Okay, so you all saw this coming and you’ve probably been hearing about it ever since last Monday. That doesn’t mean that it has become less annoying. How can such a narrow hegemony reflect our diverse nation?
First of all: women. In the last census, women made up 50.6% of the nation, yet there is ONE in our inner ministry and only four in the outer ministry. Julie Bishop, a woman of great political expertise and standing, has been reduced to the “token” female fronting the government. I don’t think women should be appointed simply to make up numbers for plurality’s sake, but I do think that there are a number of female Liberal politicians who would have been as good of a choice – Bronwyn Bishop (who held two shadow portfolios under Howard) was sadly appointed Speaker. Perhaps it’s due to the facts that two of the portfolios she administered are no longer in place…. and because she is 70 years old.
That’s right – multitudes of portfolios now cease to exist under Abbott. Somehow, climate change, energy, science, aged care, mental health and women’s issues are no longer of national importance. Did someone miss out on the fact that by 2070, our average annual temperature is expected to have increased by 2.2 degrees and that 3.2 million Australians suffer from a mental illness? These issues have been sucked into other portfolios, so they’re still going to be covered at one point or another, but one cannot deny that they need special attention. If Australia wants to fully address all of its issues and concerns, they should be given an official title instead of lumped together in a disorganised mismatch. Seeing as this is the first time since 1931 that Australia hasn’t had a Science Minister, I think it’s only reasonable to be alarmed. Adding to that this is the first time Australia has had a designated Sport Minister… well, I don’t even have to say any more.
Tony Abbott does have a mandate from the people to make decisions on our behalf – that’s what democracy is. We elect officials to represent us in Parliament. I accept that Abbott is who the people of Australia voted for. What I don’t accept, however, is neglecting serious issues simply because they don’t fit in with an ideological standpoint. Science is something that is non-negotiable and makes up how our society progresses. Australia’s population is rapidly aging. To me it’s not about what policy is implemented, it’s about the fact that these issues are up for discussion in the public eye. We need a government who is willing to at least talk about policy areas that are of concern, rather than lump them into long laundry lists.