Bill Shorten accused of sexism

Bill Shorten’s announcement about Labor’s childcare policy has taken a turn towards the controversial after Today show host Lisa Wilkinson

Bill Shorten’s announcement about Labor’s childcare policy has taken a turn towards the controversial after Today show host Lisa Wilkinson blasted him live on air this morning for his “dinosaur” views on women and childcare.

Mr Shorten announced a $3 billion childcare package yesterday, saying it was women who are most responsible for taking care of children and organising childcare.

“Let’s face it, men in Australia rely on women in Australia to do the childcare and to organise the childcare,” Mr Shorten said.

A number of people, including Ms Wilkinson, took issue with his comments, saying he was feeding into the stereotype that women are just caregivers and men do “the important stuff” like going to work.

“When Bill Shorten describes women as having the second job, that men ‘rely on women to take care of all things when it comes to looking after the kids’, in other words so men can get on with doing all the important stuff, isn’t he simply entrenching a stereotype of women as second class citizens?” Ms Wilkinson said.

“Isn’t parenting about sharing responsibilities? And isn’t it confirming the outdated belief that women should always be in charge of the unpaid work and therefore giving any men who still do, permission to keep thinking that way … isn’t that like so last century?

“Bill Shorten once described former PM Tony Abbott as a ‘dinosaur’ with his views on women of the Mr Shorten, I would suggest it might be time to take a look in the mirror.”

Asking viewers for their thoughts, Ms Wilkinson asked “is the man who would be PM sexist or a realist?”

“If you’re a working mum would you like a more equitable share when it comes to sharing childcare issues?” she asked.

A number of Liberal politicians have also lashed out at Mr Shorten, labelling his comments as “prehistoric”.

When he announced the deal, Mr Shorten focussed his speech on women and didn’t mention fathers once.

“Affordable quality childcare makes the difference as to whether or not mums are able to go to work, whether or not children get the best start in life,” he said.

“Working mums in this country should not face the choice as to whether or not they pay double childcare fees or drop out of work.”
Mr Shorten, however, didn’t mention men.

“When I think of a family sitting on the couch, I understand how frustrated working mums are with the logistics of childcare,” he said.

“I understand how difficult it is for a working woman with the kids trying to work out how on earth does she go to work if 80 per cent of what she’s earning gets eaten up in childcare fees?

“Let’s face it, men in Australia rely on women in Australia to do the childcare and to organise the childcare.

“So what I would say to the family sitting on the couch is this: ‘I’ll make sure that it’s easier for both of you to go to work if that’s what you choose to do’.”

What are your thoughts on this?

Was Bill Shorten being sexist? Or, was he just being a realist?

  1. Denise  

    Realist. Most organisation for the family are done by the women.

    • Vonne  

      Of course women do the childcare organizing and it’s not a dinosaur remark.

      • Claire Taylor  

        Realist unfortunately. I find it amazing that someone who used to work at “Dolly” magazine thinks she is qualified to champion women’s rights.

    • Adrienne  

      Sorry Lisa, I think he’s being a realist

    • Be  

      Yep it may be nice to think both mums & dads share the “care” truth is the dads only do the nominal share……still, Bill could have been a bit more generous to those dads w ho do more.

  2. Catherine Balaz  

    People are reading far too much into what he said. If you look hard enough you can find anything you want to take exception to. He was stating a fact, that, even now, women do have the major responsibility of child caring and difficulty in re-entering the workforce because of that and that the funding would help to free women to make more choices. People should stop nitpicking all the time, it is getting tedious. Political correctness is a curse and used by many to push their own agendas.

  3. Newton Hill  

    Would be interesting to do a poll of how many stay at home dads there are, while mums work and how single dads (and stay at home dads) drop off and pick up the kids at childcare. I think its another media beatup to polarise the community (they’re good at that) and march off carrying the Political Correct flag. The other issue is how we afford it. Watch Turnbull and Morrison run with this one. They always come up with these bright ideas prior to election. They should be marked on how their promises panned out since the last one. Unfortunately they know we dont keep score. Maybe we should.

  4. If you Biĺl Shorten is sexist, you should ask all the male MPs in Liberal party. Listen to their comments, especially Tony Abbott.

  5. Helen  

    Never thought I’d agree with anything Bill Shorten says, but on this one I do, even though its a ploy to win the female vote. He is being a realist. Women ARE the main decision makers when it comes to childcare and what their children do. I find it strange that Lisa Wilkinson interprets his comments to be sexist and suggest that women are second class citizens because men rely on them to make family decisons.

  6. Judith Drew  

    He was being a realist. Mostly it is the mother who makes decisions regarding childcare.

  7. Lindsay Gregory  

    I always had my wife tell me what she was wanting for our children so I stood in line with the kids when my wife and mother tell us what she wanted. I like most other men know that there are jobs that women are better doing as there are jobs men are better doing. I f I asked my wife to fix the gear box on the family car she would look at me and tell me are joking. If my wife asked me to cook a sponge for a birthday then she would have the same look given to her. So in those statements am I sexist, am belittling my wife? or am I just pointing out that the female and the male do not know how to do everything, Shorten was only stating the obvious.

  8. Lidia  

    A woman does do most of the work ,though there are very few men,so Lisa stop making a mountain out of a mole hill

  9. Realist. Lisa Wilkinson is just trying to make a story out of nothing. Typical journalism in Australia today maybe she should join 60 minutes with the stunts they pull

  10. Pam Nicholls  

    Lisa Wilkinson is jumping on the bandwagon with the likes of Fiona Nash who made the most pathetic and ignorant statements when the story was first released. As a teacher l have worked in many a mainly female staff, and what Bill Shorten said is, unfortunately, a dose of reality. I saw many working full time working teacher mums who still had to shoulder the burden of organising and providing Childcare. It’s a pity that we still live in times when many men, not all, but many view looking after their kids as baby sitting rather than parenting. It’s also a pity that politicians like Fiona Nash ignorantly buy into the issue because she is on “the other side” and feels that she has to automatically disagree. Very disappointing.

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