When our nation's sassy, feisty and very real leader Julia Gillard broke down in tears over the human toll of the (human-caused) Brisbane floods, of course those hate-peddlers on the right just couldn't handle it. They had been pushing this line that she was robotic and unemotional for so long, after all. So they had to ask: "Was her crying genuine?"

Well of course it was! I was so deeply moved by her response that even though she was holding an Australian flag, I actually didn't want to burn it. Now if that's not confirmation of emotional sincerity, I don't know what is!

But her vile enemies were determined to slime her nonetheless and they quickly gave oxygen to the suggestion that these were "crocodile tears".

This accusation was clearly sexist, since no male politician (least of all a conservative one) would ever have to endure such a nit-picking "analysis" of his emotional reaction to something. But it was also deeply speciesist. Frankly, this characterization of members of the order Crocodilia as lacking in compassion is really getting on my nerves. Just because they're cold blooded, it doesn't mean they don't care!

They, too, are children of the universe, and they have a right to exist just as much as any other non-human or human person. Also, they play an enormously important role in delicate estuarine ecosystems. They are on the endangered species list and the last thing they need is to be so relentlessly vilified in this way.

So, fellow travellers, next time you're out in the mangroves, don't hug a tree. Hug a crocodile instead. I'm sure he'll be very glad you did!