Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd wore a blue tie to explain Julia Gillard’s latest attempt to turn women against men.
No, the Prime Minister’s disgraceful “blue tie” speech was not aimed only at Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.
This was also Gillard playing the gender card against Rudd. And now we know: feminism has become the last resort of the scoundrel.
I say “scoundrel” advisedly. I cannot remember a more divisive, self-serving and dishonest speech delivered by a prime minister. Nor one as stupid.
Launching a new “Women for Gillard” movement , Gillard demanded women back her on the grounds that she, too, was a woman.
This was using feminism not to get a fair deal but a pass. No wonder many feminists such as Eva Cox were appalled, wondering when gender trumped policy and performance.
Gillard: “On … 14 September, we are going to make a big decision as a nation. It’s a decision about whether, once again, we will banish women’s voices from our political life.”
Really? No Gillard, no women in political life? What a monstrous conceit. What an insult to all women who serve not just as frontbenchers but parliamentarians.
If Gillard is serious, all those women count for nothing if she goes. All those women are “banished” from politics if she is not prime minister.
Gillard: “I invite you to imagine it. A prime minister – a man in 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.”
Hypocrite. Just four years ago, Labor’s prime minister, treasurer and finance minister were all males, although Gillard was deputy prime minister. Were women “banished” then, too? Will they again be “banished” if Abbott retains – as he will – Julie Bishop as his deputy party leader in government?
If Gillard truly worries about women being banished from politics, why did she reward a male loyalist, Senator David Feeney, with the safe seat of Batman at the next election, instead of backing a woman, as demanded by Labor’s affirmative action quota?
Gillard: “We don’t want to live in an Australia where abortion again becomes the political plaything of men who think they know better.”
What craven deceit. Abortion is mostly a state issue, not federal. Moreover, Abbott promises no change to any abortion laws nor funding. There is no issue to be debated. Gillard has simply raised this bogey to smear Abbott as a Catholic bigot, to falsely suggest he has secret plans and to turn women against a man.
You might doubt a prime minister would stoop to lies to divide Australians, but this government has form.
Last year, a Gillard staff member helped to spread a lie about Abbott denigrating the Aboriginal tent embassy and then steered enraged Aboriginal protesters to an Australia Day function attended by Abbott and Gillard. Was similar trickery employed this week?
The day after Gillard’s speech, we learned one Liberal candidate, former minister Mal Brough, had held a fundraising dinner featuring an appallingly sexist menu mocking the size of Gillard’s breasts and thighs.
Shameful. I haven’t heard anything so crudely sexist since a comedian at a union fundraiser starring Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan told a vile “joke” about Abbott’s female chief of staff.
But here’s a fact. Brough’s dinner was in March, yet the menu became news only yesterday. Where has it been for the past three months?
Gillard denies her staff stored the menu for just this stunt after first being alerted to it by an anonymous Twitter user months ago, but she exploited it yesterday, falsely claiming it was part of Abbott’s “pattern of behaviour”. Is this politics under Labor today? Nothing about the national interest. Just lies, division, gotchas and attacks on men’s ties.
But her speech was more than Gillard playing the gender card against Abbott. This was also Gillard warning off her stalker Rudd and her supporter Bill Shorten.
Rudd’s blue tie suggested he got the message and was calling it out. But Shorten, the Workplace Minister whose faction installed Gillard, now knows she will unleash the women’s movement on him if he dumps her now.
Shorten has been eager to soften his own image as union boss and numbers thug, but knocking off our first female prime minister could cripple his own hopes of taking the job.
No surprise, but Shorten reaffirmed his support for Gillard. His tie had a purple stripe.
Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.