12 Jun 2013

Women to be ''banished'' from politics if Labor loses - Gillard

8:59 am on 12 June 2013

Beleaguered Australian prime minister Julia Gillard says the general election in September will determine whether or not women are ''banished'' from politics.

She also said abortion will be "the political plaything of men" if the Opposition wins the election.

Ms Gillard made the comments while launching a fundraising organisation linked to the Labor party, called Women for Gillard.

"We don't want to live in an Australia where abortion again becomes the political plaything of men who think they know better," she said.

The ABC reports Ms Gillard's speech puts gender at the centre of the campaign for the election on 14 September. The opposition is widely favoured to win the election.

In October, she delivered what is now referred to as "Gillard's misogyny speech" in Parliament, slamming Opposition Leader Tony Abbott for being sexist.

During the speech on Tuesday, the prime minister drew attention to a recent decision by Mr Abbott to wear pale blue ties to soften his image.

"It's a decision about whether once again we will banish women's voices from the core of our nation's political life. I invite you to imagine it: a prime minister - a man with a blue tie who goes on holidays to be replaced by a man in a blue tie."

"A treasurer who delivers a budget wearing a blue tie, to be supported by a finance minister, another man in a blue tie.

"Women once again, banished from the centre of Australia's political life."

Coaltion response

Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop called on the Prime Minister to apologise for the comments.

"Julia Gillard knows full well that the Coalition will not change laws regarding abortion, and for her to raise this as an election issue is offensive, and she should apologise for her false claims," she said.

Ms Bishop said she gives women a voice in the Coalition's senior ranks and Ms Gillard is trying to distract from her political woes.

"It was a speech from a desperate Prime Minister leading a bitterly divided party who has resorted to the base politics of fear and division," she said.

"It was a patronising and insulting speech and not worthy of a Prime Minister of this country. We are better nation than this and Australia deserves better leadership."