Gillard reveals true nature in playing gender card
The dictionary defines misogyny as "hatred of women". It is an ugly word, an ugly accusation and an ugly fact of life. It is now the word that has driven Australian politics to its lowest point in decades. Yesterday, the mask fell away, the curtain dropped, the real driver of the politics of personal abuse was revealed.
After sending out two attack dogs, Gutter and Sewer, to do the dirty work, after hiding behind two political zombies, Insufferable and Unspeakable, to stay in power, after using the Minister for Innuendo and the Compromise-General to play the gender card, the mask has finally dropped away to reveal the driver of the politics of hate in Australia.
The mask fell at exactly 2.42pm in the House of Representatives. Looking on were the member for Gutter, Anthony Albanese, the member for Sewer, Wayne Swan, the Minister for Innuendo, Tanya Plibersek, and the Compromise-General, Nicola Roxon, and the independents who will do anything to avoid facing their electorates, Mr Insufferable, Robert Oakeshott, and his fellow regional zombie, Mr Unspeakable, Tony Windsor.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard replies to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's motion to dismiss the Speaker Peter Slipper at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday. Photo: Andrew Meares
Someone had to set Gutter and Sewer loose. Someone directed Innuendo and Compromise to play the gender card. Someone paid the bill for Insufferable and Unspeakable. Someone's authority still rests on the vote of Craig Thomson. And someone had to approve making Peter Slipper the Speaker despite his being manifestly disrespected by either side of the house, a low point of political opportunism.
At 2.42 pm on Tuesday that someone rose to speak. The mask fell away. Julia Gillard came out snarling. The Parliament had before it a great issue, the dignity of the house itself, which had been traduced by the scandal that had attached itself to Slipper.
Instead of directly addressing the issue of a discredited speakership which had become engulfed in an expensive and degrading legal action that did no credit to anyone involved, least of all the Attorney-General, the Prime Minister wasted no timing in using misdirection and personal abuse.
She even invoked the name of dead father: "My father did not die of shame!" she thundered across the dispatch box.
No one in the Parliament ever said he did. Tony Abbott had said exactly the opposite when he spoke of her father.
Why tip a bucket of bilgewater into a fierce wind? Why invoke the accusation of misogyny, hatred of women, against an Opposition Leader whose chief of staff, Peta Credlin, is famously one of the most formidable woman in politics, whose mostly female staff is devoted to their boss and who has raised three daughters?
But then why did she mislead the Australian people before the last election on the carbon tax? Why did she leave her law firm under a cloud? Why did she shaft her own leader? Why did she depose a prime minister who had a mandate from the people? Why has she methodically deployed the politics of personal abuse?
The answer was manifest in her speech, recorded in Hansard. Here are some highlights:
"I hope the Leader of the Opposition has a piece of paper and he is writing out his resignation, because if he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia he does not need a motion in the House of Representatives; he needs a mirror…"
"I was offended when the Leader of the Opposition went outside the front of the Parliament and stood next to a sign that said 'Ditch the witch'. I was offended when the Leader of the Opposition stood next to a sign that described me as a 'man's bitch'. I was offended by those things.
"It is misogyny, sexism, every day from this Leader of the Opposition. Every day, in every way, across the time the Leader of the Opposition has sat in that chair and I have sat in this chair, that is all we have heard from him …
"I indicate to the Leader of the Opposition that the government is not dying of shame — and my father did not die of shame. What the Leader of the Opposition should be ashamed of is his performance in this Parliament and the sexism he brings with it …"
"This Parliament should today reject this motion, and the Leader of the Opposition should think seriously about the role of women in public life and in Australian society — because we are entitled to a better standard than this."
Yes we are.
Editors Note: This story was changed post-publication and, in the 9th paragraph, a reference to the Prime Minister was deleted.
Poll: Who has come out of Tuesday's Slipper affair looking worse?
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