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Julia Gillard has one of the toughest jobs in western politics. She leads a minority government that only holds government by the barest of numbers, relying on the votes of Independents to stay in power.

Her government is battling in the polls, under attack for passing a Carbon Tax earlier this year, when it ruled one out before the last election.

Unfortunately, those who criticise her have not kept their comments purely focused on policy critiques. As Australia's first female Prime minister, she has been subjected over the past two years to an appalling and persistent campaign of sexist bullying and abuse by the opposition conservative coalition. (they call themselves the Liberal party, but they are actually our conservative party).

Today, Gillard snapped back. But first, some more context.

For the past two years, she has had to confront a conservative opposition, led my a man, Tony Abbott, who has acted appallingly and in a very sexist manner over his tenure, both as a leader and as a minister in the former conservative howard government.

During his time in the parliament, he was spotted at a protest in front of sexist banners saying "ditch the witch". As a conservative catholic, he has also in the past described abortion as "taking the easy way out", and has made many other sexist comments in his time in parliament around women's rights and the role of women in public life.

Abbott is so unpopular with women that last week he felt the need to send out his wife to argue that he loved women and that he was a "feminist". (Sound familiar? Ann Romney?)

Yet Abbott has been aided and abetted by an unrelentingly negative media.

One example: A few weeks ago, last week, Gillard's father passed away.

Last week, a conservative talk show host, Alan Jones (like our equivalent of Rush Limbaugh), was secretly recorded at a conservative party function saying that the Prime Minister's father "died of shame" over the amount of times she has lied while in office, including over the carbon price.

Earlier this year, Jones was also recorded on his radio show as saying that Gillard should be "put in a chaff bag and sent out into the pacific ocean". Abbott took a while to refute denounce of these comments.  

This sparked a huge backlash involving a petition, and sponsors were withdrawn from Jones's show. Yet still the sexist attacks continued.

Unfortunately, the relentless attacks have been working, and Gillard and her Labor party have remained badly behind in the polls.

To make matters worse, over the weekend the Speaker of the parliament, a conservative who defected, was caught up in a sex scandal involving lewd text messages about female genitalia.

Due to the tenuous nature of numbers in the house, Gillard knew that her government would have the unpleasant task of trying to defend the speaker. (As I write this, the speaker has now resigned).

But today, Tony Abbott made a mistake. He decided to try and make political miles out of this by demanding the speaker's resignation in parliament, while lecturing the government about sexism.

During his speech, he said that the government should "die of shame", echoing the disgusting line from Alan Jones.

Bad idea. Very bad idea.

What followed was one of the most devastating speeches against sexism ever given in an Australian parliament, or any parliament anywhere.

Gillard spent fifteen minutes relentlessly putting the flamethrower on Tony Abbott until he sat, stony faced, embarrassed and silent.

After watching this, there can be little doubt that the best way to deal with sexist conservatives is to kick their ass, over and over again, relentlessly until they shut the hell up.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Jeeze - I wouldn't want to be on her shitlist nt (7+ / 0-)
  •  Slow clap.... (5+ / 0-)

    Well... good for her on calling the sexist pig on his BS

    This year we can declare our independence...Barack Obama

    by PalGirl2008 on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 03:40:18 AM PDT

  •  Oh thank you. (5+ / 0-)

    What a lovely beating she gave him.

    I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

    by CherryTheTart on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 03:43:44 AM PDT

  •  Obama should hire her as Debate Coach. (5+ / 0-)


    "Because only three percent of you read books - and only fifteen percent of you read newspapers - but right now there is a whole and entire generation that didn't know anything that didn't come out of this tube." - Howard Beale

    by Audible Nectar on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 03:52:15 AM PDT

  •  wow. that was jaw-droppingly inspiring (6+ / 0-)

    teenage daughter doing homework in my room came over to see and was grinning delightedly.  Thanks so much for posting this...

  •  Simply outstanding.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDP, OIL GUY, Chaoslillith

    Thank you for posting this...

    I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

    by Wayward Wind on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 04:22:15 AM PDT

  •  Tony Abbott looked so smug at the beginning (8+ / 0-)

    and about an inch high by the end.

    This isn't going to work out well for him.  He had to get his wife to go around and say "He's not a misogynist, he's married and has three daughters!", as if that's what it takes to not be a misogynist.  Let me give you a brief introduction to him;

    - At University was known to be a extreme homophobe and misogynist, going so far as to stand outside of special women's only rooms and tell sexist and homophobic jokes loudly to intimidate those inside

    - As health minister under John Howard, opposed access the abortion drug RU486 (Mifepristone) to women, which required a Parliamentary Member's bill to lift the ban and give power to the Theraputic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia to administer it and remove it's control from politicians.  Since abortion has been legalised in Australia, both sides of Parliament have stayed away from restricting it, until him.

    - On 7 March 2010, Abbott was asked: "Homosexuality? How do you feel about that?". He replied: "I'd probably feel a bit threatened ... it's a fact of life and I try to treat people as people and not put them in pigeonholes."  He later apologised for the statement.

    -  In February 2006, he said, "We have a bizarre double standard, a bizarre double standard in this country where someone who kills a pregnant woman's baby is guilty of murder but a woman who aborts an unborn baby is simply exercising choice."

    - Promises to deliver tax cuts, whilst simultaneously cutting revenue measures such as the Mining Tax, as well as repealing legislation such as Poker Machine reforms and Tobacco Branding Legislation - both new and excellent pieces of legislation.

    Overall, he's a terrible politician, and the reason for the large amount of bile and bad behaviour can be traced back to how he performs in Parliament, as well as who he has chosen as his ministers.  One had to resign recently who equated homosexuality with bestiality (Cory Bernadi), but Tony Abbott didn't fire him, but instead merely accepted his resignation.

    He also has not refuted a right wing radio talk host (Alan Jones) for his comments at a Sydney University Liberals Society (the Liberal Party of which Tony Abbott is the leader is actually the conservative party of Australia) in which he said that Julia Gillard's recently deceased father "died of shame".  Instead he now claims that it is Jones who is being harassed and 'cyber-bullied' after a campaign to remove sponsors from advertising on his show, and even used the same words "died of shame" today referring to the Labor party.  Which basically shows him as being either blitheringly stupid, or deliberately using those words to get a reaction out of Gillard.

    He is an absolute misogynistic sexist homophobic piece of garbage and I hope to high heaven that the Liberal party start to smell his stench and drop him like a bad habit.

    I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

    by TDP on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 04:41:43 AM PDT

    •  That guy has severe mental problems (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TDP, Chaoslillith

      Why does he fear women so much?

      Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
      Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

      by The Dead Man on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 05:50:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I really have no idea (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        He was training to be a priest, but something fell of the rails along the way.

        He also said in an interview when asked what Jesus' reaction would be to asylum seekers coming to Australia via boat was as follows;

        “Jesus didn’t say yes to everyone,” Mr Abbott said on ABC television’s Q&A program, according to the Herald Sun.

        “Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.”

        Suffer the little children indeed.  So long as they're nice white Liberal voters to be, not brown children fleeing terrible situations and persecution in their home countries, often from the result of conflicts of which Australia is a part.

        I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

        by TDP on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 08:23:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Criminalizing fetal death (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Fetal murder didn't exist before abortion became legal, based on fetal viability.  It only became a crime when abortion no longer had to be justified and reviewed by a panel of designated almost always male professionals.

      Brava, Julia Gillard.

      Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

      by arlene on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 06:45:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wonderful. (6+ / 0-)

    I love her confidence. So quick,too, to call him out for checking his watch, perfect!

    Oh for crying out loud!

    by 4mygirls on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 05:42:04 AM PDT

  •  WOW (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OldGrammy, TDP, Chaoslillith

    Thanks for posting this.  I savored every second of her fierce honesty.  We need more politicians like her in the US!

    Obama/Biden 2012 Leadership - not lies!

    by thunderchi on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 06:21:57 AM PDT

  •  And he can't walk out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDP, naka

    Apparently you can't walk out when being harangued in the Australian parliament -- unlike the U.S. Congress, where any Congressman being so challenged would simply state, "I don't have to sit here and listen to this," and walk out.

    And a U.S. Congressman would also probably have done his best to shout down the speaker, rather than simply sitting and doing his best to appear unconcerned and bored.

    I noticed she NEVER used his name.  Is that a parliamentary  convention, or just one more twist of the knife?  "The opposition leader..." as if it were a curse.

    Australia's first female prime minister certainly demonstrates that she's no one to mess around with.  Lovely to watch.

    "There isn't a way things should be. There's just what happens, and what we do." — Terry Pratchett (A Hat Full of Sky)

    by stormicats on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 07:49:18 AM PDT

    •  Yes. in British parliamentary tradition (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TDP, naka

      you never refer to a person by name. It is either by their office(leader of the oppostion, Prime Minister, etc) or by their riding/constituency. For example the Member for Mount-Royal said so and so.

      The only time a person is referred to by name is when they are being disciplined by The Speaker for a transgression.

      If an MP disregards the authority of the Chair or persistently obstructs the House in its duties then he or she can be 'named'. The Speaker says "I name the Honourable Member for ..... Mr/s.., for disregarding the authority of the Chair." A first offence brings suspension for five days. The second offence in the same parliamentary sitting carries 20 days' suspension and a third offence a period the House itself decides. Should an MP refuse to withdraw and resist removal, then suspension for the rest of the session is the punishment.

      from the UK Parliament web site

    •  In regards to not using his name (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's mostly a convention for Parliament.  Instead of saying "I thank John Doe for his question regarding blah blah blah" it's "I thank the member for [insert voting area person is from] for their question".  However, this can be  used to great effect in Parliamentary question time when it can be used to belittle your opponent.  Rather than call them out directly, you refer to them in the abstract, to intimate that you don't feel as if they are worthy of direct interaction.

      The best thing about that video was seeing the entire front bench who is usually a derisive bunch of clowns, mocking and jeering, look like a bunch of stunned mullet's under the assault.  Julia really laid the smack down on them, and made the misogynist label stick on Tony Abbott, and they all went ducking for cover.

      They are now scrambling to make the Peter Slipper affair the story of the day, anything to cover the fact that Julia took Tony behind the woodshed and put him down like old yeller.

      I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

      by TDP on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 08:12:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love all the added calls of support. Them (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDP, naka

    Aussies are fiesty :)

    As far as her speech .... DAAAAMMMNN and OH SNAP!!!

  •  That's Gonna Leave A Mark... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDP, chipoliwog

    I can think of another world leader who could use a speech like that...

    George W. Bush: Worst President In United States History

    by MacDaffy on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 08:13:59 AM PDT

  •  WOW--I am GOBSMACKED! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDP, naka

    Going to e-mail the Australian branch of the family and ask if they heard or saw this speech!

    Thanks for posting it!

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 02:22:45 PM PDT

  •  aussies have to worry about talk radio, especially (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDP, naka

    if the right wing owns a whole bunch of radio stations

    there are vast sparsely populated areas there and if they have something like we have here where a state can have 5000 'people' in it and still have 2 senators, they'e in trouble.

    it's great for making excuses for sexism and racism.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 08:12:22 PM PDT

    •  and she was great (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TDP, naka

      This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

      by certainot on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 08:15:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Australian Radio (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      There are right wing stations in Australia (just about any corporate owned station), but the government funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation's radio is the only broadcast available in many rural areas, and their stations are fairly popular in the cities.

      The ABC can often have a right wing slant by Australian standards but it is nothing like what you guys cop in the U.S., and is much more likely to have enlightening conversation etc.

      Unfortunately, over the last couple of decades the board of directors in charge of the ABC has become a bit of a who's who of right wing thought, but on the whole they do a pretty good job.

      •  ta. i heard RW radio was making headway in india (0+ / 0-)

        but wasn't sure about australia.

        geographically it's succeptable to the model that has worked here. and here it started small and 'innocuously' and is still basically invisible to those who should be most concerned about it.

        This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

        by certainot on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 05:52:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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