The gender divide in support for Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott is significant. Media analysis views it as women supporting a woman. This sidesteps the real concerns women have about Abbott’s views and past policies.
Tony Abbott wants to take divorce laws back to the 1970s, with an idea that aggrieved spouses could be required to prove offences like adultery, habitual drunkenness or cruelty to be granted a divorce.
Abbott blocked Australian women’s access to RU486 because he opposes legal abortion. He has said Christian politicians cannot check their faith into the parliamentary cloakroom.
His musings on female virginity and premarital sex are also troubling. He needs to reassure Australian women that Parliament is not the place to impose religious rules or beliefs.
Abbott’s views and past policies have and will continue to give rise to policies that undermine the respect and equality women have fought so hard to achieve.
Women may be unsure how far Julia Gillard wants to move us forward, but we know that Abbott will take us back.
We don’t care that Abbott has religious beliefs. But we have good reason to worry that should he become PM, he will impose his religious values on us.
Anne O’Rourke, lecturer; Leslie Cannold, ethicist; Helen Marcou, musician; Angie Hart, singer; Jill Singer, journalist; and 40 other signatories
Feminists sceptical of Abbott The Age