I spent the day lurking on Twitter and Facebook and to my surprise found a post that showed our PM for Women accepting a 10yr award for service as a volunteer in the Fire Service. Wait, what?
The other thing the PM for Women did on IWD was this:
The Commonwealth and New South Wales Governments have marked the start of construction on Sydney’s new world class motorway, WestConnex.
The first sod was turned today on the $500 million M4 Widening, which is due for completion in two years.
No women there. Women may benefit from the building of this motorway, who knows?
So, on International Women’s Day, the PM for Women, made this contribution with some of his best women friends!:
Yes, let’s celebrate all Australian Women …
Last I heard, 20 women had been murdered by their spouse, ex-spouse so far this year. On top of this the Prime Minister for Women has cut funding to important services for women who are victims of domestic violence in last years budget:
“The Abbott government has wrecked and damaged so many parts of our community – but now we have news that cuts announced in the Budget will directly affect women who are trying to escape domestic violence.
Slashed funding to Community Legal Centres will make it harder for women to get legal support to escape violent partners and may also decrease the number of women who report sexual assault and violence, say the experts” (Jenna Price, Canberra Times, 19 May 2014)
It will be harder to leave a violent partner and harder to get legal support or refuge with these funding cuts.
The PM for Women thinks that repealing the carbon tax was his best achievement for women:
“Asked to nominate his greatest achievement in the portfolio, Mr Abbott told the Nine Network: “Well, you know, it’s very important to do the right thing by families and households and, 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” (Jared Owens, The Australian, 22 December 2014)
Mamamia put together a report card on the PM’s performance as the Minister for Women:
1. Prioritising and Attention to Detail: The Prime Minister appears to be barely across the challenges of his portfolio – and doesn’t mention women in his own report to the nation.
2. Commitment and Delivering Outcomes: PPL a huge signature policy gone without a more valuable or timely alternative in its place?
3. Play well with Others: When women make up 52% of the population and your ministry is only 8% women, that’s a bad thing.
4. Identifies Opportunities and Offers Solutions: While Tony Abbott has given lip service to this issue (domestic violence), he has actively removed funding from this sector.
5. Numerical Awareness: There are always going to be losers in the Budget, but it’s rare for the losers to be consistently vulnerable and disadvantaged women.
6. Presentation Skills: When you’re the Minister responsible for anything, the first thing you do is show up.
This piece sums up quite well the effort or lack thereof of the PM for Women.
Susan Mitchell wrote a book: “Tony Abbott a Man’s Man” in which she states:
“women sense in Abbott a man who has no respect or tolerance for the social changes that they have fought so hard to achieve. He is affronted by their demands to be equals with men, and to be given the right to control their own bodies and lives. For Abbott, these recent changes to the traditional male order are aberrations, and he sees his role as one of restoring traditional conservative male values.”
Does his actions (not words) suggest the truth of these words? Especially in light of the above how can the PM for Women think or know he is ensuring equity, equality with these kinds of measures? If Susan Mitchell is right, then his actions do indicate strongly that he is working hard to restore the traditional conservative male values in 2015. One could laugh at the idea but this is too serious to laugh at.
It’s interesting that women voters (including me) do not hold the PM for Women in high regard and that the cuts to education and health, childcare costs increasing, etc are cause for grave concern for many women with children looking ahead to their future.
The PM for Women has to let go of his traditional conservative male values if he wishes to remain best friends with women but I expect that’s too big an ask.
Over to you.