10 Aug 2010
TONY ABBOTT " THE REAL ONE"
Herald Sun Susis O'Brien 10th August
Would you be surprised to know that just a few years ago he was saying poor people brought their situation on themselves, that "bad bosses" were better than no bosses at all, and that abortion is a "convenient exit" for women from "awkward situations".
That in 2002 he said stem-cell research "made human embryos the equivalent of laboratory rats"?That in 2004 he said "idleness, not racism, causes poverty"?
That in 2001 he told Herald Sun journalist Rick Wallace that during his university years he "would not deny dropping my strides in all sorts of inappropriate places".
I'm not saying here whether these comments make him fit or unfit to be prime minister. That's for you to decide by election day.
But I think we have a right to know Abbott's views on a range of social issues. Two weeks ago I warned women not to vote for Julia Gillard merely because she is a woman.
But it wasn't until last week, during an appearance on The 7pm Project, that I realised I hadn't put Tony Abbott under the same scrutiny.
Some of those quotes included: "Climate change is absolute crap" in 2009, and "I won't be rushing out to get my daughters vaccinated against cervical cancer" in 2006.
It got me thinking about other things Abbott has said when he wasn't biting his tongue, trying to win an election.
And so in the interests of balance, I went looking for more quotes from Abbott to remind us of what he believes in.
It matters, because if Abbott becomes prime minister in two weeks' time, these views will influence the way he governs. And they will influence the way he represents not just those who voted for him, but all Australians.
So what do we know about Abbott?
It is well established, for instance, that he is a monarchist, attacking the 2001 republic referendum campaign as "a kind of national feel-good pill or constitutional Viagra".
He also recently said virginity was a "gift" that should not be given away lightly.
He has also long been a proponent of fault-based divorce laws, even in his recent Battlelines book, published just last year.
You probably also know, for instance, that Abbott once said he would support compulsory paid maternity leave "over this government's dead body".
Repeatedly in 2001 and 2002 he argued paid maternity leave was a matter for "women and their employers", and that it created "first and second-class mothers" because it left out stay-at-home mothers.
COALITION POLICY ON PARENTAL LEAVE GIVES THE RICH EARNING $150,000 PER YEAR 5 FIVE TIMES MORE THAN A PERSON ON AVERAGE EARNINGS.
SOME CHILDREN WILL BE WORTH 5 TIMES MORE THAN OTHERS.
Here we are a decade later and he's taking a business-funded 26-week paid parental leave scheme to the election.
But it's already been delayed and amended during the campaign - so I wonder whether it will ever see the light of day.
Well, as I noted earlier, in 2004 Abbott said abortion "might be the most convenient exit from awkward situations" for women.
It reflected the declining "moral health" of the nation. Three years later he returned to the theme, condemning Australia's abortion rate as an "epidemic."
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