Abbott’s duplicity: Mamamia and the Mad Monk

28 Oct

Tony Abbott has found himself an unlikely defender and advocate in the form of Mia Freedman,former editor of Cosmopolitan, Cleo and Dolly magazines, and columnist for the Sun Herald and the Sunday Age. Freedman also has  a regular spot on the Today Show, and hosts Mamamia Live on Sky News. She is editor and publisher of the highly popular Mamamia website.

With a history like this, Freedman has a big voice among women, and Tony Abbott will no doubt be glad to have her on his side.

It wasn’t always thus. In this article on the Mamamia site, Freedman explains that she was shocked to read a quote by her used without permission on the jacket of Susan Mitchell‘s new book about Abbott. The quote reads:“If he’s elected as our PM in the future I would be very scared for women everywhere.” Freedman made this statement in a piece she wrote in 2009 when Abbott became Leader of the Opposition. She is not happy that Mitchell’s publisher’s used it on the book without consulting her as she has changed her mind about Abbott in the ensuing period and does not hold the same views.

Over a breakfast with Abbott, brokered by Women’s Weekly editor Helen McCabe, Freedman writes that she came to respect and genuinely like Abbott very much, and that she likes his vibe. “I don’t believe Tony Abbott is a direct threat to women” she notes and goes on:

He did talk about his frustration at being constantly portrayed as king of the Catholics and the assumption that his personal faith would affect his policies. He spelled out that he is not opposed to contraception or IVF and that his views on abortion were not nearly as black and white as many people thought.

I asked him how and why he thought he had this image if it was inaccurate and he talked me through his views on that which were rooted in the RU486 vote in 2006 when he was health minister.

If Abbott’s views on abortion aren’t black and white, this is a complete contradiction of his views as expressed on his website in a piece titled “Rate of abortion highlights our moral failings,”  in which he states: When it comes to lobbying local politicians, there seems to be far more interest in the treatment of boatpeople, which is not morally black and white, than in the question of abortion, which is.

It’s also worth reading the transcript of Abbott’s ABC radio interview on the RU-486 (morning-after-pill) issue, in which he fails to explain why he’s ignored the AMA’s recommendations for the release of this drug for use by Australian women, in the face of overwhelming international research proving its safety.

Until Tony Abbott makes public statements to the contrary, women would be most unwise to accept any assurances that he’s changed his mind on women’s reproductive rights, especially as they are so clearly set out on his website. There is no mistaking his position.

We need hard facts from Abbott and we need them soon. If Mr Abbott no longer sees abortion as a “black and white issue”, if Mr Abbott no longer views abortion as “a convenience for the mother”  as he states on his website, then he needs to let us know.

In the meantime one has to wonder if  Ms Freedman has read the piece on Abbott’s website, because the dissonance between what he has written there and what he has said to her is great. It’s a measure of the man’s profound and sickening duplicity that he uses Ms Freedman in an attempt to persuade women he has revised his views on abortion, while making no attempt to correct the quite contrary views expressed on his website.

13 Responses to “Abbott’s duplicity: Mamamia and the Mad Monk”

  1. David Horton October 28, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    It smells of Howard in 1996 walking in the forest with the duped Australian Conservation Foundation, thereby assured he liked trees, and that there was nothing to choose between Liberal and Labor on the envt. Mia might be remembered in the same way.


  2. Catching up October 28, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    I am afraid a leopard does not change his spots.

    Mr. Abbott’s behaviour and actions has proven he will do anything to gain power.

    On his recent behavior in trashing a PM, representing the country at on the world stage, proves that he will stop at nothing.

    He is a proven liar, sometimes when unnecessary so.

    Saying that he has changed his mind on abortion, proves that he is willing to ditch his beliefs.


  3. gerard oosterman October 28, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    Promises to rescind the brakes on gambling with pokies legislation is just about it. Abbott is even a lot worse than Howard with his ‘we’ll decide who comes here and the manner etc.’ Who would have thought this possible?

    No such luck with an Abbott promise to rescinding legislation on ‘sending the boats back and off shore processing.’


  4. paul walter October 28, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    I always thought that once the mascara and other externalities were stripped away this is what you’d get, after seeing her on “Glass House” years ago.
    Never the spontaneous honesty and integrity of Corrine Grant, always just a North Shore grub just slumming…


    • Jennifer Wilson October 28, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

      I’m having a swearing competition on Twitter with swearycat. It is sooo liberating!


  5. Steve at the Pub October 28, 2011 at 11:14 pm #

    Umm, perhaps I have read it wrong, but I had the impression she was not endorsing, or siding with Tony Abbott, but was correcting a purported quote, one that had been not only used without her knowledge or permission, but most importantly had been taken out of context.

    Anything less would have been unbecoming of her.

    Gerard, Tony Abbott did not say he would reverse the poker machine legislation. He “predicted” that his party would rescind” the legislation. A “blood oath” this ain’t.

    The poker machine lobby (such that it is) is consequently looking rather askance at Mr. Abbott.


  6. Julia. October 29, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    Haven’t got past Cosmopolitan, Cleo, Dolly, Today Show,, Sun Herald/Age and Women’s Weekly being “voices for women” yet. I’m sure every feminist can’t wait for the next edition with its latest fad diet and exciting fashion accessories to find out which muscle-bound celebrity has been seen with which scantily clad starlet….Mia Who???

    If being a sexist chauvanist arrogant pig wasn’t bad enough for Abbott…the consistency of his ever-changing moralistic stances makes him totally unsuitable for any kind of public leadership role. He cannot be trusted even if he does put it in writing.


    • Jennifer Wilson October 29, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

      I don’t think they are voices “for” women, I think Freedman has a route “to” a certain female demographic via these outlets, and Abbott decided to use her access for his own purposes. I’m really surprised she fell for it. Some feminists may or may not read her, but there’s so many different feminisms and many of her followers describe themselves as feminist.

      Abbott’s cynicism is just breathtaking – if he’d stayed in the church he’d be Cardinal Pell and then some.


  7. David Horton October 30, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

    Cardinal, and willing to sell his arse to be pope. Or am I being a little unkind?


  8. Gruffbutt October 30, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    Mia Mia Mia…

    Are you really that blind, or have you sniffed an employer’s wind?

    I would’ve hoped for a little more perspective from you than a vox pop shopper who’s just met a pollie and will vote for him because he seems nice.



    • Jennifer Wilson October 31, 2011 at 7:26 am #

      Sniffed the wind, I decided. It’s hard to make sense of the support for Abbott, I don’t think Freedman is anybody’s fool, but there you go.


  9. Steve at the Pub October 30, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    While we are commending Mia Freedman on her candour regarding quotes she did or did not make, & the context in which they were made:
    We should be mindful that the “sell my arse” quote is third party hearsay, from a disgruntled Tony Windsor. Context: It was mentioned a year after Windsor allegedly first heard it, and is not consistent with public statements Windsor made at the time.
    Just sayin’.


    • Jennifer Wilson October 31, 2011 at 7:25 am #

      I’m not commending Freedman on anything –
      Just pointing out Abbott’s glaring inconsistencies! He sounds like an arse seller.


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