Dear Tony Abbott,
I’m wondering if you have any political ambition at all, because you are certainly doing a superb job of ensuring the demise of your tenure as well as that of your party’s.
This past Sunday, Mothers Day, you announced the proposal to reduce the Paid Parental Leave to mothers whose companies already offer them maternity leave. As if that wasn’t insult enough to new mothers, your party took the advice of your spin doctors and used the word “double-dipping” to garner widespread approval.
Double dipping is a generally frowned upon act where a person at a party with snacks dips a chip he/she has already taken a bite out of into the dip a second time. IT IS NOT GOOD.
As I listened to question time on the way home yesterday, Tuesday, I heard your minister yell at the opposition “If you want to fund women double-dipping, then you find the money to do it!” We are no longer even calling it Paid Parental Leave, we have just leapt to “double-dipping”. We are now equating women giving birth and requiring time off to be carers, nay MOTHERS, for their newborns, the future generation of our country, as double-dippers. Wow!
I’m speaking slowly here Tony Abbott, because honestly, you might miss the message.
In this country, two women die every week from domestic violence. That is over one hundred women a year.
Words and language are very powerful, as you well know Tony.
The vernacular used by those in power in this country – that’s you and your cabinet by the way – perpetuate the idea that women are less than men – that’s misogyny by the way – and that it is okay to treat them as such. Because they (you) themselves systemically believe it is acceptable to vilify and denigrate women, the men of our country are encouraged to follow suit.
Let me give you a few examples:
Last year, not one person died from a terrorist attack on Australian soil, although if you insist on calling the siege at the Lindt cafe in Sydney a terrorist attack, rather than the behaviour of a mad man allowed to walk free even after he lit his wife on fire in a stairwell, let’s say two people died. In the same time frame, over a hundred women died at the hands of men. Yet, high on your agenda is “the protection of our people from terrorists.” The funding for domestic violence, however, has been drastically reduced.
In Australia, tampons are taxed at 10% GST. Women bleed every month. We have no choice. This is because our body sheds its uterine lining every single month if we don’t fall pregnant. Because we are the ones to carry a baby.
That same baby that we can now no longer afford to have, or if we can afford to have it, are forced to put into inadequate daycare much sooner because of the reduction in paid parental leave, now malignantly labelled as double-dipping.
In unbelievable contrast, condoms, lubricants and nicotine patches are exempt from GST because they are considered a “health risk”.
10 million Australians (that’s just under HALF the population) bleed every month and from those 10 million women your government garners an estimated $25 million in revenue each year and has done since the Howard government implemented it in 2000 labelling it a ‘luxury item’. (source: Communityrun.org).
Women also represent nearly 46% of the workforce, did you know that Tony? Yet for the same role, we are paid on average 17.5% less. Not only that, women who graduate from university, having undergone the exact same education as men, are paid only 90% of the graduate salary that men are paid.
Women’s superannuation is 42% less, yet 55% of the people receiving the aged care pension are women.
48% of organisations offer the primary carers leave, at varying degrees, meaning that a large proportion of the workforce in these organisations are being accused of double-dipping. DOUBLE DIPPING TONY!! Do you have any idea of the power of words? Does this mean that a man in a company will now look at a pregnant woman in that same company with the view that she is now trying to diddle tax payers out of money by needing extra income to enable her to stay at home with her baby? Possibly, very possibly.
As of June 2012, women outnumber men in this country by 102,300 people, which means, Tony, you are treating the MAJORITY of this country as if they don’t matter, as if they have no say, as if their opinions don’t count.
But oh they do!
There are 612 days until the next Federal Election in Australia has to be called on the 14th January 2017, Tony. 612 days until the women of this country get their chance to tell you exactly how they feel about how you have run this country. And yes, some may believe you have done a wonderful job. That is their choice, thank goodness.
But what you don’t perhaps know – well, I am assuming you don’t know is this:
52.2% OF VOTERS IN AUSTRALIA ARE WOMEN!
In fact, women voters outnumber men in all but one territory and only then it is marginal. Not only that, Tony, women voters also outnumber men in all but two of the 150 constituents. That’s an awful lot of voting power Tony. Here I made you a graphic so you can understand better.
You may want to think about that in the coming 612 days.
Until next time,