Two very different numbers


While watching another disappointing day in Australian political life unfold,  I wondered: How long has it been since Tony Abbott declared, “good government starts today“?

It’s such a great example of Abbott’s hopelessness: He survived as Prime Minister after a failed party room spill motion only to deliver another classic clanger. Good job, Tony.

Then I checked the date and realised it had only been 38 days since the attempted spill. It seems much longer because barely a day goes by without a spectacular cock-up or gaffe by Abbott or one of his ministers.

Laura Tingle wrote yesterday that “we are being governed by idiots and fools“, excoriating the Abbott government for recklessness and incompetence, hinting at a deeper problem in our political system. Jonathan Green picked up where Tingle left off, suggesting Australia’s next great reforms “will be of this stagnant polity itself”. We can only hope.

I don’t want to juggle the date arithmetic next time I ponder how long we’ve been blessed with “good government”. The obvious* solution is a Twitter account to remind everyone*, right?

Thus, an automated, single-serving Twitter account that tweets the number of days since the spill, with a topical news item and photo, neither of which tend to reflect well on the Prime Minister.

Violence Against Women

Late yesterday evening, a wise voice caught me off guard: There’s a lot of men making a lot of noise about data retention today. Where’s that noise when a woman is killed every week by a partner or ex-partner?

If central Sydney can undergo substantial social and commercial upheaval after the deaths of two young men in “king hit” attacks, surely 8 intimate partner homicides (and 22 total suspicious deaths) of women so far this year would elicit some response? History suggests otherwise.

So we must make more noise.

My meagre contribution today is, yes, a single-serving Twitter account. I know it’s silly and practically meaningless, but hopefully people will see it, share it, and support women like Rosie Batty who are doing the really important work.

It will tweet updated figures from two sources:

First, Guardian Australia has a page for women who have died “where police have later laid charges against their partners or ex-partners”. (It’s a mouthful of legalese because they have to be careful about affecting trials.)

Second, Destroy the Joint’s Counting Dead Women Australia team maintains a Facebook post that documents every woman who has died violently, and follows what happens after. It’s based on a UK project of the same name.

38 days since “good government” began. 22 women violently killed in Australia this year. Two very different numbers.

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