I hear the phrase "Minister for Women" being used sarcastically about Abbott.

What caused this title to be used for him?

The wikipedia article Minister for Women (Australia) mentions that the title of the current incumbent, Michaelia Cash, is "Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women", which was described as ambiguous English by this article, but similar positions existed under Howard, Keating, Hawke, and Fraser. So why did it become a sarcastically used term about him?

Was it because of attention given to the title when there was a typo in it Tony Abbott's 'Prime Minister for Woman' typo sparks ridicule, or Abbott's reputation about gender issues, or something else?

1 Answer 1


From the Current Ministry List on the Australian Parliament House website:

Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women
Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash

The capitalisation in that title — Prime Minister for Women — suggests, unfortunately, that it's not a matter of her assisting him on behalf of women.

Although the title has existed in previous governments, it is his widely-publicised acts which have been perceived to be against the interests of women that has made him notorious as the Minister for Women. Consider the following:

  • ‘I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons’ source

  • ‘I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak’ source

  • ‘What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up, every year…’ source

  • "“Well, you know, it’s very important to do the right thing by families and households and, as many of us know, women are particularly focused on the household budget and the repeal of the carbon tax means a $550-a-year benefit for the average family." status

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