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Jacinda Ardern delivers a classy burn to Alan Jones

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COMMENT

New Zealand Queen, I mean, Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern has delivered a smart backhand of her own to broadcaster Alan Jones, telling local radio the New Zealand rugby team had got its revenge on Australia by beating the Wallabies in rugby

It comes after revelations that former Wallabies coach Jones’ comments extended beyond his ‘shove a sock down her throat’ vitriol, and involved suggesting Prime Minister Scott Morrison deliver some ‘backhanders’ to silence Ardern.

This was after Ardern had the temerity to suggest Australia needed to answer to the Pacific on the climate crisis, as Morrison met regional leaders in Tuvalu last week.

“I don’t have an opinion on every single person who says something about me. Particularly given this is an Australian commentator, we’ve got enough of our own to occupy my time,” Ardern told reporters on Tuesday. 

And then she delivered the burn.

“I understand that [Jones] of course used to be closely linked to the Wallabies… let’s just say that I think revenge is best served through a Bledisloe Cup.”

Australia keeps exporting its racist and sexist horror to the door of our progressive neighbour – from Australian born and bred white supremacist terrorist Brenton Tarrant killing 51 New Zealand Muslims earlier year, to the misogynistic warblings of Jones. I put these two events in the same sentence because they are both ends of a continuum of violence that is linked.

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Hate speech is proven to be linked to hate crimes – often part of a toxic cocktail of racism, misogyny and extremism.  This framework is as relevant in relations between men and women, as in geo-politics. It is the power of the bully, who throws their institutional, financial and social power over the less powerful.  

Luckily New Zealand is beyond our madness, with the local press satirising Jones’ blustering in a cartoon – featuring a tiny Jones yelling at the very large feet of Jacinda Ardern.   

Ardern as usual showed a deft touch reminiscent of Descartes, who once said, “Whenever anyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that the offense cannot reach it.”

Elegant, powerful and classy.

The Jacinda vs Alan war is just a metaphor for the backlash of lost power that is being viciously fought by furious men like Jones lamenting a world where they are fast becoming less relevant. Their only recourse is their desperate media pulpits on the sidelines of where the real action is happening – where Ardern sits – on the world stage. 

Sarah Malik is the Deputy Editor of SBS Voices. She is also a 2019 Our Watch Walkley fellow. You can follow Sarah on Twitter @sarahbmalik.

If you or someone you know is impacted by domestic violence or family violence, call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au In an emergency call 000.



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