Tony Abbott as PM – A Blow for Women’s Rights and a Catastrophe for Climate Action

Dear friends,

I have to admit I have been very slack as far as keeping up with my blog. I started writing this post at the beginning of the school holidays here on picture perfect sunny day in Sydney the day after the spring equinox and now daylight saving is here and the school holidays have drawn to a close. So summer is on its way. We have already had a grim warning with early bush fires. We have the warmest winter in 150 years with very little rain and already our average temperatures for spring are in the mid  to high 20s rather than the usual low 20s yet the climate change deniers still have their heads in the sand! The left and the Greens have been in mourning with the election of the Liberal National party to government on 7 September led by Tony Abbott who has had declared in the past that “climate change is crap” and that “carbon dioxide is invisible” therefore inferring it is of little consequence.

Tim_Flannery

Tim Flannery

Axed Climate Commission reborn as Climate Council

However, with my Sagittarius rising I am an eternal optimist and see positive signs of the progressive forces regrouping. Within days of the newly elected Abbott government being elected the LNP axed the Climate Commission headed by Tim Flannery and other experts. Positively there was such a protest against this ecovandalism that Tim Flannery announced they have been reborn as the Climate Council funded entirely by people’s donations. I was heartened by Monday’s Q&A  with Dr Suzuki as david-suzukiguest speaker and the reception he received from the audience. I don’t have a birth time for David Suzuki but he has the Sun and Mars in Aries squaring Pluto in Cancer making him a formidable environmental warrior. A leading Canadian scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster, David Suzuki. is  host of the long-running CBC program, “The Nature of Things,” seen in more than 40 countries, Suzuki has helped educate millions about the rich biodiversity of the planet and the threats it faces from human-driven global warming. In 1990 he co-founded the David Suzuki Foundation, which focuses on sustainable ecology, and in 2009 he was awarded the Right Livelihood Award.

“Think Globally and Act Locally” – David Suzuki

Suzuki has condemned the corporate sector for their contamination of the public dialogue and the claimed the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC has become ultra conservative and contaminated by corporate interests. The last question on Q&A was posed by a young woman who asked that with all the doom and gloom that can dishearten people what lessons in the world can inspire us? Suzuki’s reply is that is to think globally and act locally. You need to think locally and act locally to act globally. He cited two very inspiring examples the first was the movement of urban agriculture in Canada locally grown organic food driven by young people. The second one was one that Suzuki claimed he is very excited about and that is the movement known as Pachamama  meaning earth mother.

Ecuador Pachamama

Pablo Fajardo, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Chevron, standing on oil pipelines near the town of Lago Agrio, Ecuador.

Pachamama in practice in Ecuador

In Ecuador they have enshrined Pachamama in their constitution were the first people to successfully sue a road building company for polluting the Vilcabamba River on and destroying half of the farm lands. They sued the company on behalf of the Vilcabamba River and won the first ever case of its kind in the world. The company had to clean up the river.

The Dangers of Fracking

In response to a woman’s question about fracking in the Gippsland where valuable assets are being made secondary to mining interests Suzuki said that fracking was one of the dumbest things there is. He warned that they have no idea what there is under the ground, especially in Australia where there is a scarcity of water.

Albanese and Shorten

Bill Shorten & Anthony Albanese

Democratising of the Labor Party

I have been watching the ALP members’ forums with the two contenders Anthony Albanese and Bill Shorten addressing an audience re their vision for the future in the hope of being elected as the next Labor opposition leader and future prime minister. Our former PM Kevin Rudd’s new laws democratising the way of electing the Labor leader involving the Labor party members in the electoral process for the first time is a breath of fresh air. Hopefully the new Labor opposition can put behind it the disunity caused by infighting and rebuild and rejuvenate and make itself electable in three years time.

Abbott’s Problem with Women

Julia Gillard's misogyny speech

Julia Gillard’s ‘misogyny’ speech

Abbott PM swearing-in chart is very revealing as to what we can expect during the term of Abbott’s tenure as PM. Ed Tamplin commented on Abbott’s natal chart (4 November 1957 4. 00 am London UK), in particular the difficult Moon placement in Libra being the focal planet, the only planet in the western hemisphere forming part of a yod with Neptune and Pluto. This indicates his problem with women which was highlighted by Julia Gillard’s now famous ‘sexism’ speech which went viral globally. Looking at the swearing-in chart (18 September 2013 10.28.53 am Canberra) Neptune and the Moon at the IC reinforce his problem with women. He made headlines when it was revealed that there would be only one woman in his cabinet – his Deputy, Julie Bishop and the foreign minister.

Tony Abbott with women pre & post election

Tony Abbott’s double standards with women pre & post-election

Tony Abbott’s Double Standards in his Relations with Women – Family/Cabinet

Some commentators have accused Abbott of using his daughters to help overcome his image as sexist only to have women so poorly represented in his cabinet. His excuse was lame as he said he was disappointed that there were not more women but there were more “very good and talented women knocking at the door”! It is a pity he has locked the door and thrown away the key! He rationalised that if Sophie Mirabella had not lost the seat of Indi she would have been in the cabinet. Australia is now the laughing-stock of the world as far as female representation in government is concerned. Liberal Senator Sue Boyce called his exclusion of women “shocking and I think it’s embarrassing, and it’s not just embarrassing nationally but I think it’s embarrassing internationally.”

Ita Buttrose

Ita Buttrose

Ita Buttrose has lashed out at the fact that Tony Abbott’s new cabinet only contains one woman, saying it is unacceptable in 2013 and proves a glass ceiling still exists in Australia.

Ita Buttrose – Australian of the Year, health campaigner, and former high-profile editor of Cleo and Women’s Weekly magazines – joined that chorus of criticism on Tuesday, describing Bishop as the “token woman” in cabinet.

“A glass ceiling still does exist in Australia. We’re told it doesn’t, but that’s a nonsense. It does exist,” Buttrose told ABC Radio.

Julie_Bishop_official_portrait

Julie Bishop – “token woman”

“I’m sure Julie Bishop is accustomed to being the token woman throughout her career, and here she is being the token woman again.”

Chris Bowen

Chris Bowen

Labor’s interim leader Chris Bowen said the “cabinet of Afghanistan now has more women than the cabinet of Australia.” A country in which the Taliban have ruthlessly suppressed women’s rights. It is not surprising to learn that Abbott has just been awarded the Ernie award for the most sexist comment of the year.

Cathy_McGowan_MP

Cathy McGowan

Coalition sources have accused Cathy McGowan the incoming independent MP for Indi who defeated Sophie Mirabella, of being partially responsible for the lack of women and the absence of a science minister in Tony Abbott’s first cabinet. “That’s a very long bow to draw, isn’t it?” Cathy McGowan told Guardian Australia. “I can’t take any responsibility for Tony Abbott’s choices. He made his choice and the people of Indi made their choice. There isn’t any connection between the two.”

In an article, “There’s no skirting it: Abbott is helping deny women a voice” by freelance journalist Clementine Ford she says In contrast “when Kevin Rudd re-assumed the prime ministership in late June, his cabinet reshuffle resulted in the promotion of three more women to his ministry. His decision distinguished it as the most gender equitable cabinet in Australian political history so far, with a balance of 14 men to six women.

Tanya Plibersek

Tanya Plibersek

Penny Wong

Penny Wong with daughter

For a brief time, we had talented women such as Tanya Plibersek, who worked with bipartisan groups to quietly have RU486 (the abortion drug Abbott wielded veto power on as health minister to prevent its passage into Australia) listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme so that all women in Australia would have access to medical terminations; Penny Wong, an openly gay Asian-Australian whose sexual orientation and ethnicity were a welcome challenge to a political cast of characters unrepresentative of Australia’s diversity; and Jenny Macklin, whose instrumental role in delivering a national disability insurance scheme will enable thousands of Australians living with disability to achieve a higher level of self-determination.

There were others, talented women elected into government because the ALP enforces necessary quotas to encourage the participation and elevation of women into Australian political life. There are equally talented women in the Liberal Party, whose contribution to government would be significant were there a concerted effort to dismantle the socially legislated structures in place designed to keep them out of leadership roles.

But the Liberals have no such policies to ensure their promotion, preferring instead to refer to the furphy of ”merit” when it comes to their elected officials and their promotions. Indeed, Abbott himself said that he was ”disappointed” there weren’t more women in cabinet – as if he isn’t directly responsible for their absence – but that they were right there ”knocking on the door”. We are left to believe that the Liberal Party has no women other than Julie Bishop who it considers good enough to be trusted with a cabinet portfolio.”

Apart from Abbott’s problem with women, Neptune on the IC of his swearing-in chart also indicates secrecy and deception and we have already seen that during the election campaign Abbott put a gag on his candidates about talking to the electorate and the media. He is continuing that policy having only weekly reports on the asylum seekers’ situation and John Ruddick a prominent NSW Liberal member is facing a five-year suspension from the party for giving a 10-second comment on ABC TV’s 7.30 last week.  On the program last week he called for an extension to Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s reform ban on lobbyists holding Liberal party positions. His response to his suspension was: ”They’re suspending me for five years because I’m the biggest threat to the factional stranglehold they’ve had in decades.”

LNP MPs Wedding Rorts – to Tony Abbott’s Iron Man Events

Barnaby Joyce & George Brandis

Barnaby Joyce & George Brandis Wedding rorts

Gina Rinehart wedding in India

Serial wedding rorter Barnaby Joyce at lavish Indian wedding as guest of Gina Rinehart

Another scandal the LNP MPs wedding rorts has come to light and seems to be escalating with more revelations every day. Starting with the revelation of George Brandis and Barnaby Joyce claiming for attending the shock jock Michael Smith’s wedding. To add insult to injury Barnaby Joyce seems to be a serial offender as he and the Liberal deputy leader, Julie Bishop, and backbencher Teresa Gambaro also claimed more than $12,000 taxpayer-funded travel entitlements after mining billionaire Gina Rinehart flew them to a lavish Indian wedding in 2011.

Former Liberal leader Dr John Hewson said, “I don’t believe in unlimited access to the public purse”:

He added, “any new prime minister must set clear standards for the team as the ”fish rots from the head”.

Dr John Hewson

Dr John Hewson

Dr Hewson further cautioned Coalition MPs about ”running on the line that [they] want to control government expenditure” and at the same time waste taxpayers’ money on their personal lives.

Abbott at Sophie Mirabella's wedding

Abbott at Sophie Mirabella’s wedding

Mr Abbott also confirmed he repaid $1095 spent in travelling to the wedding of former colleague Sophie Mirabella seven years ago. The return of the money was prompted by media inquiries last week. However now it has come to light about his claims for his Pollie pedal

Liberal opposition leader Tony Abbott

Pollie Pedal PM Abbott

The prime minister acknowledged he claimed expenses totalling several thousand dollars for his annual Pollie Pedal – a cycling event which raises funds for charity. He said this practice was entirely appropriate because a number of political events were on the schedule.

“I believe that all of my claims have been within entitlement,” Abbott told reporters in Bali. He also said that he would not be changing the rules re MPs’ entitlements. All these previously hidden events coming to light involving secrecy and deception and dishonesty reflect the Moon Neptune conjunction on the IC of Abbott’s swearing-in chart as PM. Polls taken by Fairfax show overwhelming opposition by the public to the wedding and sports rorts. To be continued …….

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