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Now that Tony Abbott has lost his position as Minister for Women, Bronte O’Brien (in between fits of hysterical wailing) is searching for Australian women’s next leading man.
On Monday evening whilst the housewives of Australia were doing the ironing, we lost our Minister for Women.
The loss of Tony Abbott has left women around the nation gripped in mourning and frightened about what such a tragedy could now mean for women’s issues.
“We’ve lost a great crusader,” says Jane, a human rights advocate. “He showed us that the real problem was that men weren’t getting enough say on women’s issues. I’m worried now that men will be less represented and that it will be harder for their voices to be heard.”
When Tony crowned himself Minister for Women in 2013, there was mass celebration.
Tony was revered as generous; attracting wide praise for putting one woman on his first cabinet in 2013. He showed he understood the true political assets and qualifications of female candidates by drawing attention to their sex appeal. He was also applauded for his focus on women’s education as he worked tirelessly to land his daughter a scholarship to a design school.
His popularity soared when women saw how he took pains to carefully surround himself with females in front of the cameras. “I just knew he was genuine when I saw him holding hands with his adult daughters and when I saw him place that handful of female Liberal members next to him at press conferences,” says Sally, a mother of four who is careful not to double dip her paid parental leave.
Reflecting on Tony’s popular stance on abortion, Gabby, who enjoys the GST on her pads and tampons, fears the worst. “I’m worried that it will now be more convenient than ever to have rights over my own body and to decide whether or not I want to give birth,” she says.
Susie, an overpaid social worker who just received her redundancy package from an organisation that supports female domestic violence victims, is gravely concerned. “I’m worried that by losing Tony, there’s a chance that there will be funding changes to these services for women and that all the cuts he fought for will be in vain.”
Tony has set a high standard and women all over the country are lamenting that no-one else could ever, ever possibly be more suited for the role.
“Tony did a lot of hard work in that portfolio,” says Bette, a lesbian who respects that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman. “I’m just worried that it would be too much for a woman to handle. As he said himself, women just have different abilities for physiological reasons.”
“The only possible benefit of having a female Minister for Women is that we can pay her less,” says Lily, an Aboriginal woman who made a lifestyle choice to live in a remote community. “Even then I just don’t think we should take the risk.”
Although they are devastated, women hope that Tony’s suppositories of wisdom will live on through his legacy.