In the past weekend, an anonymous report letter stirred Australian politics again: The letter recorded a rape case with atrocious circumstances in the country more than 30 years ago, and the victim had nowhere to appeal for many years. He was unjustly committed last year. The letter reported that the “villain” responsible for the tragedy was one of the current cabinet ministers of the Australian government. Recently, Australian political circles have repeatedly exploded sex scandals. The ugly workplace culture of the “Old Boys Club” has been despised by public opinion in many countries, and this latest incident has escalated the situation sharply. Before the identity of the parties was exposed, there were 16 males in the country. All cabinet ministers cannot escape suspicion, which is tantamount to a “total crisis” for the Morrison administration.
“Rape Report Letter” Swords to Morrison’s Cabinet
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported on March 1 that according to Australian federal law enforcement agencies, Australian Prime Minister Morrison, Senate Labour Party Leader Huang Yingxian, and Green Party Senator Sarah Hansen-Young received a 31-year-old letter at the same time last week. The anonymous report letter on the page contains the victim’s personal statement, excerpts from the early diary, photographs, communication with the lawyer, etc. The sender is a friend of the victim. The letter complained that a cabinet minister of the current government committed anal rape to the victim who was only 16 years old at the time in Sydney in 1988. Soon after the crime was committed, he became a political elite in Canberra. As of press time, the Australian police and political circles have not disclosed the names of the people mentioned in the letter.
According to Huang Yingxian, she is no stranger to the content of the report: as early as November 2019, she had met the victim in Adelaide, South Australia, and helped her report to New South Wales. The police (Sydney where the incident occurred is New South Wales) reported the case. However, the investigation was delayed due to the epidemic, and due to the quarantine policy, the New South Wales police could not “trans-province” go to South Australia to ask her about the situation. In June 2020, the victim committed suicide at home at the age of 49, and the investigation of this case was also shelved by the police. The victim expressed his last wish in the statement: “If this matter is known to the public, I hope that other women who have been victimized will also bravely stand up (to defend their rights).” The anonymous letter also urged Morrison to be established in the Australian Parliament. An independent investigation team will hold accountable for the incident.
Morrison’s government is trapped in the “man’s problem”
ABC commented that this “rape report letter” caused the entire Morrison government to fall into a “man problem”, to be precise, a “16 men problem”-there are 22 ministers in the Morrison government’s cabinet, including women. There are only 6 ministers. Before the identity of the person involved in the anonymous letter is exposed, the government will inevitably be criticized by the outside world. The media predicts that this latest situation may lead to a “full-scale cabinet crisis.”
Not long ago, the Australian Liberal Party’s former media adviser Higgins was raped by a male colleague, which embarrassed Australian politics. After the incident was exposed, at least three women came forward to identify this “workplace pervert”, and for a time the toxic working environment in the Australian Parliament. Subject to verbal criticism from all walks of life, Morrison has also been repeatedly questioned by the media. Public opinion believes that the “Higgins” have not received enough support. After the anonymous letter incident came to light, Sarah Hansen-Yang criticized the Prime Minister’s indifference on the matter on Monday. She said: “Mr. Prime Minister needs to lead the situation… Ignoring it will not only solve the problem, it will also cause more serious credibility issues.”
According to the Associated Press, Morrison said that the cabinet minister reported in the anonymous letter vehemently denied the allegations. Except for the anonymous letter to the police for investigation, Morrison does not intend to take any further action. According to the Australian Government’s Code of Conduct for officials, ministerial officials should be suspended for investigation if they are investigated for illegal or improper conduct.
Canberra is the “Old Boys Club”
According to many media outlets, Australian politics has a long history of unkindness towards women. Sexism, workplace harassment and even “misogynistic culture” have prevailed, and even high-level female officials have suffered greatly. Australia’s first female prime minister, Gillard, is often attacked by public opinion because she is unmarried and childless. In 2012, she made headlines in the newspaper for accusing the then leader of the opposition party Abbott of being “misogynistic”. In 2018, the Liberal Party congresswoman Banks decided to withdraw from Parliament due to “a culture of gender discrimination, bullying and threats against women”. In the same year, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Joyce resigned due to a sex scandal. For this reason, then Prime Minister Turnbull also promulgated regulations: Members of Parliament are prohibited from having sexual relations with their subordinates.
According to Bloomberg, Australia is one of the first countries in the world to give women the right to vote and stand for election. However, in recent years, it has been a big step backward in supporting women’s participation in politics. The proportion of women in its parliament has changed from 1999. The 15th place in the global ranking has fallen to the 50th place today. According to the New York Times, Canberra is permeated with an “old boy club” cultural atmosphere. Many political elites have cultivated male chauvinism as early as their school days and have brought this unhealthy atmosphere into politics. In a parliamentary working environment, “old men” and young assistants get along day and night, often ignoring the boundaries between work relationships and personal relationships. Greens Congresswoman Franks said: “These people are like spoiled teenagers who think they are powerful enough to get rid of all troubles.”
The ABC stated that although Australia has sound anti-sexual harassment laws, most women in a disadvantaged position choose to swallow their anger in reality. Some experts said that this is because they need to “keep their jobs” more, they generally do not have confidence in the complaint mechanism, and they do not want to be squeezed out by colleagues. In the political circle where officials are protected by officials, few people are willing to clashed with high-powered people.