We don’t usually cover Australian politics at The Grindstone, but trust me, you’re going to like this. Julia Gillard, the first female prime minister of Australia, delivered a blistering takedown of a political rival in parliament yesterday, and the video instantly exploded online. “I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man,” Gillard practically shouted at him. “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.”
Here’s the back story: Gillard’s political ally, Peter Slipper, was forced to resign after being caught sending crude text messages to a staffer. I’ll spare you details, but suffice to say he compared female genitalia to a de-shelled mussels. No, seriously.
In response to this, the head of the other party, Tony Abbott, took an opportunity to dramatically accuse Gillard of shameful behavior in defending the “mussel” man. But Gillard was having none of it. Her speech tore Abbott apart for a long history of openly sexist behavior. “The leader of the opposition says that people who hold sexist views and who are misogynist are not appropriate for high office,” she said. “Well I hope the leader of the opposition has got a piece of paper and he is writing out his resignation.”
Gillard says Abbott once asked whether “men are by physiology or temperament, more adapted to exercise authority or to issue command.” He questioned whether or not it was a bad thing that women are underrepresented in positions of power. He suggested that “abortion is the easy way out.” And that’s just the beginning of Gillard’s point-by-point catalog of Abbott’s offenses. “This is the man from whom we’re supposed to take lectures about sexism,” she says, incredulous.
Side awesomeness: Countries that let their legislators just openly shout at each other in objection or approval during speeches are the best.