Former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard has been at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times in which she backs Hillary Clinton for president of the United States and reflects on her experience as a female leader and the attacks she faced:

“When I was prime minister, I created a carbon-emissions trading program. The debate grew vicious, with the leader of the opposition attending a protest next to signs that described me as a witch and a bitch.

“No one called for my execution by firing squad, as a supporter of Donald Trump did for Mrs. Clinton, but a radio talk-show host did say I should be put in a bag and dropped in the sea. Witches can’t be drowned, I cynically joked.

“I have often reflected how powerful it would have been if, at that moment, a male business leader, especially one who opposed my policies, said, ‘I may not support the prime minister politically, but Australia must not conduct its democratic debates this way’.

“Unfortunately, that never happened.”

Peter Fray

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