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Re-inventing Tony: why Abbott’s attempt to woo women doesn’t bear scrutiny

Tony Abbott is trying to improve his image with many women. But as I found out when I met him recently, no makeover can erase his track record of public statements and actions, especially on issues of…

The election is Tony Abbott’s to lose. But will weakness with many female voters cost him and will his record come to haunt him on issues like abortion? AAP/Lukas Coch

Tony Abbott is trying to improve his image with many women. But as I found out when I met him recently, no makeover can erase his track record of public statements and actions, especially on issues of clear gender sensitivity like abortion.

So will the Abbott re-invention as friend of all women be successful? My experience suggests no, at least not with those familiar with history.

Mixed messages

The defining political event of 2012 was Julia Gillard’s now world-famous “misogyny speech” to opposition leader Tony Abbott

It might not be enough to save her politically but it did enormous amounts of damage to her opponent. He knows it and is furiously working to repair his public image in the eyes of women.

If a recent episode of 60 Minutes is anything to go by, we’re set to see a lot more of the Tony Abbott “nice bloke” makeover in the lead up to the election in an attempt to undo the harm.

In the interview with Liz Hayes, Abbott’s lesbian sister Chris, his wife and daughters gathered to spruik his metrosexual qualities.

But the women of Team Abbott are selling a mixed message. On one hand, he’s definitely a changed man. On the other, he’s been misunderstood all along. And OK, Abbott’s said some nasty things in the past. But who in politics hasn’t?

Rewriting history doesn’t work with those who remember

Abbott is a champion of the mixed message too. He told Hayes he has “changed” and he’d like to think that he has “grown”. But as for the accusations of misogyny and sexism made by Gillard in parliament? They were not “fair” and not “true” of him. Not ever.

Confused? I certainly am, and I recently had the opportunity to discuss the issues with him in person, something the vast majority of voters will never do.

I witnessed the attempted impromptu makeover by Abbott in the flesh. Last month Madison Magazine invited me, along with Miranda Devine and Sarah Murdoch, to meet with Abbott and discuss political issues relevant to women. How could I decline? Of particular interest to me is abortion and reproductive health, and this is likely to be why I was invited.

Abbott was polite and keen to talk and gave every impression of being interested in what I had to say. But when I noted he was the first politician from a major party since the 1970s to break bipartisan consensus and politicise abortion, he denied he had intended to do any such thing.

From that point in the conversation I witnessed a fascinating, determined retelling of history by Abbott, along with a perfectly executed case of selective political amnesia.

The past is a foreign country, Tony Abbott does things differently there

It is worth recalling what Tony Abbott has undeniably said and done when it comes abortion as a political issue.

In March 2004, as Health Minister Abbott told students at the University of Adelaide that abortion was the “easy way out” and an “objectively grave matter” that has been “reduced to a question of the mother’s convenience”.

Tony Abbott as health minister in 2003. His comments from that era have not been forgotten by many women. AAP/Dean Lewins

He then pursued an anti-abortion debate in the media, referring to Australia’s abortion “epidemic”, encouraging other anti-abortion MPs such as Christopher Pyne, before being silenced by the pro-RU486 outcome in the parliament in 2006. In that parliamentary debate, Abbott described the abortion rate as “this generation’s legacy of unutterable shame”.

After being overlooked for the Liberal leadership in 2007, Abbott began the slow process of reworking his image, especially on abortion.

In his 2009 book Battlelines and elsewhere Abbott claimed he gave the Adelaide University speech after a constituent at an Australian Christian Lobby conference asked him how he felt about funding 75,000 abortions a year on Medicare.

At the recent Madison forum I criticised Abbott for politicising abortion. One glance at US political life demonstrates to how toxic life becomes for women once abortion becomes a vote-grabber. He responded by stating he would never have broached the issue in public, were it not for the question posed to him about Medicare that he felt he had to answer.

Who does Abbott think he is kidding?

No denying the record

Abbott has a long history of agitating on abortion in unnecessarily inflammatory language. In 2002, well before he was responsible for Medicare, Abbott addressed the Centre for Independent Studies describing abortion on demand as “part of a tendency to treat human beings as disposable throw-away-when-they’re-not-convenient-commodities.”

In that speech Abbott suggested that abortion might be relevant to a “serious debate” about the low birth rate. When I mentioned this 2002 speech to Abbott as evidence of his ongoing personal interest in abortion, above and beyond his role as health minister, he suggested I must have been confused about the year he delivered it. I wasn’t.

The debate over “abortion drug” RU486 saw politicians from all sides enagge in passionate and heated debate. AAP/MickTsikas

Abbott is desperately trying to present himself as an “ordinary bloke”, including by having his mates line up on the beach (fully clothed) and describe him as one to Liz Hayes on national television. But really, how many ordinary blokes spent their undergraduate student days campaigning vociferously against abortion and speaking at public forums with English Morals Campaigner Mary Whitehouse, and the Reverend Fred Nile, as Abbott did in 1978?

I have also documented attempts by Abbott and Pyne to meddle with the Medical Benefits Schedule in 2005, a move interpreted by women in parliament as a potential attack on abortion.

In person, Abbott assured me he could not remember this incident, but if it did occur, it was a simple administrative measure that “would have” originated from the health department bureacracy, not Abbott, and it had nothing to do with abortion anyway.

Another mixed message: Abbott can’t remember, but he knows he didn’t do it.

Some memories don’t fade

Abbott now declares that just like the Clintons he wants abortion to be “safe, legal and rare”, even though the Democrats have long moved on from this trite slogan .

Conveniently for Abbott, this sentiment puts him at odds with political outliers like John Madigan who can pick up the slack and continue the outraged rhetoric about abortion, while Team Abbott works on rewriting history.

But the reality is that Abbott has spent too much of his career - and life - making very political statements about abortion for any reasonable person to believe he could change his views at this relatively late stage.

I have no doubt Abbott wants abortions to be as rare as possible.

Another thing he wants to be rare are memories such as mine.

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122 Comments sorted by

  1. Gerard Dean

    Managing Director

    I read the author's article. Sadly, it does not merit commenting on.

    Gerard Dean

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    1. Dave Smith

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to Sam Smiffe

      I'm not sure that Gerard's comment really merited commenting on. Then again, your comment probably doesn't merit it either.

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    2. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Really? Kate is an actual woman of child-bearing age, who has recently had a rare opportunity to interview the aspiring PM, a man whose voluble public record since a very young man is saturated with what must amount to the most vigorous campaign against legalised abortion, at least in my life-time. So, the fact accepts the invitation, and puts this now decades-long opposition to legalised abortion to him, to his face, which he responds to without ducking for his minders, and you don't think it merits comment?
      Wekk, I think it's a piece most worthy of mention. Kate's experiences would even justify a heading: "Is Our Potential Next PM Hell Bent on No Other Issue At All Than Stopping Abortion"?

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    3. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Les McNamara

      I would also love to know what Miranda Devine thinks about all this. She is, after all, one of our best opinion columnists, a Pure Mathematician, linguist, US masters in Communication, journo, and mother. Oh, but the money shot is she is also a stark raving Roman Catholic.

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    4. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Steve Phillips

      Jeez, fancy a young woman having a 'biased' opinion about whether or not a potential PM intends to re-criminalise abortion? She must be such an unethical prejudice-ridden so-and-so.

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    5. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      OK Gerard, I will comment upon it.

      Thank you Kate. This is a very well presented, objective female view of the (mis) Leader of the Opposition without majority in the Liberal Party that has no policies or costings for the Australian electorate.

      Without any doubt whatsoever, Tony Abbott and his cronies are unfit to form a government for Australia

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    6. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      HI Kim ... get ready for the Jesuit Conspiracy should the most unfit politician in Australia be elected to government. It will make the Fascist successes in Europe during the 1920s and 30s look like a cakewalk.

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    7. Fred Bloggs

      Agent provocateur

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Hysterical much?

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  2. George Michaelson

    Person

    If his comments were made in the presence of Madigan and Murdoch, then there is corroborative evidence he tried to deny and obfuscate.

    Was he on the record when he said these things?

    The re-imaging of Abbott is only half as scary as the willingness of the public to believe the whitewash, which is only half as scary as the willingness of the public to believe the daemonization of GIllard.

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  3. Ronald Ostrowski

    logged in via Facebook

    This Abbott fellow called a dying man a malingerer. He said "shit happens" when commenting on Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan. Yet he is the anointed one by the self-proclaimed MSM king makers, and is supported by the journalistic class 110% when he constantly accuses a female PM of failing a character test .

    Abbott ran from the Lower House Chamber like some stupid schoolboy when Thomson (now an independent chose to vote with the Opposition). He promised to have a judicial inquiry…

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    1. Steve Phillips

      Nurse Practitioner

      In reply to Ronald Ostrowski

      The SAS guys I work with every day venerate Tony so dont go slagging him off at Swanbourne Barracks will you

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    2. Roger Crook

      Retired agribusiness manager & farmer

      In reply to Ronald Ostrowski

      Have you ever been on active service Mr Ostrowski? What Tony Abbott said is true, it does happen, sometimes by the bucket.
      The article, or is it a rant, was for and behalf of the Australian Research Council, written by Kate Gleeson and authorized by the Australian Labor Party.

      Who funds the ARC, anybody know?

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    3. Trevor McGrath

      uneducated twit

      In reply to Steve Phillips

      the dogs of war only want Tony so he will send them to war again.. dropping bombs on women and kids is fine, but letting a woman make her own choices...well that's just not on. Cheers

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    4. Ronald Ostrowski

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Roger Crook

      No,Mr Crook, I have not seen active service, but I was called up for National Service in 1970. So, I at least know what it is like to be a soldier, unlike Tony Abbott and many other politicians who would send young men and women to a war zone.

      There are casualities of war, and there is an acceptable way of talking about them as a statesman, rather than a war veteran in a war zone. I know of no world leader who has ever said "shit happens" when referring to their brave soldiers killed in action. So excuse me for breathing when I say that this is unacceptable, and, in my view, very insensitive to the relatives and friends of those who sacrificed their lives for this country. I also understand that Abbott requested to be embedded, for a photo opportunity I suppose, but his request was denied by the military because of the security threat this would have posed to not only him, but to those combat personnel who would have had the added burden to look out for him in a kill zone.

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    5. Jim KABLE

      teacher

      In reply to Ronald Ostrowski

      In support of your comments Ronald - a close relative was in Afghanistan recently. He had some some relatively caustic asides on his tales from there about the desk-jockey officers who would organise for themselves to be taken out on a patrol before ending their "tour" (putting all the patrol company at risk and abusing their officer status - a kind of bullying - when the men individually prepared their own meals/boiled up their own limited supplies of water/from limited heating mechanism - pushed the driver from the cabin (their usual sleeping zone) to outside so the officer could sleep in relative comfort) - all in the interests of what he said was their dinner party bragging rights about the war when once returned home! I am not surprised that macho-Tony was denied his bragging rights of a photo-on-patrol - putting "our" boys at risk for political opportunism - that he even asked suggests a level of incompetency one would certainly not need to have leading this nation.

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    6. Roger Crook

      Retired agribusiness manager & farmer

      In reply to Ronald Ostrowski

      So be it, language and how we express ourselves changes with time. WSC put it differently in his day when he said, 'War is mainly a catalogue of blunders'.
      As for sending men and women to war, again what a dreadful decision for what almost inevitably must be the lot of older men and women. Perhaps easier for those like Eisenhower, Churchill and JFK who had seen the horrors of war themselves, easier only in the way that they would know better than others what lay before the young flowers of their country.
      As for the rest of what you write I cannot comment, nor should I, as it is hearsay.

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    7. Roger Crook

      Retired agribusiness manager & farmer

      In reply to Jim KABLE

      Jim,
      Those stories have been around for as long as I can remember, 50 years since I saw it for myself. Those before me, veterans of Korea and WW2, with whom I served, told the same stories.

      At times I have been surprised when officers have survived. Yet, I have also seen officers who excelled in everything they did and whose authority and more importantly judgement, was never questioned. Even when the shit happened.

      That brings to mind advice from Field Marshall Montgomery to officer cadets at Sandhurst. It went something along the lines, 'Remember you can never command that your men respect you. What you can do is work ceaselessly at setting an example whereby you command the respect of your men by your actions'.

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    8. Jim KABLE

      teacher

      In reply to Roger Crook

      Yes, indeed. Thanks Roger for saying how wide the abuse of officer privilege/incompetency can be/has been. I do understand all that - for sure - and also that there are officers for whom the men serving under their direction would follow to the ends of the world! What I was trying to do was link one of those stories from personal knowledge - to the macho-posturing - in a war zone - of Tony Abbott.

      Oh, and Greg N. - this is a truly small world - and my family connections and friendships pretty much cover the planet - and you know - I feel that connection - and further - only a tiny percentage of refugees fleeing dangerous regimes/persecution around the world are at all interested in coming to this far distant and/or unknown part of the world (no matter our inflated sense of our own centrality to humanity) so yes, I reckon - pretty much on-shore processing/acceptance - allowing human dignity to these people!

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    9. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Jim KABLE

      Hi Jim ... I didn't know that Sydney University Regiment officers from Sydney's private schools went on active duty in Iraq & Afghanistan. They were a disaster during the 60s & 70s ... and appear to remain so.

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    10. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Ronald Ostrowski

      Ronald, dont let the facts get in the way of your political biases...and you have the hide to whine about the 'hate media'.

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    11. Fred Bloggs

      Agent provocateur

      In reply to Ronald Ostrowski

      Ever spent time in the Services, Ronald? Looks unlikely. Service men and women recognise that shit does indeed happen. Those from a sheltered upbringing might find it confronting, but hey, shit happens...

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  4. Peter Kington

    Raconteur, ideas man and food whore at Self Employed

    “safe, legal and rare”

    Speaking of mixed messages, it's puzzled me why the mainstream media haven't quizzed Abbott on the substance of this sound grab.

    Safe: not only is this about making abortion AVAILABLE to women in a hygienic way, it's also about implementing strategies to de-stigmatise abortion and to have women feel more un-judged for deciding to terminate a pregnancy. Avoiding the glare of public scrutiny is a key reason why women seek out alternative providers whose practice may not…

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  5. Chris Reynolds

    Education Consultant

    No doubt Abbott is a serial offender and a leopard does not change its spots, but watch the furious paddling under the water from now until election day and anyone who suggests the Emperor has no clothes will be dropped on like a tone of bricks for "playing the gender card" new hanging offence in the LNP playbook.

    Remember "political correctness" Howard's mantra?

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    1. Dave Smith

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to Chris Reynolds

      Chris,

      Are you trying to win a prize for mixed metaphors? If so, this is a pretty impressive effort: I count at least 6 metaphors in a single sentence.

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    2. Chris Reynolds

      Education Consultant

      In reply to Dave Smith

      Thanks Dave. So what do you think of the substance? Do you agree that Abbott is in full makeover/spin mode and that (more seriously) this represents a threat to good democracy because it is an attempt to cloak his real intentions?

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  6. Tony Simons
    Tony Simons is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Dodgy Director

    We should focus on Abbott's trademark mendacity (like Howard). None of his utterances can be taken at face value. A very divisive, toxic individual. And like Howard he continually shows his contempt for the electorate. And a hypocrite to boot with his cruel asylum seeker policy. He never reins in the weekly outrageous inflammatory utterances of Scott Morrison.

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    1. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Tony Simons

      "And like Howard he continually shows his contempt for the electorate."
      Is that that same electorate that voted Johnnie in four times on the trot? That same electorate who made him Australia's second long-serving Prime Minister? Pretty forgiving bunch for all that contempt, aren't we?

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  7. Andrew Hack

    IT Project Manager

    Being anti-abortion does not make you a misogynist. I can't find any other evidence in this article to suggest why he is.

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    1. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Andrew Hack

      Andrew - insofar as he is a bloke attempting to impose controls on women's bodies.

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    2. Dave Smith

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to Andrew Hack

      Maybe he had a domineering mother, or had a bad experience with women at an early age, or had a misogynist father as a role model. Who knows?

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    3. Andrew Hack

      IT Project Manager

      In reply to John Newton

      I realize this but it is based on flawed logic. The Catholic view is not about imposing controls on women's bodies for that purpose in itself, but about preserving the body of the child within the mother's womb. That is to say that view is that the child's right to life supersedes the right of the mother.

      While some may disagree on the point about where the life starts, it is hardly 'misogynistic' to espouse such a view.

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    4. Dave Smith

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to Andrew Hack

      Andrew,

      Well, that is perhaps why the author of the article nowhere asserts that Abbott is a misogynist. That is your strawman.

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    5. Marion Wilson
      Marion Wilson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired

      In reply to Andrew Hack

      A woman with many children is vulnerable to exploitation because she puts their needs ahead of her own. The children are hostages to control women and men like to control women, to keep them obedient and unquestioning of authority. The words "Barefoot and pregnant" is not a meaningless expression.
      Towards the end of 2004 Tony Abbott expressed concerns about the abortion rate, which he said is far too high. He did not know how may abortions by choice there were because that figure is not…

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    6. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Andrew Hack

      Andrew, maybe not. But the situation changes dramatically when you use your power as a Prime Minister to reduce the current overwhelmingly held value in Australia that the decision to have an abortion is ultimately the woman's to make. In Australia this is considered so important, abortion is generally treated as another medical procedure with appropriate high standards of care, and financial accessibility.
      As far as a public debate goes, it's over, done, dusten, and clearly won.
      While TA has every right to make his views very clearly known to his wife should she become pregnant, those rights do not extend beyond his own marriage, and as a male PM do not even extend to any women who draws breath.
      Abbott needs to Get. Over. It. Or get back to us when he grows a uterus.
      It is not even his place to comment on 'rarity'. The only factor that should be focusing our minds on the 'rarity' is that each costs money.

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  8. Clive Bond

    Retired

    I agree with most of what the author and commentators say however what is the alternative? Gillard has shown herself to be incompetent, a liar, a back stabber and deceitful. It's horrific. Here we have a marvellous country that is sliding down hill because we have leaders we don't trust and who have no vision or leadership qualities. For the first time in my life I am going away from the major parties and giving my primary vote to the SECLAR PARTY of AUSTRALIA. They have good policies and could make a difference given a chance.

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    1. Dave Smith

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to Clive Bond

      My God! He is voting for a party he can't even spell.

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    2. Chris Reynolds

      Education Consultant

      In reply to Clive Bond

      I thought you were describing Mr Abbott for a moment. He stabbed in the back (Malcolm Turnbull) and is deceptive (real Tony/phoney Tony?), incompetent (Where does one start?), I agree he has no vision or leadership qualities but, I would argue, Gillard does both. She has plans for policy which are far-reaching both social and economic. And she has done all this through a hung parliament - no east task.

      Rather than disillusionment with leadership we as Australians need to have a good hard look at what we expect of the political sphere as there is a reasonable argument to suggest that we get the leaders we deserve.

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    3. Phil S

      Physics PhD Student

      In reply to Clive Bond

      Clive: No, actually the MEDIA have portrayed Gillard as incompetent, a liar, a back stabber and deceitful.

      The fact is that she is no worse than any other politician. She is no angel sure, but she isn't the devil come to reign destruction on Australia either.

      Surely you must have noticed by now the continual bleating of the media, in regards to Gillards character and Labor policies. When any large corporation starts telling you continuously that someone/thing is bad, you should be immediately suspicious. What do they have to gain? Make no mistake, they are only running the anti-Labor campaign because they will get something out of it. Quite likely, it is due in part to the NBN, which could damage News Corps stake in Foxtel (for instance).

      Not that I want to discourage you from voting for a minor party!

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    4. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Clive Bond

      Yes Clive, Gillard is a liar, backstabber and deceitful. We call such persons..... politicians.

      But I would love to hear how you drew the conclusion that Australia is sliding down hill because of the failures of our leaders. In what way is it sliding down hill?

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    5. Trevor McGrath

      uneducated twit

      In reply to Clive Bond

      You must mean of course that The PM is just playing politics the way the men do..... so what's wrong with that.... after all thay are all in the same cesspool of a game. Cheers

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    6. Roger Crook

      Retired agribusiness manager & farmer

      In reply to Clive Bond

      I agree with Clive.

      We are a far better country, and a far better people, than we are portrayed in the MSM and, AND by those we have elected to represent and govern us.

      I know I am now, according to some, old. However I hate the current political climate in Australia.

      It is not who, or is it whom, we are.

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    7. Roger Crook

      Retired agribusiness manager & farmer

      In reply to Chris Reynolds

      The difference, of course, is that the PM deposed the PM, after reading Julius Caesar.

      Abbott & co were in opposition and in disarray.

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    8. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Clive Bond

      Clive, if you have ever been closely involved in situations requiring decisions be made quickly about abortion, the possibility of a new PM in just a few months taking away most of those decision choices suddenly makes the alternative extremely stark. I'm not convinced that TA will/would turn out anything like the anti-abortion zealotry of his youth. But we should all thank our lucky stars we live in a country where women like Kate are actually invited by the potential Abortionator to call him out. She does, He responds respectfully; she responds back skeptically. Not every issue runs everyone's matter. There are many things I could not give a damn about. But the prospect of young women suddenly being forced by the State to give birth to babies they do not want is one issue that does matter to me, even though it doesn't affect me personally.

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    9. Chris Reynolds

      Education Consultant

      In reply to Roger Crook

      So why is the difference significant if she can and evidently has done a better job. Politicians are not in pwoer to satisfy their sense of entitlement, outrage at the hand raised in impious revolt etc., they are there to serve. These points have recently been more than amplytillustrated by what you presumably would call the assassinations in Victoria and the Northern Territory. But most who espouse the high dudgeon How-dare-you-Julia about the change of leadership change in the ALP do not seem to recognise this simple principle. Politics is a rough business and you are judged by what you do: not by what you say.

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    10. David Rennie

      IT Consultant

      In reply to Clive Bond

      There's no doubt that this government aren't the most astute politicians on the block, but their policies are much better than the oppositions. Do we really want the country controlled by 'smart' politicians with dodgy policies.

      And as much as you claim that Julia lied, ie broke a political promise in the light of reality, about the carbon tax, hows does that compare with the blatant dishonesty of a politician who can state that "Climate Change is crap".

      All politicians have to change their policies when the reality of governing hits them. Abbot was lying about facts and totally disregarding the evidence for political advantage. Do you really want a government that ignores the facts and imposes their own beliefs on the country.

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    11. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Phil S

      Phillip, the pm and her gov did a stand up job of portraying themselves as 'incompetent, liars,back stabbers and deceitful.
      The author of this piece has done nothing more than a hatchet job on Abbott based on their differing views on the frequency of abortion.

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    12. Phil S

      Physics PhD Student

      In reply to John Phillip

      John: Right. Now that you have reiterated the point so elegantly, and provided so much evidence I am now totally convinced. All it took was for you to repeat the same 6 words again and I was convinced of your viewpoint!

      (that was sarcasm in case you didn't get it)

      Do you people really believe if you say something enough times people start believing you? I would be surprised if that tactic ever worked on this site given it is dedicated to providing evidence based commentary...

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    13. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to David Rennie

      David Rennie,

      Global Warming from increased carbon dioxide is crap! The globe has not warmed for 16 years, the same length of time for which it is claimed to have "warmed because of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide". During these last 16 years CO2 increased much faster than it did from 1979 to 1995. The IPCC ignores the warming since about 1850 to 1979 because the increase in CO2 was not sufficient, because there were times of rapid increase in T soon after the emergence from Little Ice…

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    14. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Phil S

      Phillip. I dont give a rats whether or not you're convinced. If you cant see this article for the ad hom on Abbott that it is you must be completely devoid of reasoning powers. You dont have to be sanctimonious or sarcastic, but obviously have chosen that path. A better way would have been to convince me that there was some truth to 'misogynist Tony' myth based on the author's insistence on the notion that all who oppose abortion on demand are misogynists. A very narrow view of waht makes a person.

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    15. David Rennie

      IT Consultant

      In reply to John Nicol

      John,
      I am sure you are aware that every year since 2000 has been hotter than every year before 1998 so you claim of no warming in the past 16 years is absurd.

      Tony Abbott said that global warming was crap, which indicates either his ignorance of his dishonesty. The relationship between atmospheric CO2 and warming is scientifically well established. It is the impact of other factors that the scientists are still unravelling to determine the overall outcome of the increasing CO2.

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    16. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to David Rennie

      David Rennie,

      First, yes it is well known that a green house gas such as carbon dioxide will cause warming of the earth. However, the debate has little to do with this basic fact which is well understood from the theory of gas absorption of radiation, energy transfer by collisions and the spectroscopy of mixed gases, an area in which I have worked for the best part of thirty years.
      However, as Jack Barrett, professor of Chemistry at Imperial College London and renowned IR spectroscopist, along…

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  9. Tony Grant

    Student

    Politically active females will remember and for many tertiary education was along time ago without a mortgage and a range of aged children.

    Many middle-income families are living the life, much communicated as "heaven on earth" McMansions and acquiring status.

    The media are doing a multimillion $ make-over of Abbott and with the medical establishment (botox and tranquilisers)!

    Short and long term memory loss in our political arena are much to do about "how good it is for me" is doing just fine.

    Gillard is looking more like the Abbott of "yesterday" being aggressive and loud while Abbott sits and looks on with...what have I done wrong?

    This years election is a go for broke by the conservative forces...Abbott's been told!

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  10. Daniel Boon

    logged in via LinkedIn

    The rabid one is Christopher Pyne now ... (what Abbot did to make Howard look a moderate)

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  11. Dianna Arthur
    Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Environmentalist

    Kate Gleeson's article bears republishing closer to the election - in case there is further memory erosion.

    I too remember Abbott as Health Minister Abbott, his attempts to ban the release of RU486 were vociferous as they were deceitful - deceitful because he claimed the drug was dangerous to women:

    "Mr Abbott has told PM he's received advice from the Chief Medical Officer that RU-486 has a higher rate of "later adverse events" that could require urgent intervention, than surgical termination."

    http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2005/s1507408.htm

    I have to ask if Abbott is truly 'pro-life', why he did not stand up to his boss, John Howard during the SEIV X tragedy? We need reminding that 353 people, including 146 children, perished on 19 October 2001, through deliberate inaction by the then Liberal Federal government.

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Dianna,
      You're not as confused as Kate claims to be are you by any chance with
      " We need reminding that 353 people, including 146 children, perished on 19 October 2001, through deliberate inaction by the then Liberal Federal government. "
      What actual proof do you have of such a wild claim?

      It is more than easy to find many various articles about the SIEV X as the web is full of such stuff in many topics, for instance:
      http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/09/18/1032054822434.html

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    2. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Greg North

      Not confused at all, Mr North.

      From the same news corporation:

      http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/05/22/1053585647492.html

      As the above article states the story is labyrinthine in scale:

      "Despite very careful wording, the cable [DFAT cable] reveals the politically sensitive and potentially extremely electorally damaging information that SIEVX did not sink in Indonesian waters as John Howard had repeatedly and emphatically claimed on Perth radio that morning (and continued to claim throughout…

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    3. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      I suppose it is all how you want to view these SIEV sinking events as tragic as they may be re loss of live.
      From the same reference
      " The SIEV-X stalemate has been broken. Last night, the unthrown children inquiry released explosive immigration department intelligence assessments to Philip Ruddock which prove that the government knew from the day Australians learned of the sinking that it sank in international waters.

      That's right, it sank almost precisely where Tony Kevin alleged it sank…

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    4. Jim KABLE

      teacher

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg: Christmas Island is hardly the back door - that would more likely be Sydney or Melbourne, surely (those arriving by 'plane)! No - Christmas Island would have to be our major front door entry into Australia. I'd like to see the welcome mats laid out for our brothers and sisters arriving there from Afghanistan, Pakistan (in the main ethnic Hazara) or Tamils from Sri Lanka! Those folk I know from those ethnic backgrounds would/are making first rate fellow citizens once they've crossed the minefield of Stop-the-Boats Abbott and side-kick kicker Molly MORRISON, that is!

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    5. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Jim KABLE

      Some people do have their way of twisting things Jim and you may want to refer to Sydney, Melbourne or any other city where people arrive by plane and need a passport and visa to catch a [lane to Australia unless you are an Australian or a Kiwi, both still needing passports and in the case of Kiwis a defacto visa is issued.
      There are even ports where people can turn up by boat and be doing it in a regular way by having a passport and visa.

      Christmas Island as the back door is a reference to irregular…

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    6. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Jim KABLE

      Kim,

      You must be really enjoying the current situation then when a few hundred per week arrive!! Don't forget, the result has been that about one thousand refugees have drowned who were in fact the direct responsibility of reduced boarder surveillance by Rudd and Gillard. The 353 who died in the Siev incident were equally tragic, but it was probably not possible for our navy to save them anyway and no action by the government or the Navy could be suggested as causing their deaths. Did the navy even know where to look for the boat?

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  12. Ken Swanson

    Geologist

    This is just another "misogyny" rant from an anti LNP victim feminist.

    The slurs of Abbott are not working sisters. If they were, women would be deserting Abbott in droves. Guess what? They are not.

    More women support the LNP than support the ALP/Greens coalition according to every poll. This has been the case for the past 18 months. Australian women are just not buying your bitter and twisted anger, which reflects that of Gillard herself.

    Conversely I am concerned at the scant attention the Conversation pays to the massive problem Gillard has with men. Angry, nasty anti male feminist bile is just not cutting it with the male voters. Why don't we focus on Gillard's gender shortcomings as well as the perceived ones you say Abbott has?

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  13. Terry Mills

    lawyer retired

    I have been trying to get a handle on Tony Abbott for some time, to get some sort of idea of his policies and his vision for Australia. I don't like this small target approach adopted by Abbott and I am disturbed that he will not subject himself to media or public scrutiny. I watched the 60 Minute program as I thought this might give some insight into the man but all we got was a stage-managed piece of puff about how female friendly he is. I wonder , do you have to pay for this sort of coverage ?
    I don't doubt that Abbott will get up at the September election but I worry that, in the interim, this small target strategy will continue, a strategy which I consider deeply insulting to the Australian people. I really want to see at least three debates between Abbott and Gillard and I want to see Abbott on Q&A doing a one-on-one.

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    1. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Terry Mills

      But Kevin Rudd adopted this approach before being elected.

      Man Made CO2 was meant to be the greatest challenge facing mankind (or some such drivel) and yet his Party forced him to abandon this deeply held personal belief, which he did.

      Abbott's personal views on abortion or Catholicism will also need to run the gauntlet of the LNP policy machine. The machine will win. What is the current LNP policy concerning abortion? Can anyone on this blog remind me?

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Terry Mills

      Tony Abbott may be the current LNP parliamentary leader Terry but he is not the totallity of the LNP just as Julia Gillard is not that either for Labor and so would it not be better to focus more on various party policies?
      You had Christopher Pyne and Peter Garrat on Q&A recently debating party education policies and that was most enlightening.

      According to Gillard, Rooty Hill aside, she is not yet campaigning and so you may have to wait for the official campaign period to get debates between…

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    3. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Greg North

      Lyndal Curtis I believe you refer to, Greg. Yes, I agree totally that these three stand out as being the only unbiased commentators on the ABC, apart from a few guests who happen to be invited onto Q&A and sometimes even on Insiders!

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  14. Jodie Goldney

    person in society

    You know, i don't think many women would chose to have an abortion as a contraceptive device....and I don't think that abortion is a path that any woman chooses lightly. Women chose to have abortions because they are aware of the enormous ongoingness of raising a child, and they are in situations where they know they will not have sufficient financial or emotional or other support to fulfil that role. Women have abortions because we live in a society where mothers are not paid for the care work…

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  15. Chris Richardson
    Chris Richardson is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Doctor

    Abortion is obviously your core area of concern. But there are logical fallacies with your position that makes it obvious that your assessment of Abbott is based on ideology and dislike...

    Conservative views on abortion do not make Abbott a woman-hater. Men are allowed to hold and express views on abortion, and Abbott is entitled to his. You seem worried that he will change the system to make abortion less available...he has specifically ruled this out.

    You need to move on...there are a lot of other pressing issues going on in this country that require the removal of this "government".

    BTW ..."THE defining political event of 2012 was Julia Gillard’s now world-famous 'misogyny speech' to opposition leader Tony Abbott'...really?

    It certainly defined Gillard as a vacuous opportunist unfit for the office of Prime Minister of Australia!

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  16. Jim KABLE

    teacher

    Well - I'm with Kate GLEESON on this man who would be pm. Reminds me of time-lines - from when I was outside the country (the early 2000s) - and takes me back to my early awareness of what existed for women once (my childhood in the 1950s and 1960s) when abortion was not freely and safely available - backyard abortionists and ruined opportunity for children at a later stage - or death. I couldn't believe in the "new" Tony from the moment he added the word "rare" to his recent comment on abortion. And now Kate you tell us that he took this from the Clintons - a phrase already long-abandoned by them! Devious is the face I see on the television news - and the voice I hear stuttering out its mixed dog whistle messages.

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  17. David Lamond

    Adjunct Professor of HRM & International Business at Victoria University

    Hi Kate, well you really got the "boys" in a lather, simply by presenting the facts. I'm put in mind of the book by Alain Sokal and Alain Bricmont, Les Impostures Intellectuelles" that they had to write when they'd taken the mickey out of the postmodernists with their pretend article and brought down the wrath of that group as a result. Seems like you've pressed similar buttons. As Dianna Art suggests, your article bears republishing closer to the election so that selective memory loss isn't an excuse then. Thanks for your work in the meantime.

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    1. Roger Crook

      Retired agribusiness manager & farmer

      In reply to David Lamond

      How interesting.

      Thanks for your opinion, David.

      So illustrative.

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  18. John Clark

    Manager

    I refuse to comment, but if I did, I would be inclined to say that the supposed inability of Tony to relate to women is an invention of the Labor Party. To the extent that it has been taken up has divided the Nation on the basis of gender. There is no defence to this label, making it a successful strategy. Fortunately there are still rational people who eschew the focus on the leadership who will elect the Coalition since it will best serve Australia's interests. PM Gillard will be despatched by Labor, not for her gender, but her demonstrated incompetence.

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  19. Bazzio Newton

    retired hurt at game of life

    The vile method of dissembling rhetoric is John Howard's gift to Tony Abbott & Australian politics.
    Whenever either speaks, it is like having giant slugs slithering through the aural canal.

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  20. wilma western

    logged in via email @bigpond.com

    Tony loves women - all those photos prove it. But does Tony accept powerful women? That's the relevant question. And just imagine if Julia tried to demonstrate that she likes men. Imagine the hooting.

    Thankyou for this helpful record of Abbot's stances re abortion . However I think the inclusion of Abbott's student record is a tactical mistake as most people accept that maturity and experience change us.

    By the way the DLP Senator Madigan is not an outlier. He hopes to hold the balance of power…

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  21. Edward Cannella
    Edward Cannella is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Zoologist

    If this article illustrates anything, it is that TA is a pathological liar and hypocrite. Unfortunately not enough effort is put on exposing his nefarious ideologies. Too much time is spent by so called journalists at all media outlets on the easy no effort stories - be they fact based or just perpetrating rumour. And in that time they have let this fool continue on his merry way without ANY scrutiny. I may not like the current government but I am distressed and frightened by the alternate.

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  22. Steve Phillips

    Nurse Practitioner

    Tiring and dissappointing.
    "playing the man not the game"

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    1. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Steve Phillips

      I agree.

      I admire our PM for her tenacity, in spite of the game that has been played at her expense by the MSM.

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    2. Steve Phillips

      Nurse Practitioner

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      The term applies to both sides equally.
      "2 wrongs never make a right"
      By defaming Tony the left are practising rank hypocrisy. The argument "they did it first" is childish.
      We all remember the hard time John Howard got at the hands of the ABC. Rightly so, it is the ABCs charter to ask the questions and hold the Govt of the day to account. But on no occation did I ever hear or read of John whining about it. Ive watched interview after interveiw with Kerry O'Brian and he was pasted by Kerry. But no complaint.
      So the message is: "toughen up princess".

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  23. Dania Ng

    Retired factory worker

    This article is so very insulting for many women. The author obviously thinks she can speak on behalf of all women when she passes judgement on Tony Abbott for holding to a moral compass which is so obviously different from hers. So what if Abbott stated that 'abortion was the “easy way out” '? Wasn't it? So what if he said that abortion is an ' “objectively grave matter” that has been “reduced to a question of the mother’s convenience” ' Isn't it? Indeed, I want him to hold the convictions he is…

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    1. Andrew Hack

      IT Project Manager

      In reply to Dania Ng

      As was Julia Gillard's speech incredibly insulting to any real victims of sexism. Any time bogus claims are made it diminishes the chance that when real victims speak out, they will be taken seriously.

      Anyone looking at the situation could see that it was a desperate attempt to draw attention away from the backing of Peter Slipper. Unfortunately there are the zealots who give credence to this blatant hypocrisy. The hypocrisy being that LNP criticism towards Julia Gillard is over policy disagreement and government failure. It has nothing to do with her being a woman. However, it seems that she is more than happy to try to exploit her situation to score some political points.

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  24. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    I should not be too surprised that you claim to be confused Kate, especially when you want to relate to what might have been said in 1978!
    Like, that was all of what?, just 35 years ago and Tony a mere 20YO, certainly in nappies Julia would tell you seeing as she claims to have been young and naive in her early thirties when a salaried partner of a law firm doing whatever she might be either proud or not too proud of.

    And then you would want to draw a line between change and growth it would seem…

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    1. Andrew Hack

      IT Project Manager

      In reply to Greg North

      In her younger years Gillard was a member of the Socialist Forum which was a group that comprised of members of the Communists Party of Australia among others. As Julia has mentioned that amalgamated into the Australian Fabian Society of which she is still a member as far as I am aware.

      The stated purpose of the Fabian Society is to bring about a socialist society through gradual and incremental change.

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    2. Jim KABLE

      teacher

      In reply to Andrew Hack

      When I was a youngster I was a Seventh-day Adventist. At various stages through my career I have worked with and associated with Catholics, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Jains, LDS-folk, etc. I was an active member of my teacher union and of a number of Professional Associations (ATESOL/ETA/MLTA etc). I have lived in a number of countries around the globe. I speak to lesser or better levels a number of other languages. My neighbours have been from China, Viet-nam, Italy, The…

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    3. Abbie Noiraude

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Andrew Hack

      If ever, Andrew, you end up disabled, sick, or with a disabled child, partner, wife or parent, thank your lucky stars that a ( albeit partially) socialist society here in Australia will support, help and direct you to live as best you can with public help.
      If Abbott et al ever get to have their power then they would wipe out all 'socialist ideals' and I will be coming to live on your doorstep for under a capitalist system the poor, needy and disabled have to be cared for by the family or nearest and dearest.

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  25. Venise Alstergren
    Venise Alstergren is a Friend of The Conversation.

    photographer, blogger.

    Excellent article KATE GLEESON. Thank you for bringing this aspect of Tony Abbott to the fore. How can anyone believe Tony Abbott would modify his stance on anything to do with women's reproductive capacities? Not only is the man a Jesuit but his great hero is the late, unlamented Bartholomew Augustine Michael (call me Bob) Santamaria-another Jesuit who as leader of the DLP virtually rendered Australian politics in the 1950s into a condition of sterility.

    Then there is Brian Haradine (IND) another Jesuit who, when called upon by John Howard who wanted to ensure the passing of the Telstra Bill, gave Howard his vote on condition that Tony Abbott would be moved to the health portfolio. Once there Abbott did everything in his power to thwart women from using contraception. RU486 anyone?

    Tony Abbott can work his nuts off trying to pretend he has modified his beliefs. He hasn't, I can assure you.

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  26. John Bryan

    Retired

    Politics - the ART of disagreement - I remember that from years ago. Regardless of the issue politics always involves disagreement.

    Think abortion. Or Murray Darling. Or gun control.Or Afghanistan.

    And power is not everything...it's the ONLY thing. Without it pollies go through the motions... the chattering class.

    Think Julia and Tony; no holds barred.

    I'm suspicious of adjectives like 'attempted, impromptu' makeover. How about 'selective, political amnesia?' And 'determined re-telling. Kate's right; Tony's wrong. Tell me about it.

    Will Tony be any better than Julia? I don't know but like Julia he'll do his best. Give him a go.

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  27. John Q Citizen, Aussie

    Administrator

    But Tony Abbott has sought to change his stance. He admits it, his whole being is about getting HIMSELF into High Office anyway he can, on Polling Day.
    Why debate the obvious? The diehard right who will defend like and the diehard left will always champion their cause with the usual stupidity.
    I'm disaffected ALP, so now you all know.

    One of the issues which one post here has already made is how the media has demonised julia gillard and its quoted chapter and verse by the public at large as…

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    1. Roger Crook

      Retired agribusiness manager & farmer

      In reply to John Q Citizen, Aussie

      If John Q Citizen Aussie is your real name then I apologize in advance.

      If, as I suspect it is a pseudonym, then what you write has the same value as your name, none.

      I believe it is also against the rules to use a pseudonym.

      Why one should be frightened to put one's name to one's views is beyond me.

      At least you had the grace to say goodbye.

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    2. John Q Citizen, Aussie

      Administrator

      In reply to Roger Crook

      Roger
      Merci
      I will assume you are not as disaffected, and hold similar views to several of those who have posted and are of the liberal national persuasion, as is your perogative!!.

      I also attach little to your scratchings, in fact as I do to my neighbours jack russell, small, at times charming, but mainly in prompt need of veterinary assistance.
      au'voir, band du connard

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    3. Roger Crook

      Retired agribusiness manager & farmer

      In reply to John Q Citizen, Aussie

      Pas du tout, monsieur. Je n'ai aucune affiliation politique et je n'ai jamais été un membre d'un parti politique. Je crois toujours si vous souhaitez se tenir aux barricades, alors vous devrais porter vos couleurs, même si elles sont trois.

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    4. Chris Reynolds

      Education Consultant

      In reply to Roger Crook

      Mais que veux-tu? Que ton pays se jetterait dans la poubelle? Sinon il te faudra ecouter bien la liste de bienfaits qu'a gagne notre premier ministre distingue.

      En effet tu devrai changer profondement l'avis.

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    5. John Q Citizen, Aussie

      Administrator

      In reply to Roger Crook

      An exmaple of a leopard changing its spots to suit his environment, or for summer and moult. A winter coat will soon be upon us..again.
      Playing the man or in this case, the woman is poor form. A leopard may change his spots for the summer. His minions though do his bidding as they have not changed their spots! believe the 'new tony abbott' if you have to. Deride julia gillard if you are a misogynist, if you are not a misogynist then why personalise it with gender and fear.
      The current opposition…

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    6. Roger Crook

      Retired agribusiness manager & farmer

      In reply to Charles Prentiss

      Je ne suis pas tout à fait sûr de ce que vous essayez de transmettre. Je vais revenir à anglais, comme cela semble être ce que vous comprenez.

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  28. Pat Moore

    gardener

    Abbott's dated patronizing and sexist attitudes towards women are on the record including his mixing of church prejudices with political policy on abortion....confusing medieval church judgements against women with those of the state. And private matters with public.

    Jodie Goldney's post needs to be reread by a lot of male posters here to understand the reality of unplanned pregnancy and the effects upon women of denial of responsibility by the father. The Abbott lost son epic of a few years…

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    1. Roger Crook

      Retired agribusiness manager & farmer

      In reply to Pat Moore

      'Read Christopher Stone.'
      Pat,
      Which one?

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    2. John Q Citizen, Aussie

      Administrator

      In reply to Pat Moore

      Yes Pat, you are right, these questions need answers. i don't think you or the rest of us will get them here. Just the same rhetoric and intimindation..which does bade well for those who are taken in with sweet words and smiles!
      The devil is in the detail, he is also knocking on the door!

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  29. Dale Bloom

    Analyst

    I almost blew the froth off my milo when I read that Julia Gillard had labelled herself a “strong, feisty woman”.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/feisty-julia-gillard-accused-of-misogyny-slur/story-fn59niix-1226600921268

    She certainly doesn't woo men.

    Unless they get all excited and impressed if someone calls themselves “strong” and “feisty”.

    I actually laughed, but was not excited and impressed.

    In fact, I got about as excited and impressed as the time I read her famous feminist screech in Parliament.

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    1. Chris Reynolds

      Education Consultant

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      The use of the word "screech" shows us all where you are coming from Dale. Not much balanced analysis evident from these remarks I fear. I suggest you keep the personal abuse for the comment columns of the MSM where you will find plenty of coments like this one.

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    2. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Chris Reynolds

      Well the speech didn’t ring or resonate.

      It didn’t create a vibe.

      It just didn’t.

      Julia Gillard now struts her stuff, and proclaims herself to be tuff and strong and feisty, and not easily offended.

      It also means that her famous feminist screech was all show.

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  30. Pat Moore

    gardener

    Roger Crook, that reference is to

    Christopher Stone, Centre for Policy Development
    "Big Society: How the UK Government is Dismantling the State and What it Means for Australia". Murdoch & Abbott/News Ltd lunches/holidays are the common denominator.

    Two more realpolitic Abbott items of recent interest is on Australians For Honest Politics website... Graham Perrett MP written request to AFP to expediate the investigation into the Brough/Pyne/Ashby/Doane/Abetz etc conspiracy to bring down the government via Slipper.

    And David Etteridge, formerly of One Nation, suing Abbott for damages over his false imprisonment on Independent Australia site.

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  31. Lindsay Davis

    logged in via email @hotmail.com

    An interesting article. However I want to ask two questions that I have never seen asked in any discussion concerning women's issues or Tony Abbott;
    1st Do the fathers of these potential children have any say in the decision to abort or not? After all if the lady decides not to abort he is financially liable whether he likes it or not. And the father just may have wanted the child.
    2nd Why is it that a person who has a view on issue can be automatically considered "anti" on a whole range of issues that have not been discussed? Especially when there are many examples of behaviour to the contrary

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  32. Janeen Harris

    chef

    It is strange that Tony Abbot is antiabortion seeing that he is also anti single parent payment. If these children were born, would he be happy to see the govt. provide adequate support so they could grow up? I think not.

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  33. John Nicol

    logged in via email @bigpond.com

    I understand from the moderators that one of my comments on this blog has been removed. Unfortunately no indication has been given as to why this was done, as to how I have transgressed the standards (which are clearly set out in the documentation from The Conversation) or whether there was any complaint from other participants in the conversation.

    I am also unable to find the spot now from which it might have been removed.

    I therefore apologise to anyone who may have been offended by what I had said, even though I do try to remain polite to all and to stay "on topic'. I am hoping the moderators will let me know the details but in the meantime, I would appreciate if anyone could let me know why my comment might have been inappropriate. Thanks to all. John Nicol

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    1. Fred Bloggs

      Agent provocateur

      In reply to John Nicol

      Don't hold your breath, John. Justification of such decisions is not a strong suit on this site.

      Passive-aggression is the order of the day.

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  34. Lee Emmett

    Guest House Manager

    I think it's up to women to make their own decisions - including the very difficult ones (often in consultatin witih their partners) about abortion. And I respect Tony Abbott's right, as a practising Catholic, to make his views known. What I have trouble accepting is that someone who uses one-line 'king-hits' instead of extended reasoning may actually become PM. If this happens, Australians will see public expenditure slashed across the board in the name of reducing the deficit, just like it's happening in all the states where the LNP has come into office. Then the gap between 'rich' and 'poor' will become wider, boat arrivees will be towed back, and maybe there will be hunters in all the national parks. Oh deer! (sic, indeed).

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  35. David Kinnear

    community worker; musician

    Loved the literary historical reference to L P Hartley. I can still picture Ray Milland sitting in the back of the chauffeur driven Bentley (?) reminiscing about the premature and brutal (psychologically) loss of his childhood innocence in the film version of The Go Between.

    I see the future... an unloved and embittered Anthony Abbott (retired Pope... note: he becomes only the second Pope to retire in six billion years! Howzat?? Long live Pope Joan...) reclining in the the back of his government funded Popemobile, eyes closed, a half smile accruing across the jolly-jelly-japing jowls, days of yore dreaming of serving wenches deftly sweeping the scone crumbs from around his sacred thonged feet after another successful morning tea, while a porcelain and peach Veronica Lake lookalike (not again!) draws his annual bath...

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    1. Chris Reynolds

      Education Consultant

      In reply to David Kinnear

      All may seem despair on the Government front, but hope still lingers as long as the education debate in this country remains viable.

      The one thing every parent aspires to is the best education possible for their child. While government schools continue to carry a grossly disproportionate responsibility for those with disadvantaged backgrounds (i.e.92% of the poorest 20% attend government schools; 83% of indigenous; 78%of students with disabilities;72% of ESL students and 80% of refugees) just…

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