Where, oh where, are the women of calibre?

There must be something really strange happening in the Liberal Party (and, I suggest, the coalition overall). Is there really NOT more than ONE woman of sufficient calibre in the Liberal Party to rate a cabinet position? The ONE woman that did make it has, effectively, been demoted. Julie Bishop was the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and could reasonably have expected to be Deputy Prime Minister, but no, that position is now filled by yet another man. Well, there was a choice of 17 men in Cabinet other than the PM himself!

The current Australian Cabinet

The current Australian Cabinet

Tony Abbott made a big song and dance about ensuring we financially enabled “women of calibre” to be able to breed. Clearly breeding is much more important for women than being involved in RUNNING THE COUNTRY!!! Oh, dear, I forgot the ironing: breeding and ironing.

Tim Dunlop wrote a brilliant piece, The intelligent design of Tony Abbott’s new cabinet for The Drum.

The anger of certain men at rising gender equality is this resentment’s most obvious manifestation, and we can expect that those who jeered at Julia Gillard will be the same ones cheering, or rationalising, Tony Abbott’s one-woman cabinet.

Tim goes on to look at other aspects of this shiny new government, such as no science minister! NO SCIENCE MINISTER! I just cannot accept this as rational thought, until I look again now at Tim’s article and read his words a second time, “Science comes under particular attack, because it is the great dethroner of religious power.” Yes, I can see that. I am surprised the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hasn’t been dismantled, actually.

Prior to the election we had the whole Sex Appeal in Politics thing and when I went to vote the local Liberal Candidate was a young woman. The Liberal Party won 58 seats and have a mere 11 women sitting on those seats. The Australian Labor Party won 55 seats and have 19 women.

For those not inclined to crack out the calculator so late in the day, that is 19% for the Liberals and 35% for the ALP.  I have to ask where are the women prepared to represent the Liberal Party? Seems the ALP finds some of sufficient calibre to actually get elected, even in a losing side! Why can’t the Liberals? Is it perhaps because real women of calibre are not all that interested in having their worth measured by their sex appeal?

I am not at all impressed, but as we know, I didn’t expect to be impressed. I am not even going to talk about the fact the Office for Women now falls under the very man who is only interested in a woman’s worth as an ironing breeder.

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26 comments on “Where, oh where, are the women of calibre?

  1. […] Then again, maybe we DO need to breed those “women of calibre” so we can get some in a Liberal cabinet! While I have no philosophical issue with people on the dole (NewStart) doing something to receive […]


  2. I agree with a lot of what you are saying but it’s my understanding that the deal with the nationals is that the deputy prime minister has to be chosen from their ministers, so while I really think it’s wrong that Julie is not deputy it couldn’t happen in line with their arrangements.

    As for the maternity leave scheme I have no problem with paying women their normal income while they are on maternity leave. The current situation was certainly less than helpful when I went on maternity leave and as the sole income earner in my family as it was not enough to cover our basic living while I was on leave. The only women it truly benefits are those who earn less than a full weeks minimum wage (generally those in low hour part time work), the choice between less than you can survive on or returning to work early is what the majority of women face under the current arrangement. I certainly wouldn’t describe myself at that time as a high income earner or a woman of calibre but had the more expensive regime been in effect my contribution to the workforce would have felt more valued. I think there are other solutions than the government paying for the leave such as allowing families to store some of their income each week in a leave bank, but I don’t understand why people take issue with women’s actual income being supported while they are on leave?
    I know this wasn’t the crux of your article but it’s something you brought up and I’m really interested in understanding people’s resistance on the subject.


    • Yes, I understand their arrangement with the Nats. Doesn’t seem to apply in opposition though, which is very odd in itself.

      As for the maternity leave, if you click in the link, you will see my rationale with a link to an opposing view. You might prefer the opposing view! 🙂


  3. Politicians are shallow, self serving, egotistical, lying, cheating, thieving, hypocritical, back stabbing, two faced scumbags. Therefore if politics is dominated by men it only proves the point that there are less women that are vainglorious, self promoting, low life, self centred criminals than there are men of such ilk. You said ‘where are the women of cailbre?’ Politics is a realm which proves that scum floats to the top. All people of calibre are working for low wages doing jobs of work that involve caring for the people around them and making a difference to humanity one person at a time; an example of this would be nursing and oh my goodness there are more women in nursing than there are men. That’s where the women of calibre are. Doing the real work; the work that matters. You won’t be short of women campaigners and you won’t be short of women in businesses that treat workers well and trade some profit for some humanity. There I’ve said it. Politicians don’t do anything really so it’s not really a job for a women as women on the whole don’t waste time and like to actually achieve something as opposed to sitting around looking important the way men like to. My example; Peacocks. The male walks around looking impressive, but achieves nothing. The female dominates and does all the hard work. Anyway what makes anyone think that the people they vote in and the parties they elect are actually in charge of anything anyway? Very rich business men with influential lobbying groups run our countries along with of course the long serving civil servants who are the decision makers. Political parties and elected governments are just there to make you feel like you have a say in what happens. Sorry, but it’s true. If politicians were actually in charge of things the world would be in a bigger mess than it is already is. The truth is that elected politicians soon find out that they have no real power and they slip into the well worn furrow of going through the motions and trying to stay popular so that they can keep their job next election time and that’s why very few women choose politics as a career, because on the whole women aren’t fooled for long and they quickly find out that politics is a waste of time. I’d say there are more female lawyers and judges in the UK than there used to be and that’s a real position of power where one can make a difference.


    • Richard, the “women of calibre” has to be taken in the context of Mr Abbott’s “pronouncement” that we needed massively expensive parental leave to allow “women of calibre” to breed. 😆

      The link is up there if you missed it originally.

      I do think many people enter politics with the objective of serving their country – but get soured by the political game. Democracy is not a perfect political system, but then I am not sure what is really. Just about all of the existing political systems have flaws.

      I, of course, would make a wonderful benevolent dictator though! 😉


  4. Spot on Robyn, yet again, you, Betty & I are on the same page. IN fact I don’t even think it is just a feminist issue. Over 50% of a nation are being disenfranchised when it comes to representation in high office!

    Normally the media are all over an issue, if there is a plane crash we have them interviewing every expert under the sun even remotely connected to aircraft issues, industry reps, crash consultants you name it. YET this happens and sweet FA? Where have the ‘opinion’ been sought on the news programmes from the Diversity Specialists, the Workplace Relations Specialists, Feminists (and I mean real ones not Mia & other girly magazine people), Discrimination Advisors, etc… Unless I have missed it, not a one? All we have heard is either “The ALP have criticised…” or “Senator Boyce…” (and sadly in the case of Senator Boyce the focus is still on OMG someone in the Liberal party criticised the Liberal party WTF!). The likes of Karl smiling at Lisa saying something inane like “Not a good look for women Lisa…” is not exactly a comment or statement of substance.

    Sadly, too many women are OK with this and have brought into the ‘merit’ BS! Until the media and more people in authority speak out about this, I think it is a very very slippery slope and will set back equality decades 😦


    • Agree wholeheartedly and thanks for the support, Noely.

      If the tables were turned, there would be an absolute outrage! Can you imagine Ian Maxwell’s comments if this article was about ONE man in Cabinet? The eleven women is sad enough, let alone the solitary female representation at cabinet level.

      I just had someone on Twitter say this website should be on the front page of every paper in the country – I WISH! 😆 But yes, you are right – no specialist opinions sought or published in the mainstream media that I have noticed either – unless maybe on the “women’s pages” perhaps?

      WTF are we teaching our children via this stupidity – and it IS stupidity!


  5. Great article Robyn. Amazing that even in 2013 we are still having arguments about women’s equal participation in society. It isn’t about quotas, its about equality & justice. If the previous government was run by “femo- nazis” as suggested by Ian Maxwell, there would have been a Cabinet of 19 women and 1 male. Imagine the outcry. On the use of the term “femo-nazi”, I find this to be incredibly insulting & dismissive. As Rebecca West 1896 said ” I myself am unsure what a feminist is: I only know that is what I am called every-time I try to distinguish my self from a doormat”


  6. Reblogged this on bettsie and commented:
    Highly recommended reading!


  7. What you write about our new government, Robyn, is quite thought provoking.
    I am curious how this new government is going to effect our lives. Is it going to be very different from what our lives were under Labor? The split in the Labor party, was this really terribly bad for the country? Do people think that under the coalition there is going to be absolute unity and this is going to bring the country forward in every way? Or do people just want the status quo to be upheld? As you say, women breeding and ironing. However despite all this there are always going to be a few women who are better qualified than a lot of men.
    Another thing that bothers me is who thinks about ideology? Is this not important any more? The majority in the country could not care less about ideology. Is that it?


  8. I would assume that if such women of calibre were available, they would hold the types of positions mentioned. The mere fact they do not does not require a conspiracy or some type of predjudice. Do you have any actual evidence that some type of systemic discrimination is at work here or are we just assuming? I believe the Liberal Party does not use an arbitrary quota system like Labor. Thank god for that. It is a simple fact that women chose to work shorter hours in softer jobs, closer to home than men. That is why feminist have been able to peddle their pay gap fairytale, despite nearly half a century of equal wage legislation. Why is not possible that there are not women who have actually earned these positions of power mentioned?


    • ” that women chose to work shorter hours in softer jobs, closer to home than men ” ??? Rubbish. SOME do, but SOME men do too, or choose to live on the dole.

      We deserve representation that reflects the community.


      • I am afraid what I am saying is fact & the way you reject it out of hand does reflect the manner in which feminists deal in fantasy rather than reality. This refusal to contribute equally which accounts for the so-called 13% wage gap between men is also the reason why the Howard government was voted out in 2007. The post-electoral analysis there was that legislation introduced to force welfare dependent mothers to do a token few hours work each week – once their youngest child had commenced school – was the main reason the government was ousted. Ironically, I remember Maxine McKew gave her cliched girls can do it speech – despite the fact she had been voted in for the opposite reason – & then commenced to do nothing herself before being booted out in 2010. A telling statistic is the one about enterprises run wholly by women being around 20% less production than male ones, on average. This is again because of the reasons mentioned: the fact that women do more often chose to work less hours in safer, softer jobs closer to their homes. This has been the big thorn in the side of feminism which has seen it retreat from women can do anything a man do types of philosophies toward a women should be paid to have kids line. If the world wasn’t already over crowded that might be feasible, but we are able to maintain population through skilled immigration Really, there is no need for maternity laws & a whole pile of other benefits mostly only available to women. We just need women to contribute equally & prove they can do everything we can do, like they have boasted so long. Instead, they have given us a selfish majority that blackmails governments into granting more & more undeserved & unjustifiable rights & benefits. Thankfully, Abbott has the balls to stand up the femo-nazi establishment & with some lucky, some of the unelected, unfairly promoted, man-hating quota queens lurking in the public services will be gone by the time he is a few years.


      • Abbott is the one with the women should be paid to have kids line: most of the women I know, including me, said it was crazy.

        You need to wake up to 2013, Ian. Actually, no, you need to catch up to 1973.


      • By the way, I didn’t “reject it out of hand”, I have what you might consider a “man’s job” and didn’t have time to indulge your male superiority fantasies! Not having a “soft” job and all, you see!


    • Try the Australian Bureau of Statistics website Mr Maxwell, where they compare like for like or read this from ABC for a synopsis. The pay gap “fairytale” is no work of fiction.
      Robyn’s, and I dare say almost every other woman’s, “out of hand” rejection, comes from long term and ongoing experience


  9. Hey Robyn, agree it’s a complete farce and it’s not just female representation but that there is so little diversity altogether.
    Not sure that many who voted for LNP really understood the backwood thinking of current Liberals but maybe they did. Sad state of affairs if that’s true.
    One thing though, I think the deal with the coition is that the leader of the Nats, currently Warren Truss, must be deputy PM which precludes Julie Bishop from the position
    btw, lent my copy of L v G to friend who loved it & is suggesting it to all for Secret Santa gift, go you.


    • Thanks re the book! Word of mouth marketing is the best! 🙂

      Yes, I forgot the National Party agreement, but how come it doesn’t apply in opposition?

      The lack of diversity IS a problem, but I felt tackling one aspect at a time was sufficient! I’m wordy enough at the best of times! 🙂


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