Lisa Wilkinson has praised Australia’s first female prime minister, Julia Gillard, while taking a subtle swipe at the leaders who succeeded her on the 10th anniversary of her famous misogyny speech.
Ms Gillard’s 2012 speech where she declared she would refuse to be lectured about misogyny and sexism from then opposition leader Tony Abbott is still making waves ten years on.
Only last year a TikTok trend turned the speech into a viral hit reaching a whole new audience.
Ms Gillard appeared on The Project on Sunday night to mark 10 years since the famous speech and discuss her new book Not Now, Not Ever.
The Project co-host Lisa Wilkinson had the panel and Ms Gillard laughing with a dig at the prime ministers who came after her.
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“Julia, since leaving politics, you have gained a lot of credit for being the best kind of ex-prime minister – dignity, humility, grace, not engaging in the daily political cycle,’ Wilkinson said.
“Have you ever got the call-up from Malcolm (Turnbull) or Kevin (Rudd) or Tony (Abbott) asking exactly how you do that?”
Ms Gillard replied: “No. I’m not running a training course.”
The speech on October 9, 2012 was sparked by Mr Abbott trying to make political headway over the sexual harassment allegation against the speaker, Peter Slipper (the case was later dismissed).
Over the next several minutes, Ms Gillard ripped into Mr Abbott.
“I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man, I will not,” she said.
“If he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia he doesn’t need a motion in the House of Representatives, he needs a mirror.
“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.”
Ms Gillard revealed in her new book the famous speech almost didn’t happen.
“I always thought that I’d remembered every moment of that day because it was obviously a big one and I’d been asked about it so many times,” she told The Project.
“But when I was putting the Not Now, Not Ever book together I consulted my then chief of staff Ben Hubbard who reminded me that when Tony Abbott leapt to his feet to speak to the motion I wandered over to the adviser’s box and said to Ben and the other advisers there, ‘I’m going to take the reply’ and they said, ‘Oh really are you going to do that?’
“Because normally I kind of held myself above these day to day political tactics and I sort of thought about it, considered not doing it and then decided I would because I was sick of all the … I will use the word nonsense. All the nonsense.”
The “nonsense”, as she put it, included such comments as those made about her by radio broadcaster Alan Jones that “her father died of shame” and she “should be put in a chaff bag and thrown into sea”.
So what has changed in Australia in terms of misogyny since her speech?
“I think what we are doing better is naming and shaming when we see sexism and misogyny,” she said.
“I think it’s impossible to imagine that a woman in parliament today could be called the things I was without there being an uproar and political consequences.
“I think women’s voices, women’s issues are much more shaping of federal politics.”
However, she said violence against women and gender barriers in careers are still issues we need to deal with.