Tuesday, 9 October 2012
I rise to oppose the motion moved by the Leader of the Opposition, and in so doing I say to the Leader of the Opposition: I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. I will not. The government will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man—not now, not ever. The Leader of the Opposition says that people who hold sexist views and who are misogynists are not appropriate for high office. Well, I hope the Leader of the Opposition has a piece of paper and he 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. That is what he needs.
Let's go through the opposition leader's repulsive double standards when it comes to misogyny and sexism. We are now supposed to take seriously that the Leader of the Opposition is offended by Mr Slipper's text messages, when this is what the Leader of the Opposition said when he was a minister under the last government—not when he was a student, not when he was in high school but when he was a minister under the last government. In a discussion about women being underrepresented in institutions of power in Australia, the interviewer was a man called Stavros and the Leader of the Opposition said: 'If it's true, Stavros, that men have more power, generally speaking, than women, is that a bad thing?'
Then a discussion ensued and another person being interviewed said, 'I want my daughter to have as much opportunity as my son,' to which the Leader of the Opposition said: 'Yes, I completely agree, but what if men are by physiology or temperament more adapted to exercise authority or to issue command?' Then ensues another discussion about women's role in modern society, and the other person participating in the discussions says, 'I think it's very hard to deny that there is an underrepresentation of women,' to which the Leader of the Opposition says, 'But there's an assumption that this is a bad thing.' This is the man from whom we are supposed to take lectures about sexism!
And it goes on. I was very offended personally when the Leader of the Opposition as minister for health said, 'Abortion is the easy way out.' I was very personally offended by those comments. He said that in March 2004, and I suggest he check the records. I was also very offended on behalf of the women of Australia when in the course of the carbon pricing campaign the Leader of the Opposition said, 'What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing.' Thank you for that painting of women's roles in modern Australia! Then, of course, I am offended by the sexism, by the misogyny, of the Leader of the Opposition catcalling across this table at me as I sit here as Prime Minister, 'if the Prime Minister wants to, politically speaking, make an honest woman of herself'—something that would never have been said to any man sitting in this chair.
I was offended when the Leader of the Opposition went outside the front of the parliament and stood next to a sign that said 'Ditch the witch'. I was offended when the Leader of the Opposition stood next to a sign that described me as a man's bitch. I was offended by those things. It is misogyny, sexism, every day from this Leader of the Opposition. Every day, in every way, across the time the Leader of the Opposition has sat in that chair and I have sat in this chair, that is all we have heard from him.
Now the Leader of the Opposition wants to be taken seriously. Apparently he has woken up, after this track record and all of these statements, and has gone, 'Oh dear, there is this thing called sexism; oh my lord, there is this thing called misogyny. Who is one of them? The Speaker must be because that suits my political purpose.' He does not turn a hair about any of his past statements; does not walk into this parliament and apologise to the women of Australia; does not walk into this parliament and apologise to me for the things that have come out of his mouth—but he now seeks to use this as a battering ram against someone else. This kind of hypocrisy should not be tolerated, which is why this motion from the Leader of the Opposition should not be taken seriously.
Second, the Leader of the Opposition is always wonderful at walking into this parliament and giving me and others a lecture about what they should take responsibility for. He is always wonderful about everything that I should take responsibility for, now apparently including the text messages of the member for Fisher. He is always keen to say others should assume responsibility, particularly me. Can anybody remind me whether the Leader of the Opposition has taken any responsibility for the conduct of the Sydney Young Liberals and the attendance at their event of members of his frontbench? Has he taken any responsibility for the conduct of members of his political party and members of his frontbench, who apparently when the most vile things were being said about my family raised no voice of objection.