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WATCH: Australian PM Julia Gillard slams opposition's sexism claims in fiery speech

Posted By KATE STANTON, UPI.com   |   Oct. 9, 2012 at 2:43 PM   |   Comments

Oct. 9 (UPI) -- It's not every day that Australian (or American) political discourse gets so heated, and rarely does a female head-of-state speak so openly and personally about sexism and misogyny in governance.

In a passionate speech to parliament, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard seized on Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's attempt to paint her as a misogynist, calling him a sexist and a hypocrite and bombarding him with a series of examples when she was "personally offended" by his comments and actions.

"I say to the leader of the opposition, I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man," Gillard began.

The leader of the opposition says that people who hold sexist views and who are misogynists are not appropriate for high office. Well I hope the leader of the opposition has got a piece of paper and he is writing out his resignation. Because if he wants to look like in modern Australia, he doesn't need a motion in the House of Representatives, he needs a mirror.

Gillard went on to list occasions she felt demonstrated Abbott's own sexist beliefs: "I was offended when he stood next to a sign that described me as a 'man's bitch.'”

The drama started with Abbott's repeated calls for the resignation of Speaker Peter Slipper after a series of crude and inappropriate text messages came to light. Abbott seized on the scandal by saying that Gillard's defense of her colleague would be "another day of shame for this parliament, another day of shame for a government which should already have died of shame."

In the video, you can see Abbott grow increasingly uncomfortable as Gillard's rhetoric continues (she accuses him of "cat-calling" at one point).

Though the Telegraph's Emma Barnett conceded that Gillard's government "didn't have a leg to stand on" regarding the text message scandal, the prime minister's ability to shift focus against "high and mighty" Tony Abbott is pretty fun to watch.

Watching a female Prime Minister tear apart the male leader of the Opposition with such aplomb, composure – but most importantly armed with a brilliantly impressive set of insults – backed up with dates and times of when each shocking comment was said – was the best card Gillard, ever the political animal, could have played in such a situation.
© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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