When Julia Gillard was Prime Minister (PM), she suffered a huge amount of abuse from the far right, much as Obama did in the US. There were several pointed remarks about the fact that she was unmarried to her partner, and had never had children. For example:
Senator Bill Heffernan, then Liberal Senator for New South Wales stated: “Anyone who has chosen to remain deliberately barren… they’ve got no idea what life’s about.”
Janet Albrechtsen, far right columnist for Murdoch’s ‘Australian’ newspaper stated: “She has showcased a bare home and an empty kitchen as badges of honour and commitment to her career. She has never had to make room for the frustrating demands and magnificent responsibilities of caring for little babies, picking up sick children from school, raising teenagers. Not to mention the needs of a husband or partner.”
George Brandis, Liberal Senator for Queensland, stated: “She has chosen not to be a parent…she is very much a one-dimensional person…she just doesn’t understand the way parents think about their children when they reach a particular age.”
These pathetic people were so irate, because Gillard was a competent politician and negotiator, who in the hung parliament after the 2010 election, easily managed to negotiate a deal with independents in the House of Representatives to support her government, while the very limited, inarticulate Tony Abbott was unable to do so, reportedly telling one of the members that he would ‘do anything to get that job [PM], Tony [Windsor], the only thing I wouldn’t do is sell my arse’.
Gillard got her own back on Abbott with the withering, now famous, misogyny speech, which quickly went viral and has millions of views on youtube. Abbott will be always remembered as the butt of this speech, and for his monumentally incompetent Prime Ministership.
These pathetic people, Heffernan, Albrechtsen and Brandis, would never say such things about the people on their side of the political spectrum, such as Julie Bishop (Foreign Affairs Minister), or Gladys Berejiklian (Premier of New South Wales), neither of whom have had children. It just goes to show how much they hated Gillard, and that any insult, no matter how shallow and vacuous, was acceptable to them. I suspect that Gillard will go down in history as one of the better recent Prime Ministers. However, she does not have much competition from the narcissistic Rudd, the stupendously incompetent Abbott, and the pointless Turnbull. The main problem that Gillard had with the far right was that she was a female. Like most conservatives, they could not stomach that. You only have to read some of Abbott’s bizarre utterances (Marks, 2014) to realise this was the main problem.
Marks, R. 2014. Tony Speaks! The wisdom of the Abbott. Black Inc., Collingwood, 103p.