’ only applies to protecting their own interests apparently. But I digress.
“Australia was built on sexual violence, Aboriginal people have been at the frontier of this violence from day one and have long been fighting for accountability so we, once again, stand in support of women being safe, supported and receiving justice.” Meriki Onus.
“Aboriginal women have fought against gendered violence perpetrated by white men since day one. The allegations, cover up and silence on gendered violence in federal parliament is part of the same system of abuse and the same lack of legal and political consequences. Enough is Enough.”
Let’s be frank here. The legal system is patriarchal. It was developed by rich, white powerful men, not only to protect their own interests, but has been used for centuries to oppress and control the poor, the vulnerable – and women – always women.
Just take for example, the witch burning that occurred over centuries – the Churches and those in power, burned and slaughtered women – under the ‘rule of law’.
“As I wrote in Caliban and the Witch, the witch hunt instituted a regime of terror on all women, from which emerged a new model of femininity to which women had to conform to be socially accepted in the developing capitalist society: sexless, obedient, submissive, resigned to subordination to the male world, accepting as natural the confinement to a sphere of activities that in capitalism has been completely devalued.” (p. 32). Federici:Witches, Witch-Hunting and Women
Susan Hawthorne in her latest book: ‘Vortex: the Crisis of Patriarchy’ talks of controlling territory through fear and violence – where women are the territory to be controlled. Some examples that Hawthorne uses:
- Child sexual abuse
- Violations of lesbians in forced marriage, rape and torture,
- Outlawing of freedoms for women in reproductive health, safe abortions and contraceptives,
- Mutilation of young girls and women in order to control women’s sexuality,
- Punishing women who leave violent men.
- Honour killing
“Indeed, men’s definition of ‘appropriate’ behaviour for women are all about controlling sexuality” (P. 62)
Gerda Lerner in her excellent book “The Creation of Patriarchy’ talks about how the
“appropriation by men of women’s sexual and reproductivity capacity occurred prior to the formation of private property and class society” (p.8)
Female bodies are owned, controlled, monitored, used, abused and consumed by men. Under the ‘rule of law’. Women’s bodies are prostituted, bought and sold, legally for men’s pleasure. Under the ‘rule of law’ (About CATWA | Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Australia).
Women abused, raped and tortured for the production of pornography, for male sexual gratification. Under the ‘rule of law’. (See Gail Dines and her foundation to learn more about harms of pornography.)
Women’s bodies are used as baby making machines for the production of surrogate babies. Under the ‘rule of law’. (Stop Surrogacy Now)
Women worldwide are still struggling for reproductive rights. Under the ‘rule of law’.
At the recent International Women’s Day marches recently held across the world, women were attacked and vilified by others during the march. In Paris and Barcelona, women were attacked as they were protesting against prostitution and pornography. Anti-prostitution group’s protest attacked in Paris | Morning Star (morningstaronline.co.uk)
And similarly in Melbourne:
“Yesterday 13 or 14 feminist women joined the Melbourne IWD march, the march that used to be about promoting feminist concerns. Here’s an account by one of those women.
“We got circled.
Then we got attacked. They tried to intimidate us and wreck our signs. They tried to block xx in her wheelchair!
Then we had the cops protecting us.
Then the Organisers removes us from the group. Then the cops moved us on.
There were only 13? of us yet we made our presence known. At times we were the focus of the entire march .. not the patriarchy .. not the rapists or even politicians .. a small group of women.” (1) IWD Brisbane/Meanjin | Facebook
Religion and the Rule of Law
“…religion is foundational to the ideology of women’s inferiority in all patriarchal systems.”
(Sheila Jeffries:Man’s Dominion. Citing El Saadawi, 2007 p. 5)
Religion is patriarchal. Since the destruction of the worshipping of Goddesses, and the development of monotheism, where a male god presides in Christianity, Islam and Judaism, religion has played a major and seminal role in maintaining patriarchy. In conjunction with the State, whether it be feudal lords and Christianity, conducting massacres of thousands of women over thousands of years, under the guise of witchcraft, or current, so-called democratic governments working in conjunction with religion to produce laws which inhibit women’s rights, and ensure that women remain oppressed and under male control, patriarchy continues to oppress women.
And this is very obvious in the men who govern us. Whether it be Tony Abbott and John Howard claiming friendship with George Pell during and after his trial and conviction for child sexual abuse, or Scott Morrison and his membership of the fundamentalist, evangelical Hillsong Church. And who doesn’t remember Tony Abbott standing under this sign.
One cannot be surprised then when I express concerns that the majority of our social services, and particularly those servicing women, such as domestic violence programmes and shelters, have been outsourced to religious organisations
“What’s important to remember is that only about 10 per cent of rapes are reported. Of those, while it is very difficult to ascertain exact numbers in different jurisdictions, about 5 per cent are found to be false (a Victorian study found 2 per cent were). It’s a tiny fraction of the whole, comparable to other crimes.
The most important questions are why 90 per cent don’t report, and why so few go to jail. Of those reported, only about 7 per cent result in convictions. So 7 per cent of 10 per cent. Ponder that stat when you think about the rule of law.” (Julie Baird, SMH, March 6, 2021)
Malcolm Turnbull during his term as Prime Minister of Australia talked of how ‘real men don’t hit women’.
Well Mr. Turnbull was wrong.
It is real men – real, powerful, rich men who have built Australia on its ‘rule of law’ to oppress, kill and decimate our Indigenous people, who routinely raped Aboriginal women, who stole their children. It is real men who rape, abuse and oppress women. And their mates, like Scott Morrison and his kind, who continue to protect the ‘real men’ who rape and murder.