Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard has a formidable reputation. And it’s also one that she has enhanced with her recent misogyny speech in Parliament.
In her 15 minute speech she poured scorn and vitriol upon the purported double standards, hypocrisy and misogyny of Australia’s Opposition leader, Tony Abbott.
The speech might not make it into a compendium of the most well-crafted speeches of all time. But for passion and sheer energy it has to be a contender.
The background to the misogyny speech involved a court case involving the Speaker of Parliament, Peter Slipper. The court had heard how Mr Slipper had sent crude and vulgar text messages to the phone of a political adviser, a gay man who was suing the Speaker for sexual harassment.
So with the court case going on the Opposition Leader got behind a motion calling for the removal of the Speaker, Mr Slipper, on the grounds of his misogynist words and deeds.
And so the stage was set. Parliamentary procedure gave her a 15 minute time allocation to respond to the motion. So, the Prime Minister used her speech in a timely fashion. She railed against the opposition leader in highly personal and emotive terms.
She repeated key words and phrases to effect. This was a favoured tactic in this bizarre speech that’s caught the attention of many beyond Australia.
In contrast to the world view of Julia Gillard’s public speaking performance, Australians appear bemused by the whole thing.
And Mr Slipper, the Speaker of the House of Representatives? Well, he survived the vote. But he resigned anyway. And so the whole episode, vitriolic speech included drew to a close, for the time being.
Update: The Julia Gillard sexism speech has now been set to a choral arrangement. Superb.
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