Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Abbott and the Women: some thoughts

Those who, like me, have been visiting the ABC's website daily since Annabel Crabb began her pointy, sparkly political columns for them will not have missed yesterday's account of Tony-Abbott-as-leader's virgin encounter with Kerry O'Brien on The 7.30 Report. I was struck by Crabb's version of this moment:
O'Brien's aims for the interview were the same as usual; a light tenderising, and promise of brutalities to come.

The new Liberal leader's aims were rather more specialised; to begin the task of discarding the Abbott stereotypes of the past, to lay down some sensible, unexceptionable-sounding policy basics, to avoid getting into strife, and most definitely to not say anything that might annoy or startle female voters.

Oh, she's good. She's good the way Jon Stewart is so often good, nailing her target through ventriloquy, implying that for Abbott and his team it's a matter of 'annoy or startle', as though women were high-strung (oh all right, irritatingly neurotic) brood mares who needed to be tricked and soothed into their proper place and function in the world. O'Brien gave him an opportunity to 'annoy or startle', too:
Kerry tried again.

"One voting demographic where the Liberal Party suffers badly is women, particularly younger women. Coming back to that hardline image of yours, you're not exactly a pin-up boy, are you, as a political leader?"

"That might be the case," grinned the Liberal leader. "Notwithstanding the photos of last weekend."

Cue despair and garment-rending in the Abbott control tower, where all involved thought it had been made perfectly clear that no voluntary mention was to be made of last Sunday's shots of the new Liberal leader wearing a tantalisingly brief swimming costume, a slightly foolish hat and what looked like about ten ferrets' worth of torso hair.

But their man brought matters under control by supplying an important piece of context.

"Speedos are compulsory if you're in the club swim at Queenscliff."

And what a very interesting segue we have right there. First Abbott spins a serious question (and a very serious ballot-box issue) about his unpopularity with women: he fudges on about how he's not going to change his views (the Goddess help us all) before, in response to O'Brien's 'pin-up boy' line, making the stupid crack (I'm sorry, I would have liked to have put that another way) about the Speedo photos.

Got that? Women's attitude to Abbott is suddenly somehow all about Tone's Body, to the unseemly exposure of which he has seen fit to draw further attention. And then we move on to the next topic. As commenter Emmie remarks at that ABC site:
I thought Abbott's reference to the budgie smugglers was quite deliberate, as if making a joke of it was the best way to put the story to bed (it would be awful if it gained the same momentum as Alexander Downer's fishnets, after all). But as a woman, I was insulted by the fact that he pushed that line, when O'Brien had asked a fairly serious question about TA's lack of appeal to women voters - which, you might note, was never answered.

Nor has it, that I can find, been seriously addressed anywhere else. Tony Wright, 'The Goanna', went down the smirk road about 'the sterner women in the political firmament'. The notoriously reactionary Miranda Devine was using the growing volume of muttering about Abbott and women to launch yet another badly argued attack on that perennially unidentified rabble, 'the feminists'.

And post-spill discussion threads at the large left-leaning blog Larvatus Prodeo, if they mentioned the 51% of voters who are women and the implications this might have for Abbott and the Coalition at all, mentioned it only in passing. Most of the readers and commenters there are young and/or progressive and/or educated and/or enlightened men who mostly abominate Abbott, but little awareness appears in those discussions of the concrete, material, immediate nature of women's concerns and only a very few commenters made it clear that women's chief objection to Abbott is the unashamed way he has attempted in the past to enforce his own religious views on their -- our -- reproductive freedom, and no doubt will again. (That remark in the O'Brien interview about how he's not going to pull the wool over women's eyes was a warning shot across the bows, in case any of you didn't recognise it.)

It's not that the men discussing Abbott's electability in the MSM and at the blogs are necessarily opposed to women's rights. Some of them actively support them. They are not deliberately attempting to stifle or ignore. It's that they simply do not see women in conversations like this, when it is so much more fun to talk about tax and carbon credits, and likewise do not see the implications for the women's vote.

And while these things should not be sidelined as 'women's issues', the sad truth is that they are, even by the men one might generally regard as on side. And given the rarefied yet brutal world of federal politics, where Tony Abbott had successfully wielded enormous power at the highest national level within hours of being voted in as leader -- of the Opposition, mind you -- women need to stay focused on the realities of what he might do and how soon he might do it.

Most Australian women are too young to remember what life was like when abortion was illegal, divorce was a protracted and vicious nightmare of compulsory demonisation, you couldn't get a prescription for the Pill unless you were married, and keeping your own surname after marriage was rendered bureaucratically impossible by -- to take a random sample from personal experience -- the taxation department, the university and the pre-Medicare health insurance people, none of whom had the sorts of forms that would allow for it.

Those young-to-youngish women, more than anyone else, need to not drop this ball, because unless you're very careful you might find out what life was like back then. You and your daughters are the ones who would suffer most if a head-kicking conservative Catholic were ever to become Prime Minister.

What Australian women need to understand about the ascent of Abbott is that all this other stuff about Speedos and personalities and icky feminists is, compared to the real thing, smoke. The real thing, the thing that must be recognised and fought every inch of the way, is nothing less than an assault by stealth on your own body. It is not about annoyance or startlement. It is not about the ten-ferret pelt and the displays thereof. It is not about behaving like a bully-boy and standover merchant, which is the main thing that women disliked and distrusted about Mark Latham. It is not about a willingness to do anything that will disrupt or demean any woman standing up to him ... or even any woman standing up with him, as Julie Bishop discovered immediately after he became her new leader when he gave her a cuddle and a pat for the cameras and called her a 'loyal girl'. (And many thanks to the lovely Zoe for that last link.)

No, the real, crucial, immediately dangerous area for Australian women is the place where biology meets the budget or the law. No matter what fluff or snark you read in the Op Ed pages, what coy, snide, smarmy or foam-flecked references to the skittishness of easily-startled women or the hatefulness of not-easily-startled women, it's not about the mysteries of the female vote; it's not about Abbott's personality; it's not about anyone's behaviour; it's not, for the moment, about whether something is or is not perceived to be a 'women's issue'; it's not even -- again for the moment -- about the way this brand of conservatism seeks to diminish and control the place of women in society.

Here and now, in the immediate future, it's about that stick you pee on and what colour it turns. It's about the red dot on the calendar and how worried you are about it. It's about the condoms that have passed their use-by date unnoticed, or the contraceptive drugs that are not quite 100% effective. It's about stuff that every girl and woman of childbearing age has to think about, today and tomorrow and next week and the week and month and year after that. At 56 I am thankfully beyond being personally affected in this daily way, but I had my share, and I fear for women younger than I am, the shiny new fabric of whose post-feminist personal freedom may soon be put under unbearable strain.

It's about bodies, medical procedures, drugs, laws and money: Gardasil, RU486, abortion, IVF, stem cell research, no-fault divorce, access to health services without being nagged by fundies, and whether you, as a woman, want to choose between living a life of celibacy and taking the chance (and if you think this is unlikely, look around you) of various worst-case scenarios: living below the poverty line; looking after at least one unintentionally conceived child by yourself until the kid is 18 and probably much longer than that; forgoing any proper career in work that you love, any decent income, any role in public life, any power at all. It's about your own daily life-in-the-body: its dignity and its freedom.


Ann ODyne said...

A bravura post, thank you SLWC.

skepticlawyer said...

Very good post PC. I think it's very revealing that the concerns about Tony Abbott (and the RU 486 issue) have come from libertarians/classical liberals, as one can see in this thread over at Andrew Norton's:

clarencegirl said...

You have described the problem with Abbott accurately - one scary misogynist capable of haunting all our political nightmares!

Anonymous said...

One of my colleagues went to law school with Tony Abbott. He was saying yesterday that Tony Abbott's views on women (then) were about as reactionary as he'd ever seen.

He's a fundamentally deeply sexist man. There are bound to be issues well beyond reproductive rights and abortion that he would parlay into ways of putting women back into the kitchen.

Jen at Semantically driven said...

Was talking about Tony Abbott with a girlfriend who's much more politically savvy than me the other night and she would agree with you wholeheartedly. Thanks for writing this as it helps make more sense of him for me.

Anonymous said...

It's also, to give an example of something that's being debated right now, about the freedom of women to choose a private midwife without the requirement that she also employ a doctor to give permission to the midwife (or deny it) to do what the woman has asked for (that is, homebirth). And I can't see People Skills insisting on women's right to choose their own damn health professionals or respect the professionalism of midwives.

frog said...

And this is why I was astounded initially and then deeply, deeply suspicious of People Skills as opposition leader. Already the MSM seem to accept that because of his extreme conservatism, because he promises to be different from the ALP, that this makes him a serious contender with serious ideas. I suspect that we will hear less and less of the small 'l' liberals as media attention is consumed by the fire of Tony Abbott's righteousness. And that does not bode well.

Tatyana Larina said...

Thank you for this. This post addresses some very important points, which are, surprisingly, not adequately discussed in the press.

I also watched that 7.30 Report interview and was struck by how the 'women question' was quickly diffused with a Speedo reference. It was very disappointing that Kerry did not attempt to immediately return to the question and attempt to focus on this a bit more sharply; he is capable of conducting vigorous and focused interviews.

Devine is predictable, though (readers' comments on The Age site address some of her ridiculous assertions quite well). Devine re-introduced the term 'paleofeminist', but buried in that anti-feminist rhetoric, was also a hint that 'such women', although small in representation, are notable for their 'power', as they work in the media, and in and similar jobs. Their voices can be heard, their opinions might matter, so that was encouraging, at least.

Together with the important body/identity matter, this also has to do with the fact that such attitudes are completely outdated and out of touch with the progressive social currents, both here and internationally.

There need to be more voices addressing and publicly debating these concerns, as has been done here. The 'dangers' of archaic 'paleofeminists' or laughs about budgie smugglers obscure the main issues about the image of women's lives and their position in society that are reflected through this sort of politics. That fact should be disturbing to any woman (and man) regardless of her political orientation or choices regarding her reproductive and professional lives.

It's really good to read about some of these reflections. Please keep it up. And thanks.

Mitzi G Burger said...

Hurrah! Applause. This post is crying out to be read from podia, on barricades, from rooftops! One day it should be included in the HSC unit on 'Speeches' (Module B, Critical Study). I'd say 'encore', but, in this case, blongcore!

Peter said...

Great post!

While we are on the subject, do you have any comments on the self-declared "feminist" Ms Keneally? She might be not quite so scary, but she is already in power (sort of).

Anonymous said...

I just compared Abbott to the cleric who said that painkillers in childbirth was against the BIBLE. Queen Victoria promptly did just that. Squash! I also said the Liberals showed no respect for science and Abbott no discernible respect for women.
Tom Keneally's daughter-in-law? I like her already. Go Greens in Higgins!

Fred said...

Politicians and political journalists seem to inhabit a different world from the one in which we live. How anyone who has already alienated at least 50% of the population can aspire to be PM is beyond me.

dj said...

I think it is important to keep pointing these things out. Just because I can't imagine him ever keeping himself under control long enough to succeed in becoming Prime Minister does not mean it cannot happen.

tigtog said...

Thanks for laying it out so clearly, PC. I particularly thank you for the disturbing link about Abbott's student politics days - I hadn't been aware of those incidents. It makes a lot more sense of that breathtaking display of diminishment of Bishop as "a loyal girl" as if that was an accolade.

The budgie-smugglers fuss is just a distraction from his scarier side, and he's hanging onto it for dear life. It plays well with a certain section of the electorate who like to see physical fitness on display, it also plays well with those who like to laugh at any prudishness about speedos being worn at a surf club event. It's satisfying to take cheap shots at his speedos as daggy and at his ferret pelt as an inadequate display of manscaping, but at the end of the day they are still just cheap shots. It's far more important to stick to the important points about his lack of respect for women's own opinions at all.

Feral Sparrowhawk said...

It's a great post PC, but I do disagree with you on parts of it.

Take this "It is not about a willingness to do anything that will disrupt or demean any woman standing up to him ... or even any woman standing up with him"

I think this is very, very important (as I sure you do to). It's not for me as a man to say what matters to the women of Australia, but I think this sort of behaviour could be more of a problem than the issues you stress.

Why? Because it is very, very unlikely Abbott, even if PM, is going to get to do much about most of them. Even if he flukes a win, he won't control the Senate particularly since there would probably be a few Liberal women willing to cross over something like this. He could possibly stop the funds of the next generation of Gardasil if he's in at the right time, but the chances are pretty low.

OTOH, even if he never becomes PM, he is going to be a role model for a whole lot of young men. A nasty, vicious role model who says its alright to treat women the way described in that article you linked to.

Anonymous said...

If only this could be read in a broadsheet alongside the Devines et al. Great post, thankyou.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

TT, that link is a present from Zoe whom I have thanked in the previous thread but will acknowledge properly in an update, soonest.

FS, sorry, that's a misunderstanding that's probably my fault -- I may have been being a bit too much of a rhetorical smartarse for my own good there. There's an implied "even" in that long list of things, as in "It's not even about X, Y or Z" -- what I was actually saying is that yes all of these things do apply and are important, but the bottom line, even more important than anything else, is the attack on women's autonomy, the invasion of our privacy and the representation of our bodies as incubators that are all implicit in the things Abbott has said he stands for and the things he has already tried in the past to do.

We can't sure he won't control the Senate, either. Look at the power he has already wielded there, from the Opposition position. Look at two of the people who have ended up holding the balance of power in the Senate in the recent past: socially conservative Catholic Brian Harradine and Family First senator Steve Fielding.

And the other thing is that of course my phrase 'by stealth' and penguinunearthed's excellent word 'parlay' refer to some of the tricks Abbott resorted to when he was Health Minister: trying to enforce pre-abortion 'counselling' (= paying Christians government money to nag unhappy pregnant women into having the baby), trying to stop RU486, blocking free access to Gardasil and so on. I wasn't imagining him being able to impose straight bans on things, more the kind of steady back-channelled erosion that went on under Howard -- only more so, faster and worse.

Legal Eagle said...

Very interesting post, PC. I was thinking on some of these lines yesterday when some of my colleagues were discussing ETS etc. I said that my mind, the important questions with Abbott are whether he has the power to impact on women's power to get an abortion, divorce, etc. That's what worries me about him.

Feral Sparrowhawk said...

I don't want to threadjack on why I'm confident Abbott won't have the numbers to push his agenda through the Senate, but I do acknowledge he can wield some power in that regard in terms of blocking things the government might put up - at least for the rest of this term.

And I'd also say that I think the appropriate role for men of goodwill is to be worried about whatever it is that worries feminists. So even though I think the amount of rollback on abortion he can achieve is marginal, while the contribution he could make to the legitimization of abuse of women is serious, if the consensus amongst women like yourself is to be more worried about legal mechanisms than cultural issues then I'm happy to do what I can to back that up.

Anonymous said...

As usual you have cut right through to the nitty-gritty exercise of power. Wish there were more able to dig right through the smokescreens we mostly take in without much thought as recipients of the daily news cycle. It is very satisfying to think through the implications of what people say and do and often seeing a deeper truth about how we live in the world around us. How often such analysis is dismissed as "conspiracy theory"

The PR Lab said...

Tony Abbott was not wearing a "foolish hat". Those caps serve a critical purpose: to identify a surf lifesaver when he/she is far from shore making a rescue.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

'... if the consensus amongst women like yourself is to be more worried about legal mechanisms than cultural issues ...'

No, sorry, FS, I guess I still haven't made myself clear. It's not about being 'more worried' in a general way about the legal than about the cultural. It's more that cultural change happens over time, is harder to effect, and tends to be noticed only after it's happened, whereas, as we have just seen, Abbott and his henchpersons can scuttle an entire Senate bill just hours after getting elected to the leadership by mistake. 'Legal' type things can sometimes happen very quickly and unexpectedly.

What I was noticing in the blog and MSM commentary was a tendency for the various lines of argument about Abbott and women to dissipate and exhaust themselves, with a resultant loss of focus on the immediate material issues. Part of that was that most of the male commentators simply weren't seeing that for women it really is a matter of keeping his rosaries off their ovaries first, before we address all the other stuff. It's not that the assault on the body is necessarily 'more important' -- it's not a matter of hierarchies of importance at all, really -- but that it is more absolute and more immediate.

Or, as one might say to Abbott if one had the opportunity: 'Boundaries, dude.'

Peter Kemp said...

"...only a very few commenters made it clear that women's chief objection to Abbott is the unashamed way he has attempted in the past to enforce his own religious views on their -- our -- reproductive freedom,..."

Great post Dr Cat. I claim to be one of the "few", at LP with various references to coathangers, and for a comment that Abbott's policy and conscience now intersects in two particular areas, that "emissions cannot be capped"

There is no doubt in my mind that notwithstanding a plea by Abbott to forget his past, as it were, that being caught out in flagrante delicto on so many occasions in the past, cannot ever be forgotten, that he WILL try in future to send humanity, and in particular women back to the dark ages.

The account of women as nurses who fought so hard and for so long the rid us of back yard abortionists should be revived for the younger women to contemplate, whenever they consider voting for this wolf in sheeps clothing.

Zoe said...

What a great post. Perhaps some of those younger women you speak of will be prompted to think of a bit of feminist history, which is the best possible thing Tony Abbott could do for anyone.

tigtog said...

It's worth considering just how much his religiously conservative view on family planning of all kinds, not just abortion, is influencing his views on the urgency of addressing climate change.

There's a significant subset of the anti-AGW crowd who view claims of what is needed to minimise human GHG-emissions as simply stealthing the introduction of environmental-protectionist human population control measures - that people will be forced to use birth control and even abortion once they've had their one or two child quota. Most of them know how loony that sounds to the rest of us, China's example notwithstanding, so they don't talk much about it openly. But wander over to some of the more vituperative forums discussing climate change as a conspiracy, and this argument against AGW amelioration gets trotted out frequently. The two views mesh very neatly indeed.

Anonymous said...

Good post, PC

Ah, so many Tone memories in this household.... But the one that stands out was his delaying the introduction of RU486, when he was Health Minister.

I'm only a bloke, but as I understand it, RU486 is much safer than the old coathanger or very-hot-bath methods of the 1960s and earlier. This household, which is 50% female, believes (by a 2:0 majority) that Tone allowed his own views to colour his decision in that instance. The public deserves Health Ministers who make policy decisions on medical grounds. Oh, alright, sometimes on financial grounds too.

Undoubtedly that decision didn't cause casualties on a scale comparable with (say) wilful ignorance of AIDS epidemiology by Health Ministers in South Africa, but it was of a similar ilk.

We take a severe view of that kind of nonsense here at Dotage Cottage.

So it's not his pugnacity or his Pell mell race through public life, or being late to a debate, or swearing, or his silly responses to interviewers, or his swimming togs; nope: it's his actual decisions as a Minister.


Elisabeth said...

Brilliant post, and very timely.

I want to believe Abbott has no hope of getting the top job ever, but once upon a time I thought of both Geoff Kennett and John Howard like this and looked what happened.

Deborah said...

An excellent snark from Barvasfiend

Abbott, on the other hand, is a staunch Catholic who doesn't believe in science unless its in the form of a DNA test.

David Irving (no relation) said...

As I quipped over at the LP budgie smuggler thread, real men don't try to limit womens' reproductive freedom.

Jude said...

"First Abbott spins a serious question (and a very serious ballot-box issue) about his unpopularity with women"

Are you able to point to any polling that shows Abbott is especially unpopular with women voters or are you making this up?

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Gee, I'm surprised it took so long.

Jude, have you read the comments from the women on this thread? Have you read/watched the several things I linked to, all of which address the widely perceived issue of Abbott and women? Is it not apparent to you that even Aboott himself can see that there is an issue here? No, I am not 'making it up', and anyway if you'd read and understood the post, which you clearly have not done, you'd know that I was making an argument about why all women should have a problem with Abbott even if they don't yet.

And spare me your high-school debating gotcha points about how numbers are the only reality, please. I have been a scholar for a very long time and one of the first things I ever learned was that there are many different types of data and all of them can be manipulated.

Jude said...

"all of which address the widely perceived issue of Abbott and women"

You say perception, I say, given the absence of supporting data, cackling prejudice. Tony needn't care, many of us love him.

Zoe said...

You say "cackling prejudice", I say "who the hell do you think you're convincing, whippersnapper?".

Come back when you can finish and understand a book, let alone a blog post.

seepi said...

I can't wait for the day that someone (julia gillard?) gets to call tony a 'good boy'.

and the days of illegal abortion are not so long gone. In my state at least abortion was illegal perhaps 10-15 years ago, leading to awful stories of young girls hitchiking interstate to access services.

here's hoping tony does something stuupid sooner rather than later.

Joannie said...

My perspective of politics is in regard to the structuring of care (both parties). A blog that I touch base with from time to time is Our woman in Washington see:

I understand that the issues in the US are different, many more battles, but the fundamentals are the same. Have a look through and see what you think.

cheers, Joannie

dogpossum said...

Oo, good post. I've been feeling very uncomfortable with all the bare-chest-slagging on twitts from the 'lefty' side of the table, and it's nice to read something that helps me figure out my discomfort.

Also, I _really_ like it that you've taken up the issue of women not liking Abbott, esp in that dismissive line from him in the 7.30 Report. It made me cranky that he was suggesting the only way I could engage with him was via some sort of strange erotic gaze... Frankly, I couldn't give a crap what he looked like, and though I always applaud exercise, I'm not quite thick enough to think that the most important part of his political (or personal) identity is what he wears to the beach...

But the part that really annoyed me about that was the implication that I would be distracted by a bullshit argument about his body hair. Because, apparently, as a woman, I can't quite understand difficult political policy, particularly when I'm distracted by a man's body.

Anyway, while it immediately made me angry and a bit paranoid, this post was a delight to read.

Ampersand Duck said...

I can't add anything to the praise except more praise, and a thankfulness that you're out there, Pav, expertly able to make a general feeling of uncomfortableness into a concrete conversational rallying point.

Anonymous said...

Oh gawd, Pav, this is one time when you should not trust your friends.
Your rhetoric is leaden and thumping. You weren't on the Form 6 debating team by any chance ? You do irony so well. You don't have to resort to this kind of tub thumping crap. Leave the heartfelt. It only adds to the suspicion you've made it up, confirmed by the swing to the effing Libs yesterday.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Oh dear, everyone's a critic. I take it, Diane, that you're one of those people who think it's perfectly all right to turn up anonymously on some total stranger's blog and be a pig-rude smartarse.

I don't know where you get 'swing to the effing libs', for a start. There was a swing away from the effing Libs in Higgins, albeit smaller than expected, and in Bradfield the margin is also slightly less than last time. They are both blue-ribbon Liberal seats in which Labor didn't even bother to field a candidate. Personally I think it's quite amazing that Clive Hamilton got 42 per cent or so of the vote in Higgins of all places.

I'd put the literary critique on hold until you're sure you understand what the post is doing, if I were you. The post is looking at the way a particular widespread perception of Abbott has been represented in the meeja (again, follow the links, which I bet you didn't do, to see how broad that perception actually is), and it's arguing that women need to be more opposed to Abbott, to not be complacent about hard-won gains, especially young women who are too young to remember what life used to be like not all that long ago. It's a tub and it requires thumping. If you think the appropriate response to it is irony, then by all means go away and produce some irony of your own. Somewhere else, like.

Jude said...

"Although Mr Abbott has polled well behind Mr Turnbull in leadership surveys, and won the Liberal leadership last Tuesday by only one vote over Mr Turnbull, he outstripped his former leader in almost every category when voters were asked if he would make a better or worse leader than Mr Turnbull.

While more people thought the two leaders would be "about the same", Mr Abbott finished ahead of Mr Turnbull 28 to 21 per cent with his biggest lead in demographic groups among women, 26 to 18 per cent, and those aged 35-49 years, 29 to 21 per cent.",21598,26450818-948,00.html

As I previously stated, what Pavlov thinks are widely held perceptions are nothing more than the prejudices of a narrow band of feminists who are completely out of touch with what young women want. We want Tony!

tigtog said...

A poll comparing the opinins of people who are willing to even think about the Liberal leadership is hardly the same as a poll that is representative of the whole electorate, Jude.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

And as I stated earlier, Jude, sweetie, your figures would be very effective if they actually addressed what the post is arguing. The fact that the perceptions are widely held is not a matter of my opinion. Again, if you want to see how wide they are, follow the links in the post. Or perhaps you don't know how to. You're obviously not reading the thread, either.

I assume from what you say that you are a young woman -- as are many of the commenters on this thread who clearly want something different from what you want, so perhaps you're 'out of touch' with your own demographic. And you obviously have no idea what a feminist is, either.

"We want Tony"?? Oh well. It's true that there are indeed many women who would rather have all their decisions made for them, including what to do with their bodies and what path their lives will follow. Lots of luck with it.

Elisabeth said...

Wading in on this, I wonder why, you Jude, do not reveal yourself.

Your anonymity makes me wonder whether as Pav suggests you are indeed a young woman or perhaps a plant, a stepford wife or perish the thought a 'man', an Abbott sympathiser.

I too don't understand the point of your comments other than that you wish to be contrary or to insult your host.

You are unlikely to find any 'converts' here.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

If you do come back, Jude, whoever you are, perhaps you wouldn't mind answering a question. Why do you want Tony? What exactly is it that you think he stands for, and what is it that you think he will do?

Anonymous said...

Actually, Jude, if you read the stats in your chosen article, it suggests that of the 23% of [? voters] polled by Newspoll who prefer Tony as prime minister, most thought he and Turnbull were 'about the same' and 26% (of the 23%) were female -so that would be 5.98%, and then even less if you divided it by the age group percentage which followed. So - it is true. Some young women think that Tony rocks. About 3% of the sample, perhaps. And you.
But as Pav pointed out
Statistics lie
That wasn't the primary point, which was in my reading that Abbott's policies on issues of importance to thinking men and women are strikingly sinister.
Did you read Zoe's link?

tigtog said...

Heh. Even Andrew Bolt can understand how bad the polls are for Abbott when Andrew Catsaras explains it to him:

As Better Prime Minister, Abbott’s rating differential of (- 37%), which is the difference between the score of the Prime Minister at 60% and the Opposition Leader at 23%, is the lowest of all new mid-term Opposition Leaders.

Even immediately following an election loss, Kim Beazley in 1996 at (- 32%) and Simon Crean in 2001 at (- 36%), had better differentials than Abbott. Only Brendan Nelson, immediately following the 2007 election, recorded a worse differential at (-47%).

Also, Abbott’s score of 23% is the lowest of all new mid-term Opposition Leaders. Only new Opposition Leaders immediately following an election loss had lower scores.

Better Prime Minister Ratings mid term.

December 2009.....Kevin Rudd....60.....Tony Abbott.............23......differential 37

September 2009....Kevin Rudd....54.....Malcolm Turnbull....24......differential 30

January 2005........John Howard..58......Kim Beazley............31......differential 27

December 2003....John Howard..52.....Mark Latham............26.....differential 26

January 1995.........Paul Keating..42.....John Howard............37.....differential 5

December 2006....John Howard..39.....Kevin Rudd...............36.....differential 3

May 1994................Paul Keating..32.....Alexander Downer...38....differential (- 6)

Feral Sparrowhawk said...

Abbott's polling diabolically bad, as tigtog noted. The thing the Jude's and Miranda Devine's are *really* saying when they point to the absence of a gender gap, is that men hate him as much as women, even though they have less reason.

Well that's an achievement to be proud of.

frogpondsrock said...

Thankyou for this post.
Abbott worries me in that he is seen as the opposite of the very plastic Kevin. Which could garner him some support from the anti PC brigade. I was listening to a conversation in the pub and the consensus seemed to be that he was more real and blokey and as such was a better man.

jenjen said...

a bloody excellent post.

i was disappointed to see kerry defuse the seriousness of his own question - he gave that deflection to tony on a platter.

i'm not so much concerned that abbot will be pm, but that his christian conservatism will legitimise rudd's christian conservatism.

ready for julia now.

Ampersand Duck said...

Yes, I can see the 'real' and 'blokey' factor would appeal to many. But that's just as much a worry: it smacks of people calling men 'good blokes' in the face of their having done something silly or irresponsible or downright stupid.

[WV = nobiger]

Veronica Foale said...

I feel I should just stand down here and clap. Very good post.

Also Jude? I'm a young woman and I very much DON'T want Tony. You may answer any questions on opinion for yourself, but please don't presume to answer on behalf of all young women. I resent that.

Anonymous said...

First things first, that picture was more terrifying than seeing my boss in speedos, I don't know what the fuck he's on about, cos as a lady-lover I don't want to see some d00d.

Secondly, the expression "'loyal girl'." is dry-retch inducing. When I found out T.A was the new Liberal party leader I cried a little to be quite honest.

Anonymous said...

Great post Dr Cat. Dogpossum said exactly what I think. I agree with jenjen too. Laura

peacay said...

Thanks very much for the post. I needed the schooling. I'm also glad to have the patronising sexism of Abbott pointed out -- I admit to being as tone deaf as the next bloke when it comes to seeing/hearing/recognising sexist tropes in casual banter. That patronising and dismissive language "good girl" &c - has always been so ubiquitous that the majority of examples go through to the keeper I'm afraid. I need the reminder of what it is and what it stands for.

David Irving (no relation) said...

The slight possibility that Abbott might once again get his grubby paws on the levers of power horrifies me.

My mother, for complex reasons I won't go into, needed to get divorced in about 1951. It took her about 6 years and I hate to think how much money-eating QC time, and was on the grounds of mental cruelty. (She left my father.) I was too young to understand what was going on at the time, but she said many years later that the whole experience was really fucking miserable (probably for my old man as well).

Abbott would like to bring those days back.

Michael said...

Your post was fucking brilliant

Anonymous said...

i was worried the young ones may not see tony as we have in the older generation pleased to read it here. i am a liberated catholic woman still love my faith but not his brand.

Anonymous said...

how can you make this blogg better know i stumbled upon it.
we need all woman and men to read this.

Anonymous said...

imagine if the divorce procedure going back to the dark days of the 50's the cost and time is one thing but the depression that depends on both partners and children would be horrendous.