It is the finest speech I have ever heard in an Australian Parliament.
Julia Gillard is not a naturally gifted public speaker, mainly because she is formal and responsible in her manner of making a speech. But on this day of 9 October, 2012 she was on fire as she let loose on Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, who had constantly demeaned and offended her with sexist language which was appalling crude.
He, and many other males in Parliament, Media and society could not cope with the reality of a woman holding more power than them.
Julia had reached the point where she had a gutful of it and rightly decided it was time for her to put a stop to it. So she lashed out and the Parliament was spellbound.
Here are a few of her more compelling lines.
‘I say to the Leader of the Opposition: I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. I will not. Not now, not ever.’
‘I hope the Leader of the Opposition has a piece of paper and is writing out his resignation., because if he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he does not need a motion in the House of Representatives, he needs a mirror.’
‘The Leader of the Opposition should be ashamed of his performance in this Parliament and the sexism he brings with it.’
‘The Leader of the Opposition should think seriously about the role of women in public life and in Australian society, because we are entitled to a better standard than this.’
Earlier in her speech, she quoted words from an Abbott speech in which he said,
‘What the housewives of Australia must understand as they do the ironing is…’
Some will instinctively attempt to write off Gillard as a ‘leftie feminist’ who cant cope with men but this would be yet another insult that is utterly wrong. I met her several times for important meetings about issues relating to seniors. I found her to be a superb negotiator who always gave an answer to my requests. A couple of times I didn’t like her answers, but I was grateful that I had not been left in any doubt. I also found her to be an attractive person. She never ever looked like a wild radical.
Nevertheless, she now acknowledges that she did make a number of significant political errors that eventually cost her the loss of her job as Prime Minister. But note that she was not beaten by Abbott. It was Rudd who removed her.
It should be noted that the feminist movement was not founded by people like Julia Gillard and Germaine Greer. Its first high profile advocate in Australia was Dame Enid Lyons, wife of former Prime Minister, Sir Joseph Lyons.
After her husband died, she entered Parliament in her own right as a Liberal 80 years ago. It was 99% male. She wrote a book about it called AMONG THE CARRION CROWS. A Carrion Crow acts as though it is superior to other birds and practices manipulation and mischief.
I met her several times in her senior years in the 1970’s and found her to be a very gracious and intelligent person who was solidly conservative and regularly determined. She told me that she was offended by the way the males in parliament had always ben overly respectful and courteous to her, but usually dispensed her comments as ‘girl talk’. She found it to be insulting to her as a person with rights but she kept quiet about it until she wrote her book. I read it and highly regard it. She taught me a lot of wise commonsense.
Julia Gillard’s book is well worth reading as she has involved 10 other extraordinarily talented women who write essays that she has included. Women like distinguished journalist, Katharine Murphy, whose work I read regularly and essentially. The book covers the history of misogyny, its status today and what will happen tomorrow,
Misogyny is an issue that will not go away. People like Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins get many headlines but they are not the core of the revolution. In every profession, institution, walk of life and social circle there are highly talented women who are not extremists but break the glass ceiling and create the equality that is their right. They are irrevocably changing the world and I am cheering.
Let me close by saying that I am hugely moved by the bravery of the many thousands of women in Iran who every day put their lives at risk by publicly demanding that male rules which dictate what they will wear must change significantly. One person of their gender was murdered by religious zealots who said she wore her clothes ‘loosely’.
(This gives me a chance to invite you to read my novel “A BEAUTIFUL SUNSET’. A leading character is a female Muslim doctor who takes on the zealots in the Christian and Islamic faiths).
May it be that we soon say farewell to MISOGYNY throughout the world.
It is disgusting.
Your local male feminist.