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How to use women to get you out of the deep excrement other women got you into

Are voters are so gullible as to be swayed by Tony Abbott wheeling out his wife in his time of political need, while tucking away controversial Chief of Staff Peta Credlin in a cupboard? Some in the media certainly believe so. Jennifer Wilson reports.

Deconstructing a Paul Sheehan piece can be like shoving bamboo splinters under your toenails and watching them bleed. Fortunately I have pain killers.

Sheehan has, remarkably even for him, reduced the entire Abbott government leadership crisis into that good old patriarchal standby, the good woman/bad woman trope.

In yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald Sheehan makes this claim: Tony Abbott’s new order: An invisible Peta Credlin and a visible Margie Abbott is the new template. Better late than never.

The new template? Template for what? The template for how, when all else fails, to use women to get you out of the trouble you think other women have got you into?

Margie Abbott is apparently at one with Sheehan on this strategy, calling for LNP “wives and partners” to get behind her man, a move Robyn Oyeniyi analyses succinctly in her piece on the topic.

Does Sheehan actually believe voters are so gullible as to be swayed by Tony Abbott wheeling out his wife in his time of sorrow, while tucking away controversial Chief of Staff Peta Credlin in a cupboard, presumably till things get back to normal for him, at which time he’ll pop Margie away again and let Peta out, because he can’t do without her?

Reading between Sheehan’s lines, which are so far apart you have to be careful not to fall into the abyss between them, he’s claiming something as simplistic as Peta Credlin got Abbott into this, and now Margie will get him out.

In an extraordinary own goal of unintended irony, Sheehan writes:

Mrs Abbott has never sought publicity but at the height of then prime minister Julia Gillard’s “misogyny” diversionary campaign in 2012 (amid several scandals) she famously intervened in defence of her husband: “Do you want to know how God turns a man into a feminist? He gives him three daughters … I believe a disservice is being done to women when the gender card is played to shut down debate about policy.”

Presumably, Sheehan and Mrs Abbott think they aren’t “playing the gender card to shut down debate about policy.” Really? Because it seems to me that’s exactly what they are doing.

In a desperate attempt to avoid the substantive issue, which is that some Abbott government policies have profoundly offended so many Australians the Prime Minister has been haemorrhaging political capital practically since the day he took office, Sheehan looks to a change of the woman behind the man to obscure this harsh reality, and save the government’s sorry bum.

Then there’s Mrs Abbott’s remark that God turns a man into a feminist by giving him daughters. And they say we should have god in schools. This is what happens when you let god in schools. Women grow up thinking we’re vessels for god to give men daughters to make them feminist. I can’t even . . .

Next we have this from Sheehan:

She has since endured attacks on one of their daughters over a college scholarship, with information accessed illegally and leaked to the media to embarrass the Abbott family.

No, Paulie, the Australian people had the right to know that while the Abbott government was intent on making higher degrees excruciatingly expensive for everyone else, the Prime Minister’s daughter was awarded a once-off scholarship to see her through her tertiary education. If this knowledge becoming public embarrassed the Abbott family, so it should. Though I doubt it did. Annoyed them, maybe, but embarrassed them? I doubt it.

The reason some men love the good woman/bad woman trope so dearly is because it removes all responsibility and accountability from the man. He is helpless as a babe in the face of the influence of a good or bad woman. Sheehan is an unreconstructed idiot, peddling this ignorant, venomous trash. It no more serves a woman to be put on a pedestal than it does to be despatched to the gutter. One can make allowances for Euripides, given his times, but Sheehan has no excuses.

This article was first published on Jennifer’s blog No Place For Sheep.


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  1. Heather

    Wow! Good piece. Thanks for bringing this out.

  2. Gerry

    Tony Abbott is in trouble with his party because he is far too incompetent to be the prime minister. He is a one trick dog. And that trick is: rip to shreds anyone your master tells you too. He shouldn’t be the leader. He is the guy the leader calls to when the opposition has them up against the ropes. The whole LNP government is in trouble because they have failed to con the people that they actually have the best interests of all Australians at heart. The LNP’s corporate masters must be very disappointed.

  3. Matters Not

    Paul Sheehan has form, particularly when it comes to magical ‘solutions’ to problems.

    Struck down by an incurable disease, journalist Paul Sheehan could get no relief from his chronic pain until he started drinking a local “wonder water”. He’s not the only one who swears by it – 100 other Australians (and their pets) are also swigging the stuff. So, is it the latest in snake oil, a miracle cure, or just a thirst-quenching placebo?

  4. Jacquie

    Great piece! I always felt sorry for Margie marrying a person so chronically suffering from NPD, but you know, she deserves everything she’s got. Having known what it is like having someone like Tony in your life, I know they need an enabler, and sadly she is the reason he believes he is literally God’s gift- he who can do no wrong.

  5. John Kelly

    A classic piece, Jennifer. You have told Paul Sheehan to go hell in such a way that he will look forward to the journey.

  6. musicinhills

    I feel so sorry for Margie I don’t know her but I think her intellect would leave her husbands for dead, all the pictures of her lately tell me she is a woman internally in crisis, I wonder if Margie has anyone she can securely confide in

  7. Jennifer Wilson

    Oh, well, my work is done, then, John!

  8. Keitha Granville

    The level of insult to women is breathtakng. I can’t believe she actually thinks that. Poor woman.

  9. Kerri

    I have NO sympathy for Margie! No1 she married him and has stuck by him! Seriously?? What “woman of intellect or calibre” would marry this bullshitter? No2 she raised three girls who believe they are entitled to education, jobs and priveleges just because they are his daughters. Why should they accept being his progeny as a stairway to heaven? Why are they continuously supported when carrying out dubious behaviour? No3 she has never stood up for herself and stated her true feelings regarding being the “First lady” she hides and doesn’t explain! She lets Tony and the whole political system walk all over her, when clearly she is uncomfortable! She is gutless! And don’t say she didn’t choose to be PM’s wife? He has never been any different! Always the politician and always corrupt! If she didn’t want this life? She should have walked away years ago!

  10. stephentardrew

    Sheehan is one of the many gullible fools that gave us Dear Leader covered in icing while secretly swimming with the turds.

    Sheehan needs to go swim with the rest of the fools who followed our intellectually and ethical challenged leaderless moron.

    It’s the bloody women again. Thinly disguised evil on the right side and motherly Christian goodness on the left while kicking Julia in the teeth.

    Something suspicious here don’t you think.

    ABC Chris Ullman today. Tony Abbott is really a nice bloke! WTF are you doing to our ABC you fawning fool. The guy is a lying misogynist and intellectually challenged retard.

    Yeah lets hope the MSM improves.

    Dream away progressives.

  11. stephentardrew

    A trite angry wouldn’t you say?


  12. stephentardrew

    might is not trite.

  13. DanDark

    Great article Jennifer
    Oh dear what a conundrum they have created for themselves again,
    which women will Tones wear as a handbag next week I wonder
    Tones is an opportunist and will use anything or anyone to get his way as he has done all his life and if Margie is willing to be used to look like Tones is more palatable and has “changed” well that’s her choice, but it is as obvious as his big ears that he is in desperate mode now….
    Oh happy days 🙂

  14. Annie B

    ( Forgive me in advance !! )

    Why did Tony Abbott make himself ” Minister for Women” ?

    Because …… he …… could ….. then ~

    Pull ’em in
    and push ’em out
    keep them all
    on a roundabout

    Ticking boxes
    as to when
    best to use them
    and from then

    hide behind a skirt
    when dem nasty
    peeps do hurt.

    ( T – wipes a tear )

    So cruel they is
    to me who tries
    don’tcha see
    I am a prize

    to be cherished
    and admired
    and certainly not
    to be feckin’ fired ??

    I’ll try again
    you will, I am,
    I’ll call on Julia
    the Labor ma’am,

    She might help
    oh ! – she wears pants
    what a shame,
    there ? – not much chance.

    So – no one near
    to help my need
    that’s now me
    I have to plead

    Woe is I
    maybe no job
    come next week
    I will not sob.

    I’ll lift my head
    and stare them down,
    I’ll wear a smile
    and ne’er a frown.

    Then in my faves
    me budgie smugglers
    I’ll leap the waves
    and damn the judges.

    I’ll emerge
    and showing off
    my manliness
    “Oh Hell”, you scoff

    But I’ll be back
    and if needs be
    I’ll run again

    p.s. I’ll learn ’em ….

    You will, they is.
    er … um ???


  15. Jeanette

    A profiler would make a good assessment of why Tony Abbott married a mirror image of himself, the little missus narrow hawk nose, small eyes. Oval narrow faces not really the popular trend, Brad Pitt type open more round faces would appear more trustworthy exceptions Mathias, Jules, so is this why Turnbull more appealing?

  16. Blanik

    He’ll drag out ‘the girls’ again soon and woe betide anyone who criticises them because they are family and not involved in the politics.

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