Tony Abbott: How do you define a woman of calibre? | Women's Agenda

Tony Abbott: How do you define a woman of calibre?

Coalition leader Tony Abbott used an interesting choice of words in his latest attempts to sell his paid parental leave scheme.

He told a press conference today that as well as being about fairness and productivity, his parental leave scheme will ultimately encourage women of a certain “calibre to have families”.

“We do not educate women to higher degree level to deny them a career,” he said. “If we want women of that calibre to have families, and we should, well we have to give them a fair dinkum chance to do so. That is what this scheme of paid parental leave is all about.”

Abbott’s been defending the scheme following criticism from big business and Liberal MP Alex Hawke that paying a new mum her equivalent full-time wage for six months (to a limit of $75,000) is unnecessary. Abbott plans to raise the money to pay for the scheme via a 1.5% tax on 3000 of the largest companies in Australia.

Needless to say, the Labor party’s been quick to respond to Abbott’s comments today, with Health Minister Tanya Plibersek asking how exactly a “woman of calibre” is defined.

“Who exactly does Mr Abbott think are women of calibre? What does he think about women who are child care workers, nurses and community sector workers?” she asked

“Are they of lower calibre than women who are law firm partners?”

Poor choice of words or an insight into who Abbott’s targeting with the policy? Let us know what you think.

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