Last week, it was announced at 10 am on Australian public broadcast TV that Prime Minister Tony Abbott had taken Women’s Affairs into his portfolio along with Indigenous matters; both endangered policy areas? After that one mention it got no further airplay.
What self respecting western democracy would have a male minister conduct women’s matters? For the next three years we will have a conservative woman speaker, one who constantly heckled the previous govt with bogus points of order, to the point of often being thrown out of the chamber. We have already seen several heads of bureaucracies thrown out of their jobs; clearly conservatives do not forget old issues. The new speaker will have several scores to settle, and emptying the house of opposition members will doubtless be her way.
Admittedly, earlier that week, the PM had already attracted a lot of negativity for the lack of women in his cabinet; although it was spelled out in detail that the way to achieve generational change was to appoint women into the junior ministerial secretary roles, even this did not shame Abbott into this course of action or even a promise in this direction. Worse, as the ABC is funded by the federal govt, too vigorous criticism might well attract decreased funding, so journos have tempered their critical insights. Not that that is problematic: treat all pollies like scumbags is probably the great leveler.