Election 2016: Why I’m Taking On Tony Abbott

Here is Why I’m Taking On Tony Abbott
Marie Rowland

May 21, 2016

So why would I want to enter the fray of toxic politics?

Like you perhaps, I have become utterly disaffected in the self-interested political discourse.

Unlike you, though, I have decided to wade into these murky waters and am contesting the seat of Warringah, currently held by the former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott.

Sheer madness.

I felt that the only way we, the people, can exact change, is if we get involved in the democratic process.

The two-party system is simply not working. Surely five Prime Ministers in five years must sound the death knell for the two-party system whose players seem intent on re-election as opposed to doing what’s best for the nation?

I am running for the newly formed independent party, the Nick Xenophon Team whose founder is seen as a maverick from the centre who speaks with both compassion and common-sense.

Marie Rowland

But for me this was also personal. Whatever you thought about Julia Gillard, when she erupted out of sheer frustration and pointed her accusatory finger at the then opposition leader, Tony Abbott, decrying that she would not be lectured to by a misogynist, she sent shock waves around the world.

Women all over identified with her in that defining moment. Whether through unconscious bias or deliberately being passed over we get paid less, promoted less, are not represented at management or board levels, and as for politics the record there is abysmal.

When Abbott toppled Rudd later in the Labor term, he had not learned any lessons from that fateful day, when he appointed just one woman to his cabinet.

This raised my ire when he was at pains to explain that his approach was based on meritocracy. This is not only a farcical notion when you assessed the calibre of his cabinet but it also deeply unfair. When men do the choosing, who do you think they might choose?

Behavioural psychology tells us that we choose from our own ‘herd’ groups – socially and culturally similar so we ended up with a bunch of white middle class men with a token gal.

This is not good enough. A​n OECD report released mid 2015 showed that Australia was the sixth worst country in the world for the representation of women in politics.

So the views of one half of the nation are not being heard. Mr Abbott does not represent many of us who support marriage equality; who scoff at the anachronistic notion of dames and knights and who acknowledge that he is no champion of women.

Not in my neck of the woods – not anywhere. He belongs behind a white picket fence in a house with a black and white tele playing re-runs of The Sullivans. A time he obviously yearns for.

The leader of my party, Nick Xenophon has absolutely put his policy where his mouth is when it comes to his stance on affirmative action.

In 2015 he presented the Australian Government Boards (Gender Balanced Participation) Bill – a piece of legislation that attempted to formalise some of the aspirational targets set by the Gillard government in its final years which sees at least 40% of women having a seat at the board table.

And I am here to champion this message.

So now I have a date with destiny. But I am not leaving it up to fate. There is a glaring difference between Mr Abbott and me. I am woman.

And this I think is my right hook to Abbott’s sucker punch. Women do things differently in many ways – we tend to be more collegiate in our approach.

Power and ego simply are not hallmarks of the female DNA. We want to help and connect with others. So I think I have an advantage going up against my pugilistic adversary.

The political pundits may indeed think I am punching above my weight but I have unexpected weapons.

I hope you follow me on this journey and let’s connect so we can collectively make history.


By Marie Rowland

I work in private practice as a psychotherapist, am a freelance writer and my family lives on the beautiful northern beaches in Sydney. Life is good.


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