In a recent interview, Lisa Wilkinson asked Tony Abbott a brilliant question. She asked him to name his greatest contribution to women as the Minister for Women in 2014.
Considering Abbott recently identified sexist attacks made towards his female chief of staff, Peta Credlin, one could almost be forgiven for thinking he was starting to see the light, despite having previously made statements such as:
- “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.” February, 2010
- “Abortion is the easy way out. It’s hardly surprising that people should choose the most convenient exit from awkward situations.” March, 2004
- “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.” 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.” 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” March,2010
- (On comparing Fiona Scott to Jackie Kelly) “They’re young, feisty, I think I can probably say have a bit of sex appeal and they’re just very connected with the local area,” August, 2013
- “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.” March, 2009
But no, it wasn’t to be. Abbott cited his repeal of the carbon tax as his greatest contribution to Australian women, because, you know, all women are worried about is the household budget. Here’s what he actually said:
“Well, you know, it is very important to do the right thing by families and households. As many of us know, women are particularly focused on the household budget and the repeal of the carbon tax means a $550 a year benefit for the average family.”
It almost seems as if I’ll be able to afford to buy an iron! (Joking!! I’d never buy an iron!!)
I’m with this Renaissance baby, and all these other ones too.
It’s okay though, Tony’s SO aware of gender inequality that he’s recently DOUBLED the number of women in the cabinet, going from a total of one woman, to a whopping TWO women.
Seriously, Tones, this is the best you’ve got? This is the only thing you can come up with that you have achieved for women this year? I guess it is, because no real issues have been addressed and some have actually been exacerbated.
The Gender Pay Gap is increasing, rather than decreasing. What does that say about how we as a society value the contribution of women?
And take the oft-quoted figure of one woman per week being killed as a result of domestic or intimate partner violence. Horrifying as that is, it seems that it has been well and truly exceeded this year, so where are the new laws and sweeping reforms targeting this enormous problem?
Domestic violence continues to be a huge factor in women and families becoming homeless, something not helped by the lack of funding and subsequent closure of refuges (more funding cuts to advocacy and homelessness services were announced just last night!) .
This notion of a carbon tax repeal being some gift bestowed on Australian women is a poor smokescreen for the complete lack of action taken to address the real issues we face. We are continually under-represented and swept under the rug. Australian women are struggling- even dying. Carbon tax repeal?
We deserve better.
Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT