Julia Gillard, sexism from the LNP ‘everyday in every way’

When Julia Gillard made “that speech”, something changed. Women around the country (and apparently the world) thought ‘finally, someone said it’. Men thought ‘that woman is shrill and out of touch’.

The old, white, middle-aged men – and many women – in the Canberra press gallery, dismissed what the PM said, as just another woman playing the ‘gender card’.

However, men tend not to be on the receiving end of sexism in the workplace. They don’t see the little things – and big – the sexism that permeates the workplace so insidiously invisible to the men (and women) who perpetrate it, as PM Gillard said ‘everyday in every way’.

The idea that the Prime Minister continues to be subjected to sexism from colleagues should horrify us – just as it should when any woman endures bullying sexism in order to earn a wage.

The fact that members of the Shadow Cabinet can treat the Prime Minister with such overt sexism IS a reflection on their character, not the Prime Ministers.

One example was recorded by Phillip Coorey, for Fairfax, in ‘Angry mobs ready to face off as MPs take leave of trouble‘ (August 22, 2011)

It was raining heavily in Canberra on Wednesday so, after question time, Julia Gillard walked the corridors back to her office rather than cut across a courtyard as she usually does.

As she strolled past opposition MPs’ offices, Christopher Pyne and Joe Hockey, like two schoolyard ne’er-do-wells, trailed about 10 paces behind, heckling. Hockey was bellowing the Engelbert Humperdinck lyrics: “Please release me, let me go, ’cause I don’t love you any more …” Pyne, doing his best to affect a menacing gravitas, was taunting repeatedly: “You’re drowning Julia, not waving, you’re drowning.”

By any measure, it was disrespectful behaviour towards a prime minister but Gillard

These acts are disgusting – whether made to the woman who works in chip shop, behind the counter of a clothing store or Prime Minister.

Some reading that could imagine that was not a rare occurrence, just one that happened to be recorded and published. When PM Gillard says ‘every day in every way’ many women can think of things that have happened in their own work places and then imagine the school boys in Shadow Cabinet doing them to the Prime Minister. It is not a pretty picture. It is not one of respect.

Keep in mind, Pyne’s comments about “not waving, you’re drowning” came after Alan Jones’ famous comments about putting the PM in a chaff bag and dumping her in the Tasman Ocean.

This is the mentality of the Liberal Party.

The Liberal Party at the moment, has three main contenders for when Tony Abbott is finally rolled – Julie Bishop, Malcolm Turnbull and Joe Hockey. The man who would subject a Prime Minister to such sexism is the alternative to the alternative. These men show no respect for the democratically elected Prime Minister, they show little respect for democracy.

And still, they have not managed to break the Prime Minister.

In a former work place of mine, after nine months of dedicated work, a new event was added to the work calender – every friday was now “slave day”. I was not allowed to speak to the rest of the staff, if anyone wanted to speak to me, they had to clap twice and say “oh slave” – and I was their section manager. That was not only bullying of me, but it can’t have been much fun for the rest of the staff. If I slipped up, they would dock five-minutes pay from my wage for every instance. It was a major charity that raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from the public and funding from governments. I lasted two weeks.

The Prime Minister has endured years of sexist harassment and bullying from people who are supposed to represent us. And she does it smiling.

The Prime Minister did not play “the gender card”, the Prime Minister finally said “enough is enough”.


A ‘gender card’ is not like Wonder Woman’s indestructible bracelets deflecting bullets, the ‘gender card’ does not deflect sexism, abuse, bullying and misogyny, even when it comes from the Leader of the Opposition and his Shadowy Cabinet.

Image of Wonder Woman used for illustrative purposes only, and does not imply endorsement of this post or blog from any of the copyright holders associated with Wonder Woman.

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10 Comments to “Julia Gillard, sexism from the LNP ‘everyday in every way’”

  1. The Male Chauvinist Piggies went ‘that woman is shrill and out of touch’! Most women except the likes of Julie Bishop and the NO Coalition’s head nods to the equality in parliament said ‘about bloody time!’ And an awful lot of men I suspect also said ‘go Julia, about bloody time you took that arrogant, self-serving arse down a peg or two!’

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