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'Harmless' political rhetoric is really destructive

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It’s never easy for a prime minister to criticise their strongest supporters, so fair cop to Scott Morrison. Alan Jones last week suggested, with the type of violent imagery about women that seems so often at the tip of his tongue, that Morrison “shove a sock down the throat” of Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister. Morrison, when asked, said the comments were “very disappointing” and “way out of line”. Speaking from Tuvalu, he went on: “I have two daughters, so you can expect me to ... that's how I would feel personally about it.”


Morrison was right to respond, and his reference to his family was not unusual. Politicians are always doing it – referring to those close to them to indicate they get it. At its best, this can be a way to convince others of the truth of what you’re saying. Jones’ comments might seem OK to you, but, the Prime Minister might be suggesting to certain men out there, think about the women you know.

And yet there is something that makes me uneasy about this type of justification. Interestingly, it’s the second time in two weeks it’s cropped up. The first time was in an interview Morrison did with – you guessed it – Alan Jones.

Jones began that interview with a series of questions about new Cricket Australia guidelines to ensure........

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