Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Australian election: Tony Abbott in fresh sexism row - Telegraph.co.uk

The opposition leader, an Oxford-educated former boxer, has previously made comments opposing abortion and IVF and was accused of physically threatening a woman and groping another while a university student in Sydney.

Julia Gillard, Australia's first female prime minister, made global headlines last year after confronting him in parliament and accusing him of being a sexist and misogynist.

"He's pathetic, he really is pathetic," said Kim Carr, a Labour minister.

"Sometimes we should think Tony Abbott really hasn't crawled out of the 1950s."

However, Mr Abbott's colleagues rushed to his defence.

"He's an average sort of person as far as these sort of things go and we've just got to not start to get too precious about this," Andrew Robb, an opposition frontbencher, told ABC News.

"He has got three strong-minded daughters, he's got sisters, one of whom is gay, he has got a highly competent and strong wife... a very pleasant wife in Margie."

A Liberal state minister, Pru Goward, a former sex discrimination commissioner, said she had no problem with describing politicians as "sexy".

"I think a lot of politicians are described as sexy," she told Macquarie Radio.

"I mean, I didn't think Bob Hawke or Paul Keating were particularly sexy. I liked them but I didn't think... their sex appeal was often said. I think it's not unsurprising that people who want to take on leadership positions have a bit of pizzazz... a bit of charisma."

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