Why is Bill Shorten more equal than others?

In November 2013, various mainstream media outlets told us that a senior Australian Labor Party (ALP) person was under investigation after someone accused him of rape. Not long after, Bill Shorten, the leader of the ALP and therefore Leader of the Opposition, “revealed” that it was he who had been accused.

On the face of it, this story is only unusual in the sense that for once the mainstream media let decency rather than the need for sensationalist headlines rule the day. That’s right! Mainstream media, it might seem, took a principled approach.

That is, of course, until you take a look at the facts.

This accusation began on Kevin Rudd’s facebook page in October 2013, just after Shorten won the ALP leadership. The alleged victim wrote on Rudd’s page claiming that Shorten, named explicitly, had raped her.

The internet, being what it is, soon had this story kicking around on numerous bloggers’ sites. Shorten’s name was front and centre.

As Grace Collier, of the Australian, put it before Shorten put his hand up,

The person has not been named in the media (if he were a footballer might this be different?) but anyone with an internet connection knows who he is.

So the press could have argued in court that the accusations were made and recorded in public by the alleged victim and Shorten’s involvement was therefore already a matter of public record.

Collier also asks an important question about it being different for others. But it doesn’t just stop at footballers. Recently the speculation surrounding celebrities such as Rolf Harris, Robert Hughes didn’t see the press exercise such restraint either. The most recent case concerning Cliff Richards in the UK is yet another example.

The guilty verdicts that eventually came for Harris and Hughes do not justify the thinly veiled vilification in the press months before the trials even began.

But what is most galling is that Shorten’s ALP has been amongst the biggest exponents of the moral panic known as “Violence Against Women” that now pervades the western world. It is for this reason that everyone looks the other way when journalists name, shame and pre-judge any males charged with sexual offences or violence against women.

So strong now is the presumption of guilt that demands for the accused to lose their jobs or their sponsorships are made long before official charges are even laid.

It is inconceivable that the Liberal leader, Tony Abbot, would have received the same shielding from public scrutiny had a similar accusation been made against him.

But the questions for Shorten don’t just end there. From the beginning, Shorten’s lawyers have declared,

The unsubstantiated claims are absolutely without foundation and are also distressing for his family and for him.

Shorten, according to a statement in the Daily Telegraph, called the allegations “untrue and abhorrent” and stated point blank,

There is absolutely no basis for the claim.

If it wasn’t a case of mistaken identity, and that seems unlikely given the statements made thus far, and Shorten is to be believed in his assessment, then the woman has made a maliciously false allegation against the Leader of the Opposition.

The seriousness of this can hardly be overstated. Depending on whatever political crisis might have been on the cards at the time, this allegation could have derailed matters of national importance either at home or internationally.

But even if Shorten had been just a regular Bill, like the guy next door, surely a claim with no basis whatsoever requires the police to charge the false accuser.

The real reason, of course, why everyone, including Shorten, is prepared to look the other way is ideological. To admit that women can and do make false rape accusations undermines the Feminist image on the “Violence Against Women” front.

If women do make false accusations, even against the very well protected elite, then maybe, just maybe, some of those heard in the Family Court and other places are just as baseless. To admit that might bring to a halt the Feminist Funding Frenzy, and that, of course, would never do.







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