Bettina Arndt Substack June 2, 2022
“Women were the forgotten people in this election”, pronounced Katherine Deves on Sky News this week. This Liberal candidate for Warringah claimed “women want to be listened to and they need to have a voice,” suggesting the Morrison government’s failure to pay attention to women contributed to the 6% swing against her in Tony Abbott’s former seat. Deves took a brave stance arguing for females only in women’s sports but the notion that Coalition Government didn’t do enough for women is absurd. The reality is that for decades our conservative governments have bent over backwards to pander to feminist demands in an extravagant display that failed to win them votes but repelled their true base – namely, the majority of men and women keen that both genders in this egalitarian country should receive fair and equal treatment.
Yet Deves is joined by a mighty chorus of Coalition figures indulging in the same delusion. The newly appointed Deputy Opposition Leader, Sussan Ley told Australian women that her party “hears them” and is determined to “win back women’s trust”.
Give me a break. Won’t these people ever learn that the folk who created this notion of the Coalition’s “women problem” would never think of voting for a conservative party? This is the same mob who ignored the fact that Julia Gillard’s famous misogyny speech was a desperate attempt to detract attention from her political reliance on Speaker Peter Slipper, who was then in trouble over a text comparing female genitalia to “a mussel removed from its shell… salty cunts in brine”.
We’ve seen successive Coalition governments cowering to the feminist lobby, forking out endless money trying to appease their insatiable appetite for an obscenely large slice of the cake. Malcolm Turnbull’s first act as Prime Minister was his plea for “respect for women” as he announced the first $100 million of the never ending bucket loads of funding poured into the domestic violence industry. Last year Scott Morrison topped up these rivers of gold with a 150% increase in funding, from $100 to $250 million per year, as a result of the feminist’s Covid scare campaign about women being locked up with dangerous men – money paid out even as official statistics showed decreased violence during lockdowns.
Just this week, Tom Burton in the Australian Financial Review names the “shameful failure to end family violence” as the greatest social policy issue which he claims led women to vote for “real change.” Do these journalists really have no idea that domestic violence rates are being artificially inflated by the current epidemic of false accusations related to family law battles? They presumably just don’t care because their only real interest is winning brownie points from their influential feminist colleagues.
It wasn’t that the Morrison government didn’t listen to women. This pussy-whipped crew sniveled, and groveled, like a cuckolded man clutching desperately at the ankles of his departing wife. Remember the appalling apology to Brittany Higgins? Or Morrison’s forced smile when Grace Tame insulted him with her infantile side-eye. Or the cowardly act of allowing Christian Porter and Alan Tudge to be pushed out of their ministerial roles over unproven sexual assault allegations. Or the cringing over the parliamentary harassment report, denying the very low incidence of actual harassment and high rates of female bullying.
Recent Coalition governments have gone in for shameless promotion of women into every conceivable public role. We had Susan Kiefel appointed Chief Justice of the High Court. Ita Buttrose as Chair of the ABC. Lorraine Finlay for Human Rights Commissioner. Cathy Foley as Chief Scientist. Women, women, women. A constant stream of beaming female faces endlessly gracing our news.
Consider the extraordinary appointment of Christine Morgan, as National Suicide Prevention Officer, at a time when six of the eight people killing themselves each day were men and 4 of every 5 beneficiaries of their “gender neutral” prevention programmes were women.
The results of the Coalition government’s relentless push to get more women into higher levels of the public service are all too apparent in grossly biased policy outcomes, like the March 2022 budget allocation of $2.1 billion to services for women and girls and just $1 million to “improve long term health outcomes” for men and boys.
For the last week we’ve been treated to unabashed celebration from our biased media about the ousting of the Coalition, and wild assertions that this was all due to angry women turning on Morrison. No mention, of course, of the fact that conservative parties everywhere are now struggling to attract women.
Irrespective of how desperately the Coalition tried to win them over, women keep turning left. Five years ago, I wrote about the growing power of left-wing women, making the point that women are becoming more left wing in their policy preferences – not only in Australia but across much of the Western World. Analysis by The Australian Election Study (AES) of 2019 election results confirmed an ever-widening gender gap starting back in the 1990’s, with a marked drop in female support for the Liberal Party.
By 2019, 45% of men and 35% of women voted Liberal, and with the Greens the gender split was 15% women to 9% men.
The AES asked voters to rate themselves on a scale from left to right, where 0 is left and 10 is right. In 2019 the average position for men was 5.2 whereas for women it was 4.8, a significant shift from the 1990s when there were minimum gender differences.
One of the key factors I identified back in 2017 for why the shift was occurring was leftist university education. “The hearts and minds being captured in our universities belong mainly to young women”, I wrote, pointing to fascinating research from the AES showing women emerge from university education notably more left leaning than women without degrees, whereas male graduates aren’t very different from less educated men in their political views.
Women’s increasingly left-wing policy preferences have been showing up in AES data on issue after issue: asylum-seekers; government spending on indigenous affairs; stiffer criminal penalties; positive discrimination for women, same sex marriage. The 2017 postal survey on same sex marriage showed that more women voted yes in every age group from 18 through to 75.
Over 60% of graduates are now female, so women are disproportionately affected by the ideological indoctrination taking place in our universities, particularly since they are mainly the ones studying humanities subjects steeped in identity politics and neo-Marxist propaganda.
Unlike many men who become more conservative as they age, the work/life patterns in most women’s lives simply reinforce these beliefs. Women predominantly work in education, health care and welfare services or as public service professionals. They make up 58% of public service positions and are more likely than men to work in unionised jobs. All this means their working environment provides a culture which supports rather than challenges their political beliefs.
Then there’s the motherhood issue, with mothers particularly receptive to the left’s big spending promises – and scare campaigns – on health and education. The growing number of single mothers significantly dependent on government benefits is another key issue, with the left-wing parties playing up their support for such disadvantaged families.
So, it goes on. Hardly surprising then that polling suggests the indoctrinated mob of professional women flocked to the Teal faux independents with their trendy list of leftist policy proposals. No doubt when proper analysis of the gender gap in this recent election is available, we will discover even more women across the board may be turning their backs on traditional conservative beliefs.
But the biggest risk for the conservative parties currently licking their wounds is to believe the mad left media claim that they were ousted by the wrath of angry women. Somehow, we need to convince Coalition politicians that they have long been bleeding votes from ordinary folk who have had a gutful of seeing women endlessly privileged whilst the men they love, their fathers, sons, brothers, friends, are pushed to the back of the bus and at every point denied fair treatment.