Tony Abbott says he’s wary of ‘anti-man agenda’
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he doesn’t support the idea of quotas following Labor’s vow to boost the number of women in senior roles.
Deputy Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek has called for 50% of senior public service roles to be filled by women in 2025 during her National Press Club speech.
Mr Abbott tells Ben Fordham the Liberal party “needs to do better” when it comes to women’s representation in parliament but he’s wary of quotas.
“I think quotas are a problem because then people aren’t always thought to be there on merit.
“I’m a little worried about what often sounds like an anti-man agenda.”
“In the end, you’ve got to have people there that are capable of doing the job because they are the best available at doing the job.
“I want to think that people have been appointed to positions on merit, not on the basis of some kind of tokenism.”
Click PLAY below for the full interview
This follows journalist Greg Brown from The Australian being booed during Ms Plibersek’s speech.
Mr Brown asked about the Adani coal mine but was met with boos from journalists in the room.
Ben Fordham has slammed the reaction.
“Why isn’t Greg Brown allowed to ask a question about that without being jeered?
“He was asking the second most prominent Labor politician in Australia about a major issue that Labor has been flip-flopping on.
“Well done to Greg Brown, and to the others who were booing, grow up!
Mr Abbott tells Ben Fordham female politicians should not be “pigeonholed”.
“A female politician would rightly be insulted if she was pigeonholed into soft portfolios.”
Ms Plibersek has since responded to the incident with a tweet, saying she’s “completely relaxed” about the situation.
There’s a bit of discussion about questions at @PressClubAust today. I’m completely relaxed about journalists asking me whatever they like – these journalists were just doing their jobs. Ping @andrewtillett @CroweDM @samanthamaiden
— Tanya Plibersek (@tanya_plibersek) March 7, 2018
Ben also spoke with radio and television presenter Tim Shaw who was at the conference and says the reaction was done in jest.
Tim: “There were no journalists booing.”
Ben: “There were people groaning and booing. The tape doesn’t lie!”
Listen to the interview and Ben’s comments in full below