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It was a very crowded bar, after all

Posted January 2, 2016 into Politics by John Birmingham

From my bit in the Herald today:

This was not a sex scandal. Jamie Briggs resigned over an abuse of power. To define his predatory behaviour as any other than that implies an element of consent, which was clearly absent from his harassment of a young diplomat in a Hong Kong bar; a bar which was, as it transpired, very crowded.

The former minster would like you to know that.

It's most important you understand that the bar was very popular and "as it transpired, very crowded". Why, so crowded and so popular that almost anything could happen. A fellow's elbows might be jogged. He could accidentally stumble into someone. Why, even with the best of intentions and most honourable and innocent of designs it is a passing possibility that in such a crowded and popular venue there could be initiated the sort of glancing contact that some might misinterpret as less than 100 per cent appropriate.

But really, in such a popular and, as it transpired, crowded bar, who is to stay what actually happened? To quote The Simpsons' long-serving mayor of Springfield, Diamond Joe Quimby, "That could be anyone's ass!"


22 Responses to ‘It was a very crowded bar, after all’

Abe Frellman puts forth...

Posted January 2, 2016
The former minister's statement also seemed to make a lot of the fact that he had paid for the dinner that occurred immediately prior to the incident (with his OWN money no less; did I mention it was his OWN money?). Do you think that was included to head off some sort of media frenzy over who pays for these jaunts, or because, y'know, he paid for a steak dinner and HK is expensive, particularly on the island and all, so the least she could've done was... um?

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted January 2, 2016
Ooh, Vicar, you are awful.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted January 2, 2016
"...so the least she could've done was... um?"

How times have changed. I remember the day when a quite, intimate dinner at McDonalds was enough to close the deal, or at least create the expectation of sexual reciprocity. Now it takes a steak dinner in a crowded HK nightclub.

The world has grown colder, and we face the winter alone.

insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 2, 2016
It's probably always their own money, right up to the point at which they submit their expenses claim, upon which it becomes our money. Just another example of a truthful lie.

Abe Frellman would have you know...

Posted January 3, 2016
Indeed. Might be worth a follow up article in a few months after submitting an FOI for the former minister's expense claims for meals and entertainment on the date in question, JB.

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Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted January 2, 2016
one of my disappointments with the Movie Suffragette is the scene where the women are being taught jujitsu techniques wasn't immediately followed by them dressed as ninjas sprinting across the London skyline Wuxia style to sweep down and deliver righteous asskickings to all an sundry until the vote was given.

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Spanner ducks in to say...

Posted January 2, 2016
Call this a scandal? Amateurs. I long for the days when our Prime Minster Toned Abs would shove and onion up his arse and set fire to his head to distract us for the bollocksed up mess that was the government.

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Arbalest reckons...

Posted January 2, 2016
The author doesn't really know what happened in the crowded bar full of witnesses, but seems comfortable in asserting that the consequences haven't yet balanced the alleged crime. Perhaps some sort of public flogging - execution by incineration on the parliamentary forecourt would sate the author's desire for social justice?

Spanner puts forth...

Posted January 2, 2016
Look we could prove he was practicing witchcraft by building a bridge out of the former Junior Minister for Groping Public Servants or we could have a trial by combat. In this trial by combat Brigsey, AKA the Brigsniator when he is on the piss, has to eat as many onions as he can to prove he is as manly as Tony or fess up and take his punishment and become the ambassador to the USA.

JBtoo ducks in to say...

Posted January 2, 2016
Knowing the politician in question as a nasty, small-minded bully, in my humble opinion such consequences would actually be far too good for him. Karma is a bitch, apparently.

Abe Frellman ducks in to say...

Posted January 3, 2016
Perhaps if his contrition extended more to the act itself than the fact that the public servant was offended he might be getting more sympathy.

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she_jedi would have you know...

Posted January 2, 2016
What astounded me was that no one in the Liberal party seemed surprised that he'd do something this stupid. I think he was anonymously described as a "bit of a loose cannon when on the turps." How the hell does someone like that get pre-selected, much less make it to the ministry? (That's a rhetorical question. I know exactly how someone like that gets pre-selected. The Boys Club is alive and positively thriving in 2016).

The one positive out of this is that the diplomat was empowered not only to lodge a complaint, but have it dealt with, rather than have it swept under the carpet or told to suck it up and have a sense of humour about these things. One wonders if that would have happened if Abbott was still in power; and that's more about the entrenched attitudes of entitlement and power than a dig at Toned Abs. If an entire cabinet sees nothing wrong with having only one female minister, you can imagine what their reaction would have been to allegations of sexual harassment against one of their own by a junior diplomat.

WA n'ker mutters...

Posted January 3, 2016
Have you all forgotten Western Australia's very own former state minister Troy "Sir Les" Buswell? This conservative superstar could drink and grope Briggsy under the table any day. Oh oh, pun. Sorry.

Lulu mutters...

Posted January 4, 2016
The WA state minister for chair-sniffing?

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robW would have you know...

Posted January 3, 2016
OT here, but curious, JB, on your writer's take on being late for your publisher's deadlines. GRRM officially admits he can't keep up with Game of Thrones:
http://grrm.livejournal.com/
Personally I know what it's like being late on a project. Some people take it personally and then lock up, never to deliver...

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Abe Frellman has opinions thus...

Posted January 3, 2016
And de fun don done... http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-03/leaked-photo-woman-who-filed-briggs-complaint-disgraceful/7065154

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Abe Frellman mutters...

Posted January 4, 2016
And now Peter Dutton is helping out. This is simply glorious.

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Brother PorkChop is gonna tell you...

Posted January 4, 2016
They're politicians, what do you expect? Liberal, Labor, whatever the flavour there is the same percentage of twats as in the general population, or maybe a little higher i guess due to the narcissistic sociopathic nature of many pollies.

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Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted January 4, 2016

Dutton apologised for "doing a Dutton", i.e. sending an SMS to one of Unky Rupe's political editors calling her a "mad fucking witch". The journo, Samantha Maiden accepted his apology in good humour. Yeah, journo's need to be able to brush it off and that's probably fair enough but it clouds both the original offence by Briggs and the leaking to News Corp of the picture of the diplomat when privacy should have been paramount. Then of course there's the old "mad witch" language reminiscent of "Ditch The Witch" sloganeering during Abbott's leadership of the Tories. The culture of "Damned Whores and God's Police" remains and in fact is thriving in the cloistered LNP.

If a gal happens to complain about sexual harassment the excuse is that either it was "just a bit of fun and boys will be boys" or intimating that she was asking for it, "what was she doing there anyway?". The former being the God's Police, the latter being Damned Whores. This is a recurring theme in Australia. Women aren't meant to be in bars and if they are they're fair game for predators.

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DarrenBloomfield swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 5, 2016
I think Briggs' explanation that he kissed the woman's neck 'while running' should be accepted on face value, and the matter dropped.

Therbs mumbles...

Posted January 5, 2016
Yeah, 'cos she was just asking for it.

DarrenBloomfield mumbles...

Posted January 5, 2016
This was my inspiration. I was going for irony.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-13/jamie-briggs-tried-to-tackle-tony-abbott/6939924

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