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We’re not just here for the photos, Tony

As much as Tony Abbott might try to convince us that he is a feminist, unlike his Foreign Minister or his Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, it’s an appellation that doesn’t quite measure up. Women have been the victims of tokenism for too long to swallow the lines and gestures.

Take his recent Cabinet reshuffle.

Sussan Ley was promoted to Health (and Sport) to immediately face a storm of discontent from doctors, welfare groups, and the public. With no experience at all with the health sector, she has to try to convince us that we should give up universal healthcare, convince the doctors they should take a significant pay cut, and make the economic case to fix a problem that doesn’t exist with a solution that won’t work.

When the PM’s new cabinet were sworn in by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove at a ceremony at Government House in Canberra a couple of weeks ago, Tony pulled aside his one new female cabinet member for a special photo op (something, it should be noted, he didn’t do with any of his male ministers). The body language says it all.

It was very reminiscent of when Tony was searching for his “ladies” for the photo in Davos. These very powerful businesswomen apparently had more important things to do than pose for awkward advertising shots to be posted on facebook.

He also made a decision to relieve Julie Bishop’s Parliamentary Secretary of his duties (I thought Foreign Affairs was supposed to be doing well?) and appoint Steve “slit her throat” Ciobo to be Ms Bishop’s assistant. And in, to my mind, the ultimate backhander, appointed the same man to be Parliamentary Secretary to Julie’s minder, Andrew Robb.

Though she denies it, Julie was apparently furious when Tony made Andrew chaperone her at recent climate change talks in Peru, so I wonder how she feels about having a spy in her midst to monitor her.

The Coalition is currently focusing on their achievements in 2014 which have mainly been tearing down the achievements made by previous governments and selling us out to global corporations.

We all know, and Tony freely admits, that ad libbing isn’t his best thing, but one would hope that the Prime Minister for Women, when lauding his achievements for the year, would have something prepared as to what he had achieved in his self-appointed portfolio.

It appears he only has two answers nowadays – the disaster inherited from Labor and the carbon tax.

We ladies should apparently be over the moon as we sweat over our household budgets that the carbon tax has been removed. Righto, that should fix up all our concerns. As Julie Bishop said, “stop whinging and get on with it.”

I suppose it was expecting too much to get any sort of sensible policy discussion when he explained the carbon pricing system, rather than as a market mechanism, in terms of its effect on our ironing, whilst of course being photographed ironing to show when he says “housewives” he isn’t being sexist.

tony-abbott-and-daughters Tony isn’t at all sexist. When he exhorted people to vote for him because his daughters were good-looking he was just being a “daggy dad”. When he described their virginity as a gift when arguing his opposition to Gardisil, he was being a protective father though, by Tony’s own admission about one of the reasons he left the seminary and his actions whilst at university, virginity and celibacy for a man are more a burden than a gift.

So what can we expect in the coming year after this ignominious apprenticeship as a feminist?

scott morrison Scott Morrison has come riding in, the knight in shining armour, with some baubles and trinkets for the lovely ladies. He is a father, after all, so he must be nice.

Scott is here to deliver Tony’s signature policy, Paid Parental Leave. Please everyone ignore his previous strident opposition to it. When he said “over this government’s dead body” he really meant we will decide when there may be votes in it for us.

Tony announced this policy at a women’s lunch with no consultation with colleagues, no costing, no modelling, ignoring the Productivity Commission’s advice that there would be little benefit to workforce participation. It smacks of Big Daddy handing a velvet lined box containing a diamond bracelet across the table while winking. Why would we worry our pretty little heads about how it is being paid for and whether it is worthwhile?

When describing this as a “workplace entitlement” Tony seems to forget that they are paid by employers. He often refers to the maternity leave on full pay that is offered to public servants as unfair whilst ignoring that this was an entitlement negotiated by unions for their members from their employers. There were trade-offs to get this entitlement. Many women choose a career in public service which might mean less pay than they could have got in the private sector but better entitlements and security. If companies value their female employees they offer similar packages.

Scott is also bringing us some childcare changes but all we have heard about so far is rebates for nannies. We are supposed to ignore that they slashed before and after school care assistance by $450 million and axed a $300 million funding boost aimed at improving the wages of ,childcare workers.

It has been argued that more and more families will be lured away from mother-care in the home (tax contributing cohort) to the very lavishly subsidised day-care facilities (thus becoming part of the tax consuming cohort). Additionally, mothers will scramble for part-time work in an attempt to meet the ‘paid work’ test in the hope of obtaining a cool $11,500 to $50,000 cash when the next baby arrives.

This shift of lifestyle towards the subsidy pool will blowout the budget year on year and will entrench the “age of entitlement” for a certain class of families: those that do not care for their 0-5 year old children between 9am and 5pm due to irresistible financial incentives.

What women want is choice, not to have decisions about their health dictated to them, not to be given gifts, not to be talked down to with simplistic housework analogies. They want to be respected, not only that they can understand policy debate, but that they can make a valuable contribution to it.

We’re not just here for the photos, Tony.

 

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34 comments

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  1. Sir ScotchMistery

    I’m trying ensure good Googling to this article, when I say Tony Abbott, primie minister of Australia, 2013 to 2016 (almost) with the second anatomically correct female member of his cabinet as she pushes him away as he gropes her on the steps of Government House is a clear and accurate view of the perceptions women have of the current occupant of the seat, normally used by the prime minister of Australia, but currently used by Tony Abbott MHR, member for a socially dysfunctional electorate, famed for parties of brothers and sisters having long evenings, lots of wine and no excuses in the morning.

  2. David

    I’m not convinced a young woman who would accept a $60,000 scholarship knowing that it was only available to her because her father happens to be a) the PM and b) a close friend of the scholarship institutes donor. Same young woman who stood by and watched another fellow Australian, be prosecuted for correctly blowing the whistle on that $60,000 rort and risk having her character stained with a police record, This very same young woman who would confide in her father, the PM, she is still a virgin and allow him to tell the nation and hence possibly the worlds free media….is in fact, that defined pure virtuous young woman!!! I couldn’t give a toss personally about her status but both aforementioned occurrences don’t seem to gel into one neat package.

  3. Kaye Lee

    Frances Abbott also broke a lease and then took the owner, a single mother with cancer, to the Tenancy Tribunal to get back her bond and one month’s rent that had been paid. ($2100)

    Frances’ excuse was “My dad’s the Prime Minister” and she had members of the AFP there who said it wasn’t secure enough. I wonder if the police usually turn up to tenancy tribunal hearings?

    Anyhow, shouldn’t she have checked that out before she signed the one-year lease and shouldn’t the owner receive some compensation for the flat being vacant for 8 weeks until she got a new tenant? And couldn’t Tony have suggested to Frances that perhaps she SHOULD pay at least part compensation or, God forbid, pay it for her? I know as a landlord I would expect at least some recompense for breaking a lease.

  4. Annie B

    If that photograph of Abbott with Sussan Ley, was a genuine ‘photo op’ …. then the photographer, and the official keeper of pix ( whoever that might be !! lol ), and anyone else to do with publishing this particular photo, should be sacked. …… Instantly.

    Yes, where exactly was the right hand of the PM at the moment this was shot. And as was mentioned ” the body language says it all “. Sussan Ley looks way less than impressed ( being leered at by Abbott would tend to produce this kind of look !! ) …….. her defensive crossed arms, and downward cast eyes. Not a good looking promo. at all. ,…. nowhere close.

    As for the video – it is downright embarrassing to watch.

    Abbott has not the brains, the personality or the nature to understand one thing about women …. which I cynically suspect, would be why he made himself “Minister for Women” ……. a title which in itself is degrading. … The title he’s created for himself, simply means he doesn’t have to even think about such a portfolio – let alone do anything about it in a genuine manner. ……

    I wonder what the next gaffe will be. …… I think it’s the only reason I actually watch his spruiking – to see how big his mouth has to get, in order to put his now – larger than ever, foot in it.

  5. stephentardrew

    Tony the minister for sexy things.

    His fantasy to control women’s rights.

    Gotcha now you naughty little vixens.

  6. Blanik

    What a repulsive, scumbag!

    Yes I know: it adds nothing to the post, but the video showing his opinion of women is just …………..

  7. Annie B

    David…..

    I don’t think I have ever heard or read such an alarming statement from a man ( who happens to be …. [ ugh ] Ausralia’s Prime Minister to boot ) ….. as that said of his daughters’ ‘virginity ‘. ……. I was sickened by that statement. ….

    How would he know ? How could he even THINK of entering such a deeply personal and intimate area as that of his own daughters’ ( all 3 I presume ) virginity, which in fact translates to ‘sex life’ ? …. and then to blab it to the world. … misogynistic even towards his own offspring. ? ….

    I often wonder about that household – if indeed it still IS a household. !!!

    ——

    Kaye – re. the broken lease.

    The apple does not fall far from the tree.

    Frances ( at least ) is learning well, the way to do things illegally.

  8. aortic

    Hopefully it will soon be so far in his mouth it will prevent him from talking at all. I am seventy years old and after McMahon I thought I had seen it all but this jabbering baboon tops it all. To say nothing of his so called “cabinet” and don’t get me started on the “speaker.”

  9. Florence nee Fedup

    He judged that cake completion at cricket last week. What do we see, his finger in mouth licking the icing sugar off, he delved into. Now these cakes were in an competition for breast cancer. All seem to have word “boob” written on them.

    Asked why he picked the winning cake. replied because it was suggestive. Was not asked, suggestive of what. Surely a mature man does not find the word “boob” suggestive?

    Norm for this man around food. Cannot help himself, it seems. Whether gulping food or groping women.

  10. David

    Annie appreciate your comments, I was unsure how to word my post and not be offensive. Some subjects can be a mine field and as a male, at times can be too easy to put ones foot in it.
    Cheers

  11. Phi

    Hint for TV advertisers and marketing agencies – in my house the slightest sight or sound of Abbott leads to immediate cries of “piss off you idiot” and instant channel change – or TV OFF.

    Abbott is bad for your business

  12. rangermike1

    Tones, how can we thank you enough . Another Day, another stuff up, is Bill paying you to be so stupid or is that just your nature ? Please bring on 2016 when we can see the last of your antics.

  13. John Lord

    Our PM has been called many things but the most descriptive is the Prime Minister for undoing.

  14. Roswell

    Or perhaps the Minister for Unknowing.

  15. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    If only Tony’s colleagues would read this article and reform – better still replace! – Tony.

  16. roscoe

    Tones has his hand on Sussan’s bum, it looks to me in the photo of the two of them

  17. Rossleigh

    I did an an article about what Abbott had been up to as Minister for Women where I directed people to the following link because the only announcements were either about childcare or having babies. The link is even more interesting today:

    http://www.dpmc.gov.au/women/

  18. Florence nee Fedup

    I heard the young are rushing to enrol in Queensland. Many or probably most have never voted. This is if true, a welcome turnabout. Cannot see them voting LNP. Maybe wrong.

    Should mean, they will be on the books when Federal elections come around.

  19. Annie B

    Rossleigh …….

    Not wishing to state the obvious ?? ( lol ) …… but the link you have provided http://www.dpmc.gov.au/women/ ….. ‘ does not exist. ‘ …. in nice little red letters !

    Now that IS interesting. !! particularly as it comes up under the heading :

    ” Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet ” ……..

    Stench is now beyond pungent.

    More ‘hiding’ by the Government. …… What a ship ( that’s ship — with a ‘P’ ) load of animal woopsies they really are.

    p.s. I am sure they have their unidentifiable or unidentified watch dogs on AIM …

  20. Kaye Lee

    “About the Office for Women
    The Australian Government is committed to strengthening the provision of gender analysis, advice and mainstreaming across Government.”

    http://www.dpmc.gov.au/office-women/about-office-women

    Nice words except, in their bonfire of redtape…..

    The Abbott government is set to wind back gender-reporting requirements for all but the largest companies as part of its agenda to cut $1 billion in red tape.

    http://www.afr.com/p/national/coalition_to_wind_back_gender_reporting_WQjMyTFaKYm57PDGJYwcKK

  21. gangey1959

    Susan Ley looks like she is trying to decide whether she needs to run of and find a bucket, or if in fact she can vomit on him then and there.

  22. Tony Rabbit

    That grab of susan is his female equivalent of the male handshake. You know, the one where he ALWAYS grabs their elbow in a very condescending way – no matter who he shakes hands with!

  23. citizen

    Kaye Lee, your post @2.45 pm about Frances Abbott breaking a lease. I am really shocked.

  24. Roswell

    Now why would anybody want to vomit on Tony Abbott?

  25. hforward22

    Does he have his hand on her bum?

  26. Michael Taylor

    His bum, whoever it is.

  27. stephentardrew

    Roswell:

    Because you are sick?
    Autonomic compulsion?
    God made you do it?
    Pope’s encyclical?
    Could be the wrong end?
    Some things seem quite natural?
    God’s gift to Mr Creosote?
    Increase the bullshit but there again thats the other end?
    Maybe because he is just such a stellar untrustworthy pile of putrid vomit.
    Or all of the above.

  28. Anomander

    For a government whose ideology is toward smaller, less interventionist government, leaving it to the free market, one wonders why they feel so compelled to intrude into the areas of maternity leave, when the vast majority of those ‘women of calibre’ already have employer-based schemes?

    Similarly, where the carbon price was due to morph into a market-driven trading scheme, Abbott has instead chosen to throw billions of dollars of public monies paying polluters, rather than the market forcing them to mitigate their pollution.

    I wonder what price signal that is that sending?

  29. Kerri

    Hear hear Kaye Lee well said.
    So many creepy pictures of Tony.
    Does he really have his hand on Sussan Ley’s butt????

  30. BJWard

    Aortic, I’m with you. We’re the same vintage and I too thought McMahon was about as bad as it got. Boy was I wrong.

    A little anecdote re the Speaker. She came to talk to the students of a course I was doing when she was Shadow Minister for something or other – maybe Defence Science and Personnel. When she took her seat on the dais of the lecture hall, I started looking for the guillotine I was sure she’d brought with her – and one of the Brits cracked us up by saying, sotto voce, “Good God, it’s Madame DaFarge resurrected!”

  31. xiaoecho

    Re Tony’s grope of Sussan – This is sexual harrassment in the workplace and it is illegal

    Made a little meme

  32. xiaoecho

    Meme without the spelling mistake:

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