Your New Favorite Politician: ‘I Will Not Be Lectured About Sexism And Misogyny By This Man’

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.

Watch the full speech here, or read the transcript here.

Side awesomeness: Countries that let their legislators just openly shout at each other in objection or approval during speeches are the best.

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    • Atropine

      Freaking amazing

    • Alex

      There’s a couple of critical points that have been left out. Peter Slipper was, until last year, a member of Tony Abbott’s political party. Abbott and Slipper have been colleagues and friends for many, many years. Abbott has endorsed Slipper on a number of occasions and even attended Slipper’s wedding. Before this speech by Gillard, Abbott was accusing the PM of standing up for a ‘misogynist’ and that she should have known what type of person Slipper was, and that anyone with sexist views has no place in parliament.

      And to add to all of this, there’s currently a court case involving Slipper and his text messages. Gillard makes a great point that the court case will determine his guilt (or not), and appropriate action would then be taken. Until then, Gillard calling for Slippers resignation could be seen as influencing the case. But Abbott and most of the Australian media seem to forget this…

    • j_600

      Impressive stuff. Gillard has always had an ability to step up to the plate and deliver. She put her finger not only on Abbott’s hypocrisy, but also on attitudes in Australian society at large that tend to support sexist views. The stats show a large disparity in the workplace in areas such as salary and promotion.