Opposition leader tipped to be Australia’s new Prime Minister

On election day, polls favor Tony Abbott, who is "threatened" by gays and claims abortion is "the easy way out" VIDEO

Topics: Video, Tony Abbott, Australian election, Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, equality, Polls, Sexism, Gay Rights, Immigration, policy, , ,

UPDATED: The conservative Liberal National Coalition defeated the Labor Party in a crushing win on Saturday night, securing 91 seats to 54. Tony Abbott is now the official 28th prime minister elect of Australia.

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“I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas, simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons.”

“Abortion is the easy way out. It’s hardly surprising that people should choose the most convenient exit from awkward situations.”

These are not the quotes of some drunk uncle at a backyard barbecue, these are both statements made by the leader of Australia’s opposition party, Tony Abbott, who, if the latest polls are to be believed, will soon be named Australia’s new prime minister — the third in three months.

As Australians head to the ballot on Saturday after a long and embittered campaign, they are faced with two fairly dire options. Do they vote for the former prime minister Kevin Rudd, who was knifed by his own party in 2010, only to return to the seat this year? Or do they choose the man known for his controversial and archaic views on abortion and women’s health, workplace equality, gay rights and immigration?

Amid a game of political musical chairs and an election flush with nasty comments and gaffes from both sides, Abbott, who once famously claimed that no one is “suppository of all wisdom” and described one of his Liberal Party candidates as having “a bit of sex appeal,” has risen sharply in popularity since his close loss to Julia Gillard in the 2010 federal elections. Tonight he’s expected to bring Labor’s troubled six year rein to a close.

Australians are rightly fed up with an incumbent party that appears more preoccupied with political in-fighting than on  economic and social issues such as the mining slowdown and formulating a policy on asylum seekers that befits a nation that settles the third largest number of refugees globally. But is Abbott really the right man to represent Australia on the global stage for the next three years?

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At this point it looks like only a miracle could save Labor their leadership, which has become a source of national ridicule, thanks in part to aggressive negative media coverage from the popular Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloids.

“Maybe our Lord will materialize and touch the forehead of Kevin Rudd and anoint him his chosen representative on earth,” Rick Kuhn, a professor of politics at Australian National University in Canberra told the New York Times. “But short of that, I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

That leaves Abbott – the man whose own daughter described him as a “lame, gay, churchy loser.”

But Abbott has made it clear he is far from gay. In fact, he’s “a bit threatened” by homosexuality and same sex marriage, stating: “I’m not someone who wants to see radical change based on the fashion of the moment.”

Abbott’s words say it all really, and they should be in the minds of all Australians as they start scribbling out their votes today. Here are just a few of his finest moments:

On women:

“What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up, every year…”

On climate change:

“Climate change is absolute crap”

On homosexuality:

“If you’d asked me for advice I would have said to have – adopt a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about all of these things…”

On rights at work:

“Bad bosses, like bad fathers and husbands, should be tolerated because they do more good than harm”

And lastly, who could forget this television interview which earned him the nickname “Noddy”:

Liz Fields is an Australian freelance journalist based in New York who has previously scribbled for Slate, ABC News, Sydney Morning Herald and more. Follow her on Twitter @lianzifields

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