On Tony Abbott, “missing” ministries and women

So, once again that drunken asshole “real life” has conspired to keep me away from blogging; perhaps it too finds this stuff intolerable. Whatever. Jerk.

This week, my Facebook feed has been populated by people losing their shit over a lot of nothing, then an oddly muted response to “something”.

So, let’s try and take a look at this with the benefit of reason. That’s the trouble with the leftist crowd; they have lots of heart and figure they can apportion the extra “caring” to the brain to use in lieu of thinking. Physician, heal thyself and all that.

Oh my fuck, there’s no Minister of Silly Walks! THEY HATE SILLY WALKERS!

The first exodus of common sense from public discourse was around the newly unveiled ministry. Abbott had stated his intent was to “clean up” the volume of ministerial appointments, consistent with his theme of.. um… consistency.

Accordingly, titles such as the Minister for <Issue> were wrapped up into broader portfolios. And people lost their most beloved shit. “He doesn’t care about issues,” they wailed, clutching a well-worn photo depicting loss and anguish to their bosom.  “He just wants people to suffer”.

OK, so despite asking people publicly and privately for examples of how these changes had lead to specific policy changes that supported these dire pronouncements, I haven’t seen a shred of evidence to date that the streamlined cabinet has negatively impacted anyone. It’s almost like the hyperbole was… completely unnecessary!

Far be it for me to suggest that maybe we should judge the government on how they govern.

Women’s representation

I’m not going glib on this one, because I think it’s a serious topic. There’s two parts, so I’ll address them separately.

1) Women in the cabinet – merit v quotas

So we’re clear, I really want a gender and race blind Australia. There’s no viable basis for discrimination based on arbitrary factors and let’s face it, on honest metrics women are outperforming us white hetero males substantially. Using low tactics to keep women away from positions of leadership and authority is pitiful.

So, having said that, I agree in principle with Bronwyn Bishop’s sentiment that equality, achieved through quotas and not “merit”, is simple institutionalised discrimination. And, ugly paternalism – white men need to give women something they can’t have on their own.

However… However… I doubt the implementation side of this. Abbott lamented a ‘disappointing’ lack of women on the front benches, suggesting though that they were ‘knocking at the door’. Bronwyn Bishop defended this saying that promotion was on merit alone. And if we were being objective, which is less fun than a tired and I suspect inaccurate charge of misogyny, we would suggest the cabinet reflects the government’s promise (and mandate) to be “stable”.

Except, I doubt there are not talented and experienced women who could have taken these roles. So whilst the theoretical high ground belongs to the Coalition over Labor, the practical ground – which is more meaningful – is firmly Labor’s. And, whilst the six ministers promoted by Gillard from 2010 (of which how many stood down with her? :)) were done so to fill a quota, they were highly competent and engaged women and I hope some of them get Labor leader or deputy leader positions.

(Of course, if they elect Anthony Albanese, he’ll be a Simon Crean for this decade).

The Coalition had better consider a ministerial shuffle in the 2nd year.

2) Tony Abbott as “women’s minister”.

What a load of arse. Responsibility for women’s issues sat with PM&C (Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet; don’t underestimate a former public servant’s capacity to drop acronyms like… an acronym dropper) before being moved out in 2004. Plus, the Coalition’s pre-election briefing material advised that they would do this, so that women’s issues were not seen, or aligned with, welfare issues:

Whilst the current location of the Office for Women in the Department of Family and Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs provides an important link with the services and support provided by that Department, it risks marginalising the Women’s portfolio as simply a welfare concern.

I’m sorry but that’s actually not a bad idea. And the person with responsibility for women’s affairs isn’t Tony Abbott, it’s Sen. Michaela Cash of Western Australia. She should be in the ministry, I grant that but this is too factual and not juicy enough for impassioned, vapid leftists to rally behind as typical gross injustice. Won’t somebody please think of the children!

I would have liked to have seen science aligned with industry and digital economy, so that we could start to lead the world in alternative energy. I’d like to see a women’s portfolio that assumes most women are bright and don’t need white men to gift them advantage, and that inspires a future generation to enter politics. I’ll reserve judgement until we have results to review and assess.

People need to stop losing their shit over stuff they wish Abbott would do so they can hiss the villain. He may well preside over a cockup of biblical proportions; or he may confound expectation and deliver solid governance. My point is, you should judge the government on their governance, and not before they’ve had a fortnight in the job.


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