NO Education for DV in Australia
NO Education for DV in Australia

DV hotline

In recent time the Government has expressed concerns for Domestic Violence issues but just how aligned is their rhetoric to their actions? The announcement of $4M for a Domestic Violence hotline has the appearance of affirmative action but then Abbott’s contribution as the Minister for Women, was to axe the funding for education in school around Domestic Violence. This in not the only axing he has been doing in this field. There are a significantly smaller numbers of  Women’s shelters available to women and children fleeing domestic Violence since funding to women’s shelters was axed.  The assertion that women are after all free to move away and seek shelter has been reduced to the point that what shelters are left are turning women away.  So $4M for a DV hotline is a tokenistic effort on the part of the government designed for maximising publicity and deflecting bad publicity at a relatively low cost.  It is an illusion to garner the publics gratitude that they are doing something for this cause in the hope that no one notices that the total sum of effort has still been a withdrawal of support for the victims of domestic Violence!  It is actually a cynical and manipulative gesture.

Tax, education, Shelters

Similarly cynical is Mr. Abbott’s recent contribution as the Minister for Women to axe family tax benefit for women in certain “classes”.  This was just after he’d axed the funding for education in school around Domestic Violence. You’d assume he thought, “Aren’t men better behaved nowadays now the Adults are in charge”? Women are after all free to move away from these bad domestic situations and seek shelter in … oh ummm  … there are a great deal less shelters now. The sum of these three axings is that it makes it even harder for women with children to escape domestic violence. Perhaps they could seek shelter in the Tattersalls club.  Apparently they are receptive to women nowadays. Wasn’t Abbott claiming they “they’ve now broken down the last barrier and they’ve made the men’s only club admit women!” when they celebrated International Women’s Day there?  Perfectly appropriate for him to celebrate the day there. He is the Minister for Women, he had membership. I mean who else needed to attend? Although perhaps the reality is that Tattersalls isn’t actually making any changes to protocol in so far as access to women is concerned.  , as they have always been allowed in. Unless of course they are seeking membership. Women have long been granted access, just not membership!  So I hardly think this is a sign of any change whatsoever.  I used to go to regular dance events at Tattersalls over a decade ago and I wasn’t there to dance with other Men. So there is nothing changed there as he stated.  Dear me is that classified as a “misdirection”, an “overreach” or a “lie”, Mr Abbott?

Besides, Abbott hosting his celebration of International Women’s Day there is perfectly appropriate for him. It makes perfect sense and I understand the congruence inherent in this decision by the Minister for Women.  It is totally in line with all his previous decisions in regards his portfolio.  Makes perfect sense to me!  Allow me to elucidate a little.

Carbon Tax and Refuges

Women killed by mid 2015 V people by Terrorists
Women killed by mid 2015 V people by Terrorists

So … not at a refuge.  So many frontline support services are feeling the pinch since Abbott stepped up to the plate to bat for the Women of the country. Seems to me he has done quite a bit lately. Before hosting his celebration of International Women’s Day at his “old boys” club his claim to support was putting money into housewives pockets by removing the Carbon Tax. Mr Abbott has been very active in his role as The Minister for Women. OK, perhaps not in regards issues about violent deaths incurred by women via partners or ex-partners.  There were 89 women were killed by their current or former partner between 2008-10 reaching  84 deaths of women last year 2014 (although we look set to exceed that this year) and thousands of domestic violence cases. (In Victoria alone, police were called out to 65,393 domestic violence incidents in 2013–14 – 30,000 of which were serious enough for police to press charges.) To date we are only six months into the year and have a scored past half of last year’s total of 48 violent deaths, maintaining a close to 2 women/week average. (There is something appallingly sterile about expressing it that way.) But what deaths does he concentrate on … External terrorism (which has killed exactly how any people in Australia this century? – let alone the last year). And where is he spending millions in fighting which deaths?  What if he spent the same relative money per real death on domestic violence terrorism that he does on practically non-existent external born terrorism deaths?   Then he’s truly have reason to whine about a Deficit!  (see my post on the Budget for that particular fraud)

Control Issues

In truth his position allows him significant control over women’s issues. It allows the inequality of pay and position to remain the status quo (actually latest figures show the gulf has widened), allows him to shutdown women’s shelters, revoke funding for Women’s Leadership programs and the Financial Counselling/National Shelter programs all which provide direct support for women & children. Shutting down funding for the 13 community legal services in Victoria which provides for the same.  It ensures the “Women’s Budget Statement” which has been a part of the federal budget papers for 30 years, ceased to exist in 2014 onwards. Let’s not forget how he castigates women verbally as exemplified by repeated gaffes that cast women in the kitchen and relegate their only conceivable role to that of unpaid housework.  Lately, mother’s are “dirty leaning double-dipping rorters of the system” just because these scheming women want to spend the first 6 months of their child’s life, with them rather then getting back to work the moment they leave hospital and are no longer entitled to sick leave.  Adding to that list his role allows him to ignore the issue of domestic violence, amongst other crimes. Like I said, very active.

His greatest Achievement for women?

Abbot treats all women equally
Abbot treats all women equally

Delegating his greatest achievement as Minister for Women to throwing out climate legislation ignores many women who thought dealing with climate actually mattered. The third most significant issue to women behind Immigration and “Defence & Security” according to JWS Research. And the majority of women rate him poorly in all these issues. “The perception is it’s essentially a male government focusing on male issues,” said John Scales, JWS Research managing director. Given his many instances of misogyny from physically attacking women in his student days, his anti-abortion activism, his professed disapproval of no-fault divorce, contraception and pre-marital sex, his many misogynistic attacks on Julia Gillard while in opposition, to the unparalleled verbal attack on Gillian Triggs (where was the “partisan” criticism for Phillip Moss – a man – for revealing similar or worse abuses than Triggs revealed, in his report on Naru), I’d dare to suggest another motivation for this role.  He’s a sociopath which is something many have begun to recognise or acknowledge. (Yes I have a post on that too)

“FOR” or …

The choice of taking on the position of “Minister for Women” ought to be more properly seen as a huge #¥€< you to women in general.  So don’t expect any real improvements for Women at all under Abbott!

Like I said he’s been working very hard, it’s just that title that confuses me, because I would have thought that middle word was spelt “f” “i” “x”, not “f” “o” “r”?

Afterthought down the track

Still a Minister who thinks we need to "fix" women!
Still a Minister who thinks we need to “fix” women!

It’s three months down the track since I wrote what’s above (now September 2015).  The Death rate is 65 Women and Abbott is gone. Malcolm Turnbull has clawed back only a small proportion of the funding for Domestic Violence that Abbott stole but it is merely a bandage on a gaping wound. Changing the Minister for Women to a woman who has clearly stated she doesn’t believe in feminism is not going to help. The problem with both Abbott and Cash is that they both think the middle part of their title is “fix” not “for”.  Abbott stole $300M from DV social support funding. Just for they whom believe Malcolm putting a third of that back is an improvement, let’s think about that a bit. So the government is going to put money back into domestic violence but not to the extent to that which they took out. People get excited about the government and say “isn’t this a great start“. And “heading in the right direction“. Nobody of course pays attention to the net loss figure as there is just a presumption that it is moved away from the point that Abbott left it in. It is essentially the strategy of many a politician to appear to act in the interests of the people as the election draws near. Let’s face it who remembers – in the short news cycle of contemporary society – what the net change in funding and societal harm has been created. People react positively to the perception that things are changing in a direction that benefits society without recognising that the total net movement has been to its detriment. A wave of positivity and a lack of critical analysis results, and the results are the government gets in for another three year term where they rework the same cycle that they have been successful with in the past.  An improvement would be $400M!  This is just political misdirection! Hopefully your not buying into it.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he’s done it but … too late and not enough!  The title is:  “Minister FOR women”!