IT isn’t every day that the Guardian, the ABC, Nine Entertainment, News Corp and Network Ten invest themselves in proceedings of the Toowoomba Magistrates Court – alongside The Chronicle roundsman who covers pub brawlers, drink drivers and public urinators. But as reports yesterday confirmed, the country’s news industry is insisting en bloc that the identity of a “high-profile man” be revealed pursuant to radical new feminist laws in Queensland designed to punish men accused of rape who haven’t even been committed to stand trial. The media circus pitching its big top in the Garden City guarantees that the accused, tried or not, has no chance of impartial treatment. Civil liberties champion Terry O’Gorman warned Annastacia Palaszczuk – as did every lawyers’ body in the state – not to enact this ‘reform’ for that very reason. Customarily, when a junta knows its days are done, there are papers to burn and glowing drums in the quadrangle. In Queensland, however, the government is manically institutionalising rather than incinerating evidence of its villainy. Like the Prime Minister, the Premier is stuck in a Trotsky vortex.
That’s why the second tranche of androphobic novelties issuing forth from Mrs McMurdo has now dropped. This one will seek to criminalise so-called “coercive control.” As Bettina Arndt points out, this ‘crime’ was recently invented by a male feminist academic who works in women’s studies. The Mothers of Sons support group mocks the phony offence in a video called Get that male sent to jail! Which could be the personal motto of Yvette D’Ath. Yet again citing “rape myths,” the Queensland Attorney-General has also introduced “affirmative consent” laws. More than just a dumb tautology, this travesty – like coercive control – is designed to ensure the state can send virtually any accused man to prison. And if, in the minds of 12 peers, a defendant is still innocent – after being vilified in the press, absolved of coercing his portly partner never to wear denim shorts and backed up by ear-witnesses to a noisy Harry Met Sally crescendo of acquiescence – he still isn’t out of the woods. The Marauders have one final ace up their sleeve: the bench itself. The Guardian reports that the new legislation empowers judges to “inform juries of common misconceptions about sexual assault.” The foremost of which, of course, is that they are free to acquit.