“If he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn't need a motion in the House of Representatives. He needs a mirror, that's what he needs,” 1 says Julia Gillard in her fiery speech as she accuses Opposition Leader Tony Abbot of sexism and misogyny. The 15 minute speech, published October 10 of 2012, was against Tony Abbott's motion to remove Peter Slipper as Speaker. 5 The speech was reported around the world and has brought a lot of attention. For many women it has inspired them. However, it raised the questions of whether Tony Abbot is worthy of his position as Leader of the Opposition.
Tony Abbot has been guilty of sexism several times and as Julia Gillard pointed out in her speech, he has made a few sexist comments to the prime minister herself and females in general. Men like Tony Abbot should not be kept in position of their power when they have such sexist behaviours. If such behaviours are accepted in parliament what could be the future for Australia? What could be the future of Australia if say Tony Abbot becomes Prime Minister of Australia?
A sexist is referred to as someone who discriminates on the basis of gender and is usually said of men’s discrimination against women. 4 A misogynist is someone who has a hatred of women. However both characteristics aim to give women a hard time purposely or naturally. If Tony Abbot were to become prime minister he could cut off laws such as single women pay and pregnant women pay which are some of the benefits for women.
Tony Abbot may even cut female sports and other activities. Mr Abbot also believes that “abortion is the easy way out” which is a comment that he made to Julia Gillard but also to Australian women. This reflects exactly how he views women.
Females in parliament have worked hard to be in their positions despite sexism from people like Tony Abbot. In an interview Greens Leader, Christine Milne said she had experienced sexism in her career including from Tony Abbot himself, since entering the parliament in 1989.3 She said that male Liberal Party members called her a "political slut" in the past and that the sexist language had never stopped. 3
Tony Abbot could easily do without women in parliament. He personally painted his perspective of what the role of women should be when he said “What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing”. 1 That’s what he believes, that women should just be housewives and that they stay away from powerful positions such as being members of parliament. The Leader of the Opposition also in the past has said “If it's true that men have more power generally speaking than women, is that a bad thing?”. 1 That’s exactly what he wants, men to overpower women in places such as parliament.
In response to Julia Gillard’s impassionate speech Tony Abbott’s wife, Margie, also gave a speech, she said “don’t ever try and tell me that my husband for twenty-four years and father of three daughters are on some