Julia Gillard’s ‘misogyny speech’ in full (2012) | ABC News


[DEPUTY SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE] The question
is that the motion be agreed to. I call the Prime Minister. [JULIA GILLARD] Thank you very much Deputy Speaker and I rise to oppose the motion moved
by the Leader of the Opposition, and in so doing I say to the Leader of the Opposition:
I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. I will not. And the government will
not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man—not now, not ever. The Leader
of the Opposition says that people who hold sexist views and who are misogynists are not
appropriate for high office. Well, I hope the Leader of the Opposition has got 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 doesn’t need a motion in the House of Representatives;
he needs a mirror. That is what he needs. Let’s go through the opposition leader’s repulsive
double standards when it comes to misogyny and sexism. We are now supposed to take seriously
that the Leader of the Opposition is offended by Mr Slipper’s text messages, when this is
the Leader of the Opposition who has said, and this was when he was a minister under the last government—not when he was a student, not when he was in high school, (but) when he was a minister under the last government. He has said, and I quote, in a discussion about women being underrepresented in institutions of power in Australia, the interviewer was a man called Stavros, the Leader of the
Opposition said: “If it’s true, Stavros, that men have more power, generally speaking, than
women, is that a bad thing?” And then a discussion ensues and another person
being interviewed says, “I want my daughter to have as much opportunity as my son,” to
which the Leader of the Opposition says: “Yeah, I completely agree, but what if men are, by
physiology or temperament, more adapted to exercise authority or to issue command?” Then
ensues another discussion about women’s role in modern society, and the other person participating
in the discussions says, “I think it’s very hard to deny that there is an underrepresentation
of women,” to which the Leader of the Opposition says, “But now, there’s an assumption that this
is a bad thing.” This is the man from whom we are supposed to take lectures about sexism. And then, or course, it goes on. I was very offended personally when the Leader of the Opposition as minister for health said, and I quote, “Abortion is the easy way out.” I was very personally offended by those comments. You said that in March 2004.
I suggest you check the records. I was also very offended on behalf of the women of Australia
when in the course of this carbon pricing campaign the Leader of the Opposition said, “What the
housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing …” Thank you for that
painting of women’s roles in modern Australia! And then, of course, I was offended too by the sexism,
by the misogyny, of the Leader of the Opposition catcalling across this table at me as I sit
here as Prime Minister, “if the Prime Minister wants to, politically speaking, make an honest
woman of herself …” — something that would never have been said to any man sitting in this
chair. I was offended when the Leader of the Opposition
went outside in the front of 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. 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. And now the Leader of the Opposition wants to
be taken seriously. Apparently he’s woken up, after this track record and all of these
statements, he’s woken up and he’s gone, “Oh dear, there’s this thing called sexism; oh my lord, there’s this thing called misogyny. Now who’s one of them? Oh, the Speaker must be because that
suits my political purpose” (He) doesn’t turn a hair about any of his past statements, doesn’t walk into this parliament and apologise to the women of Australia, doesn’t walk into
this parliament and apologise to me for the things that have come out of his mouth—but
(he) now seeks to use this as a battering ram against someone else. Well this kind of hypocrisy
should not be tolerated, which is why this motion from the Leader of the Opposition should
not be taken seriously. And then second, the Leader of the Opposition is always
wonderful about walking into this parliament and giving me and others a lecture about what
they should take responsibility for; always wonderful about that – everything that I should
take responsibility for, now apparently including the text messages of the member for Fisher.
Always keen to say others should assume responsibility, particularly me. Well can anybody
remind me if the Leader of the Opposition has taken any responsibility for the conduct
of the Sydney Young Liberals and the attendance at this event of members of his frontbench?
Has he taken any responsibility for the conduct of members of his political party and members
of his frontbench, who apparently when the most vile things were being said about my
family raised no voice of objection. (Government members interjecting)
[DEPUTY SPEAKER] Order! [GILLARD]: No-one walked out of the room,
no-one walked up to Mr Jones and said that this was not acceptable. Instead, of course, it was all viewed as good fun—until it was run in a Sunday newspaper, and then the Leader of the
Opposition and others started ducking for cover. (He is) big on lectures of responsibility,
very light on accepting responsibility himself for the vile conduct of members of his political party. Third, Ms Deputy Speaker, why the Leader
of the Opposition should not be taken seriously on this motion. The Leader of the Opposition
and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition have come into this place and have talked about the
member for Fisher. Well let me remind the opposition, and the Leader of the Opposition particularly,
about their track record and association with the member for Fisher. I remind them that
the National Party preselected the member for Fisher for the 1984 election, that the
National Party preselected the member for Fisher for the 1987 election, that the
Liberal Party preselected the member for Fisher for the 1993 election, then for the 1996 election,
then for the 1998 election, then for the 2001 election, then for the 2004 election, then
for the 2007 election and then for the 2010 election. And across many of those preselections
Mr Slipper enjoyed the personal support of the Leader of the Opposition. I remind the
Leader of the Opposition that on 28 September 2010, following the last election campaign
when Mr Slipper was elected as Deputy Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition at that stage said this, and I quote; he referred to the member for Maranoa, who was also elected to a position at the same time, and then went on as follows: ‘… and the member for Fisher will serve as a fine complement to the member for Scullin in the chair. I
believe that the parliament will be well served by the team which will occupy the chair in
this chamber … I congratulate the member for Fisher, who has been a friend of mine
for a very long time, who has served this parliament in many capacities with distinction …’
The words of the Leader of the Opposition on record about his personal friendship with
Mr Slipper and on record about his view about Mr Slipper’s qualities and attributes to be
the Speaker. (There is) no walking away from those words—they were the statements of
the Leader of the Opposition then. I remind the Leader of the Opposition, who
now comes in here and speaks about Mr Slipper and apparently his inability to work with
or talk to Mr Slipper, I remind the Leader of the Opposition, he attended Mr Slipper’s wedding. Did he walk up to Mr Slipper in the middle of the service and say he was disgusted to be there? Was that the attitude
he took? No, he attended that wedding as a friend. The Leader of the Opposition, keen
to lecture others about what they ought to know or did know about Mr Slipper but, with
respect, I would say to the Leader of the Opposition after a long personal association,
including attending Mr Slipper’s wedding, it would be interesting to know whether the
Leader of the Opposition was surprised by these text messages. He is certainly in a
position to speak more intimately about Mr Slipper than I am and many other people in
this parliament, given this long personal association. Then, of course, the Leader of the Opposition comes into this place and says, and I quote: “Every day the Prime Minister stands in
this parliament to defend this Speaker will be another day of shame for this parliament;
another day of shame for a government which should already have died of shame.” Well, can I indicate to the Leader of the Opposition, the government is not dying of shame,
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. Now, about the text messages that are on the public record, (Opposition members interjecting) [JENNY MACKLIN]: You used those words. It is a quote. [GILLARD] That is a direct quote from the
Leader of the Opposition, so I suggest those groaning have a word with him. On the conduct of Mr Slipper and on the text
messages which are in the public domain—I have seen the press reports of those text
messages, I am offended by their content. I am offended by their content because I am
always offended by sexism. I am offended by their content because I am always offended
by statements that are anti-women. I am offended by those things in the same way I have been
offended by things that the Leader of the Opposition has said, and no doubt will continue to say
in the future, because if this, today, was an exhibition of his new feminine side, well
I don’t think we have much to look forward to in terms of changed conduct. I am offended by those text messages but I
also believe that, in terms of this parliament, making a decision about the speakership, that his parliament should recognise that there is court case in progress, that the judge has reserved his decision, that having
waited for a number of months for the legal matters surrounding Mr Slipper to come to
a conclusion, that this parliament should see that conclusion. I believe that is the appropriate
path forward and that people will then have an opportunity to make up their minds with
the fullest information available to them. But, whenever people make up their minds about
those questions, what I won’t stand for, what I will never stand for, is the Leader of
the Opposition coming into this place and peddling a double standard; peddling
a standard for Mr Slipper he would not set for himself, peddling
a standard for Mr Slipper he has not set for other members of his frontbench; peddling
a standard for Mr Slipper that has not been acquitted by the people who have been sent out to say the vilest and most
revolting things, like his former shadow parliamentary
secretary, Senator Bernardi. I will not ever see the Leader of the Opposition seek to impose his double standard on this parliament. Sexism should always be unacceptable. We should
conduct ourselves as it should be always unacceptable.
The Leader of the Opposition says, ‘Do something.’ Well he could do something himself if he wants
to deal with sexism in this parliament. He could change his behaviour, he could apologise
for all his past statements, he could apologise for standing next to signs describing me as
a witch and a bitch—terminology that is now objected to by the frontbench of the opposition. He
could change a standard himself if he sought to do so. But we will see none of that from
the Leader of the Opposition, because on these questions he is incapable of change. (He is)
capable of double standards but incapable of change. His double standards should not
rule this parliament. Good sense, common sense, proper process
is what should rule this parliament. That’s what I believe is the path forward for
this parliament, not the kind of double standards and political game-playing imposed by the
Leader of the Opposition, (who is) now looking at his watch because, apparently, a woman’s spoken too long—I’ve had him yell at me to shut up in the past. But I will take the remaining seconds of my
speaking time to say to the Leader of the Opposition I think the best course for
him is to reflect on the standards he has exhibited in public life, on the responsibility
he should take for his public statements, on his close personal connection with Peter
Slipper, on the hypocrisy he has displayed in this House today. And on that basis, because
of the Leader of the Opposition’s motivations, this parliament today should 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. [GOVERNMENT MEMBERS] Hear hear!

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