open letter to the liberal party: six reasons I will never support tony abbott
Dear Liberal Party of Australia,
Wow! What a hectic few days! I imagine you’re feeling as I did in high school, when my friends would find themselves in melodramatic and deliciously juicy situations, and I would relish in the drama because I wasn’t at all involved myself. Such fun!
But really, Kevin Rudd’s decision to challenge PM Gillard for the top job has been rather effective in making you look good, hasn’t it? You’re sitting pretty on polls while the ALP loses credibility, and if I’m completely honest with myself, it has crossed my mind a few times over the past few days that you’re looking like the more stable party. Plus, I saw Malcolm Turnbull on ABC’s Q&A last year, and thought he was quite funny and charismatic: traits that I otherwise didn’t think were to be found in your politicians (sadly, you appear to have learned nothing about popularity contests winning elections since Kevin 07’s landslide win).
Let’s get serious though.
I don’t agree with privatising healthcare and education (though in the interests of full disclosure: I did attend a private school and think I received an excellent education) and was pretty dissatisfied with the Howard Government apparently rallying to provide the wealthy and powerful with further wealth and power. So these fleeting thoughts that you might be better equipped to run the country than the ALP at this point really rather shocked me. But in truth, voting for you is something that I could potentially, possibly consider doing, if it weren’t for the fact that Tony Abbott is your leader.
Granted, I do find it disconcerting that this is the person you would choose to represent you, so the sheer fact that he holds this position at all illustrates that our values are not even close to aligned. But I thought I should express why I’m so vehemently opposed to him that the Liberal Party will be at the bottom of my preference list come election time for as long as Mr Abbott is in charge (and although I realise it’s been a contentious topic, my concerns have nothing to do with his swimwear).
1. He thinks women belong in the kitchen
“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 and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up, every year….”
Translation: Ladies, if you don’t do the washing up yourself, you are literally going to ruin everyone’s lives.
2. He is racist
He really speaks for himself on this one.
“Even if dispossession is taken to mean that government has a higher responsibility to Aborigines than to other Australians, the production of beautiful art and connectedness to the land does not warrant the maintenance of a way of life also characterised by unemployment, substance abuse and domestic violence. If people choose to live in difficult to service places, that’s their business.”
“…Jesus didn’t say yes to everyone. I mean Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it is not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.”
“Now, I know that there are some Aboriginal people who aren’t happy with Australia Day. For them it remains Invasion Day. I think a better view is the view of Noel Pearson, who has said that Aboriginal people have much to celebrate in this country’s British Heritage”
“Aboriginal people’s high incidence of chronic disease, substance abuse and domestic violence are a function of unemployment, lack of education and very isolated living, not official neglect.”
And then there was that whole Tent Embassy thing.
3. He is anti-choice
I know the spin is pro-life, but I feel like I’m actually being quite generous in describing him as anti-choice, rather than anti-woman.
I really don’t care about his and his wife’s reproductive decisions, and likewise, he should have zero investment in mine, or those of any other family. The only arena in which someone should be able to have their say or exert any influence as to whether a child is carried to term is where they have made a genetic contribution. Obviously he is entitled to his own views, but they shouldn’t play a part in what is or is not in my womb, or that of any other woman.
He has described abortion as a “culture”, an “epidemic”, and “a convenient exit from awkward situations”. He stated in 2004: “Why isn’t the fact that 100,000 women choose to end their pregnancies regarded as a national tragedy approaching the scale, say, of Aboriginal life expectancy being 20 years less than that of the general community?” (see point 2). This quote rather effectively explains why he’s not actually pro-life; he wants women to have children they don’t want and/or aren’t ready for, but doesn’t appear to give a shit about the children and adults who are already alive and suffering health crises in Australia.
Reproductive decisions are personal, and they’re private, and yet Mr Abbott’s attempt to veto the introduction of RU-486 six years ago indicates that his views are ones that he wants to impose on every woman in Australia.
4. He supports at-fault divorce
In his 2009 book, Battlelines, Mr Abbott suggested that at-fault divorces should be available to the Australian public. That’s right: he wants people to have the option to legally blame their partners for the dissolution of their marriage. He didn’t explicitly say it was to create hostility, compel friends and family members to take sides, or contest any future financial support, but you’d be daft to think these wouldn’t be the outcomes.
5. He’s homophobic
Tony Abbott has said that homosexual relationships challenge “orthodox notions of the right order of things”. He has also said that he feels threatened by homosexuality, perhaps because same sex relationships threaten his idea of an Australian society where women serve their male partners.
6. He thinks people (mostly women) should save themselves for marriage
When asked about pre-marital sex in the Australian Women’s Weekly in 2010, Abbott responded: “I would say to my daughters, if they were to ask me this question, I would say … it is the greatest gift that you can give someone, the ultimate gift of giving and don’t give it to someone lightly, that is what I would say.”
I don’t think you should have sex with the first douchebag who leers at you either, but that virginity is a gift? Virginity isn’t even a real thing! It’s a construct that positions people (predominantly women) who haven’t had sex as having something that those dirty, leg-spreading tramps do not. In fact, “virgins” are lacking something: carnal knowledge of another person. How about instead of “losing the virginity”, we talk about “having the knowledge”.
‘Do you have the knowledge?’
I think it could take off.
People, of course, say things that they regret or later change their minds about. The fact that many of these are recent quotes and public stances about which Tony Abbott has not expressed any remorse or reconsideration aside, someone who has historically held racist, sexist, homophobic, archaic views, and been unable to separate said views from his political career, is not someone I want running this country.
This is who you have chosen to represent you dear Liberal Party of Australia. The prospect of PM Abbott is one that will ensure my vote stays firmly away from you for as long as he is the leader of your party.