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Abbott: Australia’s Sarah Palin

By Kellie Tranter - posted Thursday, 19 August 2010

Some may forgive Abbott for not being a “tech-head”, and perhaps for seeking the gospel truth from George Pell and John Howard from time to time, but Tony supporting Sarah Palin.

Australia’s really swirling round the porcelain when in just a few days we may have a Prime Minister who described Sarah Palin in his 2008 blog as “... a gutsy, capable, optimistic, decent woman to show the world (again) that you can be a female politician without being stereotyped ...”

Eh? A bit of hyperbole Tony? May you never again accuse Julia Gillard of incompetence if you want us to accept your judgment of capacity and competence.


In the same blog Abbott goes on to accuse the “women’s movement” of not showing respect for “... a competent, successful woman who happens not to subscribe to feminist dogma ...”

Maybe he didn’t see the assessments of Sarah Palin provided by Matt Damon or John Cleese or Bill Maher.

Actually one of the main reasons the women’s movement (sounds so French Resistance) were anti-Palin - and, I suspect, Abbott was pro-Palin - was because she was in favour of a constitutional amendment to ban abortion.

The respected female activist and writer Gloria Steinem describes the anti-abortion attitude in this way:

... How women got to be inferior, how patriarchy got born, so to speak, is because of controlling women's bodies as the means of reproduction. That's the definition of patriarchy. By saying what seems to us a very reasonable and just thing, which is we would like to control our own bodies, we're seizing control of the means of reproduction. That's quite radical. We should understand reproductive freedom is not just another issue - this is the issue. You'll find right wingers who will be anti-abortion even though they know it's costing money. It's the one issue I know of in which they will go against their financial interest because there's a deeper form of control. We also need to keep explaining that we're talking about reproductive freedom, and that means the freedom to have children as well as not to have children. We would go to the same lengths to make sure that a woman isn't coerced into having an abortion as we would to make sure she has access to a safe one ...

Like Palin, Abbott has made no secret of his anti-abortion position. Although he recently promised not to make changes to abortion laws, including banning Medicare funding for terminations, you can understand why he was asked about it when just under two years ago he said:


... My hope for far fewer abortions is not driven by a desire to meddle in other people’s lives. It’s driven by a conviction that terminating a potential life is always a tragedy. Just how really compelling are the factors behind 100,000 terminations a year in Australia? It would be a lot easier for women to cope if the rest of us were less judgmental and less hard hearted which is why the Palin family’s example is so thoroughly uplifting.

Yes indeed, no one is less judgmental, or respects you, your wife, your daughter, your niece or your girlfriend more than Abbott!

Just last year Abbott accused the Rudd government of betraying religious values when it decided that Australian aid money could be used to fund abortion services if terminations are allowed under local laws. Sounds judgmental to me. And so much for respecting the rights of other people in desperate situations and for promising not to make political decisions based on “religious value”.

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About the Author

Kellie Tranter is a lawyer and human rights activist. You can follow her on Twitter @KellieTranter

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