Abbott: I won't use gender and class to divide nation
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says he would not use gender and class to divide nation. Photo: Andrew Meares
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has accused Prime Minister Julia Gillard of trying to divide Australia with gender and class wars.
Speaking at a business function in Perth on Thursday, Mr Abbott promised that if he were to be elected prime minister he would not pit one Australian against another.
He said Ms Gillard had played the victim card with her recent parliamentary speech against misogyny that went viral around the world.
But it was her policies and leadership, not her gender, he said, that attracted the opposition's criticisms.
''I think I can say with absolute confidence that you will never find from me any attempt to invoke the gender war against my political opponents,'' Mr Abbott said.
''Never, ever will I attempt to say that as a man I have been the victim of powerful forces beyond my control and how dare [any] prime minister of Australia play the victim card.
''If there is one thing which marks the current government as utterly unworthy of leading this country, it is the attempt to set one Australian against another for party political advantage.''
The Opposition Leader said Ms Gillard was also engaged in class warfare by trying to set workers against their bosses.
''Now, one thing I will never do, should I have the honour of leading this country, is deliberately set out to divide Australian against Australian,'' he said. ''You will never find from me invocation of a false class war.
''I will never try to set workers against managers because I understand, in a way I fear the current incumbents do not, that it is only by working together that we are going to generate the prosperity that all Australians have a right to expect.''
Last month, Ms Gillard delivered a fiery attack in Parliament against Mr Abbott, describing him as sexist and a misogynist.
To make her point, the Prime Minister used examples of the Opposition Leader standing and talking at political rallies next to people holding signs describing her as a witch.
Ms Gillard's speech was noted across the globe, many political leaders and commentators applauding her.
In Australia, the speech received a mixed reception. But since then Mr Abbott has gone to great lengths to dispel the perception that he has a problem with women.
He has appeared several times publicly with his wife and daughters in a bid to expose his gentler side.