Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot is once again at the centre of controversy after he declared scrapping the country’s carbon tax his biggest achievement for women this year.
Speaking on Network Nine, Abbott – who is also the Australia’s Women’s Minister – said:
It’s very important to do the right thing by families and households. As many of us know, women are particularly focused on the household budget and the repeal of the carbon tax means a $550 a year benefit for the average family.
The absurdity of the Prime Minister’s most recent comments have been highlighted, however, as women – and men – across the country have put Abbott at the centre of a satirical social media campaign, #ThanksTony.
— 1 Million Women (@1millionwomen) December 22, 2014
— Gordon Lawrence (@666Tweet) December 22, 2014
With the carbon tax gone women everywhere can all breathe a little easier. Or at least they could if the air wasn’t so polluted. #ThanksTony
— Josh Donellan (@jmdonellan) December 22, 2014
— Jaydie Cottle (@eidyaj) December 22, 2014
— Lisa Edwards (@raisingxplorers) December 22, 2014
It is not the first time Abbott has elicited such anger from women and female voters.
In February Abbott was heavily criticised when he again linked household tasks and the emissions trading scheme saying: “What housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that… their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going up.”
Abbott’s latest comment also promoted an angry response offline. Australian Greens leader Christine Milne said:
He might as well have said that by abolishing the carbon prices he’s been able to give women more money to buy a new iron and stay at home and do the ironing more often. Women in society is what it’s all about, not just women in the household. The fact of the matter is, he should have put women into that portfolio.
Abbott’s coalition is the first in nearly 40 years who have failed to appoint a dedicated minister for the status of women or women’s affairs.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has faced criticism for appointing just one woman to his cabinet – this number rose to meagre two in a reshuffle last week.