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Oct 10, 2012

Susan Mitchell: Gillard's words changed politics forever

The Peter Slipper saga will be forgotten. What people will remember is a Prime Minister standing up for women and demanding sexism stop, writes commentator Susan Mitchell.


Yesterday our world changed.

It is difficult for many men to ever truly understand what it is like to be a woman who is forced to put up with sexist and misogynist remarks. Some of them are devious and sly. Some of them are openly hostile and aggressive. Rarely in the workplace do women ever call out men on these remarks.

Why is this? Because men usually hold the positions of power in most workplaces. Because to call out a man on sexist remarks is to be labelled a man-hating feminist or a troublemaker or not a “team player”. Those women who are brave enough to do this are sometimes punished in some way. And for this reason most women try to ignore the insults and just get on with their work.

My mother always told me “to rise above it” and not reduce yourself to the level of the abuser. Thankfully my father taught me to never be put down and to speak and write as an equal. It has not always been to my advantage to do so. But unless you do, nothing will change.

For the first time in our political history, we have a woman holding the power of the highest office in the nation. There are many men, particularly Tony Abbott, who have sought to rip that power away from her as soon as possible. But she has withstood them. Despite all the “slings and arrows” they have flung at her, she has tried valiantly to rise above it.

Yesterday in Parliament she could take it no more. And she let Abbott  have it. She had reached her tipping point and refused to be silent in the face of his hypocrisy.

“Whether Abbott changes his manner, his language and his beliefs or just pretends to in order to become the next prime minister is up to him and the women and men of Australia to judge.”

Her first words were: “I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. I will not.” And with composure and passion she went on to list, with dates and times, the many acts of sexism and misogyny that he had performed against her.

She challenged him to confirm whether he still believed that “men by their physiology and temperament were more suited to the exercise of power”.

She stated that she was not only personally offended but was offended on behalf of the women of Australia when he stated that “abortion is the easy way out”.

She pointed out that no man would ever have been challenged in the manner she was, “to make an honest woman of herself”.

She underlined the double standard of Abbott standing in front of posters saying “ditch the witch” and naming her as “Bob Brown’s bitch”. Such hypocrisy, she said, could no longer be tolerated.

Abbott sat there unsure of how to shape his expression, knowing his usual stony, killer stare would not work. Looking decidedly uncomfortable at being forced for the first time to endure this personal attack on his own sexism, he finally looked at his watch, to check how much longer he had to endure. She even called him out on this, adding: “Apparently a woman has spoken too long. I have had him yell at me to shut up in the past.”

While most male commentators admitted that it was a “feisty” performance, they did not go on to discuss the hypocrisy and double standards of the Leader of the Opposition. Nor do they understand how important such a speech is to the women of Australia. This was not just one woman’s exasperated outburst on her own behalf. This was the Prime Minister of Australia saying to every Australian woman: we don’t have to take this any more.

When Peter Hartcher claimed in his column in The Sydney Morning Herald that Gillard had let down the women of Australia, he could not have got it more wrong. The hundreds of responses to his claim demonstrated that for the first time in our lives, a prime minister was speaking on our behalf. The fact he and most of the male political commentators have totally missed the point of her speech only serves to prove what she is saying is true.

Will her speech just drift off into the ether with all the other political hot air?

Why has her speech spread so quickly around the world? Why are women in many different nations reading it and commenting on how lucky Australian women are to have a prime minister who has the guts and passion to attack the kind of sexism that some of us face on a daily basis?

Few might remember the details of the Slipper saga but her words will ring in our minds and our hearts forever.

The Prime Minister’s message is clear. When confronted by relentless sexist and misogynist language and behaviour, women should: confront it openly, call it for what it is and never consider it to be acceptable behaviour under any circumstances.

Whether Abbott changes his manner, his language and his beliefs or just pretends to in order to become the next prime minister is up to him — and the women and men of Australia to judge.

Whatever happens, Gillard’s words in that Parliament will never be erased. They are proof that words can change the world.

*Susan Mitchell is a commentator and author of the book Tony Abbott: A Man’s Man



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146 thoughts on “Susan Mitchell: Gillard’s words changed politics forever

  1. Suzanne Blake


    The words may be remembered and the clip played often etc, but people will recall that 70 Labor, Green and Independant MP’s voted to support the ‘word’ and ‘texts’ of Slipper by retaining him in the Speakers role, albeit for a few hours.

    Look at Rudd’s body language during her speech, he never looked up once, was on the iPad and reading. That was interesting

  2. jennatilz mckrackin

    Its not just male commentators that have missed the mark. Emma Alberici, Latika Bourke, Sabra Lane and Annabel Crabb are all doing the same. I cant believe it.

  3. GeeWizz

    What people will remember is Julia Gillard and the entire Labor Party voting for a misogynist and s3xist Peter Slipper.

    It’s now on the public record, every single Labor MP including Bandt, Windsor and Oakeshotte voted in support of Peter Slipper and his comments.

    Even Peter Slipper himself thought it was untenable for him to stay… but not this Prime Minister, so desperate she was to hold onto him.

  4. Aliar Jones

    Whatever yesterday was, today surely is a new low in the MSM, a new low tide mark for the slide into the toilet bowl beckoning aussie journalism.

    Anyone who actually watched and comprehended the speech understands precisely why this PM absolutely deserves the support of every intelligent Australian.

    That reality is not reflected in our sad sack idiot media today

  5. Aliar Jones

    GeeWizz demonstrates a very typical blinkered and bizzare lack of basic comprehension skills.

    I suggest you read the speech then you can come back and apologize for being an ignoramus.

  6. Limited News

    Speaking as a male, I found the coverage of the PM’s speech this morning on 666 Canberra was very narrowly focused on whether she was a hypocrite. Then I watched her speech (posted on an American blog!) and it dawned on me how awful Abbott’s views are, but they were barely touched upon on radio. Unfortunately the usual morning host, Alex Sloan (female) was replaced by a male stand-in so there was very little female perspective.

  7. GeeWizz

    Limited News,

    Gillard came off as precious. Yes she plays well to the handbag squad, but she really did come off as a precious petal yesterday.

    I mean the poor darling was screaming s3xism because Abbott looked at his watch… she’s really fallen off the perch this time.

    If this is all Labor have got left they are stuffed

  8. Sue11

    True, the only downside, was that PM Gillard chose to do this great speech to deflect attention from a man who seems to be as big a misoginist as she claimed Mr Abbott to be. It taints the occasion somewhat no matter how true it may have been.

  9. Jimmy

    It certainly was a brilliant speech a put Abbott right back in his box, just a pity it came about on the issue it did as the MSM have had an excuse to miss it, hopefully the attention it is getting OS gets their attention.

    Geewizz – As usual you show your prejudice and inability to entertain a logical thought.

  10. cairns50

    a fantastic critique of a fantastic speech

    peter hartcher got it so wrong in his article

    but what else could one expect

    her speech yesterday showed in black and white who should be the prime minister after the next election

    and it sure aint tony abbott

  11. Daly

    When a matter is before a court it is correct for everyone to wait until the court hands down its judgement. In constitutional law it is known as ‘the separation of powers’; the courts and the Parliament operate separately. Therefore Tony Abbott was completely out of order to raise the Slipper matter in the Parliament before the court findings. That is why the Government won the vote. Nothing to do with the content of the Slipper case.

  12. Jimmy

    Daly – While you are 100% correct this seems to have been lost on the media, Emma Alberici (who is normally very good) made the comment that these texts were fact and therefore not related to the case – slippery slope that.

  13. RoseL

    Why is it that Juliia Gilliard gets far more attention and favourable treatment by the international media than at home?!! Peter Hartcher, I don’t feel let down at all. Thank you for your article Susan.

  14. Sharilynn Gerchow

    I agree – I was elated after watching this speech yesterday and shared the link far and wide. Then, reading the press this morning, I couldn’t believe the negativity being sprouted by people such as Peter Harchter (should he speak for me?). The cynicism displayed by those who see this speech as purely political and defensive of Peter Slipper (seriously? Were you listening?)depresses me. I might just go back to destroying the joint.

  15. Gavin Mooney

    Great article on a great speech by Ms Gillard. It is not just the women of Australia who are fed up with Mr Abbott’s sexism and negativism but many men as well. How incredibly nasty and evil of Mr Abbott to use the same expression used by Mr Jones but here about the government, that it was ‘dying of shame’.

    Can we please have a social media campaign against Mr Abbott? Far more important that we do than against Mr Jones.

  16. The Pav

    Furthermore Gee Whiz

    If Tony Abbott is not so against sexism and mysogyny then should he call for a fresh vote for his leadership[.

    After all he won it with one vote.SLIPPERS!

    There’s your mate in his job courtesy of a tainted vote.Something he says he wouldn never accept

    If Labour were wrong for a few months about Slipper it is nothing compared to how long the Liberal Party were wrong about him

  17. geomac62

    You got it right . Unfortunately this latest effort by the coalition isn,t the first time they have preempted the courts or in fact convicted before any charge has been laid .
    Truthless aka Alf aka whiz
    Handbags ? Maybe you mean purse or something else but handbags are something you see in old movies . I accept you wouldn,t appreciate how good the PM was yesterday or how uncomfortable the MM looked , truth hurt as we know . There was nothing precious about the PM but a lot of spirit and conviction backed up with dates of MMs misdeeds .

  18. GeeWizz

    [“When a matter is before a court it is correct for everyone to wait until the court hands down its judgement. In constitutional law it is known as ‘the separation of powers’; the courts and the Parliament operate separately.”]

    This is the line the Labor Party and it’s hack use as an excuse of latching onto a proven misogynist and s3xist.

    You see the problem for the Labor Party is that the courts don’t decide who the Speaker of the House is, they do, so any pending c0urt cases are irrelevant. The Labor Party is not asked to make a decision on the case, they are simply being asked if Slippery Pete was the best man for the job after what has been revealed.

    Labor unfortunately failed the character test once again and we’ll see the results of that blunder in the next set of polling.

  19. sebster

    Thank you for your clear-eyed and rational takedown of Hartcher’s weirdness. Excellent article.

  20. WiseGuy63

    In years to come people will remember the first time that a female leader of government called out her opposite number on his own long standing sexist behaviour. We’ll all forget about Peter Slipper and Alan Jones and the background to her 15 minute tirade against Mr Abbott. The politics and the context of the day will be lost. If she never does anything again people will always remember that moment about her. She’ll forever be the poster “girl” for women standing up to sexist men.

  21. GeeWizz

    [“In years to come people will remember the first time that a female leader of government called out her opposite number on his own long standing sexist behaviour. “]

    In days to come when polling agencies start showing Labor and Gillards support bombing, you guys will all need to remember you live in lala land.

  22. Jimmy

    Gewizz – “In days to come when polling agencies start showing Labor and Gillards support bombing, you guys will all need to remember you live in lala land.” You’ve had Gillard sacked and an election called numerous times in the past few years, maybe it is your perception of reality that is skewed!

  23. Stephen

    The whole sleazy Slipper affair that was of Gillard’s own creation has suddenly turned into a PR triumph for her.

    Scarcely believable, but true nonetheless.

  24. Julez

    Thank you so much Susan for this important perspective on Julia’s speech and the landscape for women in Australia. I too was raised to believe I could be anything I wanted, but it just wasn’t true. I’ve been subjected to countless misogynist remarks and harassment in the workplace. I’m a contractor and many recruiters have put me forward for less money and openly have told me the “blokes” earn more. I get to the final two and a bloke gets the role. I check linkedin and see how much more experience I have and despair. Today, I feel hope. This speech I think will resonate forever. It will endure with Rudd’s sorry speech. Thank you Julia Gillard. Thank you.

  25. Jack Robertson

    Watching the hypocritical farce of yesterday made me laugh even harder than I did listening to Erica Jong defending Bill Clinton’s right to shag a 20 year old employee at work (on the grounds that he was the American tribal Alpha Male and thus had a right to the tribe’s best pickings, or some kooky throwback nonsense…)

    Feminism’s apparent great flaw is that few feminists actually believe in it as a driver of political actions and choices. Every single time the crunch comes, and feminism is faced with the option of judging a nominal political ally’s attitude to women on their actions not their rhetoric…it seems to bottle it. And usually – as with Abbott As Feminist Whipping Boy now – instead vents its own awareness of that ideological timidness/tyre-kicking with superheated projections onto ‘safe’ targets of claims of vile sexism, women-hatred, etc. Does it really mean nothing to Julia Gillard that Abbott’s wife and daughters have explicitly defended him? What does that say about Gillard’s view of Margie Abbott and her kids? Silly breeders not worth heeding?! Is feminism now so frenetically obsessed with its own ideological rectitude that it can’t recognise this as a truly sexist – actually I would suggest bordering on authentically misogynistic – mindset? ‘I do not know your husband personally, but by golly, using my trusty Feminist-O-Scope I know his attitude to women better than you do…you’re wrong, I am right: he hates women.’

    Wow, good luck selling that one, ALP.

    Many men can’t take and won’t take feminism seriously until feminists start treating their own principles with respect when it costs them to do so (the ONLY time principles of any kind really are proven to be principles). Oh, and one last thing, out of this hilarious mess: when is feminism going to acknowledge that by far the most toxic cultural incubator of the misogynistic worldview is not conservative middle classland (ie Abbott’s stamping ground)…but the semi-subterranean gay male milleau of the Slippers and Ashbys? Jones’s vile hate of Gillard et al surely bubbles up out of THAT aspect of his personality rather than any expression of the white picket fence cultural-politics of the middle north shore. Abbott proofed himself against misogyny the day he chose mainstream, middle class marriage and family over the priesthood, rugger-buggery and/or DLP/libertarian-fringe uni politics. How the ALP or feminism generally can seriously think the woman-hater tag will stick – much less win net political mileage at a vote – simply escapes me.

  26. GeeWizz

    [“The whole sleazy Slipper affair that was of Gillard’s own creation has suddenly turned into a PR triumph for her.”]

    Not what the left are doing is grappling onto the furniture of the Titanic.

    This is the only way they can spin what was 70 Labor MP’s voting for a guy who thought himself and his job untenable for the role of speaker.

    We’ll see what the public thinks in the next set of polling…

  27. archibald

    Abbott’s choice of the phrase “died of shame” will earn him a well deserved place in the history books.

  28. Mike Smith

    Spinning much, GeeWhiz? Careful, you’ll get dizzy.

  29. sebster

    Thanks Jack – it’s the gays wot dun it. Right. OK then – keep taking the meds.

  30. WTF

    Poppycock! Contrary to the self generated daily barrage of PR clap trap about the history breaking Labor achievements – this wasn’t one for the books either. It was an ugly angry outburst from an angry woman clearly spending way too much time with Christine Milne. It will not change politics and it will not deliver a single vote for Labor. Not because the majority of the country hates women but because they would prefer the government focus on the many challenges facing the country instead of this gender war blatantly fuelled by the handbag brigade. Clearly they are scared of Abbott hence the focus and attention on the man not on his policies. Would be better if Labor focused on its own policy failures … which all this crap is trying to take attention away from. Get back to governing if you want people’s vote.

  31. Holden Back

    It’s a bit panicky in here – is that troll fear sweat I can smell?

  32. MJPC

    Excellent article and excellent speech by the PM. This is something bigger that sexism, which I consider goes to the whole core of respect of the position of the PM, being they female or male.
    The rally posters the PM highlighted really were the basest example of Australian ‘culture”, and the fact that Mr Abbott would appear with them as a backdrop says something to the morals of the man and the mindset he appeals to. Would they have done the same to Bob Hawke, Paul Keating or Kevin Rudd, I don’t think so.
    Does this country need a, would be, PM who seems to consider anything is acceptable is a question yet to be answered.

  33. GeeWizz

    [“Spinning much, GeeWhiz? Careful, you’ll get dizzy.”]

    I don’t think I could spin 70 Labor MP’s voting for Peter Slippery to stay as Speaker, DESPITE knowing what he wrote in texts, DESPITE knowing about his past behaviour and then DESPITE Peter Slipper himself realising it was untenable for him to remain as Speaker.

    Labor spin-machine is going into overdrive because this event was hugely embarrassing for them… Slippers their man and he’s been caught out being misogynist and s3xist. Brilliant!


  34. John64

    It’s interesting watching people’s bias over this – and interesting seeing my own bias.

    “Gillard’s words changed politics forever”, in my own opinion, they cemented Gillard’s own hypocrisy and destroyed her misogynist attack on Abbott for good. Because despite her brilliant attack – all on things Abbott said years ago (which is, after all, the defence used for Slipper’s remarks) – there was nary a peep about the comments that started this particular round of outrage (And are you outraged yet? Because apparently everyone needs to be outraged about everything this week).

    The fact is, this stunning, brutal and lethal performance against “that man”… was in defense of Peter Slipper. This is barely a week after decrying Alan Jones remarks which saw a campaign push to get him taken off of the air – IE: To lose his job.

    But the excuse profferred as to why we can’t do the same to Slipper? It’s a matter before the courts. A court case incidentally, which the Gillard Government has been publicy commenting about for months (“kabuki actor” anyone?). But now suddenly it’s “off limits” and it would be inappropriate to make any comment.

    To me – and as I said, perhaps this is just my own bias – it reconfirmed that Gillard is a “do anything to stay in power” politician, with very poor political judgement and that as hypocritical as it was for Abbott to raise Slipper in Parliament (which I thought was the point), it points out Gillard’s own blatant hypocrisy of the attacks over “sexism” and “misogynism” that are being used to score political points by her own Government.

    Now imagine if she’d stood up and said the same thing, but with the added difference “and that’s why I support this motion to remove Slipper from office”. Now THAT would’ve been something.

  35. Student T

    “It is difficult for many men to ever truly understand what it is like to be a woman who is forced to put up with sexist … remarks.”

    You really must be kidding. I endure anti-male generalisation every singel day. The word “patriarchal” is routinely used as a pejorative term.

    “Men by their physiology and temperament were more suited to the exercise of power.” What he means is that men are more agressive, determined, ruthless and brutal. On average. Undeniably true. Whe women who make it to the top tend to have these same “male” characteristics. These charactersitics do not make you better at exercising power. They make you fitter in the Darwinian sense.

  36. John64

    Oh and I forgot to add, Gillard even going so far as to call Slipper “a man of distinction” on her own twitter account, after she was aware of her comments.

    If Slipper is “a man of distinction”, what does that make Alan Jones?

  37. fredex

    [“The Peter Slipper saga will be forgotten. What people will remember is a Prime Minister standing up for women and demanding sexism stop.”]

    Spot on correct.

  38. Diana Lubis

    Julia Gillard should have done this a long time ago…..it is a valid criticism of long-standing attitudes towards powerful women by men who mistakenly consider themselves to be “feminists”. In fact, they just don’t get it! The context is unfortunate, but let us not forget that the Coalition has supported Slipper throughout his political career, and today Pyne says that they are happy to accept his votes, should he choose to vote with them.

  39. GeeWizz

    [“Now imagine if she’d stood up and said the same thing, but with the added difference “and that’s why I support this motion to remove Slipper from office”. Now THAT would’ve been something.”]

    Bingo and he was gone in a few hours after falling own his own sword… but of course once again Dillard was on the wrong side of history… backing this guy to the hilt.

    So that Craig Thompson… a guy alleged to have ripped off poorly paid union members and Peter Slipper, misogynist and s3xist who takes cabs to the airport when he has no flights booked that Gillard has put her hand up for in support.

    Nice books won’t be written about Gillard once she leaves as PM

  40. GeeWizz

    Spot on correct.”]

    And she did that by voting for a proven misogynist and s3xist.

    Spot On. Correct. It’s in the history books now.

  41. Brian Derum

    Bee Dee,
    Well said Susan and well said Julia. Every so often it’s good for everyone to hear a voice from the heart that simply says “Enough, no more .” Also was very impressed by Kate Ellis who stayed focussed on Q&A while Ackerman, Pyne, and most regrettably (Turncoat) Tanner, sniggered, talked over and ignored her throughout. And Tanya Plibersek on Lateline cooly and calmly despatching Emma Alberici’s unprofessional descent into commentary and away from questioning. Something fundamentally profound is happening in our public discourse and the men are struggling to go with it.

  42. Frontal Laboratory

    Student T: are you serious?
    “The word “patriarchal” is routinely used as a pejorative term.” That’s because if you’re interested in an equal and equitable society, ‘patriarchy’ IS something deserving of disapproval and contempt.

    ““Men by their physiology and temperament were more suited to the exercise of power.” What he means is that men are more agressive, determined, ruthless and brutal. On average. Undeniably true.”

    These things are only ‘suited’ to exercising one type of power. Who’s to say that power weilded by a softly spoken, understanding, kind-hearted person wouldn’t be better? What these qualities ARE better for is subjugating others. That’s not the same thing as being better suited to exercising power.

    “Whe women who make it to the top tend to have these same “male” characteristics. These charactersitics do not make you better at exercising power. They make you fitter in the Darwinian sense.”

    I suggest you read Darwin before you start talking about ‘Darwinian sense’. If women who were ‘fitter’ in a Darwinian sense were those who exhibited more masculine characteristics then, well, there wouldn’t be much procreation, which would mean that they weren’t fitter in a Darwinian sense, which would mean that….

    And so on.

    I suspect that the reason you hear a lot of male bashing, if it is actually true that you do, is that people are trying to tell you something about yourself as a male, if your views espoused here are anything to go by!

  43. Julez

    Alot of men here just aren’t getting it. This is the first feminist speech in Parliament. A landmark. My first experience of workplace sexism was when I was 18 when I was told to sleep with a client. The last experience was last week when I was put forward for less money than a male counterpart for the same job. I’m 46. We’ve had to take this sh*t our whole lives.

  44. G E

    Susan, jennatilz mckrackin and others who seem to support Gillard’s behaviour – you seem amazed that ‘male commentators’ and others don’t share your views on Gillard’s bad judgement. Try getting in step with the populace at large, for your views are grossly out of step with the vast majority of people. Gillard’s message may ‘be clear’ but that doesn’t make it right.

  45. shepherdmarilyn

    Geewizz you are like a broken record. Allegations are not facts, Thomson has not been charged with anything but Howard and co. did start a couple of illegal wars.

  46. Venise Alstergren

    My my, we do have some misogynists writing here today. Interestingly, they appear to be supporters of the Coalition. Which has to say a lot about conservative thought processes-if they can be called that.

    JOHN64: “” Does it really mean nothing to Julia Gillard that Abbott’s wife and daughters have explicitly defended him? What does that say about Gillard’s view of Margie Abbott and her kids? Silly breeders not worth heeding?!””

    Rather than resorting to manufactured spleen you might look at the whole “Wifey scam” for what it was. The rancid rabbit was reacting-with considerable fear-to the knowledge that the female voter was ever so slightly underwhelmed by his presence. Strapped of female friends to speak up for him, he resorted to one of the oldest dodges in the political lexicon. Do a great big Dorothy Dixer. Utilise the fact that Rupert Murdoch owns seventy-five percent of Australian media and go for broke in the Herald sun-three full page full colour shots of the family.

    Since you exhibit outrage about sexism you might ask yourself why Tony Abbott used his wife in such a cynical and devious way? You imagine Gillard as mentally diminishing Abbott’s female family, yet you fail to reflect on Ms Abbott’s lack of brain power that she should allow her husband to misuse her.

    That you see yesterday’s performance in Parliament as being solely about Peter Slipper reveals a lack of ability to read subtext.

  47. Barry Smith

    Seriously? This bickering over Julia????? As a bloke, I get overlooked for jobs in waxing salons and lingerie shops. Life isn’t fair, woman make great sandwiches and men put the rubbish out. Can’t we just agree on that much?

  48. Jimmy

    G E – “Try getting in step with the populace at large, for your views are grossly out of step with the vast majority of people” Over 35k polled on the SMH/AGe website and it’s running about 47-53 Gillard to Abbott, so basically along voting intentions and not as cut and dried as you make out.

  49. Hamis Hill

    Is it an ignorance of history that obscures all this “Kirche, Kinder Kuche” Klaptrap of the extreme right?
    They continue to do a good job of obscuring that defeat of right wing exxtremism known as WWII to the point of ignoring the fact that Sir Roden Cutler won his VC in Syria.
    Where? No details available?Just as the deaths of Australians in Libya in the same war against right wing extremism was totally without comment or commemoration during the recent conflict until their war graves were desecrated. A revelation for young Australians.
    As for feminism, history records that women were accomplished household mamagers at all times, how are they then unqualified for leadership in wider fields?
    This LOTO might have chosen “Battlelines” as the title of his widely unread book but it was his fellow Romans who were dismayed to find themselves up against women in the battlelines of their wars against the Celts.
    This insidious,mysogynist attempt to re-enslave women is alien to Australian values, and it is about time the real men stood up to the politicised perverts who are propagating it.
    Perverts is used advisedly, for how safe are children while their mothers are being harried and persecuted?
    A deeper motive for all this misogyny that needs closer scrutiny? The ancient, alien perversions of Rome protected, promoted and at play in Australian politics?
    Just why are they so scared of women?

  50. GeeWizz

    [“Over 35k polled on the SMH/AGe website and it’s running about 47-53 Gillard to Abbott, so basically along voting intentions and not as cut and dried as you make out.”]

    SMH is a leftwing publication so thats a shocker for Gillard.

    I expect the coalition to be back up around 56% TPP come next newspoll.

  51. fredex

    Susan Mitchell

    Your whole article is to be commended. Superb.

  52. Liz45

    @GEE WIZZ – Let’s just put this in perspective. The Motion moved by Tony Abbott used words like misogyny, sexism etc. He wanted the Parlt to act in a manner that the Judge has not – he has reserved his ruling. Supporting his Motion would’ve been an act never done before in our Parliamentary history. The fact that Abbott moved it was just beyond the pail! I never choked on my coffee! Fancy a misogynist like Tony Abbott moving such a motion, and then his 15 minute rant was full of such hypocrisy? Unbelievable! The response around the world today is proof positive that the PM’s speech resonated with a lot of people – men and women! It certainly did for me!

    Abbott wanted the Parlt to sack Slipper and set a dangerous precedent. In sharp contrast, a real man, (Tony Windsor)an adult as well engaged in adult behaviour and told the Speaker that he should resign. So, he did! This brought about the end of his reign as Speaker, but did not destroy Parlt forever! I applaud Tony Windsor’s and Rob Oakeshott’s actions – totally! They were both disgusted with the texts but took the adult and dignified approach! All Tony Abbott did was again show his immaturity and lack of concern for the dignity of Parlt! He doesn’t give a hoot about anyone or anything but himself!

    The PM is tough enough to take criticism – god knows there’s been enough, but it’s the nasty, sexist and disgusting language used, and never cautioned or condemned by Abbott is the difference. By his language, he’s encouraged people like Larry Pickering, Alan Jones and others at the Murdoch stables to focus on the PM’s gender! It’s been a constant! The use of her gender and the emphasis on this factor during criticism!

    IF you have heard the PM engaging in similar behaviour, I suggest you produce the evidence. The point is, that she has NOT done so!

    I gave the PM, Julia Gillard, a standing ovation in my lounge room. In fact, I was in tears – I felt she spoke on my behalf as well, and many other women in the country.

    I regularly watch Question Time and the behaviour of the Opposition Leader and the Leader of Opposition business, Christopher Pyne has been ugly, vicious, sexist and appalling! You can hear the noise in the Parlt when a woman Minister stands up to speak! I’d often witnessed Abbott’s back against the PM while she was speaking! He’d just have a chat to whoever! The fact that the Opposition referred to these MInisters as ‘the handbag brigade’ is just another demonstration of the sexist attitudes to women in the Govt!

    The image of Bronwyn Bishop and Sophie Mirabella at that disgraceful rally, and Abbott standing in front of gross placards was offensive. Apparently some of the women on the Opposition front bench have been almost as bad as Abbott’s behaviour! Funny how Joe Hockey didn’t have much to say? And the guts shown by Malcolm Turnbull in his comments about Alan Jones etc was great to witness! Good for him!

    On many occasions I’ve been called ‘precious’ having ‘no sense of humour’ because I voice exception to sexist, ageist and/or racist jokes. This sort of thing has been part of my experience and many others also, for many years!

    Gee Wizz – it’s men like you who perpetuate this shit! You, who accuse the PM of being “precious” totally miss the point. You’ve had nothing to say about the gross, crude, pornographic even, images of the PM. Such behaviours have never been part of the male experience. While male leaders have copped some heavy assertions, names etc over the years, they did NOT use sex as a weapon! THAT’s the difference!

    Go and look at Anne Summer’s speech, accompanied by the offending material, and see if JG’s speech was warranted. I got the distinct impression, that she just had enough! For over two years she’s put up with this garbage, and I’d never heard her complain, but the events of the last couple of weeks, plus the shit she’s had to cop by Alan Jones over the past two years was the final straw!

    Some males on Crikey posts have engaged in patronising and sexist language/behaviour in the past. Using patronising and sexist language rather than debating the point!

    I DID NOT hear one of the women in the Govt support the behaviour of Peter Slipper – not one! The PM and other senior women condemned the texts. I suggest you take another look at the PM’s speech! Listen to Tanya Plibersek and others! But voting for Abbott’s motion was not the answer – not the adult and responsible answer, anyway. Perhaps if anyone but Abbott had moved it, I may not have felt so outraged – I think that was the last straw for JG too! I’m glad I recorded her speech! Good for her!

  53. Anne Cooper

    I reckon that if the PM had to exclude Slipper on the basis of texts like those, the vast bulk of the male population of our parliament would eventually have been exposed. We have a pretty good idea of how they use language in our absence.

  54. Venise Alstergren

    JACK ROBERTSON: “”Does it really mean nothing to Julia Gillard that Abbott’s wife and daughters have explicitly defended him?””

    Not a damn thing, it’s one of the oldest dodges in the political lexicon. Read comment 47.

    “”Many men can’t take and won’t take feminism seriously until feminists start treating their own principles with respect when it costs them to do so.”” Meaning specifically what?

    I am unable to take a man seriously who would willingly use his wife as a political ploy. How would you like it if your wife/partner was very business oriented and used you in a triple page spread in the FIN REVIEW? An article depicting you as the stay-at-home-sweetheart? I thought not.

  55. johndal

    as a husband and father and grandfather ..I say go for it Julia. I’m glad you are saying things as they are with your passion you are standing up for all the women in my life.

    And may this be the start of more honest and passionate politics. I’m so sick of on message grabs that say absolutely nothing.

  56. Mark from Melbourne

    I must have missed some of the speech as I didn’t hear Gillard using the speech to defend Slipper. I dont think it came into it at all. It was purely and simply an attack against Abbott’s remarks, both yesterday and in recent times.

    I’d sure love Turnbull to be sitting in the chair opposite. In fact, what I’d love is for a mix of the best and brightest from all parties to become our government. I get to choose who of course…

  57. Liz45

    @ANNE & VENISE – Agreed. The fact that none of these so called men objected to Larry Pickering’s disgusting ‘cartoons’ (sent to every Senator and Member, apparently) says it all about them. I think like you Anne, that if men were exempted because of their sexist comments the House and the Senate would be empty! Look at the garbage Penny Wong has had to cop? Cat calls (as has the PM).

    The comments about tampons and the PM? The comments about menopause etc. It’s all there! None of the same against the males! IF there is, bring them forward Gee Wizz and???

  58. Venise Alstergren

    I’m no great fan of the concept of “”Gillard’s words changed politics forever”” and retaining it as an advance for women in the political arena. However, it was well and truly way over time that Gillard took a stand against the ageing, rancid Rabbitt. To see the expression on his face when forced to endure the same treatment he has pitilessly handed out to the Prime Minister, was exquisite.

  59. Keith Patterson

    I’m sure Tony Abbott has a lot to learn about modern attitudes towards all women, not just capable women. But make no mistake, the PM’s rant against Abbott is an election tactic pure & simple. They reckon they can turn half the population against Abbott on the basis of his church driven antiquated view of the social order – a pity he is such an easy target. Where is Malcolm Turnbull? Why do the Libs continue to ignore the obviously capable and electorally palatable choice? Complacency and a belief the Govt is on the ropes perhaps?

  60. Judith James

    Many of these comments leave me speechless. How hard can it be to treat people with dignity and respect, regardless of their sex or their age or their religion or their medical condition or their race. It was a wonderful speech highlighting what many women have put up with for centuries. Applaud it.

    Minor carp — can we get rid of the “handbag brigade” moniker. It’s demeaning. Even Michelle Grattan used it the other day…horrid.

  61. David Heslin

    I can’t believe some of you people are happy for a minister to have resigned over PRIVATE text messages that are mostly unrelated to the harassment suit. Are all politicians (nay, Australians) now to turn over their mobile phones and email accounts to Tony Abbott lest any comments have been made that supposedly ought to jeopardise our employment?

    Why have so few commented on this angle? Has the whole country gone mad?

  62. StephenB

    The PMs speech was passionate, brilliantly executed and pointed in it’s facts. It’s hard to believe Abbott’s position could now be anything but untenable. Not only is he an embarrassment to Australia, but now also to leaders around the world. That Abbott might stay on as LOTO will divide the electorate, even more than it was, into those stubbornly sticking with him (and his awful friends Jones, Bolt, Akerman, etc), and those wanting to embrace an equitable society.

  63. hannah rachel bell

    Thank you Susan Mitchell. Abbott’s comfort around women extends only to those over whom he has power or authority. The strong with power – over him – are his Achilles Heel. He goes weirdly pathological when he can’t control these women. Very popish actually. And thank you, thank you Prime Minister! You deserve to go viral, because women everywhere will stand up and rejoice.

  64. frednk

    This morning it was striking just how far behind the main stream media is. Twitter, Facebook and blogs where alive with links to PM Gillard’s speech, links to the source. Harriet Hashtag, on 774 noticed. The MSM was pontificating over slipper, trying to pretend a non-vote moving to the cross benches (probable voting for Labor) will make for more unstable government.

    You see it as a speech that will change the dynamics of politic, I agree, the MSM didn’t even see it as something worth reporting.

  65. The Pav

    Dear Hannah @ 62

    Abbott may or may not be comfortable around women in power but he has stated he is uncomfortable around homosexuals.

    Makes me wonder why he is apparently so comfortable in Alan Jones company

  66. Mark out West

    The thing is that JG is the female equivalent of TA. She came from the left but gain power through the Right. Couldn’t sell herself during the election cause she didn’t know who she was.
    Like TA has no trouble in mimicking those who will secure her power.
    Like TA doesn’t support Gay marriage, the Carbon Tax was forced on her by the Greens etc.

    Like TA she wants only power and has no trouble knifing people like Wilkie (who she did a deal with) to ensure her reign.

    On Q & A the best that Labor could come up with on TA was that he didn’t support RU486, so exaggeration of flaws is a common trait.

    I remember JG pulling TA in with a hand shake and saying “Game on”.
    Girls stop whinging have a look and see that she is the Labor equivalent of Maggie (Iron Lady) Thatcher.

  67. Microseris

    Just when I thought he couldn’t sink any lower, Abbott has plumbed new depths with his deliberate choice of the words “died of shame”. Anyone who thinks this was not deliberate and well thought through is a fool.

    I can’t believe the hypocrisy of Abbott and his conservative supporters who think he can cherry pick those “Christian” values that suit and ignore the rest.

    He has demonstrated again he has no morals.

  68. Sara Dowes

    Only one problem. On the same day of Gillard’s triumph the parliament voted to remove single parents off the single parents’ pension when their children turn eight. Most of these are women, some of the most vulnerable in society. If all feminism means is that women in positions of power will not longer be subjected to sexist abuse, great as that is, we will have failed.

  69. Paul

    Finally Gillard has done what should have been done 18 months ago, I feel proud to be an Australian, the first positive feeling I have had about Federal politics in years.
    But I hope and pray it doesn’t end there. Please stand up for yourselves, I watched the Sales interview attacking Albanese, he should ave told her to stop distorting and leave the lynch mob, he should have challenged her refusal to acknowledge the sexism that has been on display for the past 2 years.
    I didn’t read one commentary this morning discussing the substance of Abbott’s sexism, as they have not to date. His actions are reported but never ever judged in the same way that the PMs are.
    A great article acknowledging we do actually have a great PM.

  70. Jimmy

    Sara Dowes – They aren’t being left with nothing they just shift to Newstart and all that is being asked of them is to find some part time or even casual employment or even take a training course. And they can earn over $900 a fortnight and still get newstart.
    Plus if they do get some employment income they will pay less tax than they would of last financial year (nothing if they earn less than about $21k or $800 per fortnight)

  71. G E

    Jimmy, You can probably take comfort in allowing yourself to be led astray by a single straw poll from a single media source based in a single region of Australia, but it won’t surprise me in the least for Gillard to be dumped before Christmas on account of yesterdays performance. However you are in good company for Gillard also allowed herself to be led astray by a straw poll at the time she knifed Rudd. And she has compounded that with a succession of poor decisions ever since – much to her misfortune and the misfortune of Australia.

  72. shepherdmarilyn

    Let’s get real, sexism is a long dead concept – playing it now is ridiculous.

  73. The Pav

    Dear GE

    In the face of the worst financial crisis , possibly ever, and left the mess of being committed to an untenable milatry expedition in Iraq & Afghanistan the ALP govt currently led by Ms Gillard has dleivered, continued economic growth, rising productivity, low uneemployment, low inflation,low interest rates, federal debt at acceptablly low levels whilst at the same time addressing the huge infrastructure deficiency that the idleness and inertia of the Howard govt left us with.

    How much good govt do you want/ Do you want a few loaves and fishes to be converted to feeding the five thousand or can you take a reasonable view?

  74. Richard Harold

    Great article – it’s so true that Peter Hartcher who is normally fairly astute totally missed out on this one. Ms. Gillard made the best speech by any Australian Prime Minister in 25 years or more. She is now a beacon for women and fair minded men. Mr. Abbott should have listened and realise that it takes more than last weeks PR spin campaign by his wife etc – he really needs to change in reality! He could do no better than have Mr. Turnbull as a trainer or simply hand over the reigns.

  75. G E

    Dear The Pav,
    I can see where Gillard gets her support. There is little I can say in light of your claims. You are obviously proud of her and the way this government operates so it is best I don’t disturb you.

  76. rael162

    I just watched the clip of PM’s speech and was heartened by the thoroughly appropriate but long overdue dressing down delivered to the opposition leader in parliament. I believe it was an historic speech given at a significant time in history and I congratulate the PM for her competence and restraint in the face of long term, contrived and unnatural emotional provocation from those who wrongfully see themselves as a ruling class by virtue of stealth, wealth and old boy’s clubs. Our nation does not need contrived emotional irrationality, we require leaders who offer progressive policies and solutions and who progress those policies with rationale and honesty. How about now fingering the imperialist forces and those who work for such a cause thwarting our most deserved and competent representatives.

  77. Julie Brodzik

    I too found the speech a great step forward for women, but I was sadly disappointed that the press coverage this morning gave it little credence and was quite negative. What really amazed me was that Tony Abbott appears to not have been taken to task when repeating the same words as Alan Jones.

  78. Tim nash

    Fantastic article summed it up beautifully.

    Take NOTE Bernard Keane!

  79. The Pav

    Dear GE

    I accept your gracious support of my position.

    I agree that it is good to have a relatively competent and active govt

  80. zut alors

    It would be a wonderful thing if the PM’s speech changed things. Sadly, I cannot share the optimism.

    The speech was well overdue but, with Slipper being factored into the equation, the force of it was compromised.

  81. Maisie

    Great article from Susan Mitchell. As she said, women put up with this type of sexism and misogynistic behaviour all the time because they don’t want to be labelled as angry man-hating feminists, but at some point we have to stand up to it. I have a fabulous feminist t-shirt with the slogan “Nice got me nowhere” on it. I think that is absolutely true. With someone like Tony Abbot pussy-footing around his blatant sexism and misogyny only emboldens him to be even more offensive and hypocritical. Some women won’t appreciate the Prime Minister’s speech, but that will be those who are used to playing second fiddle to the men in their lives. Strong, independent women will be happy to see that she finally stood up to him.

  82. Arty

    What is Julie Bishop doing these days?

  83. Buddy

    I have just been reading the mainstream press and their pieces on the Prime Ministers speech . I am flabbergasted! EVERY woman I know has text messaged, facebooked, and spoken with pride about the speech . She spoke for every woman and we stood in our homes and cheered . The male commentators demonstrate their appalling lack of ignorance about the depth of despair that women in our society and access the globe experience in relation to sexism and misogyny- we will not be silenced, these past few weeks have been a watershed and our Prime Minister stood in parliament and spoke on behalf of all women: enough is enough.

  84. Petroleuse

    Abbott may be sexist, but he’s not a misogynist – there’s a critical difference and it’s an important one. Gillard has never been an advocate for women or womens issues and her ‘speech’ was nothing more than a strident justification for retaining Slipper, who apparently sees a jar of mussels whenever a woman appears in front of him. As for the world changing last night, perhaps in the Land of Emily’s List, but nothing shifted in my workplace, where women dominate senior management positions and behave atrociously towards each other (Australian Government dept in Canberra). But you know Susan, the world changed last night for one group of Australian women – the single mothers abandoned by Gillard and her cabinet on the altar of populist opinion. Not a word about that from the feminist commentators.

  85. Daniel Ruben

    Unfortunately, there is still a long way to go, Look at Paul Sheehan’s article in the Brisbane Times accusing Gillard of “playing” a gender card. I mean Sheehan quotes Gillard on the “ditch the witch” and “man’s bitch” insults and then suggests we are entitled to a “better standard” from Parliament, as if the real problem is not the sexist insults, but Gillard repeating the sexist insults. I happen to be a gay man. I know all about discrimination as well. Sometimes I think straight men will just never ever get it.

  86. gillian

    and Mr Slipper? What exactly did he say that was insulting to women and mysogenistic? I have never heard? Was it too bad to put into the public arena? Was it in texts emails what? Any man who makes snide woman-hating remarks about female anatomy is not fit for Public Office.

  87. iggy648

    I’m with Julie Brodzik. At least Jones and Slipper thought their comments were private (or so Jonesey says). Tony Abbott’s shame comments were cold blooded and public. Disgusting!

  88. Sprague Brett

    As a male who works in a male dominated environment, yesterday was brilliantly instructive in the facts of life dare I say. Prejudices have always been employed against perceived or assessed vulnerabilities in the employment of power. Democracy does it in a civil way, civil war being at the other end of the spectrum. The PM has drawn a line in the sand that is likely to stand definitive of the minimum level of respect that should be accorded to women at the highest echelons of Australian civil society and it will filter down imperfectly to all levels. Effectively we men have been told this is it, we are henceforth demanded to be better than this if we want to consider ourselves leaders.
    On the other hand, the PM has also proven that even the most powerful woman in Australia can’t take a principled stance on behaviour like Peter Slipper’s when she or he lacks the integrity. I say he also, because the best of intentions of a male in the same situation as the PM (without integrity) couldn’t have taken a principled stand either. Power is what it is, and only those with the highest integrity can take the truly principled stances required of leadership (regardless of gender).

  89. belcham

    I too am thrilled with the PM’s long overdue dressing down of Tony Abbott and calling him for what he is. If it quacks like a duck etc. Besides there is a history to his behaviour and statements on the record. It is not a mystery why women find him repellent. It is part of a larger issue that is apparent in political discourse and society and many women and men recognise this thus the social media campaigns. The MSM by wilfully(?) missing the point and the conservative side of politics by colluding with his appalling behaviour merely confirm that this is exactly so. In regards to Peter Slipper, has no-one thought by not voting him out (his texts were condemned and never supported) gave him the opportunity to resign and that was the game plan all along – to allow him the dignity to resign and not to sully the role of Speaker but allowing one to be voted out. We know Tony Abbot wouldn’t think like that!

  90. Jacqueline McNamara

    THANK GOODNESS someone else noticed. What a spot on article. Slipper’s comments were revolting and disappointing and he will pay for them anyway. Gillard in no way condoned them. What she did do was expose TA’s hypocrisy and so effectively. Unbelievably good speech, unbelievably good article on it…hopefully the rest of the media will finally start cottoning on that, in fact, the speech will be remembered long after we have forgotten Peter Slipper’s name. It is nothing short of historic. I think she should look at changing the law to make it illegal and make a motion on that rather than worrying about Peter Slipper.

  91. Michael Claymore

    It’s changed politics — for the worse. From now on it will be easier to label any man rebellious enough to step out of line as “misogynist.” And just as with Gillard, no evidence needs to be presented.

  92. Jacqueline McNamara

    ‘I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak’. Misogynistic enough for you? Did you actually listen to her speech? Need some more, I’ve got plenty!

  93. geomac62

    I wondered about the contents of the texts as well . What I found after a search was Slipper using the C word and comparing the female organ to a mussel . Crude and said more than once and Ashby going along with the banter if banter is the term to use . A cruder version of people saying banana or sausage for men .
    Bernardi makes a link between gays and beasts . Abbott makes a link about getting/respecting women because of three daughters . On Bernardis logic daughters equals incest . Abbott and Bernardi should go on a retreat and have 2 weeks silence to reflect .

  94. geomac62

    Michael Claymore
    And just as with Gillard, no evidence needs to be presented.
    You obviously didn,t hear what the PM said . Abbotts misdeeds were spelled out clearly with timelines and all available to be checked from media for those doubting veracity . Enough evidence to choke a horse .

  95. Ashar

    I find it telling that a number of people find it difficult to just say “Right on!” in regard to calling the shots regarding the Leader of the Opposition’s very vocal history of sexism and misogyny.

    I find it also interesting that some Australians in not being able to praise, where praise is due, focus on the Slipper text and how “MP’s voted to support the ‘word’ and ‘texts’ of Slipper by retaining him in the Speakers role…”

    And yet the New Yorker’s coverage pointed out this, “Abbott’s motion demanded that Slipper be fired “immediately” — not parliamentary procedure — because the texts were “vile” and “derogatory.” Notice that – Not parliamentary procedure! In other words, if it were the other way around, the Coalition wouldn’t have sacked him either.

    Furthermore, I found it interesting that very little media are expanding on the incredible level of sexist and misogynistic coverage they and the public have at large have given towards the Prime Minster (see http://annesummers.com.au/speeches/her-rights-at-work-r-rated/), where attacks have everything to do with her as a women, and nothing to do with her professional capacity, irrespective of her gender.

    I believe it is a sign of the deep levels of sexism and misogyny in the Australian (and other countries) psyche. We may have made some significant strides in pushing back the oppression of women in the last few decades, but our bigotries are still flowing strong.

    Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/10/julia-gillards-misogyny-speech.html#ixzz28tabkHXM

  96. crit massa

    What has changed politics for Gillard is not her gender games but a testing examination of the content of her character. She is a barefaced liar (the carbon tax), devious manipulator (Rudd’s MRRT), agreement breaker (Wilkie’s Pokies) and shameless power seeker (The Slipper coup come coup de grace).

    Gillard comes from a background of narrow class warfare, all tied to unions, legal practice for union causes, compensation, The Labour Party – all funded by the little worker or the taxpayer. She (yes the female pronoun) is ill qualified in broad life experience, technically illiterate and has shown appalling judgment in matters ranging from BER schemes to Timor solutions.

    This is not about sexism or women hating – it is about an amoral pursuit of power by a ruthless incompetent which has brought low the Parliament and disgusted anyone who follows the politics of this nation.

  97. Warren Joffe

    I am at a great disadvantage amongst this collection of often anguished bordering on pathological comments. I have had decades of happy relations with many intelligent, attractive and capable women and I have many female relations.

    Also I couldn’t bear to listen to Abbott or Gillard for more than a few seconds though they are both capable professional politicians and not bad debaters and performers I suppose. I don’t share Abbott’s economic or Catholic brand of conservative views but I can’t see the slightest evidence of his being misogynist. If he has been rude to or about women I would suspect that to be just crude tactics that would be totally alien to him in a social situation. But I am open to evidence that he is misogynist however unlikely I think that is.

    The comments of Susan Mitchell’s Abbott-hating acolytes appended to this article remind me of the sad fact that many people aren’t happy with their lives (or selves probably) with many men blaming women more or less consciously for many ills and, as in these comments, women showing how much they blame on “men” as some collective, with old-fashioned types like Abbott possibly symbolising something in their imagination and maybe standing in for particular men who have given them a hard time.

    It is also a reminder that the feminism on show here is much more a class issue than anything that affects most women. Principally from the “new class” that grew from the availability of secondary and then tertiary education increasingly after WW2 and on and on (with Gillard suggesting a prima facie absurd extension of university education to about half the population, not that I suggest that latter detail has much to do with this thread).

    As I am certainly not going to listen to those speeches I shall have to just remain 80 per cent sure that the hopes of Susan Mitchell and friends that the PMs speech was a watershed occasion is BS and that it won’t even change a tiny fraction of one per cent of votes.

    Those who suggest that it was inappropriate to bring up the matter of Slipper’s suitability to remain Speaker while legal action was still on foot do not know what they are talking about, as has in fact been pointed out already. It shows ignorance of both the law and the practice of Parliament. Presiding officers will be quickly advised by the clerks (too quickly since the clerks probably know just as little about courts and law as most Speakers) to cut a member short who tries to raise something which is in the term usually used in Parliament “sub judice” and, usually unnecessarily, prevent debate. But clearly here was a case of Parliament doing its job of deciding whether the facts known to it justified it removing or keeping the Speaker in office as one of the Parliament’s own presiding officers. Not that the use of vulgar words foolishly texted was better than hypocrisy and humbug but Abbott and team (including a powerful female Chief of Staff) may well have been counting on putting pressure, not only on the government, but on that old-fashioned seeming countryman Tony Windsor who they might have guessed would really think the text messages were so disgusting that no decent MP could ever have sent them……

  98. Liz45

    @Paul (69) I agree!

    @Shepherd Marilyn – For once I disagree. The sexist behaviour has been going on for over 2 years. If you read Anne Summer’s speech with attachments, you’ll get a good idea of how revolting it’s been – not just via Abbott and Jones either!

    It’s been constant from a few different sources – including the Murdoch rags!

  99. Smashn Grub

    Almost all SMH journos have called for Gillard to step down because they think Kevin Rudd’s feelings should be put before the greater good. Therefore, I think they’re blind to her many strengths.

    One of the problems for the media was that this was both a day of a clear mis-step (in not heaping heaps of private and even public pressure on Slipper to not stand down earlier) and a clear exceptional performance by Gillard in defending women’s rights (regardless of the circumstances) and this convergence will always be difficult for the media to cover properly.

  100. Rais

    There shouldn’t be sexist remarks by men in front of women. In my workplace (a Public Service office) I hear – and ignore – sexist remarks about men by women quite frequently. Jokes putting men down are circulated by email, although the rules don’t allow this. Nobody invokes the rules. Maybe people feel it’s time women had their chance. Is it? Or should we all respect the same rules? Men make sexist jokes among themselves (as do women) but in my office I never hear a man make a sexist joke where a woman is likely to hear it.

  101. shepherdmarilyn

    How do you stupid women claiming Slippers remarks to another man about genitalia were revolting? ARe you embarrassed about having genitals?

    Fair dinkum little girls get over the precious crap.

    He did not abuse anyone in particular and as a twice married man with kids he does not hate women.

  102. barbs

    Totally agree, Susan.
    Julia Gillard should pause and take stock – yesterday we saw the REAL Julia Gillard and she was a damned fine, leader. Bury the wan, middle of the road, Julia, and resurrect the woman lawyer and her self assured powerful rhetoric.

  103. Hamis Hill

    Just as Abbott’s confessor Cardinal Pell has to put up with the adulation of gay priests among his brethren so Abbott has the adulation of misogynists to contend with.
    And if not a misogynist in his private life Abbott seems to have been cultivating misogynists for most of his adult, political life.
    It is this weirdness, surely, that accounts for his unpopularity.
    And also shows that the high support of his Triple Entente of DLP(The Abboott party), Menzies Liberals and The Nationals in the polls is down to the labor Party and not Abbott’s rather pathetic leadership which lost his side of politics the unloseable election of 2010.
    Meanwhile the real target of misogyny is revealed in the excommunication of Mary Mackillop for herding the normal prey of pervert priests into the safety of her schools.
    Misogynists are perverts targetting women in order to more easily access their children.
    Why don’t you all get real on this point?

  104. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    YOU ARE A PIECE OF WORK. A set of individually harmless words muttered by someone who has just been out-manoeuvred in a debate. The only other time I have heard this expression was when an incredibly frustrated and thwarted man walked away from an about-to-be-violent domestic dispute. It seemed to be the best thing he could come up with without actually swearing.
    Tony Abbott spat those words at PM Julia Gillard in Parliament yesterday. Not sexist, not misogynist, not violent, not even swearing. But he instantly withdrew them because even he could tell that he meant them to mean all those things at once. He was burning with frustration, he knew she had his number and he just had to pull himself away. He would have the last word but his visible and audible contempt would cost him…. and it did.
    You’re quite right Susan Mitchell, the line has been drawn. I reckon Tony Abbott has known about the line (since forever) but he’s been daring someone in public life, rather than religious or private life, to point it out to him. Oh well.

  105. klewso

    Abbott channels Jones into the chamber and can’t see anything wrong with that – indeed he feels justified, “getting Jones back at her”?

  106. Dan Han

    I agree 100% !!
    It’s unbelievable the way this story has been widely reported in this country.
    I hope every woman in Australia, and the men who support them, can see for themselves the rampant sexism and hypocrisy of Abbott, which was the main point of the PM’s speech.
    She wasn’t supporting Slipper at all, but the right to a fair trial.

  107. muruk

    The PM’s speech was up there with the best of Paul Keating, Bob Menzies and Eddy Ward. At last we get to see the real Julia. Brilliant.

  108. Gregory Johnson

    Bravo Ms Gillard.

  109. Karen

    A very good piece, Susan Mitchell. JG’s rejoinder to TA’s sustained personal abuse, including those from other pundits, was too long in coming. And, surprise, surprise, when she finally made her hopefully carthartic spray, the middle-aged, mainly male, MSM opinion writers couldn’t cope. Typical. Well, if nothing else, they should have been fair in their response to say that since TA and his more avid media supporters started the abuse, she was entitled to finish it, Peter Slipper or no Peter Slipper.

    What is it with our country that it should have major cultural issues with progressive female leaders, in particular. New Zealand, in having Helen Clarke by comparison, had no major problems. Its almost as if we are still stuck in the ’80’s where to get anywhere as a female leader, you have to behave like a well hung donkey, espouse the politics of Margaret Thatcher, and invite your male acolytes to come and join you to meet the other “ladies” in the drawing room, after lighting up a cuban cigar and downing your third glass of vintage port. For God’s sake!

  110. Karen

    And the depressing thing is that JG’s brilliance, or otherwise, won’t make a hoot of difference in getting the male vote that she needs to stay in office, if the sentiments of the Troofies of this world are anything to go buy. She’s lost it because they don’t like her and feel more comfortable with Abbot’s macho cr–. What’s the game-changer? Bring in a Labor bloke leader who can be as dirty as Abbott, otherwise 2pp 54:46 split we go to election day.. ? God, I despair.

  111. Jack Phat


    You are totally wrong if you don’t think the last fortnight culminating in Julia’s MOMENTOUS DO TONY SLOWLY but surely speech; you are wrong and don’t have a clue.

    This is a watershed moment for Australian politics if Abbott continues, Julia may well do a Lazurus, if Malcom Turnbull stands I doubt she can come back and win.
    Why do I say that? My family and I are part of the 20% who will decide the election wheever it happens. We have voted Liberal at two of the last 3 Federal elections voting in our Lib, voting him out for Kevvy and voting him back in because of Julia.
    I can never forgive or totally respect Julia for her assassination of a sitting Prime Minister no matter what their gender. It was an unforgiveable and reprehensible misjudgement of the Australian people. However over the last 18 months I have now grown a grudging respect for Julia, I will never forgive her for her treachery but I now respect her greatly for her tenacity and ability. It makes me very sad for our country to think what a fantastic team she and he could have been for a VERY VERY long time but she was blinded by a group of snake oil salesmen peddling nothing but mischief and mayhem and that’s exactly what we have had for the last 18 months.
    But she has really manned up(apologies for that couldn’t resist) and grown HUGELY (not just in the derriere) in the eyes of many of us who despised her for her treachery. Her speech to the Mad Monk was the best 15 minutes of Politics I can ever remember, it was a momentous speech beautifully delivered, it will go down in the history books. If the Libs stick with the Mad Monk she may well win the next election, I think it’s too late for Kev to step up again and depose her and I don’t think he should.
    However if the LIBS wake up to themselves and DUMP the Mad Monk, Malcolm Turnbull will win with a comfortable majority and that’s all I have to say about that.
    They can’t be that dumb so get on BETFAIR and back Malcom at $4.60 to win the next election. Just get on.

  112. Jimmy

    “if Malcom Turnbull stands I doubt she can come back and win.” The only issue with TUrnbull coming back is that the libs will have to ditch all their policies (the few they have).

  113. Jack Phat

    just to clarify my last post my fingers got a bit ahead of my brain, being a mere male that sometomes happens.
    the first paragraph should have read after Julia’s DO TONY slowly speech will not win her votes; you are wrong and don’t have a clue. That speech will win her many undecided young men and women’s votes and it MAY YET even win some of us oldies back.

    I also want to be clear about Kevin and Julia as a team for a very very long time, I could have seen Kev being PM for maybe 5 years and Julia could have then taken over with the full blessing of both Kev her party and the Australian people. The Labor Party missed the opportunity to create a dynasty that would have been a Golden Age for Australia and it’s people, instead of the last two years of muck raking and negativity we have had to put up with BUT Julia it was of your own making and you are paying a very high price for that, as you sow, so shall you reap, but you are starting to ome out of that and doing it with style, ability and tenacity.
    Best of luck, you are going to continue to need it, but you have put in a Herculean effort or should I say Bodicean, I don’t want to be seen to be any more sexist than I am. LOL

  114. Gregory Johnson

    Karen (#111). I am dismayed at your assertion that men feel more comfortable with Abbot’s macho. His simian swagger and manifest aggression does not appeal to your average bloke – certainly not to my friends, and I live in his electorate!

  115. David Hand

    Politics changed forever?

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

    Same old Labor demonising of an opponent, playing morality cards like the ALP actually believes it. Did it to Howard, did it to Nelson, did it to Turnbull, did it to Rudd, did it to Abbott.

    Situation normal. Calm down everyone.

  116. Karen

    @ Gregory Johnson # 115- hats off to you – I wish there more men out there like you. However, the ‘average bloke’ I’m referring to doesn’t concentrate in electorates like yours. The male punters Im referring live in marginal seats, are self-employed, and raise families. These guys have the capacity to swing elections. Read Mumbles (SMH) who summarised the voting patterns of men, particularly in the 35 – 55age group since the 2007 election. The numbers crunched in that article strongly suggested that Its not enough for JG to attract more female votes, she has to crucially get seepage from this male cohort, which has remained stuck.

    The 2007 election was interesting. It wasn’t the slide of the female vote that mattered so much as the massive slide of the male vote to Rudd, particularly, from this age-group. So, unless JG gets some traction there, it looks like we’re f_*@#@ . And, perhaps I’m just depressed about this but I think at the moment that doesn’t seem likely because we can’t cope with hung parliaments and the political argy bargy associated with it, nor are we a mature enough nation to divorce the politics from the policy, or for that matter are we mature enough to cope with a female titular head, particularly of the progressive type, to our eternal shame.

  117. Karen

    @ Gregory Johnson – comment awaiting moderation – sigh.

  118. Marianne Pattinson

    We read/watched a magnificent performance by our 1st female PM, where she pulled herself up to her full height – red hair blazing and green eyes flashing – and gave our weasel of an Opposition Leader a long overdue, but wonderful, dressing down!
    It was SO good, that it quickly went viral internationally, with people all over the globe wanting to to borrow Our Julia!
    But how did our media respond? I expected to see this resplendent on front page of the Age/SMH at least, but …no…it was quite hard to find, tacked away at the end of an article, that was actually criticising her. Whaaat?
    I watched the 7pm News, 7:30 Report, and OMG what I saw was an intense attack on our magnificent PM, by Leigh Saelles, of all people, for supposedly supporting Peter Slipper, because of his reference to women’s private parts as “shell-less molluscs”. What? Why is this seen as some evil crime against the women of Australia??? For a start, he is right. It’s not a bad description of female genitalia, and it was in a private text to a perceived friend. Look, I detest sexism as much as any other feminist, but I just fail entirely to see it here, let alone see a MAJOR CRIME against the women of Aus! Heavens! We hear much worse than that everyday, in public. I just can’t summon up any indignation at all.
    And I can only agree with the PM, that for the attack on Peter Slipper for this perceived ‘major crime’ against the women of Aus., to come from a man, who as the PM so eloquently stated, has been himself quite openly and rabidly sexist, in the real meaning of the word, to our PM, and by extension to all Australian women – for the duration of his political life (I also remember his performances at AUS Annual Confs ot Monash Uni), to be beyond the pale, and totally insincere, and she rightly called him on it.
    Deputy Opp leader, Julie Bishop, opined that “Ms G has let the women of Aust down, when put to the test”. No, Ms B, it is YOU who have let the women of Aust down – because you daily allow TA to put down, not only the women Of Aust, but more particulary, the most important woman of Aust, repeatedly.
    And the media of Aust, especially the Fairfax media from I expect far more quality, has let down, not only the people of Aust, but also itself. You are pathetic!
    And JULIA, YOU WERE MAGNIFICANT! That was a watershed speech; it will go into the history books! More Please!!
    It was also very heartening to see JG supported by a large number of men, too. Good on you guys. You have helped restore my faith in the Aust people.

  119. izatso?

    Dressing Down ? BaaHaHaa, Punched that Sucker another A*ssHole ! Beeautifull, one shell shocked chihuahua ….. !

  120. Kevin Herbert

    Limited News:and the rest of the ‘Julia at any cost” brigade:

    please specify which ff Abbot’s comments were sexist & why…we’re waiting

  121. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Kevin, who is the ‘we’ that is waiting? No one here has described themselves as the “Julia at any cost” brigade. For mine, Julia Gillard is the elected PM. She is what we’ve got. Your vote as much as mine put her there. It’s irrelevant whether you like her – she is the PM until the next election and you’ll just have to wear it. I haven’t used the ‘sexist’ or “misogynist” label but I did quote Tony Abbott in an earlier post. He described the Prime Minister as a “piece of work”. Do you think this is appropriate language for public discourse in this day and age? Can you imagine how dubious and phoney he and the PM will seem when they turn up in Bali tomorrow? When they stand together in solidarity with the families of the Bali bombing.
    Tony Abbott knew this was coming. He knew that he would be with the Prime Minister at this important international event and yet he couldn’t stop himself from regurgitating Alan Jones’s bilious phrases just so he could spew on the PM in public, on the record, in Parliament. It’s not sexist behaviour it’s just plain uncouth. It’s dumb. Step back from the ring and listen to the sound of it, the smell of it, the taste (or tastelessness) of it. I think it’s bully talk and when bullies are unmasked they get angry and aggressive. And then they look stupid and childish and humiliated.

  122. David Hand

    “Politics changed forever!!!”

    What’s that? less than 24 hours into this glorious new world of heroic female emancipation, do I hear Gillard furiously back-peddling about some offensive sexist joke aimed at the female chief of staff for Abbott? Is that Swan, apologising for not condemning it? Every ALP minister running for cover about it? The press gallery, those oh so out of touch fools of yesterday conspiring with the government to stop us finding out what was actually said?

    To you, Susan Mitchell, “forever” has turned out to be about 24 hours.

    Is this a good example of the 24 hour news cycle?

    I am really laughing out loud.

  123. Hamis Hill

    Yes David, misogynists see right through Labor’s hypocritical attempt to jump on the misogynist band waggon.
    It won’t work, Abbott has the misogynist votes all wrapped up.
    They’ll make him PM just like they did in 2010 in the most unloseable election in the nation’s history.
    OH that’s right Abbott lost the most unloseable election in the nation’s history.
    Losers love a loser?, is that some sort of border line perversion? Very weird!

  124. Jack Phat

    David Handonit,
    The joke about Tony and Julia on a plane and the $5 note would be appropriate as they fly out to Bali, I’m guessing though they won’t be seated together.
    Tony being the Aristocrat that he is probably feels like getting sh!t faced and going to hell and taking his nay saying husband and wife team with him, that would be some menage a trois that one.
    He is the greatest international embarrassment Australia could ever have, except for maybe Hockey, Pyne, Bernardi, Joyce, the list goes on and on, I’m sure Pauline feels very sorry for him even after he put her in jail.
    If the libs win the next election with Abbott in charge(and I’ve voted Liberal at 2 of the last 3 elections) I may well be finding a leaky boat and immigrating to NZ.

  125. Jack Phat

    my bad, that should be emigrate.

  126. Dogs breakfast

    “It’s a bit panicky in here – is that troll fear sweat I can smell?”

    Thanks Holden, that was worth it.

    Wow, this one really sort out the dinosaurs from the evolved beings, doesn’t it.

    Whether you like it or not, this was a game changer. It may not result in her winning the next election, too much time between now and then, but a lot of people might actually start to listen to her now who wouldn’t have beforehand.

    Thank you Susan, great to see your article. How I wish a bloke had written it. I could have, and I am a bloke, but Crikey would not have printed it with the authority that you could bring. Women of Australia, we aren’t all hopeless males, many of us are applauding as much as you.

    As we seem to hitting so many low points, Peter Hartcher’s article was a prime example. How any of the female journalists followed this line is a pretty good example of the groupthink of the Press Gallery.

    I wonder if Hartcher is sufficiently self aware to realise that he just got this one wrong. I wonder if we will read a follow up apologia from him. I doubt it, and I suspect there might beat the heart of a sexist in that man’s chest.

    Sure the misogyny is a bridge too far, but when wasn’t hyperbole the major currency in political debate. Unquestionably, TA and many media folk have been sexist.

    Forget the polls, this one will change perceptions, this will change gut reactions, and as any of you who have read my messages before, I am a firm believer that it is the gut reaction that decides the vote, not the rational analysis.

    A game changer. A slow burner at that, but a game changer. This will seep in.

    Unless Labor does it’s usual thing and grants TA and the coalition more political gifts through their political stupidity. The momentum is shifting, and that is troll fear you are smelling. 🙂

  127. David Hand

    The main stream media are good for something.

    In today’s OZ, Dennis Shanahan has let me know that Julia’s viral “change politics forever” speech is up there with other viral broadcasts from parliament, such as Rudd picking his earwax and then eating it.

    Just in case some of you need my point explained to you, people view things online for many reasons and the viral nature of Julia’s speech, rather than ushering in a brave new world of politics may be just fun to watch for its entertainment value.

  128. eileen fraser

    My biggest problem of that beautiful wonderful day was that all of the male teev presenters raged against Prime Minister Gillard as making a fool of herself ,especially in the face of Slippers resignation,but I saw a moment of that speech dedicated to the Slipper saga,but for the most part she made it about the hypocracy of Abbott.I for one will never forget that speech it was raw, honest and accurate.She owes no one an apology

  129. Kevin Herbert

    Hugh Charlie McColl:

    so what’s your actual point…your rambling response doesn’t appear to have any substance whatsoever.

  130. Kevin Herbert

    Eileen Fraser:

    list those sexist remarks you attribute to Tony Abbott..or apologise for your bigoted, sexist rant.

  131. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Kevin, like the other bully in this story, you think you (and your army) are out there on the range defending the honour of conservative big-mouth men like Alan Jones and Tony Abbott. You think you do this best by nit-picking semantic pedantry. Fair enough, but I think you’re wasting your time. The game is over, the carnival has moved on and you’re eating dust or crow or some other roadkill.

  132. eileen fraser

    Where have the conservative women gone…all the big noting negative comments are from dinosaurs…sorry gents we live in a new world,but you guys are just begining to get a feel of what we women have known for years …we are not just equal in a lot of ways we can do better than men.And for the positives from ther males I say kudos ,but you like us are fighting an uphill battle,wehave to listen to the usual suspects spewing their wrath for women,using the old excuses that we ,we are playnig the gender card

  133. eileen fraser

    Where have the conservative women gone…all the big noting negative comments are from dinosaurs…sorry gents we live in a new world,but you guys are just begining to get a feel of what we women have known for years …we are not just equal in a lot of ways we can do better than men.And for the positives from ther males I say kudos ,but you like us are fighting an uphill battle,we have to listen to the usual suspects spewing their wrath for women,using the old excuses that we ,we are playing the gender card

  134. Eric Henry

    Well said Susan

  135. David Hand

    When people label enyone who criticises the prime minister as sexist or misogynist, they are playing the gender card.

  136. Kevin Herbert

    Hugh (Charlie) McColl:

    Just as I thought….you’re ranting.

    For the record, I don’t support either Labor or Liberal…or Abbott or anyone else.

    I judge pollies on their performance…and on that basis, Gillard is a waste of space with no political judgement whatsoever.

    The House of Reps is not the SRC, the latter being more suited to the conservative careerism of the PM.

    I say bring on a female PM asap…but one who’s capable of handling the job.

  137. Sylvianne Heim

    Some sanity on the subject. Gillard struck a chord louder than a Hendrix riff. It couldn’t have be a such an internet success without being so goddam poignant, passionate and profoundly stirring. You’re right Susan, so many journos, both sexes, missed its potency so utterly. Gotta love Crikey.

  138. Carl Jackson

    Several days after, this speech is still on my mind, but not in the narrow way a politician might have hoped. To me it was a revelation about women in general and accusations of Misogyny. It was obvious the PM was out to get what she wanted – damaging her opponent – and improperly using an accusation of Misogyny was an acceptable way to do it to her. It is the first time I have been absolutely sure that an accusation of this sort was just a tactic, not a real attack on sexism. It is a red flag to all men that women will use accusations of Misogyny dishonestly and improperly just to get whatever they want at the time. The proof of the improper nature of the accusation was the explanation by the Labour Party later that day that “they just didnt want to give Abbott a win” Women will now be much more closely scrutinized when they “call out” Misogyny because people will ask whether the accusation is genuine or if they are just “doing a Gillard”

  139. Kevin Herbert

    Sylvianne Heim:

    it’s hard to construct a more fatuous assessment of this scenario than you’ve done above.

  140. The Pav

    Dear Kevin,

    That so?

    Well coingratulations becuase you have beaten it by a mile with your your asinine comment.

    What part of going viral & mass attention overseas don’t you get.

  141. David Hand

    Hey Pav,
    I don’t get the significance of videos going viral. Perhaps you could compare Julia’s 1.6m views with the 0.86m who watched Kevin Rudd eating his earwax and enlighten us on what that means so we can all get it.

  142. izatso?

    Ha ! Its in the Time Frame, Turtle-Brain, 1.6 million World-Wide views of Abbott getting destructured in Parliament, on Camera, all the world over ……in 6 days ! ! check back in another two years for KRudds shining moment ….. but of course you are’nt reading this, you’re just posting Tony’s Baloney …..

  143. Gorgeous Dunny

    The proof of the improper nature of the accusation was the explanation by the Labour Party later that day that “they just didnt want to give Abbott a win”

    Of course they weren’t going to give him a win. There’s plenty of evidence emerged that the independents, Labor and some Liberal were liaising with Slipper to encourage him to resign. Abbott must have known of this and sought to pre-empt the process by removing him.

    Given other stories that Slipper was struggling and at risk of suicide, the last thing needed was an inquisition in the parliament and a possible dismissal in disgrace.

    The charge of improperly accusing Abbott doesn’t have any credibility when the PM provided examples of every accusation. It is pedantic to dwell on the meaning of misogyny against plain sexism.

    The examples of Abbott’s beliefs about women’s suitability for leadership ought to be enough. And the PM was right that a repeated phrase used against her of “… making an honest woman of herself…” was blatantly sexist and the equivalent type of description would never have been used of a male.

    Abbott could not resist needling the PM by reference to the government “dying of shame” reminding everybody of the disgraceful Jones remark, and by inference supporting it. And it was read, ruling out the possibility that it was merely an Abbott tactless slip of the tongue.

    Of course she was angry. She was able to focus that anger into a comprehensive slap-down of Abbott. And as a group of year 9 schoolboys said (not the most politically aware group around) “He had it coming.”

    And she gained support from career women everywhere around the world. Susan Mitchell has got it brilliantly right, as did Julia Baird in Fairfax.

  144. David Hand

    Keep taking your medication

  145. izatso?

    Sure, and the medication of my choice is Fourex Gold, so that all good ….. for yourself, loosen the straps on the blinkers, oxygen-brain, type of thing ……

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