Australian PM Julia Gillard rips into opposition leader over misogyny, sexism charges

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

If you thought we had a problem with civility in Canada's Parliament, you should check out what's going on in Australia.

The Opposition Liberals have been calling for the Speaker of the House's resignation after court documents revealed that he had sent a series of "vile" text messages to a homosexual staffer — prior to being named Speaker.

The Speaker, Peter Slipper, resigned on Tuesday but not before Prime Minister Julia Gillard went on a 15 minute rant in what can best be described as a public 'dress down' of opposition leader Tony Abbott.

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"I say to the Leader of the Opposition I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man,'' Gillard said at one point looking straight at Abbott.

"If [Abbott] 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."

The Prime Minster brought out a laundry list of past sexist comments made by the opposition leader including one where he questions whether it's a "bad thing" that men have more power than women within "institutions of power" in Australia.

Gillard also took umbrage, in her speech, to a recent remark made at a Young Liberal function about a family member. According to The Australian, "shock jock" Alan Jones told the young politicos that the prime minister's father had "died of shame" because of her "lies".

"The government is not dying of shame, my father did not die of shame, what the Opposition Leader should be ashamed of is his performance in parliament," Gillard said.

At another point during her speech, Abbott was looking at his watch so Gillard chimed-in with this doozy:

"[He's] now looking at his watch because apparently a woman's spoken too long."

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Certainly we've had our share of parliamentary incivilities over the past year.

There was NDP Pat Martin who penned a potty-mouthed tweet , in November, after the Conservatives invoked closure on their budget bill. "This is a f--king disgrace ... closure again," he tweeted.

"And on the Budget! There's not a democracy in the world that would tolerate this jackboot sh--."

There was the time in December when Justin Trudeau leaned forward and hollered "Oh, you piece of sh--!" across the aisle to environment minister Peter Kent.

And most recently there was the NDP MPs drowning out poor Elizabeth May while she tried to ask a question to Thomas Mulcair in the House.

But, thank goodness, we haven't seen anything like they saw this week in Australia.