“Don’t ever try to tell me that my husband of 24 years and the father of three daughters is on some anti-women crusade” … Margie Abbott.MARGIE ABBOTT has launched an extraordinary rebuttal of claims that her husband, Tony Abbott, has a problem with women after a concerted government attack portraying the Opposition Leader as a misogynist began to hurt the Coalition in the polls.
In an unprecedented intervention by a political spouse, the normally private Mrs Abbott used a newspaper interview, breakfast television and radio interviews, and a speech in western Sydney yesterday in which she said the experience of having three daughters had made Mr Abbott a feminist.
”I’m not a politician and I’m not political – but just don’t ever try to tell me that my husband of 24 years and the father of three daughters is on some anti-women crusade. It’s simply not true,” Mrs Abbott told the lunch, which was also attended by Mr Abbott’s mother, sisters and one of his daughters.
”You get this – Tony Abbott is surrounded by strong women, in fact not only strong but capable women.”
The Deputy Opposition Leader, Julie Bishop, said the Coalition had decided about two weeks ago that ”enough is enough” after Labor mounted a campaign to reinforce perceptions that Mr Abbott had a problem with women. At the same time, it is understood Mrs Abbott was keen to hit back after growing tired of what she heard.
Ms Bishop said if Labor was genuine, it would immediately sever all ties with the embattled Speaker, Peter Slipper, over text messages tabled in his court case in which he uses obscene language to describe female genitalia.
”Labor has been quick to accuse others of sexism and misogyny,” Ms Bishop said.
”This is a clear challenge for the Prime Minister to withdraw her support for Peter Slipper as Speaker because of his obscene, sexist and misogynist remarks.
”We have heard a lot from female Labor ministers about sexist behaviour. Julia Gillard should withdraw her support for Peter Slipper.”
Published and internal polling shows Mr Abbott less popular with female voters. In part, this was helped by recent allegations he physically intimidated a rival female politician at university 35 years ago.
Then, in the wake of Alan Jones’s offensive comments about Julia Gillard’s late father, Labor again sought to implicate Mr Abbott by blaming him for creating the culture of personal denigration that encouraged the likes of Jones.
In her speech, Mrs Abbott indirectly drew a stark contrast with the Prime Minister, who has never married or had children, saying the Abbotts were an ordinary family that had lived an ordinary life.
”I don’t pretend that the Abbotts are doing it tough, especially now. But when Tony was the only breadwinner and we were paying school fees and health insurance premiums, I often had to put off paying some bills till the following month especially when they just seemed to be going up and up and up,” she said.
”That experience has helped to keep Tony grounded when it’s so easy, mixing with people who have succeeded, to imagine that new taxes and charges don’t really hurt.”
The government declined to engage Mrs Abbott but urged voters not to be fooled. ”No amount of fuzzy photo-opportunities can airbrush away Mr Abbott’s record of aggressive negativity or the huge risk he poses to the economy,” the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, said.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.