Somebody (preferably a woman), please step in and help Prime Minister Scott Morrison on his messaging to women, or tell him to keep his mouth shut on International Women’s Day.
The poor man seems to be missing the point on how women currently view his party, which was described as misogynistic at the National Press Club this week.
Perhaps he hasn’t actually noticed the Liberal women leaving the room, nor the jaw-dropping gender gap such departures are leaving in women’s representation in the party — although he certainly has the ‘proud Dad face’ sorted as various female cabinet ministers announce they are departing.
More likely he genuinely believes that merit is already at work in the Liberal Party and across Australia’s key leadership positions. It just happens to look like your ‘mates’.
But please, just keep him away from an International Women’s Day breakfast, even one for the Chamber of Minerals and Energy.
During his speech this morning, with comments initially picked up by The Guardian, Morrison was adamant that the rise of women shouldn’t come at the expense of others.
Presumably, by others, he means at the expense of men.
“We want to see women rise. But we don’t want to see women rise only on the basis of others doing worse.
“We want everybody to do better, and we want to see the rise of women in this country be accelerated to ensure that their overall pace* is maintained.”
This is from the leader of a political party whose women’s representation has now dropped to as low as it was in 1993.
At a time when when there are still more men called Andrew leading ASX 200 organisations, than there are women.
Here’s a little more from Morrison’s speech, which has also been published in full here.
“See, we’re not about setting Australians against each other, trying to push some down to lift others up. That’s not in our values. That is an absolutely Liberal value, that you don’t push some people down to lift some people up. And that is true about gender equality too.”
How does that explain what happened to former deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop, who received just 11 votes during the leadership ballot last year, despite being the most experienced person in the field?
When in potential doubt on IWD, quote a woman. And that’s exactly what Morrison did this morning, stating that his fellow female Cabinet minister Kelly O’Dwyer had said last year that “gender equality isn’t about pitting girls against boys”.
He also highlighted Karen Andrews as “one of the other female members we have in our Cabinet”.
And he noted his plan to build a strong economy.
“My plan is to focus on ensuring that we have a strong economy in the future, because I believe that will advance women’s interests here in this country and the program we’ve got to accelerate women’s interest in this country will only see a stronger future for my girls, for all of your girls and all the girls who are here. Happy International Women’s Day.”
Happy International Women’s Day indeed.
PM on international women’s day: “we don’t want to see women rise only on the basis of others doing worse.” Actually I’m sorry but if men have taken a finite number of roles not on merit but on patronage then there will be losers in what are sometimes zero sum situations.
— Peter van Onselen (@vanOnselenP) March 8, 2019
Gender equality is good for both women and men. It gives all of us more freedom and choice at work, at home, and in our relationships.
— Tanya Plibersek (@tanya_plibersek) March 8, 2019
*The PM’s official speech, published on his website, says ‘pace’. However we initially heard this line as ‘ensure that their overall PLACE is maintained,’ and have since amended to reflect the PM’s official version. Watch SBS’s video from the event and judge for yourself.