Politics: Julia Gillard, Feminism and That Speech

So Tony Abbott has suddenly decided that he is a feminist!  Really!  And he is shocked – shocked! – that the Labor Government can countenance as Speaker a man who sent sexist and unpleasant text messages.

Now, if this was the first time I’d ever heard Tony Abbott open his mouth, I would be mildly pleased to hear this.  And it is certainly both interesting and pleasing to note that the head of our more right-wing major party feels the need to portray himself as a feminist if he’s going to get the votes out.

The trouble is, of course, that our dear Opposition Leader’s own statements have not been without their sexist moments.  Or hours.  Which are all duly recorded in Hansard, incidentally.  And this does make his statements about Peter Slipper – who was, until recently, a member of his own party – just a tad hypocritical.

But that wasn’t enough.  Oh, no.  A mere week after the whole blow-up about Alan Jones claiming that Gillard’s father died of shame because of his daughter’s lies (yep, we have radio personalities with no sense of decency in Australia, too), Abbott commented that the entire Labor Government should already have died of shame because of Slipper’s actions.

Oh, no you don’t…

Ms Gillard, if gay marriage were legal, I’d marry you myself.

OK, maybe not.  But I’m seriously considering voting Labor for the first time in my life.  Please, more of this.

(And Lateline?  Don’t give us that bullshit about the PM’s ’emotional response’ to Abbott’s remarks.  We’ve all noticed that Julia Gillard is female.  You don’t have to keep using the secret codes to remind us.)

(Also, I note that a number of news outlets are viewing this as a cynical move on Gillard’s part.  To be honest, it’s such a magnificent speech on the level of pure theatre that it would be hard to care.  But I have to say, to me, Gillard’s speech has the sound of something that has been building for a very, very long time.)

Actually, the only thing I find puzzling about all this is why on earth did Abbott give her a straight line like that?  For all his sexist little ways, he isn’t a stupid man.  Surely he knew just how bad that line was going to look?

God, that speech makes me happy.

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