Six people and things that know as much about women's issues as Tony Abbott

Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott

Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

If there was ever an appropriate time to repurpose old Ben Kenobi’s “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced” (as if there’s ever an inappropriate time), it would be this week, upon the announcement that Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott would be returning the women’s advisory function to the office of Prime Minister & Cabinet.

After all, surely nothing strikes terror into the hearts of millions of women like the prospect of policy that affects them being handled by the man who says things like “I would say to my daughters if they were to ask me this question... [their virginity] is the greatest gift that you can give someone, the ultimate gift of giving and don't give it to someone lightly, that's what I would say.”

(That’s all a wee joke, of course, there are far more alarming things affecting women in Australia than Mr Abbott’s role as a 1950s gender politics quote generator, like the fact that Indigenous women are the fastest-growing demographic in Australian prisons. Since Indigenous Affairs is also being punted to the PM&C, maybe Mr Abbott will have something to say about this pressing issue, too.)

Yes, you could argue, as Mr Abbott himself did, that moving women’s policies, Indigenous Affairs, and Deregulation to the PM&C will "ensure that these key whole-of-government priorities are at the centre of government". But it’s difficult to dismiss the very real possibility that the almost total lack of women in Mr Abbott’s cabinet, as Anne Summers noted, “does not bode well for how women's policy will proceed under his stewardship”.


Alas, unless anyone has handy access to a clairvoyant with a 100% strike rate, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens when the Abbott government rolls its sleeves up and gets to work. All we have now is the opportunity to take comfort in gallows humour before the country slides back into the Dark Ages. So, In the meantime, based solely on his record on women’s issues thus far, here’s a list of people and things that would probably have just as much of a crack at being Minister for Women as Mr Abbott.

Tony! Toni! Toné!

Why not get the ‘90s Oakland soul superstars to reform and take on the women’s advisory function? This way we don’t even have to change all the official letterheads. And what’s more, we know they’re committed to providing the women of Australia with Whatever [They] Want: “Whatever you want/Girl you know I can provide/Whatever you need (whenever you need me)/Call 632-2135.” That’s more than you can say for any attempt to ring up Parliament House.

A box of raspberry leaf tea-bags

Every woman’s best friend! Good for cramps! Far less likely to cause searing headaches and existential agony!

Helen A

Who better to remind the women of Australia that they have absolutely nothing to complain about than the happiness-obsessed tyran from Terra Alpha, Helen A? This Margaret Thatcher-influenced villainess from Doctor Who’s 25th season banned sadness on threat of death; maybe Mr Abbott can take a few tips from her ruling techniques. Women of Australia complaining about a lack of maternity leave and childcare? Glue them to the floor with lemonade!


Mitt Romney

Or perhaps we could get R.Money and his binders of women in for a well-paid Australian sabbattical? After all, it’s not like he’s doing much these days, I’m sure he’d be glad of the distraction from his crushing defeat at the hands of an actual politician.


He might be a noseless overlord with a predilection for snakes and killing children, but the artist formerly known as Tom Riddle at least had a “cabinet” that boasted a better representation of women than Mr Abbott’s:

An inanimate carbon rod

Look, who am I kidding? We’re probably all screwed.


  • I wonder if a similar column about Julia Gillard would have been published on this website, or if it were published elsewhere how many columnists would have taken issue with it here?

    Date and time
    September 20, 2013, 7:54AM
    • It wouldn't have been because Gillard's cabinet boasted far better diversity. And Gillard hasn't said horrid, damaging things about women and indigenous people. Gillard didn't lead a campaign of hatred against Asylum seekers. And Gillard didn't block women's access to abortion.
      It's not the same and it won't be the same. Abbott is an apex-predator in our society - he's white, male, catholic, straight and rich. He can take it.

      Date and time
      September 20, 2013, 10:15AM
    • If you do a count of articles, there will be a much better balance between anti-ALP and anti-LNP on this paper than what you'd find in the Murdoch ones. Especially the choice of which comments to publish. I didn't vote either, but I do appreciate the humour. The one with Voldemort I found particularly amusing, thanks Clem for the Friday Funnies :)

      Date and time
      September 20, 2013, 10:34AM
    • I'm sure there would be, if Julia Gillard had said such things as:

      'I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons’

      'What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up, every year'

      'The problem with the Australian practice of abortion is that an objectively grave matter has been reduced to a question of the mother’s convenience'

      ‘… [a] bit of body contact never hurt anyone’ - when posing for a photo with teenage netballers

      I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak’

      Yep.... Tony Abbott, the perfect Minister for Women!

      Date and time
      September 20, 2013, 10:42AM
    • Are you serious?

      Date and time
      September 20, 2013, 11:22AM
  • Ficus plant!

    Red Pony
    Date and time
    September 20, 2013, 8:35AM
    • It nearly made it to Congress, after all!

      Date and time
      September 20, 2013, 11:11AM
  • Abbott as Minister for Women, surely he's just taking the p.... now!

    Date and time
    September 20, 2013, 9:00AM
    • Look, you can jargonise "womens issues" into obscurity or into exclusivity more honestly, for the benefit of taking control politically by a specialised group of well trained agents or you can be honest.Take your pick.

      Date and time
      September 20, 2013, 9:37AM
      • I nominate Stubbs!

        Getting the locals of Talkeetna, Alaska to agree to parting ways with the greatest mayor they have ever had could be a challenge, but the benefits would outweigh any cost.

        Date and time
        September 20, 2013, 9:41AM

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