Tony Abbott just proved why we're all looking to women leaders to get us out of this crisis

Tony Abbott just proved why we’re all looking to women leaders to get us out of this crisis

Tony Abbott

Oh Tony. Tony, Tony, Tony.

Just when we thought we were free of your irrational, fear-mongering drivel, you pipe up with another nugget of gold.

This time, you thought you’d share your wisdom on the Coronavirus pandemic and Australia’s response to coming through as safely as possible. Your comments were intended to be calculated and clever, but really you just made yourself seem sillier than that time you were caught chomping a whole, raw onion. I guess you truly are the suppository of wisdom…

But what you fail to recognise is that we’re no longer settling for leaders who are intent on sending us backwards. 2020 has proven that progress is critical, and we know from experience that we get the opposite of that from you.

So when you irresponsibly call for COVID-19 restrictions to be relaxed, and claim that officials have become trapped in “crisis mode”, we cover our ears and change the channel. Australia might have fallen for your slogans once upon a time– indeed your whole election came down to a promise of “stopping the boats” and “killing the carbon tax”– but we see through it now.

Standing up and telling the world that “virus hysteria” is spreading like wildfire is a claim no one’s buying.

“Now that each one of us has had six months to consider this pandemic, and to make our own judgements about it, surely it’s time to relax the rules so that individuals can take more personal responsibility and make more of their own decisions about the risks they’re prepared to run,” you told a room full of reporters at the UK think tank Policy Exchange.

Do you want to know the risk we’re not prepared to run? Heeding advice from you.

But there is one silver lining to your predicable bile, Tony, and that’s this: You make it clearer than ever why we’re all looking to forward thinking, female leaders to see us out of this crisis.

Women like New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, who’s become the poster child for “dealing with a pandemic successfully”. Her lockdown response was swift and decisive, but more importantly she communicated the decision effectively and inclusively. Her press conferences have always allowed ample time for questions; helping to ease the minds of her citizens— even children.

Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel, took a similar communication approach. From the very outset, she explained succinctly what her country was up against. She relied on hard science and formulated a decisive plan for navigating the months ahead; despite the pandemic’s complexity.

This is true too of Finland’s millennial Prime Minister, Sanna Marin. Despite being new to the role, she’s already earned the kudos she regularly receives. In a poll of Finnish citizens, 84 percent said they were either “somewhat” or “very” satisfied with their leader’s response and only 5 percent reported being “not satisfied at all”.

And Taiwan’s leader Tsai Ing-wen led an exceptional effort to suppress a major outbreak from ever occurring, despite her country’s proximity to China where the virus started.

These are women with drive, empathy and a purposeful agenda, Tony. Leadership traits you might care to look up. And in the midst of this pandemic, we’re looking to them for advice. So you can quit banging on about things you have no clue about.

Stay Smart! Get Savvy!

Get Women's Agenda in your inbox