Remember when Tony Abbott was elected on a promise of 6 months’ worth of replacement wages for maternity leave to encourage “women of calibre” to have more children?
It was about the first thing they dumped after being elected. But not only that, they then accused women who combined workplace and government entitlements to have a few more months at home with their newborn of double-dipping and promptly removed that option, sending women’s maternity leave entitlements backwards.
This is the man who, when asked about the attributes of a Liberal Party candidate in the 2013 campaign, said she had “sex appeal”.
This Prime Ministerial candidate said we should vote for him because he was the guy with the good-looking daughters whose virginity he described as “a gift”.
He opposed the Gardasil vaccination because he thought it would promote promiscuity. What? A bunch of 12 year olds suddenly think hey, I won’t get cervical cancer, let’s go bonk?
This is the man who dismissed contraception as part of the “me now” mentality, and abortion because it “violated instinctive respect for life”. That didn’t stop him from having unprotected sex with his girlfriend at university and then dumping her when she got pregnant.
And when he did get the top job, he made himself Minister for Women. I have no words.
True, Tony is yesterday’s man, but his attitudes towards women are alive and well in Coalition ranks.
Men in parliament still want to dictate to women about their reproductive health. A few of the women agree with them but you will find they are all religious and religions are founded and controlled by men.
When Queensland voted on a bill to finally decriminalise abortion, the LNP allowed a conscience vote — but when three of their MPs voted in favour of Labor’s bill, they were threatened with the loss of preselection by the party’s organisational wing. The bill passed but Deb Frecklington had promised to review it if the LNP won the election.
And then there’s Barnaby Joyce, the man who described Bridget McKenzie as a “flash bit of kit” when she joined the Senate.
When Joyce’s long-standing quite public affair with an employee resulted in her falling pregnant, he went on national tv to say his paternity was “a grey area” but he would magnanimously raise the child as his own.
Joyce’s explanation for this bizarre, and very tacky, statement was that he had been on an overseas work trip with his wife Natalie for 10 days from June 23, around the time the child was conceived.
Gee, I bet that made Nat feel good to know that Barnaby was having unprotected sex with at least one other woman who was having unprotected sex with at least one other man – and that he wanted to share that with the nation.
It was lurve, says Barnaby.
As did George Christensen when his predilection for Asian girly bars was outed. George spent nearly 300 days over a four-year period visiting “adult entertainment bars” during his 28 trips to the Philippines. It was so bad that ASIO warned the PM that Christensen could be vulnerable to being compromised.
Outrageous slurs cries George, never denying visiting these places that exploit women and, in many cases, much worse.
Jamie Briggs was forced to step down from the Turnbull Ministry after he “behaved inappropriately” towards a public servant on a boozy night out and then publicly outed her when she made a complaint. (Same approach Barnaby used when facing sexual harassment allegations – put the public spotlight on the woman)
Another Prime Ministerial aspirational, Peter Dutton, quickly texted his support for Briggs, describing a female journalist who reported on the incident as a “mad fucking witch” – somewhat reminiscent of the signs describing Julia Gillard as a witch and Bob Browne’s bitch, which several Liberal politicians, including future PM Abbott, were happy to be photographed with.
Assistant Minister Andrew Broad was also forced to resign after he was outed hooking up with a young woman on a sugar daddy dating site. Humiliatingly, he sent texts comparing himself to James Bond and telling her he knew “how to ride a horse, fly a plane and f— my woman”. Another read “I pull you close, run my strong hands down your back, softly kiss your neck and whisper ‘G’day mate’.”
More recently, we have been told about Christian Porter and Alan Tudge and their shenanigans with female staffers and their subsequent treatment.
These defenders of the bastions of morality had to have a rule written down to tell them they shouldn’t be bonking the hired help.
Perhaps even more troubling was the treatment of their female colleagues during Morrison’s coup.
Julia Banks moved to the crossbench citing bullying and intimidation from “within my own party”.
Lucy Gichuhi spoke of being bullied and intimidated and seeing female colleagues in tears.
Kelly O’Dwyer told the ABC that she had spoken to both male and female MPs in the wake of the leadership spill and “it is clear to me that people were subject to threats and intimidation and bullying”.
Linda Reynolds stood up in the Senate and said “I hope…whatever happens tomorrow that the behaviours that we have seen and the bullying and intimidation that I do not recognise as Liberal in any shape, way or form be brought to account.”
No-one was ever held to account. The women who had the temerity to complain were silenced by being discarded or promoted.
Back in 2015, Malcolm Turnbull, when announcing $100 million in federal funding to help stop violence against women, said that “disrespecting women does not always result in violence against women. But all violence against women begins with disrespecting women.”
If you think the Coalition men respect women as equals, just ask Julie Bishop.
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