Who is this fool Tony Abbott,
The arch chauvinist downunder,
Who’s been made toast of, ‘Welsh rabbit,’
Trying to steal la Gillard’s thunder?
Thought he’d shame her but roused her anger.
Which brought her fame instead, world over,
Like another Aussie ranga,
Songwriter, feminist moreover.
Has the man no brain? Does he think
Disproving claims of his misogyny
Is easy, like changing ties from blue to pink,
Or parading his wife and female progeny?
It’s a fortnight since that Question Time on October 10th when Tony Abbott’s tasteless taunts about ‘shame’ over ‘sexism and misogyny’ in supporting Peter Slipper, drove the PM just too far. “The Speech” she made then has been tweeted, emailed and linked throughout the world wide web to millions of women, and to men too, of course. I have written about that and every time I read of the overwhelming approval of people responding to her I am reminded of another Aussie red head who did so much to change the world for women, Helen Reddy. In fact the I Am Woman song has been reverberating through my head for days now. It wasn’t just the lyrics and the music, but pictures of her, even the nose, remind me very much of the young Julia Gillard who would have been much inspired by the I Am Woman message of female liberation.
In the fortnight since the speech went viral on the internet and twitter there has been much written about the PM’s supposed misuse of the word ‘misogyny’ and Macquarie Dictionary’s updating of the definition to its more complex meaning about general prejudice against women, rather than simple hatred. Most of that argument has come from the Opposition and its media supporters who have conveniently forgotten that it was the LOTO himself who raised the term and kicked an own goal.
The government itself has largely moved on from the topic but I see that Menzies House have mentioned it again today with their article titled Tony Abbott You’re a Goose After all this talk about sexism and gender wars they could have found a better title, after all he should be a gander. Well a gentleman at least, which is what the writer thinks that Abbott should be. David Russell thinks that Abbott’s attitude to and ruthless treatment of Julia Gillard, though not technically misogynist, is seen as beyond the pale, and is losing him electoral support. I guess today’s 50-50 Newspoll explains his warning to Tony that he’d better change his ways. Otherwise he is in danger of going down in history as infamous as Sir John Kerr, the arch Labor traitor of 1975, rather than the Liberal Party hero who is supposed to win government for the Coalition in 2013. So, if Menzies House is rattled and questioning Abbott’s leadership, it looks like that speech has helped Julia Gillard in promoting her as a feminist hero and not hindered as many predicted. And even if they don’t call Tony Abbott Australia’s Prime Misogynist, they certainly want him to change his ways, and soon!
If Labor gets back because of you and your blind spot for Julia Gillard, Kerr may appear as a saint by comparison. You are so close to being out of time, Tony.
PS My suggestion that our Tony would find it easy to change the color of his tie was quite wrong, it seems. Joe Hockey, yes, does wear pink ties, but Tony only ever blue!