John Howard slammed for comments about women in politics

Whether you loved him or couldn’t stand him, John Howard has earned himself a reputation for speaking his mind on

Whether you loved him or couldn’t stand him, John Howard has earned himself a reputation for speaking his mind on issues.

But it’s his latest comments about the number of women in parliament that have got some people criticising him.

So what did the former prime minister say that’s got some people so upset?

Well, during an address to the Press Club in Canberra yesterday Mr Howard was asked about his thoughts on the number of female MPs in the Liberal party.

The party currently has just 18 women out of 84 MPs, with a goal to have a quota of 50% female MPs by 2025.

But Mr Howard said he doesn’t believe in quotas, and he doubts whether there will ever be a 50/50 split of men and women in parliament.

“I don’t think you will ever sort of have a 50/50 thing because it is a fact of society that the caring role, whatever people may say about it and whatever the causes are, women play a significantly greater part of fulfilling the caring role in our communities which inevitably places some limits on their capacity,” he said.

“Some people may say, ‘What a terrible thing to say’, and it’s not a terrible thing to say, it just happens to be the truth and occasionally, you’ve just got to recognise that and say it.

“The mainstream should not be too timid to say things occasionally.”

So what are the people criticising the former PM saying?

Herald Sun columnist Wendy Tuohy has penned an editorial stating she believes John Howard is wrong.

Using the Labor party’s 44% female politicians and the 40% figure of women on ASX-listed company boards, Tuohy slammed the former PM.

“Why should we simply accept that women’s capacity to secure their own financial futures and also to deliver their full contribution in the work world is limited by other people’s expectations,” she wrote.

“Or, that they should stay home to “care”, rather than be capable of working, even in parliament, where many mothers with little kids are doing just fine.

“To make society fairer; to continue to facilitate the improved profits companies with higher representations of women at senior levels are reporting; and, most importantly, to ensure Parliament looks like the community it represents, we need to be helping women find ways in, not just accepting under-representation of half the population.”

John Howard did, however, say that he would to see a natural process where there are more women in parliament.

What do you think? Do you agree with John Howard’s comments? Should there be more women in parliament?

  1. Jennefer Scott  

    I feel ALL ex-prime ministers should shut up. They had their chance and not rlevant to the present day.

    • John Edwards  

      Funny you should say that, as John Howard said pretty much the same thing when he was in office.

    • Gazz  

      I wonder if he asked OR was asked to speak. People still obviously find him relevant. He and Hawke rank as the only decent Prime Ministers in recent memory IMHO.

  2. Elaine Henderson  

    John Howard is irrelevant. He should keep his opinions to himself. PS He was a sitting PM who lost his seat to a woman.

    • Wendy Burton  

      and that woman did not last long did she.??..and he only lost by one vote. Howard did a bloody good job as PM and unfortunately the worst thing he did was not pass the PM job to Costello and that was his down fall.
      As for women in Parliament IF the woman is capable and knows the in’s and outs of her portfolio good..but I ask a question do any of the women on the front bench at the moment know??? they are all green behind the ears plus am I the only one that does not know their names and faces, have we heard them speak about things they are responsible for?? The Howard years are gone yes, BUT when will our Government start doing whats right for this country and stop grand standing and say nothing and do nothing except line their own pockets and should I say stop pandering to other nationalities that want to change our way of life as if it was their right to do so..God help this country and it’s people in the very near future and I am glad I will not be here to see it.

    • Ian Wilson  

      You should wish he was still in power, the problems of our society are directly link to children not having the upbringing and nurturing of a mother during the formulative years and not learning about basic respect for others.

  3. Rob Thomson  

    I think Howard represents a significant part of the electoral community, notably the older generations and deserves to be listened too, however he doesn’t represent the future. I would and do tell my daughter and also would also say to the migrant female as she lands on our shores, that there should be and are no limitations to what she can achieve in life in Australia or elsewhere, just like for her male counterpart.

    • The msle counterpart cant have kids and nine out of ten of the last generation .Could not cope with a child on their own.
      Thats why women are Howard said.its the truth.

  4. Peter  

    If anyone is offended by John Howard’s comments they must be stark raving mad. You can plainly see the incompetence in politics by SOME women who would be doing us all a favour by leaving politics and doing something else like caring for their very young children. People such as Kelly O’Dwyer of the Liberals and Kate Ellis of the ALP, being two prime examples of incompetent politicians with young children. All this talk about quotas and equality etc. is really just a load of rubbish. Marise Payne the Defence Minister is another example of total incompetence. She was rewarded by Turnbull for supporting him in his leadership tilt last year. Her abilities of course have nothing to do with her suitability in the role and she has already shown her incompetence on a grand scale. Once you introduce grandiose left leaning lofty ideals like quotas, you’re well and truly on the path to mediocrity. One should obtain a position based purely on merit and commitment to the role, not because of one’s gender.

    • Wiso  

      Well said Peter. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

      As a female, I do not want to be promoted to get what I want just to fill a quote or because of my gender. If I can’t get there on merit then I don’t want it. Women are created to fulfil a caring role in society and it is their natural instinct to do so but in this country it does not define who or what they are. If they have the merit they succeed just like their male counterparts. Equality is alive and well !!

    • pat  

      I agree. Quotas are scary because you end up with people not really the best candidate and have to lose some who are well qualified and better suited to the position. Just select the right people and ignore the ridiculous mysoginistic comments of biased people.

    • Kaye  

      I agree about the quotas but there are just as many incompetent men in Parliament if not more starting from the top down. Women do not have the edge on idiocy and lack of commonsense. Men are just as dumb

    • John Edwards  

      Meanwhile, the male mp’s are just SO competent., aren’t they!

      • Rocky  

        Well said Peter.

        John, Kaye. Agree also that we have more than our fair share of incompetent males in parliament.

    • The selection choice should always be to go for the best person available for the job or team! Choosing weak links based on some fallacious attempt to contrive a result is a recipe for mediocrity!

  5. Cheryll  

    All I will say is there are also a GREAT number of men who are incompetent politicians and should leave

  6. Rosemary  

    To be quite honest, I am sick to death of this argument. This gripe about there should be more of this and more of that, just because of culture, gender or age. Just because it is the flavour of the month and someone is flapping their gums about it. I just want the best damn person for the job, and I don’t care if they come from Perth WA, Brisbane QLD, or Hobart TAS. What I am sick of is being forced to accept those that are less qualified as they live in ACT or NSW where Turnbull comes from. Why can’t the Public Service be made to take the best person for the job and not discriminate, because the best person is not geographically located in their preferred site. I see this as a breach of the PS Act but it goes on all the time. Let’s have a Senate Enquiry.

  7. desleigh clarke  

    Regardless of sex, race or anything else politicians should be there on their merits and NO other reason, I would not vote for someone just because she is a woman and so am I, I would vote for whomever I considered would do a better job.
    I like Tanya Plibersek and Julie Bishop but I did not like Julia Gillard, it depends on their individual attributes.

    • my sentiments exactly ( except for Plibersek). And which gender is Wong?
      It’s how well we think they can perform the job, not a gender thing.

  8. I have often thought about this 50/50 thing and I’m sure that intelligent women are not very interested in the Parliamentary role as a member – there are plenty in the background in the parliamentary realm & some wield incredible power in those roles. Why would any mother want to be away from their children/family for so long? men for that matter also.
    The gender “equality” thing is over-rated anyhow – darned if I want anymore women in politics!!

  9. Dorothy Hughes  

    Mr Howard is absolutely correct.

  10. Pamela  

    Quotas for women in any positions is a huge insult! I am surprised they can’t see that!

    It is saying that women cannot obtain positions on merit but need special treatment instead!

    And to put women into a job just because they are female, means a qualified man does not get the job.

    It should always be the best person for the job, as decided by the employer or voter!

    • Howard  

      I could not have said it better myself.

  11. As this and all previous governments all around the world have brought this world to it’s sorry state, maybe we should have 100% women governments so that the ‘caring nature’ of women can heal it.

    • Gazz  

      It didn’t work with Maggie Thatcher, Julia Gillard, Dilma Rousseff (Brasil)…. in charge.

  12. elena  

    I believe we are all different in our capability regarding gender. However, there are still some men that think women are only good for washing their underpants, and perhaps it is true. J. H. many know of someone and that is his judgment. Also is true that some men are only good for nothing.

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