Apparently Australian politician, Tony Abbott suggested men are better at leadership in 1998:

He has said, and I quote, in a discussion about women being under-represented in institutions of power in Australia, the interviewer was a man called Stavros. The Leader of the Opposition says “If it's true, Stavros, that men have more power generally speaking than women, is that a bad thing?” Advertisement And then a discussion ensues, and another person says “I want my daughter to have as much opportunity as my son.” To which the Leader of the Opposition says “Yeah, I completely agree, but what if men are by physiology or temperament, more adapted to exercise authority or to issue command?”

Now I tried to find the whole speech. I expected this to be easy, as such a comment would be political dynamite and Labour would be stupid not to be shouting this from the rooftops. So I did some Google searches:

Search 1 Search 2 Search 3

Couldn't find any major newspapers with the quotes before today.

  • 1
    Bit more detail given by Anthony Albanese, but as this reference is also from yesterday it doesn't prove anything. anthonyalbanese.com.au/… Useful information to search with - round table discussion from 1998. Also there is "Michael Costa"
    – NotJarvis
    Oct 10, 2012 at 14:45
  • 2
    Even the article you link to doesn't claim that Abbot said men are better at leadership. Even according to the claim, all he did was question the assumption of other speakers that increasing the representation of women in leadership was ipso facto a good thing. Oct 10, 2012 at 15:43
  • As much as I dislike the man, he hasn't said anything noteworthy here, he sid "But what if" - he didn't make any claim that they were... Oct 10, 2012 at 19:34
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    @Oddthinking: I am interested in whether this was said or not
    – Casebash
    Oct 10, 2012 at 23:53
  • 1
    @NotJarvis has Abbott threatened to sue anyone about anything since "Goodbye Jerusalem"?
    – Golden Cuy
    Oct 11, 2012 at 12:23

1 Answer 1


1998: Tony Abbott, at round table that included Michael Costa, then a minister from New South Wales.

Tony Abbott: “If it’s true, Stavros, that men have more power, generally speaking, than women, is that a bad thing?”

Costa: “Clearly it’s a bad thing.”

Abbott: “Why is that, Michael?”

Costa: “I want my daughter to have as much opportunity as my son.”

Abbott: “Yeah, I completely agree, but what if men are by physiology or temperament more adapted to exercise authority or to issue commands?”

Costa: “Well see, I don’t believe that. What I do think is that we should never be in a situation where women have got to define their notions of success and self worth by negating a traditional role. But in terms of the power structure I think it’s very hard to deny that there is an under-representation of women.”

Abbott: “But now there’s an assumption that that is a bad thing.”


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    Page not found - we already knew it was from that website anyway
    – Casebash
    Oct 12, 2012 at 2:36
  • The Google cache still has it. (I don't think this is an answer. I am just testifying that this is a fair record of what that page used to say, before it was taken down.)
    – Oddthinking
    Oct 12, 2012 at 6:23
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    I wonder why it was taken down...
    – Golden Cuy
    Oct 12, 2012 at 7:25
  • @Oddthinking - Why don't you consider this an answer? As per the comment above the OP was asking if this was said. Does this not count? Is it because you don't trust the Google cache? Maybe the answer should take a screenshot of the cached page.
    – going
    Oct 18, 2012 at 3:34
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    @xiaohouzi79: The OP was skeptical that the conversation happened as claimed - he couldn't find any contemporary quotes. This answer did not provide a contemporary quote - it was just a recent repeat of the claim.
    – Oddthinking
    Oct 18, 2012 at 4:27

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