By Noely Neate
May 8, 2013
I was not going to go here, because all manner of Feminists, accredited and self-proclaimed, have had a say. Some I agree with, some I think are getting hung up on exactly what many of us on Twitter are always complaining about, that is, focussing on a ‘gotcha’ instead of the actual merits of a policy.
I would love to be like some who try to be ‘above it all’, like the so-called ‘Legendary feminist Eva Cox’ (Mia Freedman’s words), though unfortunately, Ms Cox’s defence of Mr Abbott with “what Tony Abbott was trying to say in a somewhat clumsy way...” does not hold a hell of a lot of weight with me.
Ms Freedman chose a rather provocative title for her piece when she came out to bat for Mr Abbott, “I’m defending Tony Abbott. Let’s go.“, again translating what Mr Abbott ‘meant’ for us poor dumb punters as “He was simply making the point – albeit a little clunkily…”
Yet other articles have used various excuses for Mr Abbott such as “off-the-cuff”, “un-intended”. Even Paul Kelly on Sky a few weeks ago had to always interject with “So I think what you are saying…”
The fact is they are probably right, he really probably did not mean for it to come across as it did.
Tony Abbott would be an absolute moron to offend such a large proportion of the population intentionally, so to a certain degree I am sure that the example he used as to why this policy, The Coalition’s Paid Parental Leave scheme is so important, was basically just a brain fart.
Before I go further down the Mr Abbott’s all-time Bloopers road, let’s be above the petty gotcha’s and look at THE PPL policy. To me it’s not very pretty…
Considering the Liberals are best mates of big business, it seems pretty stupid to be annoying them by smacking them with a Levy – (note the Libs are allowed to use the word ‘levy’ unlike the ALP or Greens levies, which are always ‘taxes’) – let alone telling them to fund this super duper ‘ladies’ special for him. “Australian Industry Group” has already publicly let everyone know they are not happy campers.
Now add in the fact that for the first time in forever there is dissent in the ranks. The Liberals for the past few years have been ‘tighter than (fill in the blanks)’ yet we now have three MPs and counting, and more muttering that they are not happy little vegemites, going against what they call “sound Liberal policy”. So, close to an election that is not a good look.
I am not sure why Mr Abbott is staunchly defending his policy. There does not seem to be any good reason, as we have a Maternity Leave policy in place that is adequate and most women I know are more interested in ensuring actually they have a job to go back to AND have affordable and accessible childcare when they do. So to put so many offside when the only ones who will really benefit are a few highly paid female executives seems pretty dumb.
For people who keep saying ‘business is paying for it, not taxpayers’, you are delusional. There is no way in hell a Liberal Government is going to put a tax on their best mates, the 3000 big earning companies in this country, without them getting a concession at a later date in some way, shape or form. If they don’t publicly fight this policy then you know that the nudge-nudge, wink-wink deal has already been done. When big companies get any sort of business concession that means less revenue for the Government and we taxpayers fill in the shortfall. Not to mention they will also double-dip (as banks tend to do) and pass on the so-called extra levy to the consumers of their products. So in fact, you, the taxpayer, will probably pay for Mr Abbott’s gilt-edged PPL twice.
So why does Tony persist with his PPL? Chatting over a glass of wine, all we can come up with as a reason is that Margie suffered when she had to leave her job to have Tony’s daughters and he has promised her that his expensively educated daughters of calibre will never have to suffer the deprivations she did. Who would know?
What I do know is that a perverse part of me actually wants him to stand his ground on this one for the sheer pleasure of seeing the IPA storm troopers throw tanties about it. They have already stated they don’t like it, and I would go so far as to say they are actually pretty pissed off about Mr Abbott not toeing the line on their ‘advice’. So part of me wants to see if Tony has the guts to stand up to them. I would pay tickets to that show!
Anyhow, back to my original point, Mr ER UM AH ‘slip of the tongue’ Abbott. This is where I feel our most serious problem is.
This is not the first time he has been struck by foot in mouth disease. Fortunately for Mr Abbott he has a forgiving media to explain away any gaffe and a public more interested in who got voted off The Voice last night, so he gets away with these sorts of misspoken statements all the time. To revisit the classics, visit “Tony Abbott gaffes” for a trip down memory lane.
My point is, IF Mr Abbott is to become our next Prime Minister as the Australian Media keep telling me he is, then how the hell will he cope with important non-scripted encounters? Look at the last 12 months alone. Prime Minister Gillard has had to negotiate with India, China and our conservative states on NDIS and Gonski. Even the easier stuff like the states may not be his conservatives mates in the future. The fact is he will not be able to have staff doing this for him. They can only prepare so much. He will not have the likes of Peta Credlin at his side 24/7 to make sure he doesn’t ‘miss-speak’. He will have to stand on his own two feet. I find that pretty scary, as at the moment the bloke shies away from a challenging live interview!
Let’s face it. Mr Abbott may be very good at saying NO, or three word slogans, but as for actually answering questions or interacting as a human in a real life situation UNSCRIPTED, the man is pretty much an epic fail. Maybe that is what we should be talking about?
If you would like to look at the D’oh! Peta graphic in a larger format it can be found here: Exposing Tony Abbott & The LNP – Memes & Stuff
PS: If the Coalition and Mr Abbott’s personal fan club News Ltd are putting up pieces like What about men of a high calibre Tony?” I am pretty sure Tony has a bit of ‘thinking’ to do :)