On standby ... Opposition Leader Tony Abbott with his wife Margie. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
- Lenore Taylor: The new Downton Abbott
- Wife says Tony Abbott is a feminist
- Blitz sparks #SensitiveTony chatter
Margie Abbott will be used again to blunt Labor's attacks on her husband as being anti-women, the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott said today.
"If the Labor Party persists in this idea that there's some kind of problem with women, Margie will be out there correcting the record again," Mr Abbott said.
With polls showing that Labor's characterisation of Mr Abbott as being anti-women had struck a chord with the electorate, Mrs Abbott this week hit media with the message that her husband, a father of three grown daughters, was surrounded by "strong, capable women".
She also delivered a rare speech in his defence.
Mr Abbott was today asked whether his normally private wife was his new "secret weapon" in the run in to the next election.
"I don't call Margie my better half for nothing and I suspect that there will be a few people who say 'Yay, Margie for PM' after yesterday," he said.
"She's not a political person; she's married to a politician but I think she felt that there had been some untruths put into the public arena and she thought it was important to correct the record."
Mr Abbott predicted the anti-women line would be kept up by Labor, saying he expected a "destructive, negative, personal campaign".
Mr Abbott joined NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell to repeat the federal Coalition's $1.5 billion commitment to the next Sydney motorway project.
The Coalition had promised $1.5 billion for an M4 East extension but today rolled that over into the state government's $10 billion WestConnex program.
Mr Abbott called on the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, to match his $1.5 billion.
"This is an absolute vital project for the future of Sydney," Mr Abbott said. "I would say to the Prime Minister and [Infrastructure] Minister Anthony Albanese: 'Be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Stop sitting on your hands, commit to this project. You don't have to ask the Greens for permission, just get going.' "