By MIA FREEDMAN
Tony Abbott doesn’t need me to defend him. But I’m going to do it anyway.
Yesterday, he made some comments about why he remains committed to his Paid Parental Leave scheme whereby new mothers would be paid their full salary for six months, a scheme funded by a levy on big business (click here to read more detail of the coalition’s paid parental leave policy and those who are opposed to it).
Referring to tertiary educated women at an executive level who will be paid their full wage instead of minimum wage as they currently are with the ALP’s paid parental leave scheme, here’s what Tony Abbott said yesterday:
[these women are] “in the prime of life and they should be able not just to have kids, but to have careers”.
“We do not educate women to higher degree level to deny them a career,” he said.
“If we want women of that calibre to have families, and we should, well we have to give them a fair dinkum chance to do so. That is what this scheme of paid parental leave is all about.”
Did you pick the egregious word in those few sentences?
It’s this: “calibre”.
And so, that was the cue for social media – and two of my favourite ALP ministers Tanya Plibersek and Penny Wong – to turn apoplectic, with the #womenofcalibre hashtag immediately established to ridicule Abbott’s comments: