Video of Julia Gillard laying into 'misogynist' Tony Abbott for 15 minutes resurfaces

Moya Lothian-McLean@moya_lm
Thursday 03 September 2020 15:00
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When health secretary Matt Hancock chose to defend a man accused of homophobia and misogyny this morning, many were not impressed.

Appearing on Kay Burley’s Sky News show, Hancock was asked why former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott was potentially being offered a role as a trade envoy with the UK government.

Abbott has a long history of offensive comments, including opposing same-gender marriage and climate change denial.

But when Hancock simply defended the decision to work with him by saying he was an “expert on trade”.

The moment quickly went viral.

As a result, lots of people decided to look up Tony Abbott’s greatest hits during his time as a politician.

And they’re now (re)discovering a famous 2012 speech by then-prime minister Julia Gillard.

It’s better known as the "misogyny speech" and is a blistering criticism of Abbott and sexism in politics.

Gillard made the speech after Abbott had accused her party of sexism following the House Speaker Peter Slipper sending texts to an aide that led to him being sued for sexual harassment (Slipper had previously belonged to Abbott’s party and been described as a ‘personal friend’ of his).

While Slipper undoubtedly deserved condemnation, Gillard later said that being lectured on sexism by a man like Abbott was simply a step too far.

At the time the speech won massive international applause from the burgeoning fourth-wave feminist movement that was spreading fast via blogs and digital media.

And eight years on, it’s still sadly relevant.

Gillard begins by furiously addressing Abbott, who sits smirking across from her:

I say to the Leader of the Opposition, I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. I will not. 

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 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.

The full speech is 15 minutes long but a shortened version is making its way round social media again.

People chose to reshare it in light of Abbott’s resurfacing.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner praised the speech, saying “This is how you deal with Tony Abbott”.

Labour peer Andrew Adonis also reflected on the irony of Abbott now becoming a UK trade envoy.

Some suggested our own government could take a few pointers…

Seems unlikely.

Oh well, at least we have YouTube memories of how to confront sexism in politics.

How progressive.

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