Australian Prime Minister: “We Are Entitled to a Better Standard Than This”

by Brittany Houlihan

In a debate earlier this week, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard called out opposition leader Tony Abbott on his sexism and misogyny.  In what could be considered an important moment for Australian women and women all over the world, Gillard excellently declared her feelings about Abbott while standing up for women.

The debate was held because of some recent remarks by Speaker of the House Peter Slipper, who sent texts demeaning women.  Interestingly enough, Slipper was appointed under Gillard’s command.  Abbott said “Every day the prime minister stands in this parliament to defend this Speaker will be another day of shame for this parliament, another day of shame for a government which should already have died of shame.”

Gillard railed on Abbott’s own history of sexist comments, and called him a misogynist while defending herself and the women of Australia.  The 15-minute speech started with Gillard saying that if Abbott wanted to know what misogyny looked like in modern day Australia, he should look in the mirror.  It even gets better than that!

“I was offended 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 [saying], ‘If the prime minister wants to make an honest woman of herself…’ something that would never have been said to any man sitting in this chair,” she stated.  This point seems like it would be obvious enough, but sadly it seems it did need to be made.

Gillard also pointed out that in 1998, Abbott said  “If it’s true…that men have more power generally speaking than women, is that a bad thing?” and in 2004 said abortion was the “easy way out.”   Gillard also made her point when she said Abbott at one point stood with the public who were holding signs describing Gillard as a “man’s bitch.”  It is very easy to get caught up in everything Gillard says.  She is very powerful in her speaking and does not back down.  More than a defining moment for her and for the women of Australia, it was a defining moment for women of the world.

Read more here.

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