Friday 22nd of March 2019

don't waver even if he wavers... his would be another con job...

don;t be fooled

meanwhile, on the gay marriage front...


The federal government is considering whether it should block the ACT's proposed same-sex marriage legislation.

The ACT government introduced a bill to permit same-sex marriages into the Legislative Assembly on Thursday morning. It is expected to pass the 17-member Assembly with the support of all eight Labor and the only Greens member.

Mr Abbott later said the Commonwealth had constitutional responsibility for marriage and Attorney-General George Brandis would seek advice on the ACT bill.

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as usual, annabel seems to miss the point...

Gus: I don't profess to fully understand women's dilemma in regard to career and kids, but I have a feeeeeeeeling that some women are good at juggling both — should they be ALLOWED TO by various means including hubby being a bit more there and the government providing a bit of help. And the point is that a government should be able to make kids and career more accessible — even for men... The other point is that the Liberal (CONservative) party has been far worse than dismal and inept in this area — often deliberately... Despite the nanny con job from Tony Abbott, women in the Liberal (CONservative) mantra are there to only play second fiddle. 

From Annabel:



There are, of course, women in politics who buck the trend and have babies in office, and they are amazing. If juggling were an Olympic sport, these ladies would never be off the podium. And their husbands are the best men alive. But the women can never quite delegate to their spouses as completely as the men can, and you can read in their faces the extra havoc that homework and school pick-up and did-anyone-remember-mufti-day and does-everyone-think-I-am-a-bad-mother wreaks on the already overworked brain of a federal parliamentarian.

When you ask them over a glass of wine how politics has affected their children, it's awful how many of them cry.

What's the easiest way to have a fulfilling life in politics? Have a stay-at-home spouse, or don't have children at all.

Given the difficulties associated for female recruiters with the first option, a bunch of them choose the second, including the woman who in 2010 became our first female PM, and the one who this week became the first female foreign minister.

But only 15 per cent of Australian women reach the age of 44 without having had a child, according to ABS research.

That's not a very broad gene pool from which to draw candidates with the best chances of success in the political workplace.

The Prime Minister, on Wednesday, promised not to forget ''women struggling to combine career and family'' and was immediately as good as his word, appointing a cabinet that did not cause work-life balance issues for a single Coalition woman.

But the assumption that these are women's problems is entirely the point. And until they become everyone's struggles, no one should be surprised that women opt out of politics.

Annabel Crabb writes for ABC Online's The Drum...

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This diatribe is acceptance of a process that is limiting the reach of half the population with a Neanderthal view point. Annabel, we can do better than Tony's patronising crappiness..

appalling stand

The problem isn’t so much that there is only one woman in Tony Abbott’s cabinet, says Sarah Brasch — it’s that there are really none.


Let’s hope the second Abbott ministry will offer some inspiring improvements in breadth, intellect, insight and, naturally, more women.


Gus: I hope not... It's sounds stupid for me to say this but should there be ANY "improvements" on the women, intellectual and inspiration in the Liberal (CONservative) Party, one would see a bigger, MORE ENORMOUS  MASSIVE CON than there is now... At least, the present appalling stand on all issues gives us a strong base to fight the little turd for...

a vote for women...

Anne Summers' National Press Club address


Fellow journalists; ladies and gentlemen

When I joined the Canberra Press Gallery as political correspondent for the Australian Financial Review in 1979 there were no women members of the House of Representatives.  Not one.

There had been women members in the past – although not many – in fact, just four.

In the seventy-three years between the first federal election in 1901 and 1974 when Joan Child won the Victorian seat of Henty, only four women were elected to the lower house of our federal parliament.

Child lost her seat in the 1975 anti-Whitlam landslide which is how there came to be no women in the Reps when I arrived in Canberra in 1979.

I am glad to say the pace picked up a bit with the 1980 federal election.

Three women won seats in the Reps that year, including Joan Child who was returned in her old seat of Henty.  In 1986 Child became the first woman Speaker of the House of Representatives.

And of course, the pace has accelerated mightily since then with a total of 215 women now having been elected to serve in our federal parliament.[i]

But for most of my first two years working in Canberra there were more women bureau chiefs in the Press Gallery than there were female members of the House of Representatives.

Fast forward forty years to 2019 and what has happened?

Short answer: a lot. Two hundred and fifteen federal women MPs is no small thing. Even if it is over 118 years.

But the longer answer has to be: not nearly enough.

If I can summarise where we are today, there are 75 women in the current parliament: 30 Senators and 45 members of the House of Representatives.[ii]  What is especially interesting is that although women are a higher percentage of the Senate – they make up 39 per cent of Senators, compared with only 30 per cent of members of the House of Reps -- their absolute numbers are now higher in the Reps. This is a significant change because of course a Prime Minister is drawn from the Reps and with more women in that Chamber the chances are higher – in theory at least – of a woman once again getting the top job.

Many milestones have been reached and barriers broken in the past forty years

Many milestones have been reached and barriers broken in the past forty years.

Two women, Joan Child and Anna Burke, have been Speakers of the House of Representatives and Senator Margaret Reid has been President of the Senate. Janine Haines became the first woman to lead a political party in 1986, women have been deputy leaders and of course in 2010 Julia Gillard because the first Australian woman to be Prime Minister.

Women are now routinely members of Cabinet, even if not always in sufficiently high numbers. Women have held economic portfolios such as Finance and Assistant Treasurer and have held the high-status and nationally significant portfolios of Defence and Foreign Affairs and Trade. 

Women now enter parliament at a far younger age than was usual in the 1970s, often still of child-bearing age and this has led to other barriers being broken: Ros Kelly becoming the first woman MP to give birth in 1983, and in 2017 Kelly O’Dwyer the first Cabinet member to have a baby.

I should say, the first female one. It has become commonplace for women ministers to have young children, to breastfeed at work and to need to juggle child-care along with running their portfolios. But it has not yet become commonplace for male ministers to bring their kids to work and to have to worry about juggling.

When she was Attorney-General in the Gillard government (and, incidentally, the first woman to occupy this position) Nicola Roxon used to make the point that while she was constantly asked how she managed such a big job when she had a toddler, none of her male Cabinet colleagues with similarly young children were ever asked this question.

At the same time as women were making their mark in the federal Parliament, elsewhere in government women were occupying new and ground-breaking positions. Quentin Bryce became the first woman Governor-General, women went to the High Court (with Susan Kiefel becoming the first woman chief justice in 2017), women become ambassadors, including to China, were appointed to run government departments and and began occupying a wide range of positions that could scarcely have been imagined in 1979.

This is not to say that full equality has been achieved, let alone nirvana

This is not to say that full equality has been achieved, let alone nirvana.

There are still stubborn holdouts.  A woman has never been Treasurer or headed the Treasury or the Defence Department or been Chief of the Defence Force (or even head of one of the armed services).

But the most glaring – and certainly the most topical – exception to this seemingly inexorable march towards equality has been the severe partisan imbalance in the numbers of women in federal parliament.

Of the 75 women in federal parliament today just 19 are Liberals and two represent the National Party. Women are 46.3 per cent of the ALP’s representation but only 22.9 per cent of the Liberals’ and just 9.5 per cent of the Nationals.

The Liberal and National Parties do worse than any other parties in federal parliament when it comes to representation of women.  In fact, not just worse.  Far worse.

Every other party in the parliament has a significantly greater representation of women than the parties that currently form the federal government.

The Centre Alliance (formerly the Nick Xenophon Party) has just 33 per cent (which is still a lot higher than the government parties) but the Australian Greens, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and the Independents all come in at 50 per cent.

On any measure, the performance of both the Liberal and National Parties is poor but I propose to confine my comments to the Liberal Party for reasons that I hope will become evident.

The Liberal Party is frequently described as having a ‘woman problem’. I disagree. The Liberal Party does not have a woman problem. Rather, women have a problem with the Liberal Party.

The Liberal Party is frequently described as having a ‘woman problem’.

I disagree.

The Liberal Party does not have a woman problem.

Rather, women have a problem with the Liberal Party.

Women are finally seeing the Liberal Party for what it is – and which I will get to shortly – and as a result both women voters and women MPs are turning away.

The consequences of this for the Liberal Party itself and for our democracy are profound and I will spend some time exploring this.

But first let’s look more closely at women’s Liberal Party problem.

Women voters increasingly do not like the Liberals and are turning turned away. 

According to a Newspoll conducted in October 2018 – the most recent I was able to find that provided a gender breakdown on voting intentions - 40 per cent of women were intending to vote Labor in the next federal election while just 34 per cent were opting for the coalition parties.[iii]

More and more women within the Liberal Party have decided they will no longer put up with it.

And they are voting with their feet: first Julia Banks resigned from the Liberal party in November last year, then Kelly O’Dwyer dramatically resigned her seat in January and, just two weeks ago, came the biggest defection of all when Julie Bishop, formerly deputy leader of the Party and the first Australian woman ever to serve as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, stood in the House, dressed in suffragette white, and announced that she, too, was leaving the parliament.

For the first time in decades, Liberal Party women are voicing their frustration and anger at being overlooked for leadership roles (in the case of Julie Bishop), at being bullied and intimidated during leadership contests (in the case of Julia Banks and others) and at the double-standards when it comes to pre-selections (Craig Kelly got protected; Ann Sudmalis and Jane Prentice did not).

These women are sick to death of being pushed over, being pushed aside and being pushed out.

Their actions should be seen in the overall context of a Party that has continually expressed its implicit contempt for women in so many ways, and which these women have – masochistically, I would contend – not just endured but more often than not justified and rationalized.

Some of us looked on with amazement and disbelief as Liberal woman after Liberal woman, as recently as the middle of last year, continued to defend what many of us would have thought was the indefensible: the continual passing over of qualified women for pre-selections, the dumping of female sitting members, the failure to promote more women to the ministry and the Cabinet, and the continuing low tally of women MPs.

Yet, in the face of these realities, so many Liberal women insisted they were not feminists - implying that being pro-women was not necessary on their side of politics – and that quotas were not necessary because things were just fine.

Until, suddenly, they weren’t.

Liberal women for the most part are no longer defending what has been clear for quite some time: and that is that the hallmark of the modern Liberal Party is to discard its women members.

They are actually getting rid of the women!

They are actually getting rid of the women!

As a result, there are now fewer and fewer women MPs.

Prior to the 2016 election the Liberals had had 19 women in the House of Reps but they went into that election with only 17 because two retiring women members – Bronwyn Bishop and Sharman Stone – were replaced in their safe seats by men. 

At that 2016 election six Liberal women lost their seats.

This would have given the party a total of just 11 women in the House had it not been for the fact that Julia Banks actually won the previously Labor seat of Chisholm, thereby bringing the total of Liberal party women in the lower house to 12.

(You’d think that having taken a seat from Labor Julia Banks would have been celebrated and honoured by the Liberal Party but as we recently learned, almost the opposite occurred. She was disparaged, described as ‘difficult’ and when she rose to deliver her speech of resignation from the Party on 27 November 2018 all but one of her male colleagues got up and left the chamber).

Over in the Senate there were eight women following the 2016 federal election, giving the Liberal Party a grand total of 20 women in the current federal parliament.

You have to go back to 1993 to find a parliament with fewer Liberal Party women.

That’s right, the Liberal Party has turned the clock back 25 years – a quarter of a century – when it comes to the representation of women in its ranks.

And it is about to turn it back even further.

After the 2019 federal election three of the 19 (down from 20 due to the defection of Julia Banks) Liberal Party women currently in parliament will not be returning.

And not because they have resigned:  Senator Lucy Gichuhi has lost her winnable spot in South Australia, and Jane Prentice in Ryan and Ann Sudmalis in Gilmore lost their pre-selections to male candidates.

A further four will struggle to retain their seats: Lucy Wicks in the bellweather seat of Robertson, Michelle Landry in Capricornia, Nicolle Flint in Boothby and Sara Henderson in Corangamite.

Assuming all four lose their seats, the Liberal Party will have just 12 women in federal parliament.

And that is assuming that Julie Bishop is replaced by a woman.  (I am also assuming that no new women are elected; given the recent preselection outcomes in Stirling and Gilmore that seems unlikely. Nor have I taken into account the Senate, apart from Lucy Gichuhi in South Australia).

Meanwhile, across the aisle – most likely on the government benches - Labor is likely to reach its target of 50 per cent women at the 2019 election and increase its current number of 44 women MPs to as many as 47 members and senators.

The contrast between the two parties could not be starker.

But all this is not because the Liberal Party has a woman problem.

No. The Liberal Party has a man problem. And a merit problem. And a misogyny problem. And all three of these ‘M’s are inextricably connected.

It’s not just that the Liberal Party is not recruiting women, it is actually replacing women MPs with men. Think Bronwyn Bishop, Sharman Stone, Ann Sudmalis and Jane Prentice.

The Liberal Party is dispensing with merit as a criterion for selecting candidates and instead is putting clearly inferior men into seats that were or could be – and should be - occupied by women.

If the merit principle operated in the Liberal Party there would already be a larger proportion of women parliamentarians. It would happen automatically because merit is evenly distributed between the sexes.  Instead the Liberal Party has made a virtue out of recruiting, pre-selecting and seeing elected scores of men with questionable qualifications, many of whom, as we are seeing currently, are ethically challenged and are certainly not serving this country well.

The merit principle supposedly used by the Liberal Party to select its candidates would be better described as the mirror principle.  They are choosing people just like themselves, i.e. men.

And not just any men.  The categories from which these men are drawn seems to be getting narrower.  If present trends continue, the parliamentary Liberal Party will comprise mostly men whose backgrounds and qualifications are having worked for the IPA or served in the military.

So why are Liberal Party men spruiking merit but repudiating it in practice?

The answer is obvious: misogyny.

Misogyny, which I define as hostility to women, is expressed by wanting them excluded from places – be they boardrooms, or conclaves, or political parties – where decisions are made about the kind of country we are and can be.

Over the past two decades, the Liberal Party has acquired characteristics that are at odds with the vision, and principles, of its founder Sir Robert Menzies (which included equal representation of women within the party structure although this was slow to permeate into the parliamentary party).

The process of repudiating Menziesism began under John Howard but has not been challenged, let alone reversed, by any subsequent leaders. 

First, the so-called ‘wets’ – MPs who were moderates on social and economic policy – were forced out; economic policy was turbo-charged to reflect a macho individualistic view of capitalism that disdained safety nets and other social protections; immigration and refugee policy were conflated and presented as aggressive border protection policies that were enforced with a never-before-seen brutality; education policy was corrupted by becoming a means of channeling public funds into already wealthy private schools at the expense of adequate education for the wider population; science was rejected; climate change denial became a defining mantra; homophobia and racism were adopted as ideological accoutrements and women began to be redefined as annoying special interests whose very presence was a massive inconvenience.

And this is why I see the current argument about whether or not the Liberal Party should introduce quotas as utterly irrelevant.

The proponents of quotas assume that the Liberal Party is concerned about the lack of women’s representation, that it wants to change. It doesn’t.

What I am arguing is that misogyny is now the hallmark of the Liberal Party. It is a badge worn with pride and it is not going to be surrendered. Kelly O’Dwyer recognised this when she told her Victorian party colleagues last November that the party was now widely regarded as ‘homophobic, anti-women, climate-change deniers’. 

You got it in one, lady, they must have said back to her because two months later she was out of there.  She saw that the party was not going to change.  It does not want to and it won’t.

The Liberal Party is no longer liberal and has not been for a very long time.

Rather, it now resembles other conservative or, more accurately, right-wing parties which have undergone similar transformations.

The party it most closely resembles is the Republican Party in the United States which has undertaken a similar ideological transformation: it is also anti-education and anti science; it denies climate change, demonises immigrants and portrays immigration as a threat to national security; and is virulently homophobic and racist and which also celebrates its misogyny. 

I am sure everyone here recalls the headlines following the US mid-term elections in November last year that heralded The Year of the Woman.


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If you are a woman and vote for Tony Abbott, you are an idiot. Read from top. And please don't believe "he has changed". He is still the same idiot.


Please note that the Liberal (CONservative) Party is still full of misogynist idiots.