Margie Abbott, the wife of Coalition Tony Abbott, is on a public relations blitz in an apparent attempt to recover lost political support among voters for her husband who recently was questioned over having problems with female authorities or women in general.
To make the man who wants to become Australia's next prime minister more appealing to voters, the media-shy Mrs Abbott has appeared on Nine Network and wrote an article for News Limited tabloids that was published Friday. On the same day, she is also slated to deliver a speech to Liberal women in Sydney.
Mrs Abbott insisted that her husband is a softie despite the tough exterior of his political persona. To prove her point, she said that the Opposition leader prefers to watch Downtown Abbey, a British TV drama, over football games.
"Tony has three sisters, he has a strong, capable wife and he has been part of a team who has raised three beautiful young women," The Australian quoted Mrs Abbott.
The Abbotts have been married for 24 years and has three daughters: Louise, 23, Frances, 21, and Bridget, 19. Besides being a housewife to the feisty Opposition leader, Mrs Abbott also operates a community-based childcare centre.
Political observers believe Mr Abbott has problems with female power figures based on how he deals with current Prime Minister Julia Gillard and accounts of Barbara Ramjan, a former student female leader at the University of Sydney, who recounted bullying she received from Mr Abbott when he lost to her in an election more than three decades ago. Mr Abbott denied he bullied his former rival.
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon and Health Minister Tanya Plibersek also believe that Mr Abbott has a problem dealing with powerful females.
"I think politics is a tough business and to be successful in politics you have to have a tough exterior, whatever your gender," Mrs Abbott explained to Nine Network.
"So seeing the real person is often very difficult and sitting in front of a camera is probably not the best way to show the real person," she added.
Analysis of the latest Newspoll surveys conducted between July and September indicated that it is not only Mr Abbott, but also Ms Gillard, who is having problems attracting votes from the opposite gender.
Only 29 per cent of female respondents said they are satisfied with Mr Abbott's performance while 34 per cent of males gave the Coalition leader a thumbs up. Similarly, only 27 per cent of male respondents approved of Ms Gillard's performance compared to 32 per cent of women respondents who favoured the prime minister's performance.
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