It would appear that some Aussie pollies assume their fortunes extend to asserting their mandated right, by virtue of being elected, to abuse women peers and young staffers. In the latest episode, from the day after Valentine’s day (cringe-worthy, that) Australia has been roiled once again with yet another sex scandal, this time with Liberal Party pollies getting their jollies in Parliament House and generally harassing some of their women peers in the process. The National Party occasionally gets called out, too. Not a good look, boys. I wouldn’t go so far as to call them ‘mates’. ScoMo, the PM (a.k.a. ‘Slow Mo’ and ‘Scotty from Marketing’) is not exactly helping himself or the situation, either. I could be more pointed about the matter, and I will later in this piece. But for now, we want to look at what is going on in the Aussie chart, and if there is anything in particular that would indicate such a trend over the years. (I’ve heard a lot of goss on the subject, having lived there for almost 20 years. And no, I won’t be telling stories. This piece isn’t about prurient curiosity.)
We can only cover so much here. This post will be more on the order of a general overview, given it is a large subject covering all aspects of society, and not just in Australia. But there is something unique in the Australian chart that points to the type of behaviour cited in the opening paragraph, as well as its solution and also something unique that speaks to the empowerment of women in Australia and gender roles. And this is not some ‘woke’ gender politics piece. This is instead about a fair go for all Australians, but especially women. With the preceding in mind, here’s the present situation as it has evolved:
A report carried by The Australian newspaper and the national Ten Network on Monday [15 Feb] revealed that several staffers had filmed themselves performing sex acts in Parliament House, including on the desk of at least one female lawmaker, and shared the images on a special Facebook group chat page. Prime Minister Morrison [ScoMo] told reporters Tuesday that he was “shocked and disgusted” [That’s the usual response by leaders to such allegations.] by the report, and that a lawmaker’s staff member has been fired for taking part in the group.
Well, that’s bad enough. And as usual, an underling was thrown under the bus to soften the blow, hoping it would save the pollies involved and that it would tamp down anger in the populace. This time, however, it didn’t work. But wait…there’s more (from the same link):
The prime minister and his conservative Liberal Party has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks over a series of allegations of sexual misconduct within its ranks. The most serious allegation came from Brittany Higgins [remember the name], a former staff member of Defense Minister Linda Reynolds, who said she was raped by a senior staffer in Parliament House in 2019. Another involves Attorney-General Christian Porter, who has also been accused of raping a 16-year-old girl in 1988 when he was 17, an allegation he denies. The scandals prompted mass rallies across Australia more than two weeks ago with protesters demanding an end to sexual violence against women.
These protests had their start in a lone Facebook post, calling for a “March4Justice” and were quickly picked up by tens-of-thousands of Aussies, many men included, who joined in marches in protest of the abuses against women around the country. They highlight what is and has been an ongoing problem for years in the halls of power and across Australia regarding violence against women and the misogynistic culture in Australian politics. That misogyny runs deep, too.
Ms. Higgins, mentioned previously, has been paid compensation by her former boss, one Linda Reynolds, after she called Higgins a “lying cow” for making the accusations. That’s not a good look, either, Ms. Reynolds, and shows another side of the coin, in that a few women are complicit in such activity, too. At least Reynolds later apologized for the remark, also paying a donation to a sexual assault charity.
The protesters called for Porter to be fired and are demanding an independent investigation, but the police case against him has been dropped due to insufficient admissible evidence. There is more we could add about ‘admissible evidence’, but we’ll have to leave it at that. The alleged victim is no longer with us to answer to that, having taken her own life. There will likely be a coronial investigation into that, too. Porter is in process of suing the ABC and the reporter for defamation of character after publishing the allegation, even though he wasn’t named in the report. He is currently on leave, looking after his mental health.
Protesters had called on ScoMo to meet them at a rally, in other words to come out and face the crowd, but he declined, instead wanting to meet with a small delegation. Such a meeting with a large crowd would not have resulted in a good photo-op for ScoMo. The protesters declined the government’s kind offer. Oh, but the offer to meet with the delegation is always on the table, we are told. The government’s response to the allegations and treatment of the alleged victims has been too slow and has been called ‘inadequate’. Ya’ think?
Since the justifiable uproar and protests, perhaps the largest uprising of women in Australia’s history, Higgins’ allegations have also resulted in head-rolling in radio, with Jeremy Cordeaux being sacked for calling Higgins a “silly little girl” and questioning her allegations. Cordeaux was a veteran radio host. He can now enjoy his retirement. ScoMo has reshuffled his cabinet, side-lining Porter and Reynolds, who are away on full pay and mental health leave, and replacing them with Michaelia Cash and Peter Dutton, respectively. Opinions on those latter two are not exactly bright and shiny, either. Both Reynolds and Porter will remain in cabinet, though in reduced roles. Apparently firing them outright wasn’t an option.
Scott “Not my Fault” Morrison has proclaimed, “…his new cabinet and ministry will have the “strongest” female representation an Australian government cabinet has ever had.” Australian women are less than impressed, and ScoMo’s ‘women troubles’ are far from over. Another minister has been ordered into counselling for taking ‘inappropriate’ photos of women and is also on mental health leave. Progress, maybe? One gets the sense the Australian public is not holding their collective breath. That’s also my view as an American-Aussie. We’ll see why as we go through the Australian chart, relative to such matters.
With all the preceding in mind, what is showing about the present situation in the Australian chart, and what natal aspects may show such a trend? The swearing-in chart is below (bigger):
First off, we see the Sun/Saturn conjunction in Capricorn in Australia’s 9th house, the latter representing a nation’s belief systems, its judiciary, religion, higher educational institutions and foreign trade relations. That combination in itself contributes greatly to the ‘tall poppy syndrome’ prevalent in Aussie culture. That conjunction also contributes to an inferiority complex exhibiting in some manner and a kind of ‘parental worship’, both of which we see in government in relation in particular these days to the United States. However, the conjunction is also trine to Mars, a combination that can lead to great wealth, which at one time caused Oz to be labelled ‘the lucky country’, taken from an ironic book title, with the following statement therein:
Australia is a lucky country run mainly by second rate people who share its luck. It lives on other people’s ideas, and, although its ordinary people are adaptable, most of its leaders (in all fields) so lack curiosity about the events that surround them that they are often taken by surprise.
Emphases added. Imagine ScoMo’s surprise when the present allegations started to roll out in February. Reading that passage in relation to the above conjunction, we see the connections, all the while keeping in mind the book was written in the ‘60s. I know plenty of motivated and inventive people in Australia, but apparently, like the author Donald Horne said, not many of them are in government.
There is something to keep in mind here, though, because it relates to gender issues and attitudes to sexuality in general. The Sun/Saturn conjunction in Capricorn tends toward a quite conservative outlook and pronounced resistance to change. It is why, for instance, Australia tends toward conservative governments. It can also lend itself to a very elitist attitude. This has contributed to the emergence of an ‘old boys’ network’ over the years, and with Mars trine the conjunction, strongly favours men, thus having produced a glass ceiling that has been difficult to break for women. Breaking that ceiling is slowly happening, but this latest scandal illustrates that reforms still have a ways to go. Women in Aussie politics did not appreciably begin to increase in number until the 1980s. To an extent this is a carry-over from British society, with its strong caste system, and it does exist in many nations, but it is markedly problematic is Australia.
What does this ‘old boys’ network look like, then? We see it in the policies that are enacted by conservative governments. And this government has held to the old model. Just in this government we have seen legislation dropping the JobKeeper subsidy for Child Care, which applies to family child care services, the COVID restrictions which have disproportionately affected women by the lockdowns (the retail sector being predominately employing women and largely being closed due to the restrictions), the ‘Sports Rorts’ program, with has been called a ‘pre-election slush fund’, saying the government, “…used the fund as a means of “gaining political advantage for Coalition candidates in the 2019 federal election by favouring applicants located in marginal and ‘targeted’ electorates”.
The COVID crisis in Australia – much of it manufactured and gamed by politicians, which we will not address here – has heightened the frustrations of women, disadvantaged them, caused them more stress at home (more so than men) and has highlighted inequities in the culture between men and women in Australian society. It has adversely affected single mothers and it has caused permanent job losses for women, primarily in the retail and services sector. We see the latter here in Italy, too, with store after store closed permanently, and to a large extent having been staffed primarily with women. Claims for unemployment have risen sharply. We can expect those to be cut or reduced soon, too, given the trend in conservative governments.
Amid all the ruckus Scotty from Marketing has not marketed himself well through all this. He is seen as insensitive, evasive and weak. And in fact, those qualities show in his chart. We won’t analyse it here, but a quick look at the aspects and midpoints are pretty telling, especially the Sun/Neptune opposition (hypersensitivity, overall weakness), making a t-square with Jupiter: “Optimism in spite of little vitality. – The capacity to enjoy pleasant things in life in spite of weakness or illness, achievement of success with little exertion.” (There is question about how he even came to be PM. See previous links.) And then there is the Ven=Mars/Sat midpoint, indicating a coldness in feeling, lack of sensitivity, inability to express love and the loss of women, which is now happening at a giddying rate. That won’t help at the next election. A looming leadership spill, perhaps?
Returning to the glass ceiling, this glass ceiling and misogyny has recently been recounted by many of the women in Australian politics, their stories being compiled by former Labor MP Kate Ellis. Their stories:
“…tell a tale of systemic inequality, sexism, casual misogyny and sexual harassment. Focus on physical appearance is much greater for women, focus on their private lives, issues around motherhood, slut-shaming, personal attacks, rumours and gossip used to undermine women in a way men don’t have to face to the same extent in parliament…
It makes it harder for you to actually focus on doing your job. There’s this casual misogyny that shows up in a whole range of ways. People are rewarded in politics for bad behaviour. If you undermine someone, then you’re more likely to be promoted.”
Ellis has said that there are probably hundreds more of such stories. She was introduced to the ‘system’ very early after being elected to Parliament by a Liberal Party staffer. I won’t repeat the line here, but it’s in the linked article. And some men in Parliament put this sort of thing down to simply being ‘the rough-and-tumble of Australian politics’. It’s a man’s game, right? We wonder what their wives/daughters/girlfriends might say to that? (not)
Getting back to the Aussie chart, there is another aspect that points to gender issues in Oz, and that is the Venus/Mars square, denoting tensions in gender relations, disharmonious relations in that regard, excitability, lack of tact, strong and exaggerated emotions in sexual and gender relations and alternating periods of great passion and coolness. In an individual’s chart this aspect forecasts a period of quite a lot of ‘experience’ in romantic entanglements as one goes through the first third of life at least. This aspect in the Aussie chart shows its effects across Australian society, but it is now being outed quite markedly in government. We might add, too, that Mars is in the Australian 5th house – love affairs, schools, children and child care – and it is at the midpoint, Mars=Ven/Ura: “A great measure of excitability in love, a quick response to the stimuli of the senses, a suddenly active power of creation.”
The Venus/Uranus conjunction is of particular interest with regard to women and women’s issues, emotional, physical and psychic. (It relates to men as well, but Venus is more often associated with women.) It also applies to all manner of aesthetic and artistic endeavours: “A strong and hardly controllable tension in emotional life, a self-willed and obstinate disposition, strange urges and inclinations.” The latter “strange urges and inclinations”, written a century ago, also point to readjustments in gender roles and a general questioning around such roles. That said, the midpoint describes a general attitude in Australia, across gender. What we see with all the Mars and Venus connections are the strong emotions now extant, the emotional frustrations of Australian women regarding their roles in society, the slowness and resistance to change in Australian politics and reactions against the old boys’ culture there. That conjunction is also great for avant garde art and architecture like the Sydney Opera House and so forth, by the way, as well as the contributions of indigenous artists.
The Venus/Uranus conjunction also opens a door for new ways of seeing women’s roles in Western society in general, because it is conjunct the Vertex in the Australian chart. But when it comes to politics, perhaps one of the single biggest indicators for challenges to women there comes from the opposition to the Venus/Uranus conjunction by Pluto, sitting on the Antivertex, with Pluto also being squared by Mars. Thus, we have a t-square in the chart, heavily involving gender issues, with the base being Pluto opposite Venus/Uranus, with Mars at the apex. There is one final consideration before we go into the current directions and transits. Mars/Pluto squares can often be cruel in their action, definitely hot-headed, and heedless of opposition. It is a war-like aspect.
The base opposition of the t-square lies across the 2nd/8th house axis, as we see also in the United States, which is the prime financial axis in the chart, pointing to the Australian oligarchy in this case, as well as being associated with self-esteem (2nd house) and sexuality (8th house). At its highest, the combination of Venus, Mars, Uranus and Pluto can represent the height of spiritual ecstasy in sexual relations, which would be great for practices like Mahamudra. But before such a high state of bliss, there would be quite a bumpy path to get there, because it would require letting go of one’s ego. That’s a long way – a very long way – from political realities.
Instead, what we see with the preceding paragraph are power plays in gender relations, especially against women, with many men not wanting to share the stage, much less power, with women and with a lot of projected anger (Pluto rules psychological projection) at women, with a resultant backlash by them. The combination of factors just described is a prime setup for misogyny. And there is money involved, too, heaps of it.
Women promote social programs in politics, like paid maternity leave, equal pay, equal opportunity, safe workplaces, etc. – it’s called a fair go – whereas men will tend to side with business, as it stands with the Australian chart. Social programs and business are both needed, but the business leaders simply want no part of social programs, because it cuts into their bottom line. In looking at the Australian chart, then, there is a decided bias against women in positions of power, with a continual and pervasive effort to undermine women in politics. That simply has to change, and it is one of the biggest challenges to Australian society on the whole. That is not overstating the matter, because women make up roughly half of the Australian population and they are the primary caregivers in the early years of child-rearing, in most households.
There is no finer example of the type of misogyny in Australian politics than in the (mis)treatment of Julia Gillard during her time as Australia’s first woman PM, whether you liked her as PM or not. Tony Abbott, leader of the Opposition at the time, was excoriating toward her every day she was PM, standing outside of Parliament House on occasion beside signs calling Gillard a ‘witch’ and a ‘bitch’. And then, one day in session, she had had a gut-full of it and Abbott got read the riot act by her for his misogyny and hypocrisy. This came after he had introduced a motion of no confidence against the Speaker of the House, one Peter Slipper, for sexist remarks made in text messages to an aide. It was called one of the most memorable speeches in Aussie politics and “the most unforgettable moment in Australian TV history.” That, it was. I was living in Australia at the time. Her entire speech bears a full listen:
Certain sectors of the press were equally complicit in the misogyny against Gillard, as were some members of the Opposition, including one woman:
Gillard had been criticised by parts of the Australian media and some members of the official Opposition Party based on her gender, that she was unmarried, her personal life, and that she was childless. One Liberal MP, Bill Heffernan, said she “was unfit for leadership because she was deliberately barren” and another Sophie Mirabella, said “You won’t need his [ex-PM Kevin Rudd’s] taxpayer-funded nanny, will you?” regarding her ousting of the previous Prime Minister… [Also] reportedly being “characterized as unseemly and unduly brutal for a woman”.
Yes, that ‘unforgettable moment’ on Aussie TV needs to be remembered, and replayed periodically when these issues resurface, as they no doubt will into the future. That brings us to today. The directions and transits at the start of this present scandal are below (bigger):
From the chart we can see it was time for Australia to have a ‘conversation’ about old wounds. That is shown by the double direction of Mercury/Chiron to the Aussie Ascendant, Mercury representing conversations and communications, and Chiron representing the old wounds. Women were strongly favored, with transiting Mars (the fighting spirit) conjunct the Aussie Moon (women in general). That was reinforced by transiting Neptune sextile the Moon. Further indications of women coming forward are shown by the directed Sun opposite the Australia Venus, and transiting Pluto activating the direction by semisquare/sesquisqure.
The old order, represented by natal Saturn, was being held to account and offered an opportunity for change, shown by the transit of Uranus trine the Aussie Saturn. ScoMo has partially taken up the challenge by his appointing of more women to his cabinet. The real change, if there is to be any, will be shown if the trend toward more women in positions of power holds across administrations, or if ScoMo’s appointments are mere wallpaper. Then, the character of a few of those women has been questioned in correspondence I have had with Australians. Wallpaper or real change, that has yet to be seen, since we are looking at a transit here. Yet, some movement in that direction is being shown.
As to the directions, there are plenty. The obvious directions show a solar direction to the natal Jupiter and a Jupiter direction to the natal Mars, energizing and expanding discourse. But noticeably missing are any directions to or by the Midheaven (sitting government) or the Ascendant, except for the aforementioned Mercury/Chiron conjunction. A real shakeup in government would be shown in the midpoints, covered next.
We note a directed Sun/Pluto midpoint to the ascendant, giving force to the allegations of abuse and rallying the public to protest: “Ruthless establishment of one’s own personality, the suppression of the environment for the attainment of one’s own aspirations. – Experiencing the ruthlessness of others, the crisis of self-preservation.” The bolded bit shows this event to be a crisis of self-preservation for women and calling truth to power, telling of the ruthlessness of others.
Noting the Mercury direction is also there at the Ascendant, we also have the full directed midpoint of Mer=Sun/Plu to the Ascendant: “Aspiring intellectual supremacy, prudence, organisation, consciousness of aim or objective, restless creative activity, an orator or public speaker with suggestive powers. – A nerve-crisis.”
Directions to the MC will show if there is to be any real change in government policy, and here we have some interesting views. We have the following active now, in order as they move to exactness:
- Saturn/Neptune: This is our ‘illness axis’. This direction has shown up the old illness that exists in the halls of government in Canberra: “A peculiar character [ScoMo, maybe, or the drongos at the heart of this mess?], a frequent change of mood, the tendency to lose courage quickly, wavering between materialistic and idealistic inclinations. – Emotional suffering, the state of illness.”
- Jupiter/Saturn: “The desire for solitude, the demonstration of inhibitions, a love of seclusion and loneliness. – Fluctuating success, changes, losses. – The philosopher.”
The government is on the nose over this event – ‘changes and losses’ – and we can well imagine ScoMo and Co. will want to be out of the public eye for a while. ScoMo himself demonstrated his desire for solitude when he refused to meet the protesters to answer to their grievances.
This event, especially the cabinet reshuffle, comes on the heels of what we saw forecast for the Aries quarter this year:
Women should play a powerful role this quarter and work to smooth over more strident tones in dialog.[In the case of Australian women, they need to speak truth to power.] Women should also find themselves in more leadership roles. In addition, we also see Mercury in an approaching sextile to Uranus, further enhancing dialog and suggesting possible breakthroughs in negotiations. That sextile also means one should nurture revolutionary ideas and unusual approaches to challenges. It is also a call to greater independence in thought.
But the question remains – Will this event bring lasting change? We look to the ‘revolution midpoints’ for that answer.
Well actually, there is quite a bit coming up for Australia, a sort of clearing of the decks and a fresh start, indicated to begin by the Great Conjunction we just had, which took place on the Australian MC. That is a long-term effect, but it shows a gradual reworking of government structure and group relations, meaning all governmental relations, internal and foreign.
Australia will very soon have to choose between Asia and the West, for example – not by self-volition, but by a choice that is being forced upon us by the Western powers, by the neoliberal policies that were brought in by Hawke and Keating and by the evolving world economic realities. That choice will have to be made soon, too. I’ll give you a hint: It is not the Chinese who are the problem. It is the Americans and Europeans who are pushing this, and the US primarily. And to be clear, it is not a choice that is really necessary. There is no sound reason Australians cannot trade with whomever we please. It is geopolitical nonsense to be pushing this division between trading partners. Women can play a big role here in promoting better relations on all sides, instead of men showing ‘strength’ and aggressive attitudes.
I am not going to give away the directions for the future. We’ll save that for another post. Suffice it to say, depending on what happens in the US and UK, the path for Australia will become much clearer in the near future. There is geography, demographics, realities on the ground and the little matter of climate, which has recently hit Australia hard. Aussies may be resilient people, but the land is ancient and fragile in many respects. It is better to build good relations now instead of posturing, in terms of what I am seeing here.
Australia needs to consolidate its resources now. We need women in power to help do that. The days of the fast buck are gone. Moves toward more social welfare are coming around the corner, as in the next few years. That will be a necessity, not a choice. I don’t mean to sound cryptic or apocalyptic here. It is shown by a coming direction of the Saturn/Pluto midpoint to the Australian Ascendant, which points to being placed in cumbersome and difficult circumstances and probable losses. That will come into effect in just over a year, and in part relates to what is evolving between the West and Asia. There is both a challenge and an opportunity there.
We are not a British colony any longer, nor are we primarily British. We have close ties with neighbouring Asian nations, ethnicities from all over the world, a strong connection with continental Europe and also with China and Indonesia and a land unlike any other in the world. What do we do with all that? And here we are being distracted by a bunch of silly men in power who cannot seem to see that women have a great deal of wisdom to offer in Australian government. Again I say, not a good look, boys. Man up, and accept the valuable role women have to play in Australian government. We are going to need them. We need them now. Make it a growing trend!
The soul of Australia is ruled by Virgo, the Great Mother. Seeing that, we know women play an outsized role in the destiny of Australia, compared with other nations. It relates to care of the land, care for and nurturing of each succeeding generation, long-term planning instead of instant gratification and get-rich-quick economy, cooperation in shared goals with neighbours and protection of the land and evolving culture instead of protectionism. There is one more astrological consideration before closing.
There is a midpoint – Pluto=Mars/Eris – in the Australian chart, which has the capacity to be very violent and destructive. It also has a tremendous creative capacity for positive change. Mars and Eris are brother and sister on the battlefield, respectively, from their mythology. Pluto describes the ‘burning ground’, which is the healing process in the struggle to resolve the darker corners of one’s nature. It is the will to ascend, to bring to the surface all that hinders the expression of one’s spiritual Self, and thereby to either render it as creative effort, or to be done with it for good. Mars and Eris – brother and sister in struggle, united in effort, not against each other but in victory – are a primary statement in the Australian chart.
The meaning of the midpoint just described is clear enough: Unless enough men stand up when they see abuses against women and say, “It’s not on, mate!” and call their peers to account, the change will be slow and painful. There is another clue here for women – politicians pay close attention to polls. If Scotty is ‘losing women at a giddying rate’, mentioned before, there is a clue for future action. But it takes activism and organization to pull that off consistently. I know a few Australian women who would be very good at it, too. The combination of the two – men and women – has the capacity to effect the needed changes quickly in Australian political life.
We have a perfect storm of events present in Australia now – the COVID crisis highlighting all the weaknesses in policy, a weak Prime Minister, a very frustrated society, a history of disadvantaging of women, an old ossified political structure carried over from an imperial past, an overemphasis on business and material success, and a land that needs serious attention. Who will stand up and address it? If we want a fair go for everyone in Australia, women will have to have equality and respect in Australian politics and across society. It won’t be handed to them. The wrongdoings toward and mistreatment of women will have to be called out forcefully at every turn until the old guard finally sees the writing on the wall and gives way. It will be a long process, with many battles to be fought and won. But the strength is there.
What has happened with the scandal and the protests since February are a good start in addressing justified grievances by women. But it must be maintained if there is to be any lasting change for the better. What we are seeing now will not last if the energy for change subsides. Australian women can bring this change, supported by the men who believe in them. And from what I have seen, most men in Australia that I know want such changes to take place. Those men want a good future for their wives, women friends and daughters and are disgusted by the trash that has been brought to light recently. We’ll look at all these issues into the future, but for now, the world looks on in interest, too. Good on ya’, women of Australia! Keep the pressure on!
Featured pic from BBC News