Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott has unveiled his new cabinet and it’s one for the record books. While Kevin Rudd, after ousting Julia Gillard, chose to elevate a record number of women to ministry, Mr Abbott has named his cabinet with only one woman listed: Julie Bishop took on the Foreign Minister position held by Labor’s Bob Carr under the Gillard/Rudd government.
For Margie Abbott it’s nothing but egg on her face. The woman married to Tony Abbott and the mother to his three daughters, spoke out on breakfast TV in October last year against allegations that Mr Abbott didn’t understand women and didn’t like dealing with powerful women.
It’s something that doesn’t sit well now that Mr Abbott has won government and has ensured he doesn’t have to deal with powerful women on a daily basis through surrounding himself with predominately older, white men. It proves he still unequivocally believes in what he said on Four Corners in 2010:
‘I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons’
Mr Abbott’s cabinet consists of 19 men and one woman, while his outer ministry boasts four woman and seven men. One female parliamentary secretary rounds it out. As the Labor Party have pointed out, Australia now has less women in its ministry than Afghanistan which has three women on it’s front bench.
PHOTO: AUSTRALIAN MARRIAGE EQUALITY
It’s official – Kevin Rudd has come to his senses, officially changing his stance on marriage equality. In a blog post on his site last night, the former prime minister wrote: “I have come to the conclusion that church and state can have different positions and practices on the question of same sex marriage. I believe the secular Australian state should be able to recognise same sex marriage.”
The reversal follows his vote against a marriage equality bill last year – he was one of 98 MPs who voted against the bill. The change, he says, is a result of “a lot of reflection” and “conversations with good people grappling with deep questions of life, sexuality and faith.”
It’s a move that will most likely make the controversial politician more popular with the people, but get him into strife with his party as he upstages Prime Minister Julia Gillard once again.
The “I give a Gonski” campaign has been successful. That is, politicians have listened and are acting on the recommendations made by the Review of Funding for Schooling chaired by David Gonski. Over the weekend, the Federal Government announced plans to increase school funding by $14.5 billion over six years – $2 billion of this funding will come from existing university funding. The funding plan has been met with widespread criticism and condemnation, with supporters of education funding arguing that you can’t take funding from one part of the education sector to give to another.
Last Tuesday, Prime Minister Julia Gillard personally announced her hand-picked senate candidate for the Northern Territory – and it wasn’t the incumbent, Trish Crossin. Ms Gillard had chosen Indigenous Olympic Gold medallist, Nova Peris.
Ms Gillard said she had made a “captain’s pick” in asking Peris to run. It marks the first time Labor has put forward an Indigenous candidate in a safe seat at a Federal election. If elected, Ms Peris would be the first Indigenous female senator, making history both individually, for the Labor Party and for Julia Gillard.
“With the support of the people of the Northern Territory I want her to be the first Aboriginal woman to sit in the Federal Parliament,” Gillard said at the press conference.
It’s not a shock that Julia Gillard wants to help other women move into the political sphere; she is, after all, Australia’s first female Prime Minister.
But why has this nomination so scandalised the ALP?
The theme for Sydney’s New Year celebrations was “embrace” – which means to take up especially readily or gladly. The theme seems ironic considering the year we have just said goodbye to. While we may have shut the door on 2012, a year filled with cultural violence, political sexism and a lack of progress on gay marriage rights within Australia; 2013 will most likely be painted with the same brush.
Politically 2012 is a year to be ashamed of. From the Peter Slipper-James Ashby embarrassment, to the “misogynist” dribble of Tony Abbott, 2012 was a year of inexcusable behaviour. It makes it difficult to believe that 2013, a federal election year, is going to be any different.
But one thing could change all of that. If 2013 is to be a year of embracing change, a year to be proud of: it must be the year gay marriage is made legal.
2012 has been a crazy, eventful year, rife with scandals, elections and viral music videos where people ride invisible horses. In case you had a life and missed some of the crucial newsworthy moments of 2012, never fear, because we’ve been keeping a close eye on all the big stories.
Join us as we take a walk down memory lane through the madness, mayhem and occasional tragedy that was the last twelve months in news and views.
It’s been a long and tumultuous year for Australian federal politics. The hung parliament has provided us with many scandals, a leadership challenge and some seriously weird moments. Here’s our favourite political moments that left most Australians thinking, “What the hell?”
1. Craig Emerson breaking into song and dance
During an ABC interview about the carbon tax, Trade Minister Craig Emerson broke into a Skyhooks-inspired rendition of Whyalla Wipeout.
The awkward pause while the music started is enough to make most of us cringe, but it’s the weird head-bob that you can’t turn away from.
On Saturday, the Labor Party celebrated five years of government. It seems hard to believe, but it’s true: half a decade has passed since Australians flocked to election booths to vote out John Howard’s Liberal government, and to vote in Kevin Rudd’s Labor Party.
It must have been a bittersweet day for Rudd, as he and the rest of the Labor Party reflected on their successes.
So Australia has a seat on the UN Security Council, again.
It’s been 27 years since Australia last sat on the Council. Prime Minister Julia Gillard told reporters in Canberra that the win shows our nation has a high international reputation and strong bilateral ties.
“We will be dealing with issues of importance to our nation including the UN engagement with the mission in Afghanistan and the future of that mission beyond 2014,” the PM said.
“And it is the security council which will have to continue to wrestle with the violence in Syria and the way in which that violence can be brought to an end.”
It’s something we’ve all said: they should die of shame, I died of shame, I wanted to die of shame. But Tony Abbott should have known better.
Question Time on Tuesday quickly degenerated into a vigorous game of cat-calling between the federal government and its opposition when “Sensitive Tony” blew his cover, calling on the government to die of shame, echoing recent controversial remarks by shock-jock Alan Jones.