The election has come and gone, leaving the Liberal Coalition in power. Since then, PM Abbott and co have formed an interesting cabinet, removing key portfolios, amalgamating others and forming the new and dubiously titled “Border Protection” one- but that is a whole other post.
This cabinet contains exactly one woman. Other parties and governments around the world manage to include more females. Is it that there are no other women qualified for this position within the Liberal Party? I can think of a few off the top of my head so surely this is not the case. Suffice to say, this cabinet is hardly representative of the community it would govern and this is a real shame, and an embarrassment.
Even Lord Voldemort’s “cabinet” had more women than Abbott’s cabinet.
Tony Abbott himself has taken on the portfolio of Women’s Issues. I am sorry to say it, but almost anyone would be better qualified. A vagina is certainly not essential to the position, though it would be an excellent start. PM Abbott has proved himself, over and over, to be out of touch with Australian women. The following quotes from the man himself speak volumes on their own:
What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up.–Sydney Morning Herald (February 9, 2010)
I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons.– Quoted in “FOUR CORNERS” on www.abc.net.au (15/03/2010)
The problem with the Australian practice of abortion is that an objectively grave matter has been reduced to a question of the mother’s convenience.- Quoted in  “RATE OF ABORTION HIGHLIGHTS OUR MORAL FAILINGS” on www.tonyabbott.com.au (Wednesday, 17 March 2004)]
I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak.- Panel discussion “Religion, Sex and Politics” on www.abc.com.au (19 March 2009)
Abortion is the easy way out. It’s hardly surprising that people should choose the most convenient exit from awkward situations.– Quoted in “Rate of abortion high-lights our moral failings” on www.tonyabbott.com.au (17 March 2004)
I think I would say to my daughters if they were to ask me this question… it [their virginity] is the greatest gift that you can give someone, the ultimate gift of giving and don’t give it to someone lightly, that’s what I would say.– Quoted in “Hypocrite Abbott panned for Virginity Stance” (27 Jan 2010)
While I think men and women are equal, they are also different and I think it’s inevitable and I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all that we always have, say, more women doing things like physiotherapy and an enormous number of women simply doing housework– Quoted in “Rudd hands PM a crucial lifeline” (6 August 2010)
I want to make it clear that I do not judge or condemn any woman who has had an abortion, but every abortion is a tragedy and up to 100,000 abortions a year is this generation’s legacy of unutterable shame.- Abbott to parliament in February 2006 (Four corners transcript of speech)
Got all that, ladies? Your power bills are up because you have to iron- it’s inevitable. Try to understand that. It’s not Tony Abbott’s fault.
Also, you just don’t have the aptitude and ability that men do. That means you are dumber and less useful. Feeling like a valued member of society yet? You should. We need more physios and housewives like you!
Sex is not yours to withhold either. Not really. I mean, your virginity is a precious gift and you shouldn’t give it away to just anyone, but if someone really wants to have sex with you, you should remember that it’s not really your right to say no. So if you have sex with someone after realising that it’s not your right to withhold sex, and then find yourself in that awkward position known as pregnancy- well, you CAN get an abortion. I mean, Tony Abbott certainly won’t judge or condemn you. He will just say you’re doing it for your convenience and that you’re contributing to a legacy of unutterable shame because abortions are tragedies. But he’s totes not judging or condemning you, ok?
Putting aside all these telling comments for just a moment- lets look at one of the other reasons Tony Abbott should not be in charge of women’s issues- he’s proven himself to be sexist. His sexist treatment of former PM Julia Gillard is well documented. Her now legendary speech in parliament addressing his misogynist and sexist behaviour was not a bolt from the blue, it was the culmination of long term sexist and poor behaviour on his part and addressed specific incidences of sexist and misogynist behaviour.
This man would look after women’s affairs?
So what can we do? Probably not very much. Get back to the ironing, I suppose.
I just remembered, we have the Internet! Sure, our National Broadband Network might be on hold, but we can still work with what we have. So why not sign my petition? Will it make PM Abbott give the portfolio to someone better suited? I don’t know. But it may well at least let him know that he’s further alienating a significant proportion of the population that he hopes will keep him in government. And if he has even half a brain, he needs to take note of that. I don’t expect him to be a genius, after all, “No one,however smart, however well-educated, however experienced … is the suppository of all wisdom” But I do think enough people letting him know that they aren’t happy with something he is doing might help to bring about change.