Four powerful women is like Ladies’ Day at the races

You had to know I’d be blogging about this nonsense from Tony Wright today: Ladies in waiting for Queen’s visit.

He’s talking about the Prime Minister, the Governor-General and the Chief Minister of the ACT. And yes, I know he didn’t write the headline, but a lady in waiting is an Elizabethan era PA to the Queen or Princess. Hardly the role played by these three women.

AS ROYAL visits go, it was ladies’ day: the Queen, the Governor-General, the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister of the ACT.

Yes, the PM, the GG and the ACT’s highest-ranked politician greeting the Queen is just like a racing club having free entry for women on one day so they can enter a fashion competition because women are only interested in clothes, and because if lots of women are there, then men who don’t normally go are more likely to turn up and spend their money on overpriced booze and horses they know nothing about, and so Fairfax and News Ltd can run condescending photo galleries the next day of drunk women so all their readers can talk about what slappers they are while peering for flashes of undies. He’s right, you know. It’s exactly like that.

The powerful women gathered on the tarmac at Canberra’s Fairbairn RAAF base, their husbands and partner relegated to bit players.

Oh noes! Men are just “bit players” because their ladies took the important jobs from them. Quick, someone get a glib comment Tony Abbott about what women need to understand as they do the housework.

The Governor-General, Quentin Bryce – a symphony in pink to the Queen’s quieter aqua – offered a curtsey. The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, in sensible navy two-piece suit, bent her head a bit in what might have been construed as a bow.

As @popebrentus pointed out on twitter, no one has to curtsy for the Queen. But, predictably, we’ll now have curtsygate. This will be The Most Important Thing that journalists talk about today. Oh look, is already on the case: curtsygate

OMG, Gillard did nothing wrong, that's the WORST THING EVER! It's time to call an election.

Wouldn’t it be nice if journalists actually checked the facts before ducking from those falling bits of sky?

(Update 11.20am: Since we’re talking about, they’ve “moved the story on” to “Gillard defends” – which apparently took the news ed, a journo and a wire service to write, yet we all know the un-bylined AAP writer did the heavy lifting – but yet still no one bothered to check what the protocol actually is.

Update 3pm: The Age has also moved the story on:

Still no one at The Age has checked the facts

Still no one at The Age has checked the facts

But they’re presenting it as “Gillard claims” she did not break protocol. This is despite many people tweeting the link to the Royal homepage dealing with protocol, which very clearly states that a handshake is fine. When your whole story hangs off whether or not someone has to curtsy, you’d think the very first thing you’d do was check if it was true. If it’s too late and you’ve already published, then you make the story quietly disappear from your homepage and hope Media Watch and The Hamster Wheel don’t mock you too hard. *mumble mumble, fuckin’ amateurs in newsrooms*)

Also, I look forward to Tony Wright mentioning all those grey, navy and charcoal suits that men in positions of power wear when they meet.

Ms Bryce’s husband, Michael, and Ms Gillard’s partner, Tim Mathieson, stood by, while Prince Philip trailed his wife by a step or two. Yes. Ladies’ day.

Yes. Complete sexist nonsense from the national affairs editor of The Age that was front page news in two states.

39 responses to “Four powerful women is like Ladies’ Day at the races

  1. I saw the “OMG SHOCK!!” headline this morning and my first thought, after my blood pressure had reduced a bit, was, “Can’t wait for the NWN take on this…” 😀 You did not let me down. Honestly, I don’t even know what to say about this other than DO WE REALLY CARE?? And at least the PM was polite and courteous… and, you know, hasn’t produced a supposedly hilarious TV show called “At Home with Lizzie”. Because that would be really disrespectful.

    • You know, the thing that strikes me most about’s redesign is that it simultaneously hides and highlights the fact that there is very little news on there. Which is quite an achievement.

      • Yes all I can see is lots more white space – and the bigger pictures don’t fool anyone!

        • I am appalled that they give bylines for re-writes. Where are their journalistic standards?

          • “Whenever you see “staff writers” on a story, it’s because the journalist is too ashamed to put their name to it.” – Newswithnipples

            Realistically rewrites aren’t going to stop so what would you have them do if bylines and “staff writers” are no-go?

            • Merre, welcome to the News with Nipples. “By staff writers” and bylines are two different issues. Bylines are used for when the journalist has done original reporting. If you re-write someone else’s work, you shouldn’t stick your own name on the top. That’s just rude. And dishonest. And it’s plagiarism because you’re passing someone else’s work off as your own.

              “Staff writers” is used when you’ve just re-written a media release or you’ve re-written someone else’s story. It’s clumsy, particularly as it suggests that more than one person was needed to write a summary of a story. So why not be honest about it? After all, your audience needs to trust that you’re giving them accurate information, otherwise why would they read/watch your stories? So instead of “by staff writers” at the top, write “this is unchecked information from a media release”. That would certainly stop lazy “churnalism” and making sure journos had verified the information in their stories before publishing them.

  2. Arrgghhh! Sorry. Too cranky to write anything better at the moment. Will be back later to rant for a bit.


    *head explodes*

  4. The news story is a waste but look at the picture ,three decent hard working and conscientious people, the pinnacle of Australian government ,the future is now , fuck murdoch and his lackies they are no one and we expect nothing but crap from them so time to ignore them.

  5. Ha ha buggered that didn’t I

    • Only a little. New Ltd sites are all quoting the same monarchist and publishing comments about how the PM is a joke, yet still no one has bothered a simple Google search to find out what the protocol is. These are the journalists of the future, my friend, and the future is now.

      • Cept the Murdoch press is v v v anti monarchy and arguably (oooo passive subjective choice of word from me) has tried to bring down the British monarchy in the tabloid uk papers. Murdoch is no fan of the queen.

  6. The bosses do change and when they do the future alters ,fingers crossed.

  7. So this is the stuff they’re NOT putting behind the paywall? Good grief.

  8. I love you more with every new post. Nothing better than finding ‘the news with nipples’ in my inbox. Please keep fighting the good fight!

  9. Did I miss the bit where Gillard copped a feel of the royal tit? Sorry, I can’t even bring my snark A-game to a story this stupid.

    • Yeah, I feel the same but instead I’ve been playing around with the idea of the Queen challenging the PM to a pie bake off to settle the matter once and for all.

  10. The aspect of this that is making me furious is that patronising, sexist drivel is accepted as journalism. Ladies’ day at the fucking races? And as for “husbands and partner relegated to bit players”: imagine if Barack Obama was greeting a couple of foreign dignitaries of colour and some journo commented that “white officials were relegated to bit players.”

  11. On the curtseygate – I’m so sick of the media sticking ‘gate’ onto everything. We all get it – political scandal – watergate – OMG! But seriously – comparing trivial crap to watergate constantly is just irritating…
    OTOH, I am researching Tunisian politics for a work assignment at the moment – fascinating stuff. Their media (which is new to the practice of the freedom of press) is busily producing articles on – shock horror – policy! Fascinating stuff – watching a country take with zeal to its new found democracy – and I haven’t read a single article discussing what the leader of the primarily progressive party is wearing (aside from noting that she doesn’t wear the hijab.)

    • Now that is interesting. Are you researching it for work or for uni?

      The thing that disgusts me most about this story is that neither Fairfax, News Ltd, ABC or SBS bothered to mention that the PM didn’t have to curtsy. It was all “ohmygodshedidn’t” and then “the PM has defended her decision not to curtsy”. Fuckin’ idiots, the lot of ’em.

    • ‘Their media (which is new to the practice of the freedom of press)…’

      Well, I’m glad for the Tunisians, because we certainly don’t have freedom of the press here (or freedom FROM it). The Western news media is more tightly controlled than Queen Elizabeth I’s entire collection of corsets.

      And while we’re on the subject of things North African, if the Western media were NOT so tightly controlled, tens of thousands of Libyans might still be alive today, instead of perishing under 8 months of NATO carpet bombing. Military slaughter does not a democratic victory make … or don’t they bother to teach that in Journalism 101?

      • Hi Kellsy,
        While I don’t think our media is great (obviously) I wouldn’t go that far. Media ownership is certainly a problem here; however, we also have a number of independent media outlets that provide wonderful coverage (Crikey, New Matilda, The Quarterly, The Monthly).
        I know very little of the Libyan situation, so not going to comment.
        BTW – I’m not a journo – as I’m assuming your comment was aimed at me and not NWN

  12. ah work. so, unfortunately, I can’t share :(…
    Fair point on the stupidity. You would think with all the going on about royal protocol that one of them would have picked it up. However, Australian media is like some parrot hive mind – on an endless cycle.

  13. urgh – check out the front page of the herald sun in this article… (and leaderette??)

    • was also running the ridiculous “that’s how you do it, Julia” crap. Ah, News Digital – ensuring that every website runs the same rubbish. It’s so patronising to declare to the PM that she should act like a little girl.

  14. I think the ‘moment’ of these three powerful women coming together is worthy of note, (certainly a photo) because it is something that hasn’t really happened before.And really, that’s a good thing. But it’s pretty grotesque the way it is so quickly belittled.

  15. On a lighter note than my comment above, does anyone notice that all those awfully, awfully conservative women in awfully, awfully conservative public offices – both earned and inherited – seem to favour dressing from top to toe in all the one colour when they appear at awfully, awfully conservative functions?

    If the colour is blue, then hat, hatband, flower on hatband, jacket, corsage on jacket, dress, shoes, gloves, handbag and scarf (if any) must also be blue – and not only blue, but the exact same shade of blue … absolutely no variation is to be tolerated.

    As a group, they kind of resemble a bag of walking jellybeans.

    • It’s almost as bad as all those men in public office who just can’t tear themselves away from the standard suit, shirt and tie look.

  16. Pingback: Oake’s orthodox Olle | the news with nipples

  17. I’m confused.

    The “Greeting the Queen” webpage you linked to says that:

    “For men this is a neck bow (from the head only) whilst women do a small curtsy. Other people prefer simply to shake hands in the usual way.”

    So men nod their head.
    Women curtsy.
    And people who are neither male nor female prefer to shake hands.

  18. Or maybe it means that men must wear a bow tie on their head when they meet HMQE2?

  19. She may not have to curtsey when meeting her majesty but as a Prime Minister she is sort of obliged to. However given that it will likely be the only curtsey she’ll ever have to perform, who cares if she get’s it right?
    This surely isn’t the most annoying thing ever done to the queen by a political leader: nor the biggest protocal cock up by an Australian PM:(see Paul Keating touching her on the back, repeated by Michelle Obama)
    I have respect for her majesty however sniping at the PM because she perhaps was nervous at meeting the sovereign is shit journalism.

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