Of red shirts and misogynists

SHANNON GILLIES comments on public utterances by the respective Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand


Julia Gillard and John KeyDIFFERENCES between Australia and New Zealand now include the ability and eloquence of each nation’s leader to inspire a nation and the world through speech.

Last month, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard drew the world’s attention to the sexism of Conservative leader Tony Abbott in a speech that saw Abbott lose a smirk and slink back in his chair while a woman, of all people, slew him over his remarks about the prime minister, sexism and misogyny.

Gillard was awarded international support and Australia should be proud.

A three hour commercial plane flight away is New Zealand.

Currently led by someone who has described a red shirt a radio host wore as ‘gay’.

This is a grown man, elected to represent New Zealand to the world.

This must be why we are the economic powerhouse that we are and in no way does the rest of the Asia Pacific Region think New Zealand is a joke.

New Zealand is in the process of okaying gay marriage into law with Prime Minister John Key’s backing, hopefully he is talking about the group that identify as homosexual and not just red shirt owners.

Though Gillard voted against gay marriage, it could be argued that she holds onto a very delicate lead in Australia and needling the conservative branches of independent MPs and her own Labour Party would lead to an early election she might not win.

PM Key has drawn criticism from Lord of the Rings actor and New Zealand advocate Sir Ian McKellen for his comment.

On McKellen’s blog, the actor says that Key should be careful. McKellen is doing a tour around UK schools “attacking homophobia” .

“Careless talk damages lives.”

The New Zealand Herald broadcast a press video where a journalist asked Key if he thinks gay marriage is weird.

Key responded no despite earlier in the briefing stating that gay meant weird.

Key apologised and said that ‘gay’ is a term used by his kids and that it is a slang term in the Oxford Dictionary.

Key has not enjoyed the same support as Gillard.

No speech he has delivered has achieved what his Australian counterpart has on sexism.

The word gay has changed its meaning over time but so has the word bugger and coconut.

Can we expect Key to use these words if his children adopt them into their vocabulary?