Misogynist or Misunderstood?

Recently, Tony Abbott has been labeled a misogynist by Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He has a less than stellar track record with women in the public eye, and yet privately he is surrounded by them. So is he a misogynist, or has he simply been misunderstood?

Here’s the history:

– In a 2010 magazine interview, Abbott claimed that his daughter’s virginity was a ‘gift’ that should not be given away ‘lightly’.
– As Health Minister, he reduced the number of abortions, adding it was a ‘national priority’. In this time he also tried, but failed, to block the introduction of abortion pill RU-486, limiting the autonomy women have in making decisions about their own body.
– Abbott commented in 1998, “What if men are, by physiology or temperament, more suited to exercise authority or to issue commands?”
– In 2010, when trying to appeal to a female audience about the carbon tax stated, “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”.
– Rejected the inclusion of Gardasil (the anti-cervical cancer drug) from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Furthermore, he stated he would not be getting his daughters vaccinated.
– As a university student, threaten a fellow SRC candidate by punching the wall beside her head.

Abbott’s wife Margie has publicly come out in support of Abbott, claiming that he does not have a problem women.

With this history, do you think Abbott is a misogynist?

Hello, my name is….

Who are the major national parties, and what have they done for you?

THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

– Abolished work choices
– Increased hospital funding by 50 per cent
– More help for pensioners
– Decisive action during the GFC
– Getting the budget back in black three years early
– Establishing a single national school curriculum
– Investing in new cancer research and treatment
– 1000 new nurse training places and 1300 new GPs
– Building Trade Training Centres in high schools
– Investment in renewable energy and infrastructure
– Tax cuts in the last three budgets
– Building the NBN
– Creating 235 000 new training places.

THE LIBERAL PARTY

– Eliminated more than $96 billion of government debt
– Restored Australia’s AAA credit rating
– Delivered jobs
– Higher wages
– Higher pensions
– Funding for health, education, defence and transport
– Productive workplaces

AUSTRALIAN GREENS

– 10,000 local green jobs in the economic stimulus package
– Fuel efficiency incentives for luxury cars
– An extra $30 a week for pensioner
– Inclusion of Exclusive Brethren businesses in the Fair Work law
– $50 million for public health
– Protection of youth allowance payments for gap year students
– Continued Medicare funded dental treatments for patients with chronic illness
– Protection for thousands of wind and solar jobs by fixing the renewable energy target
– Negotiating into the economic stimulus package a $400 million into a Local Jobs package

AUSTRALIAN NATIONALS

– Secured Parliament’s support for a review of foreign investment in agriculture and water assets
– Established a Senate inquiry into the Water Act
– Established a dams taskforce to develop proposals for new investment in dams
– Introduced a Private Member’s Bill to minimise the risk of fire blight and other pests and diseases to the Australian apple industry
– Led the fight to restore the live cattle export trade to Indonesian abattoirs with acceptable welfare standards
– Led the fight to restore Independent Youth Allowance eligibility to students in regional areas
– Introduced legislation to provide more control to indigenous communities on the regulation of Wild Rivers

Australia & The Security Council

Australia is vying for a place on the United Nations Security Council.
What is the Security Council, and why do we want a place on it?

The UN Security Council is one of the primary bodies within the UN. It’s primary function is to maintain international peace, security and order. The UN SC maintains powers that allows it to establish peacekeeping operations, international sanctions, and authorise military action.
The UN SC has 15 members, five of those are permanent members (China, France, Russia, UK and US), the other 10 are non-permanent members with a two-year term. The five permanent members have the power to veto decisions.
Australia is applying for a non-permanent membership for the 2013-2014 term. Australia is applying for four posts; New York, Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi. By being a part of the UN SC, Australia will have a say in how international security policy is developed, how international crises are dealt with and if a military intervention is required. It will keep Australia more up-to-date on international affairs and will have a say in developing global strategies.
Currently, the ALP support Australia being a member of the UN SC, however the Coalition does not. This makes Australia the only applicant that does not have support from all its major political parties.

Gay Marriage

What’s the debate?

The current marriage act in Australia states that marriage is to be between a man and a woman. Same-sex couples in Australia are recognised as defacto, having the same rights as heterosexual defacto couples. Despite growing public support and lobbying by various marriage equality groups, same-sex couples are not allowed to marry in any of the states or territories in Australia.
The following is a timeline outlining the changes to the marriage act and developments in marriage equality;

Marriage Amendment Bill (2004) – the then Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock introduced the Marriage Amendment Bill 2004 which incorporated the common law definition of marriage (marriage between a man and a woman only). In June 2004, the bill passed the House of Representatives and on 13 August 2004, the Senate passed the amendment 38 votes to 6. This amendment also stated that same-sex couples who married overseas would not have their marriage recognised in Australia.

Same-Sex Marriages Bill (2006) – Senator Natasha Stott Despoja introduced a private member’s bill that aimed to reverse the changes made to the Marriage Act in 2004. The bill stalled and is still on the Parliament’s current bill list.

Same-Sex Marriages Bill (2008 – Tasmania) – Greens MP Nick McKim introduced the Same-Sex Marriage Bill 2008 into Tasmania’s House of Assembly in July 2008.McKim introduced a similar bill to the House in April 2005.Neither bill has progressed to a Second Reading.

Marriage Equality Amendment Bill (2009) – Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young introduced the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009 which would legislate same-sex marriage. The bill would amend the Marriage Act 1961, removing all discrimination based on sexuality and gender, and allowing marriage regardless sexuality, gender or sex. The bill was rejected by the Senate on 25 February 2010.

2011 Conscience Vote – the ALP has voted in favour of same-sex marriage. Despite Julia Gillard personally opposing it, she has allowed members of the ALP to take a conscience vote (each member could vote based on their own decisions, not the party’s). This conscience vote saw the ALP voting in favour of same-sex marriage, with the conscience vote being carried 208 votes to 184.

Polling Pollies

Julia Gillard has recently received a boost in the polls; but what are the polls, and who controls them?
There are two primary polling organisations in politics; Nielsen and Newspoll. These two polls survey the opinions and political climate of contemporary Australia to assess approval rating of Prime Ministers, and potential Prime Ministers, as well as the approval ratings for given policies. These polls can give you an indication about the popularity of different leaders and general social approval of different policies. The higher the number, the more popular a leader or policy is, and the more people are willing to vote for it.

An example of a Neilsen Poll demonstrating population voting preferences.
Source: The Age.

Rolling with the Punches

Did Abbott intimidate fellow Sydney University SRC candidate Barbara Ramjan?

Whether or not you believe Abbott did throw some punches at the wall to intimidate, this debate raises further questions about our pasts, and by how much we can be judged for them. Do our pasts held true to our present character, and we be held accountable for the actions of our past? Or is the past best left in the past?
Here are the facts:
– Barbara Ramjan has said Aboott threw punches either side of her head to intimidate her after she defeated him in the SRC elections in 1977.

– Barrister David Patch, who was Ms Ramjan’s campaign manager, has supported Ramjan’s claims. Although he did not see the incident, he says she came to him after the incident to tell him about it.

– An unidentified witnessed as stated they saw Abbott throwing punches.

– In the Quarterly Essay, David Marr highlighted the incident, having researched it after the story was recounted at a 40th reunion.
– Tony Abbott originally claimed to have no recollection of the incident, and then later denied the incident ever happened.

 

Image

Tony Abbott boxing. Source: Herald Sun.

Do you give a Gonski?

GONSKI REVIEW.
What is it?

The Gonski Review was a report, headed by business man David Gonski, that reviewed school funding and the growing inequality that can develop in economically-disadvantaged schools. Commissioned by the Government in 2010, the report revealed that Australian schools need increased investments, fairer funding, stronger accountability and an independent National Schools Resourcing Body who would overlook the management of school resources.

The report found that:
– Student performance has been decreasing.
– The gap between advantaged, and disadvantaged, as well as high performing and low performing students is increasing.
– Current funding mechanisms do not provide equal financial support to all schools, resulting in an unequal distribution of resources. This means some school receive extra resources whilst other schools miss out completely on certain services.

The report concluded that:
– Australia must prioritise for its lowest performing students.
– All children should have equal access to the best quality education.
– Students should leave school without the necessary skills to participate in the workforce (such as literacy and numeracy skills).

Key points of the report can be read here:
http://afr.com/p/home/at_glance_the_gonski_report_eUZm5S2p7mMavty655MtYM