Shame on Deb Frecklington

30/12/2019

Queensland LNP Leader, Deb Frecklington, has been rightfully under fire the past few days for her wretched comments about QLD Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. This included some vile attempt of appearing superior – sorry, “grounded” – for having children, while the Premier does not have any. Unbeknownst to me before the backlash, there are very public reasons as to why that is – and they are what has me invested enough to write this.

Usually I would read such personal attacks and dismiss them. Many such petty squabbles are little more than proof of the accuser’s foul nature, something that can be discerned easily enough through policy, which is the metric our leaders should be judged by. Personal vitriol against political opponents usually just takes up headlines and generates outrage, which, deserved or not, is merely a distraction. But Deb Frecklington’s drivel is a mix of irrelevant nonsense and damning viciousness.

To get the former out of the way first, Frecklington used the nickname “Princess Palaszczuk” to describe the Premier’s wardrobe choices. She, on the other hand, knows how the plebs work – she shops at Target. But this begs the simple question: who the hell cares? I’m no fan of formal or expensive clothing – I detest it – but I don’t care if people want to waste their money on trivialities like that. Because whether you shop at some upmarket store or Target, you can guarantee that most of the clothing there was made under questionable circumstances. And I don’t admit to perfection here, as I am sure much of my own apparel has similar origins. I just think that if you want to take a jab at someone’s choice of fashion, then the only meaningful stance would be to buy from 100% sustainable and ethical sellers.

Now to the important bit – the bit that spits in the face of women, of healthcare, of choice or lack of it, the bit that reeks of savage and patriarchal rhetoric.

The Queensland Premier does not have children.

Frecklington uses this fact to claim that she is more “grounded” than Palaszczuk. This seems to imply that anyone who does not have children mustn’t be fit to lead, which is quite the statement to unpack on top of the utter wretchedness of the accusation being cast at Palaszczuk.

First off, if a woman chooses to not have children, then that is her own prerogative. People do not have to have children, and it’s abundantly clear that the same expectation is not thrown at men to the same extent that it is to women. Men without children aren’t considered lesser than men who do, and if they were, you bet I’d be fighting against that as well. It would be surprising that Frecklington, a woman herself, has suggested the Premier not having children is a concern, but since when have the LNP ever been about choice and autonomy for women? Even the women in the party lack empathy, blissfully subjugating themselves through a system built for and by men.

But in this case, choice is not option.

The reasons Palaszczuk does not have children are known. She’s tried and failed to conceive through IVF. She’s had a miscarriage. She has endometriosis. I know people who have dealt with the last two – some, most of whom are/were close to me, have described the pain and physical ailments that endometriosis has inflicted upon them since they began maturing, and how the likelihood of them being able to have children is significantly lower depending on how to proceed. I know fewer stories of miscarriage, but it doesn’t take many (or much reading beyond that) to understand how devastating it is for those involved.

So even if you wish to oppressively discredit the notion that women can dare choose to not have children, how fucking dare you attack them when they physically cannot do so. I am not a Labor supporter – I have condemned them on a Federal and State level numerous times – but for the leader of the QLD LNP (a woman, no less) to stoop to such lows is fucking disgusting. I will defend anyone from this kind of brutal rhetoric. This is a trait that permeates much of the Coalition parties, but usually their obsession with image keeps it hidden. So here it is, blatant and raw for all to see.

Deb Frecklington does not deserve to hold any role in political life, nor any role where empathy or sympathy may be required. She should feel ashamed and disgraced, and anyone who supports her should be embarrassed to do so, whether they still believe in the LNP or not. Those who agree with her statements can join her in shame.

But I doubt they will feel bad. Their false sense of superiority couldn’t fathom such a debasing, human emotion.

 

Liked this? Read Do We Need Children to Be “Fulfilled”?

Previous piece: Biases in Journalism and in History

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