The best thing that happened in Australia this week was our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard's parliamentary speech on sexism. The speech was a reply to the opposition Leader Tony Abbott's motion to remove the speaker of the house Peter Slipper over sexual harassment charges. Gillard had not wanted to remove Slipper until his case had been heard in court and she took Abbott to task on sexism, saying:
"I will not be lectured on sexism by this man, not now, not ever.... If he want's to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia he doesn't need a motion in the house of Representatives, he needs a mirror".
Gillard then precedes to quote Abbott's own statements, things he has said since being a government minister, including "That men have more power generally speaking than women, is that a bad thing?" and "what if men, by physiology are more adapt to issue commands?". As the Minister for Health Abbott said "Abortion is the easy way out". Abbott has also stood next to signs calling Gillard a witch & a bitch. Sexist no?
Females across Australia applauded Gillard's speech, yet the mainstream (male dominated) media opinions said she 'gained nothing' and 'lost credibility'. I'm unsure how anyone could hear that speech and still say Gillard is NOT a 'flag bearer for women' (Hatcher 'We Expected More of Gillard'). As Braid points out in this piece, Gillard said the very things that many women had wanted to say at one time or other and never had the chance.
What confounds me is that in Abbott's defense his supporters are state that he can't be sexist or misogynist simply because he has a wife, three daughters and a female chief of staff (see here). You have to be kidding! As someone on twitter pointed out, men in Saudi Arabia have wives and daughters, yet they are also sexist. There are many other reasons (see these 16 quotes for starters) as to why we shouldn't be electing Tony Abbott as PM, sexism is just the beginning.
Not defending Slipper at all but I think removing Slipper from the role of speaker for something that has not been proven in court and for txts he sent in private sets a dangerous precedent. Don't reelect him & yes, he should have resigned ages ago.
I was proud of Gillard's speech. She's a flag bearer for me. I think she said the right thing at the right time to someone who says he isn't sexist, but whose past record proves otherwise.
PS the cutest thing I heard all week was someone say their 6 year old son told them he couldn't be Prime Minister because he isn't a girl!
PPS A few weeks ago a radio shock jock said that the women of Australia are destroying the joint. The women of Australia have taken this on board and are taking sexism in all shapes and forms to task. Check out Destroy the Joint and take the pledge.