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PM Abbott as Minister for Women only deepening inequality

Media Release
Christine Milne 22 Dec 2014

Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne says Tony Abbott has revealed himself as small-minded in both the climate debate and his view of women, after claiming his greatest achievement as the Minister for Women has been abolishing the carbon price, because "women are particularly focussed on the household budget."

"He might as well have said his greatest achievement was to help women buy a better iron so they can stay home and iron more often," said Senator Milne.

"Australia's Minister for Women should be achieving in the areas of workforce participation, closing the gender pay and wealth gaps, and tackling domestic violence. Tony Abbott is doing the opposite.

"This backwards Minister for Women considers workplace reporting requirements to be red tape. He doesn't want people to have information they can use to bring about a more equal society.

"The reason we currently know about workplace inequality is because there are requirements for business to report on women's participation, wages and where they are in the hierarchy of the organisation, but Tony Abbott is trying to abolish it.

"The federal budget tried to lift interest payments on higher education debts and is set to cut superannuation boosts for low-income workers, both of which we know will impact women more than men.

"The budget is cutting funding for legal services and housing affordability programs, making life harder for domestic violence victims. Women shouldn't have to choose between staying in a violent relationship or homelessness. You shouldn't be forced to stay in a violent relationship because you can't get the legal support you need or somewhere to shelter with your children.

"All Tony Abbott can think of to brag about is weakening Australia's response to climate change. His government has ditched the carbon price and obstructed global efforts to cut pollution. This hurts women everywhere dealing with extreme weather events, especially those in developing countries.

"This small-minded Prime Minister is condemning Australia to being a social and economic backwater. Everybody benefits from action on climate change, and the Coalition could start by packing up its negotiating table and restoring certainty around the Renewable Energy Target.

"A strong RET will help household budgets and ease climate change suffering around the world. The old coal generators can't compete with clean, cheap renewable power.

"What an insight into the mind of our PM that he should cite the abolition of carbon pricing as the best thing he's done for women in his role as Minister for Women. It's as if he's in that portfolio to make sure there are no real strides forward."


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