Yesterday was a day like no other in parliament, with Julia Gillard's impassioned attack on Tony Abbott and finally Peter Slipper's resignation from the speaker's chair. So who won the politics? The nation's opinion writers have their say ...
Jennifer Hewett, The Australian Financial Review:
"This is dangerous and desperate territory for Labor and Gillard as much as it is for the Liberals and Abbott. There is already a bizarre new emphasis on sexual politics in Australia, with Margie Abbott belatedly coming out last week to defend her husband's attitude to women and condemn Labor for playing the gender card to shut down policy debate. Relief over Slipper's resignation will be temporary."
Geoff Kitney, The Australian Financial Review:
"Yesterday Gillard made a terrible error: she made a passionate and angry speech attacking Abbott for double standards and misogyny. But then she offered a weak and dissembling explanation as to why it was not the time to take any action to deal with Slipper despite his appalling language, which reflected attitudes beyond anything Abbott has ever indicated ... Despite Slipper's resignation last night, yesterday Gillard's judgement failed her."
Dennis Shanahan, The Australian:
"Gillard's parliamentary presentation was brilliantly ferocious, emotionally stirring and evocative of a wronged and injured party. But the substance and argument fell well short of an acceptable political strategy and risked only alienating more voters disenchanted with the grubby, hypocritical and personal abuse from both sides of parliament."
Peter van Onselen, The Australian:
"Is it possible for a political party and a prime minister to have more egg on their collective faces than Labor and Julia Gillard do right now? ... The Greens and the independents who sided with the government to defend Slipper's right to retain the speakership should also be embarrassed.We are in for an extremely brutal period in Australian politics between now and the next election if yesterday's question time was anything to go by. "
Phillip Coorey, The Sydney Morning Herald:
"With Labor's Anna Burke to replace Mr Slipper as the Speaker, the government will need the support of five of the seven crossbenchers to win a vote by 75 to 74. The Coalition needs just three."
Peter Hartcher, The Sydney Morning Herald:
"The moment Gillard rose to defend Slipper and keep him in office, she chose to defend the indefensible, to excuse the inexcusable. The government had spent a month vilifying Tony Abbott for having 'a problem with women'. But when one of the bulwarks of the government was exposed as having a problem with women, it was suddenly acceptable."
Michelle Grattan, The Age:
"The government is well rid of Mr Slipper, but the sequence of yesterday's events was a bad look for it. Julia Gillard and other government speakers were forced to defend on dubious grounds Mr Slipper continuing in his job, when his situation had become indefensible.The Prime Minister threw everything into her argument, which revolved around trying to pin the 'misogynist' label on the Opposition Leader. It was perhaps the only weapon available to her, but it sounded more desperate than convincing."
Tony Wright, The Age:
"The screeching of the most senior members of the Gillard government and the Abbott opposition yesterday was the sound of Australia's Parliament scraping the bottom of its barrel ... Mr Slipper, of course, wasn't there to see the vote or to hear the Parliament scraping its barrel. But he heard it from a distance, and ended up making it all a ghastly mistake."