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OPINION: "Minister, if that's your best effort, then you need to resign."

This morning on the Today Show, host Lisa Wilkinson asked the Prime Minister to name his top achievement as Minister for Women in 2014.

“Well, you know, it is very important to do the right thing by families and households,” the Prime Minister said.

“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.”

Prime Minister Abbott speaking to Lisa Wilkinson this morning.

It seems that in the one year, three months and 15 days since Tony Abbott appointed himself Minister for Women, after countless briefings, meetings and events, here is the sum of everything he has learned about the issues impacting women in Australia and internationally:

1. Women’s issues = families and households.

2. Women hate environmental issues.

Well, sure, some women don’t want action on climate change. And nobody is going to kick $550 out of the bed for farting.

But it is complete and utter bullshit to say that women’s issues are only those associated with home life.

Women DO leave the house, Mr Abbott. And they face more significant challenges than balancing the grocery budget. The pay gap on its own means that women get paid $1 million less than men over their lifetimes – which makes $550 seem a like chump change.

Yes, many women do have to bear the majority of caring responsibilities and domestic duties (and that’s an issue in itself).

But there are a myriad of critical issues facing the well-being of women that desperately need the attention of this country’s leader – and its dedicated Minister.


Watch Prime Minister Abbott’s full interview here:

So, Mr Abbott, it is entirely unacceptable that the biggest thing you did for women this year was dismantle the policy of the previous government on climate change.

Especially when 1 in 5 women in this country experience sexual violence (the risk is higher if you are an Aboriginal woman or disabled).

Especially when women are earning almost 20 cents in the dollar less than men for the same work, and female graduates are earning almost 10 percent less than male grads.

Especially when one woman is dying every week in this country at the hands of their partner.

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Especially when more than half of elderly single women are living below the poverty line.

Tony Abbott’s household has twice the number of women as his Cabinet.

Especially when Aboriginal women’s life expectancy is 10 years less than non-indigenous women.

Especially when there are only 12 women who chair companies in the ASX200 (a meagre 3 percent).

Especially when indigenous women are 23 times more likely to be imprisoned than non-indigenous women – and are the fastest growing prison population.

Especially when there are jurisdictions in this country where women cannot access safe, legal, affordable abortion options.

Abbott’s inaugural cabinet.

Especially when one woman is hospitalised every three hours due to family and intimate partner violence.

Especially when there are only two women good enough to sit around your Cabinet table.

Especially when your own Chief of Staff is facing sexist slurs and discrimination in her workplace.

Tony Abbott and his Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin.

I know that we have Ministers who haven’t experienced the challenges of people who are impacted by their portfolio. Immigration Ministers don’t have to be former-migrants (though, imagine the radical change in policy if they were…)

But, even if you are a man who has appointed himself Minister for Women, you do need to have a modicum of understanding of your portfolio.

Some grain of empathy for your stakeholders.

Some clue about the people you are working for and challenges they face.

This morning, you demonstrated that in the role of Minister for Women, you are incapable of even stumbling across the line on this meagre standard.

Mr Abbott, if your greatest achievement as Minister for Women is throwing out climate legislation, you have failed, utterly and entirely.

You have abrogated your responsibility as Minister. If that is the best you can do in this role, you should resign.

How do feel about the Prime Minister performance in his role as Minister For Women?

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