It’s good to see Julia Gillard setting the leader of the opposition, Tony Abbott, straight about sexism and misogyny. It’s good to see her listing the sexist and misogynist things he’s said and done – such as standing in front of the houses of Parliament next to a sign saying “ditch the witch” and one describing her as “a man’s bitch.”
“The leader of the opposition says that people who hold sexist views and are misogynists are not appropriate for high office,” she continued. “Well, I hope the leader of the opposition is writing out his resignation because if he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he needs a mirror.”
“I was offended too by the sexism, by the misogyny, of the leader of the opposition catcalling across this table … [such as] ‘If the prime minister wants to, politically speaking, make an honest woman of herself’ – something that would never have been said to any man sitting in this chair.
“I was offended by those things. Misogyny. Sexism. Every day from the leader of the opposition,” she said.
The anger in parliament follows a fortnight of debate about the tone of politics in Australia after the country’s best known radio talkshow host said Gillard’s recently deceased father had “died of shame” because his daughter stood in parliament and told lies.
Alan Jones’s comments during a Sydney University Liberal Club dinner triggered outrage. A number of companies which sponsored or advertised on his show withdrew their support. On Monday, the station suspended all advertising on his show.
In calling for Slipper to be sacked, Abbott echoed Jones’s remarks, saying Gillard should be ashamed of herself. “Every day the prime minister stands in this parliament to defend this speaker will be another day of shame for … a government that should already have died of shame,” said the opposition leader.
A furious Gillard hit back again, saying: “The government is not dying of shame. My father did not die of shame. What the leader of the opposition should be ashamed of is his performance in this parliament and the sexism he brings with it.”
It’s good to see her hitting back, but it’s pathetic that she has to. It’s pathetic.