You know what’s really not funny?
Jokes about strong women, which involve the implication that they’re actually men.
We’ve all heard the titters before; whether whispered in hushed sniggering tones or accompanying a few beers and a big belly laugh down the pub.
The suggestion that a powerful woman couldn’t possibly, actually, really be a WOMAN. Because chicks aren’t powerful, right? Only blokes are.
And tonight one of those totally unfunny jokes played out on national television thanks to Deputy Leader of the National Party, Barnaby Joyce. And it was all at the expense of the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff.
Minister Joyce was being interviewed on Channel 10’s The Project tonight about the role of Tony Abbott’s key adviser, Peta Credlin, in the Government. Credlin’s power to sway the Prime Minister’s policy agenda has been much speculated about and was up for discussion tonight on the popular news panel show.
“Peta’s got a strong role…” Joyce said before continuing with “The Prime Minister is definitely the boss but if you step on Peta’s toes she’ll put her boot up your backside.”
And then came the kicker. In response to a question from Ray Martin about whether the public find it unusual to see a woman as Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, Joyce said “I’m on good information from her husband that she is a woman.”
At which point co-host Carrie Bickmore jumped into the conversation and pulled Joyce up for his inappropriate comments.
Realising his error, Joyce quickly corrected himself “Sorry, it was an attempt at humour, I apologise”.
Sexism in politics is back on the country’s agenda today after independent MP Clive Palmer made headlines following speech in parliament where he suggested Peta Credlin has ‘undue’ influence over the Prime Minister.
Palmer was accused of sexism for implying that the generous paid parental lave policy was only developed because it would benefit Credlin if she were to fall pregnant. You can read more about that story here.
Minister Joyce said earlier in his interview with The Project that “I’ve got a whole litany of dopey things I’ve done in my time in politics”.
Too right Barnaby, you can add another one to the list.