Tony Abbott ‘doesn’t have a problem with women’ says his wife
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Taking her cues from Tammy Wynette, Tony Abbott's wife Margie Abbott has hit back at what she claims is a "deliberate campaign" to portray her husband as sexist.
In a column for News Limited this morning, Abbott has defended her husband against those "trying to raise doubts about Tony and his relationship with women".
Abbott has drawn public ire amongst some women since he first hit campaign trails back in 2010 with a number of verbal gaffes, as well as document publicity blunders prior to becoming opposition leader.
But the public commentary does not reflect the real Abbott, says Margie Abbott.
"Tony gets women. He is surrounded by strong women. He grew up with three sisters, has three daughters, is supported by a female deputy in Julie Bishop and has always had a female chief of staff."
Abbott's defence of her husband follows accusations by senior Gillard government ministers, including Attorney-General Nicola Roxon, that Abbott does not deal well with women.
She lamented that those who criticised Abbott do women more harm by feeding into stereotypes.
"The people who run the negative arguments about Tony do women a disservice to suggest that somehow, because a man has the cauliflower ears of a rugby player, continues to play sport and spends a fair number of weekends volunteering as a firefighter or lifesaver, that somehow it is all proof that he is a boofy bloke who is anti-women."
She also made an appearance with her husband on the Nine Network this morning, claiming that politics is a tough business and success in politics requires a tough exterior.
When asked if his wife's public defense of him was a "diversionary tactic" to deflect recent criticism of him, Abbott said his wife had wanted to say something on the matter for some time.
What do you think? Has Margie Abbott successfully assisted her husband's image? Do you think Abbott has a problem with women?