Prime Minister Julia Gillard has delivered a stinging attack on sexism, misogyny and the Opposition leader Tony Abbott during Question Time today.
Breaking away from her long-held silence on the role of sexism in political debate, Gillard gave a 15-minute response to the Opposition’s calls that Peter Slipper be removed as Speaker of the house, declaring that she’s long been offended by comments made by Abbott.
“I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man,” Gillard said, “The government will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man.”
“If he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn’t need a motion in the House of Representatives, he needs a mirror.”
Earlier, deputy opposition leader Julie Bishop said the women of the house could not respect Peter Slipper in the position of speaker, given revelations in the Federal Court of sexist text messages sent from Slipper to his former adviser James Ashby. The comments followed Abbott’s move to have Slipper removed from office.
Gillard read a list a statements made by the Opposition leader during his time as a Howard minister declaring with each that she “was offended”. She said she was also offended when Abbott stood in front of a sign that read “ditch the witch” and when he said she needed to make an “honest women of herself”.
“We are now supposed to take seriously that the leader of the Opposition is offended by Peter Slipper’s text” she said.
“He doesn’t walk into this parliament and apologise to me for the things that have come out of his mouth but now seeks to use this as a battering ram against someone else. This kind of hypocrisy should not be tolerated,”
Gillard also hit back at Abbott for not raising objections when “the most vile things were being said about my family”.
Gillard said she too was offended by the Slipper text messages, but opposed Abbott’s motion to remove Slipper from office given the matter was with the courts. “I am offended by their content because I am always offended by sexism,” she said.
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