Feature

Australia: The men are in charge once more

Our new prime minister “personifies masculine, capital-P patriarchy, and he knows it.”

Jake Niall
The Age

Australia is a man’s country now, said Jake Niall. The election last week gave us a sharp “swing from estrogen to testosterone” with the election of the über-manly Tony Abbott. For the past six years, until two months ago, the country was governed “by a party led by an unmarried woman with the support of the Greens, the party that represents the interests of Mother Nature.” But Julia Gillard was ousted as prime minister by her own party, and her successor promptly lost power. So now we have Abbott, a conservative, athletic former boxer who is “frequently photographed in his Speedo.” Our new prime minister “personifies masculine, capital-P patriarchy, and he knows it.” Indeed, he’s proud of it. This is the man, you’ll recall, who didn’t flinch when Gillard called him “the definition of misogyny in modern Australia.” Expect less focus on “the nurturing, feminine issues” of health, education, and environment. He’s already announced that he will abolish the carbon tax and the mining tax. And he has appointed a 19-member cabinet with just one woman in it, down from six in the previous administration. None of this should come as a surprise—-Australian voters knew exactly who Abbott was, and they voted for him. Call it a “bloke-lash.”

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