There’s something visceral about the way we women respond to Tony Abbott.

It’s a gut reaction. Deep down we know he’s no good for us.


Not fashionable with women… Tony Abbott in the February 2012 issue of GQ.

When it’s there in the latest opinion polls, in real numbers, perhaps the Liberal Party should have a long hard look at their pin-up boy.

Women can see through the façade of the fit, charitable family man who’s partial to a spot of…What?

No-one knows what Tony does in his spare time, apart from flogging himself on a pushbike or running in sand. Maybe that’s part of the problem.

Most women do know that Malcolm Turnbull, with his wife Lucy, likes to blog about his dogs and they adore him for it.

His recent heartfelt eulogy for his departed dog Mellie showed a soft and compassionate side.

Tony’s problem is that women don’t like him. It’s reflected in the latest polls if anyone cares to dig a little deeper.

Essential Media’s January poll found 53 percent of women disapprove of Tony Abbott as Opposition leader; 29 per cent approve. His disapproval rate among women has jumped two points since August, while approval has dropped four points.

“He is much stronger with men than women,” according to the CEO of Essential Media Communications, Peter Lewis.

The results from Newspoll are equally telling.

Aggregating the results over the last quarter, on the question of who would be the better Prime Minister, one point separates Julia Gillard on 39 percent and Tony Abbott on 38 percent.

But if you, like the late and beloved Mellie, keep digging even further, a disparity emerges: 42 percent of women prefer Julia Gillard; 33 percent Tony Abbott.

“There is a significant gender imbalance,” Newspoll CEO Martin O’Shannessy told me.

What is it with Tony? Is anyone listening to what women have to say?

Take his position on equal pay.

In a landmark test case yesterday, almost 150,000 community sector workers – mainly women – were awarded pay rises between 19 and 41 per cent. These are Australia’s unsung heroes. They care for the disabled, run homeless shelters, and counsel families in crisis. Fair Work Australia found their work was undervalued because of their gender.

“We’re hoping this decision will go towards putting a dent in the 18 percent pay gap between men and women in Australia,” Sally McManus from the Australian Services Union said.

The Prime Minister put out a statement saying the decision was “good for the sector, good for caring workers, good for women, good for families and good for the economy”.

But there was nothing from the Opposition Leader.

That’s because in 2010, Tony Abbott refused to commit a future Coalition government to supporting the equal pay case.


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