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This sparked a huge backlash involving a petition, and sponsors were withdrawn from Jones's show.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.