Liberals forget that women vote and have paid the price

It appears that the Coalition miscalculated how many women there are in Australia.

Women make up the slim majority at 51% of the nearly 17 million Australians registered to vote, many of whom are angry, tired and fed up with feeling unheard by their government. Professional women, the largest cohort of voters in this election, led the way in turning Liberal seats teal.

None of this should be news to political candidates: poll after poll showed that women were undecided about who they would vote for, didn’t trust Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and were unhappy with the Coalition.

Even in 2019, the disparity was evident: only 35% of women put the Liberal Party first compared to 45% of men. (Comparable data on this election has not yet been published.)

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It was a three-year period filled with allegations of sexual violence after the Me Too movement, report after report on gender classifications and sexual harassment in the workplace showing the dire situation, and the lived experience of the worsening conditions they face. women working on the front lines of COVID-19. with low wages and extra care roles.

With support already low, it would make sense for Liberals to try to attract angry, disenfranchised or indecisive women. Instead, Morrison set about making things worse.

There were a number of incredibly offensive blunders, from turning the spotlight on his children when discussing rape, to patting himself on the back when confronted with reports of a toxic and misogynistic parliamentary workplace, to downplaying allegations against former cabinet ministers Christian Porter and Alan Tudge, denied by both men.

And it appears that the safe and respectful workplace training mandated by Morrison’s workplace only got him so far. Women were left out of the election campaign, and the Coalition apparently forgot that women have had the right to vote in this country for 120 years.

Frontline workers didn’t get a mention of Morrison from the budget. In his award speech, Morrison thanked the defense forces, the police and industrial workers, male-dominated industries that did not have to bear the brunt of COVID, such as health care workers, teachers and caregivers. of elderly.

Despite changing her tune and expressing support for gender quotas within the Liberal Party last year, Morrison made no move to improve representation; female candidates were passed over to run for safe seats by both sides; and several Liberal women, including Fiona Martin at Reid, lost their seats.

Instead, he turned liberal woman after liberal woman against him: from Julie Bishop declaring that men in Parliament were not doing enough to stand up for women, to Bridget Archer crossing the floor over religious discrimination, to Julia Banks and Gladys Berejiklian leaving the match. The list goes on.

Morrison, after intense criticism in 2020 that he had forgotten women in the budget, instead dedicated much of this year’s funding to women, pledging cash for struggling domestic violence shelters. But she did not address the underlying drivers of violence or gender inequality, again focusing on policies that benefit men over women in her campaign launch.

The closest Australia came to admitting that Morrison’s actions were not being welcomed was a promise to stop being a “bulldozer” and change his leadership style.

This, however, was short-lived. She later said that, even after refusing to meet with the protesters on the day of the March 4 women’s justice rally (telling the women they should be thankful they weren’t shot), if she had her time again, she wouldn’t I wouldn’t change anything.

We knew it was coming. Women and strong independent women led the revolution against the Coalition. Morrison repeatedly underestimated the wrath of angry women, and it cost him the election.

The results are a reason to smile for those who make up Australia’s largest voting cohort.

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