“I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. I will not…not now, not ever.”
As former prime minister Julia Gillard’s first words landed inside the chamber at Parliament House on October 9, 2012, not many of her opponents and peers could have known they were about to be part of one of the most iconic moments in Australian history.
“I was very offended personally when the Leader of the Opposition, as Minister of Health, said, and I quote, ‘Abortion is the easy way out.’… I was offended too by the sexism, by the misogyny of the Leader of the Opposition catcalling across this table at me as I sit here as Prime Minister.”
Gillard’s frank and courageous words, directed at Tony Abbott, could not be ignored then, and they still can’t be ignored now.
To mark the anniversary of the speech, Gillard is preparing to take the words to the stage for Not Now, Not Ever, two very special evenings this October, hosted by Indira Naidoo and featuring a number of special guests. Already, there’s been significant demand for tickets as people aim to relive and learn more from the moment that created so much momentum. Taking place on October 4 at Hamer Hall Arts Centre Melbourne, and then on October 5 at the Aware Super Theatre, ICC Sydney, both events are set to be unforgettable and like nothing previously seen in Australia.
Back in 2012 when delivering the speech, Gillard recalled each instance of sexism, every misogynistic word, and outlined just some of the many attempts that had been made to minimise her because she was female. Her words blazed through the hearts of women and girls around the world.
It compelled every person listening to take an honest look at their role in the ongoing fight for equality.
Gillard’s words have since been celebrated, making international headlines, earning millions of views on platforms like YouTube and reinspiring younger generations through a revival on TikTok.
The speech was named the most unforgettable moment in Australian TV history by Guardian Australia. It sparked talks of a Hollywood movie with stars like Tilda Swinton and Cate Blanchett suggested for the role of the former prime minister.
Even in the White House, the speech was being replayed. With the team advising former US President Barack Obama revealing back in 2020 that they would watch the speech whenever they were feeling annoyed at Tony Abbott.
“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.”
Gillard’s words continue to be cast across t-shirts, books, in proud picture frames on bedroom walls and in conversations in boardrooms, offices and other chambers of government.
Why the speech still matters, a decade on
Gillard’s words brought sharp focus to the reality of something much bigger than herself or her opponent Abbott.
As Australia has navigated its way through this extraordinary pandemic, women suffered on the backfoot of earning less per hour, being overrepresented in casual or insecure work, and bearing the brunt of unpaid care and duties at home.
In recent years, a number of high-profile examples have exposed a history of sexism, discrimination and sexual assault inside the bubble of Canberra.
In industries like mining, brave survivors have shed light on the dangerous working conditions created by lingering attitudes that de-humanise and objectify women.
When Gillard said she “took offense” to misogyny and sexism, it was personal.
And it has remained personal to the many women, girls and male champions working to change their communities for the better.
Are we learning from past mistakes?
Is Australia becoming a place where women and girls feel safe to live, thrive and lead?
We’re set to find out from Gillard herself and other special guests as we relive the moment that changed Australia forever. The Melbourne event is already sold out, with general public tickets only being released on Monday. Sydney is set to do the same, with people coming from all over the country to laugh, learn and get inspired to push for more over the decade ahead.
“A decade has passed since I first declared ‘not now, not ever’ in Parliament House, but our collective call for equity remains just as vital,” Gillard said on announcing she would be taking her words to the stage.
“I am incredibly proud to be part of these special evenings that will celebrate passion and progress, reflect on how far we’ve come in the last ten years, but most importantly look forward to explore what comes next in the fight for equality.”
Marking ten years since Australia’s first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard delivered her impassioned Misogyny Speech, Not Now, Not Ever celebrates progress and explores the challenges in the empowerment of women everywhere.
Tickets are selling fast! Join Gillard, host Indira Naidoo, and special guests on stage this October 5 in Sydney for an unforgettable evening of passion and progress. October 4 in Melbourne sold out.
Tickets are on sale now via Ticketek. Book now, before they sell out.