It’s been 18 months since Tony Abbott became PM. It’s also 18 months since he named himself Minister for Women.
Last year Tony Abbott said Australia had “smashed just about every glass ceiling” there was for women: “Anyone who is in Australia has won the lottery of life, and if you look at our country and the deal that it gives to women, it is obviously pretty good”.
On International Women’s Day, we have a look at how women are faring under Tony Abbott’s leadership by subjecting his work as Minister for Women to a quick report card.
1. Prioritising and attention to detail.
Yesterday, Tony Abbott released a video on YouTube highlighting his Government’s achievements over the past 18 months. He didn’t mention the word women once. Not once. No mention of family violence. No mention of gender equality. No women/woman/wommyn. Nothing.
It’s more than a little awkward that in listing his achievements and outlining the government plans, he forgot his own portfolio.
This was not strictly surprising given that in December, when asked about the greatest achievement in his portfolio he said, “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.”
Well, $550 means very little when women are earning $1M less than men over a lifetime and one in three women are subject to physical assault. When more than half of elderly single women are living below the poverty line. When indigenous women are 23 times more likely to be imprisoned than non-indigenous women – and are the fastest growing prison population.
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.
When it was first announced, Tony Abbott’s PPL scheme seemed too good to be true for women. Females earning $150,000 a year would have received a payment of $75,000. In April last year, the PM downgraded it to up to $50,000, instead of $75,000, over six months for women having a baby.
Now it’s been scrapped – dumped without giving any detail about any replacement policy or budget allocation around childcare. It is just…..gone.