Who's afraid of Tony Abbott and the Blue Tie Brigade | Women's Agenda

Who’s afraid of Tony Abbott and the Blue Tie Brigade

Should Tony Abbott and the Coalition win government in September, our Prime Minister thinks it’s be a matter of blue tie after blue tie. A new PM, wearing a blue tie. His deputy, wearing a blue tie. And his Treasurer, delivering a budget while wearing a blue tie.

It could be a good time to get into the blue tie business.

Julia Gillard made the comments at the launch of the ‘Women for Gillard’ campaign on Tuesday, leveraging off the misogyny speech she made late last year and working to attack the Coalition leader (without actually naming him) again on his so-called lack of support for women.

She claims women will be “banished” from political life under an Abbott government, noting that financial wins for women will be lost, childcare rebates slashed and abortion laws compromised as they become the political “plaything of men”. The Opposition has denied any of the above will be at risk with a change of government.

Gillard’s “blue tie” line attempts to highlight the fact that as the party currently stands a change of government will see Australia governed by a male prime minister, male acting prime minister, male treasurer and male finance minister.

Indeed, a Coalition government will certainly see less women in power, given there are just six women in the shadow ministry and two in the shadow cabinet — Julie Bishop and Sophie Mirabella. However Bishop, who is currently serving as deputy opposition leader, would become Australia’s first female foreign affairs minister under an Abbott government.

The Women for Gillard campaign is built along the lines of US President Barrack Obama’s ‘Women for Obama’ campaign, hoping to raise “micro donations” to support her re-election. It’s an independent campaign, funded party by Labor, and headed by Clarabella Burley, a former Gillard staffer.

Gillard noted of the crowd that she thrives “on your optimism; your faith in the future nourishes mine.” She called Labor the “party of equality”, referencing historical advances for women under Labor governments including the opportunity to work in factories and farms during the 1940s, the first pay equality case, federal funding for childcare under Gough Whitlam, paid parental leave and Australia’s first female prime minister.

But there were only 100 or so supporters at the launch of the campaign in Sydney. And looking at the vision of Gillard launching the campaign, which features a number of women in ‘Women for Gillard’ t-shirts who appear to already be well and truly on board with the Gillard message — one wonders how it’ll help the Labor party’s prospects come September.

Is Gillard preaching to the converted rather than spending the time trying to attract swing voters? Do you believe Labor’s the voice of women?

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