The Opposition Leader at the time, Tony Abbott, had risen in parliament with a motion to have Peter Slipper removed as Speaker over crude and sexist texts he had sent to an aide. Gillard made statements in support of Slipper and attempted to link Abbott's motion to remarks made by Alan Jones in the then-recent Alan Jones shame controversy. Gillard said that "every day in every way" Abbott was sexist and misogynist.
|“||I will not be lectured on sexism and misogyny by this man; I will not.||”|
The speech was criticised by some Australian journalists but attracted widespread interest and much positive attention in blogs and social media. Expat Chloe Angyal wrote for Britain's The Guardian that the speech tackled "sexism head-on" and was a "masterful, righteous take-down" and similar opinions were expressed by other expatriate Australian journalists. Britain's Daily Telegraph women's editor said that Gillard had cleverly shifted the focus of the news story with "an impressive set of insults". Within a week, a YouTube version of the speech had had one million views. As of 2014[update] the ABC news video has 2.6 million views The context of the Labor Party's support for Peter Slipper however meant that commentary from domestic journalists was far more critical, with Michelle Grattan writing "it sounded more desperate than convincing", Peter Hartcher that Gillard "chose to defend the indefensible" and Peter van Onselen that the government had "egg on their collective faces". The public reaction was also polarised: approval ratings of Gillard and Abbott both improved following the speech.
Gillard told media that she had been approached by world leaders who congratulated her on her speech at the 2012 Asia-Europe Meeting, including French President François Hollande and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt. Gillard told press that United States President Barack Obama had also raised her speech when she phoned to congratulate him for his victory in the 2012 United States election.
Abbott discussed the speech with Annabel Crabb on her TV show Kitchen Cabinet in September 2013 ahead of the 2013 federal election, saying “it was a very unfair speech, I thought, and it was a completely invalid speech in terms of responding to the issue of that day; it was just an invalid thing to say. But look, politics is about theatre and at the time I didn’t think it was very effective theatre at all. But plainly it did strike a chord in a lot of people who had not followed the immediate problem that had brought on that particular parliamentary debate."
Results of the speech
After Gillard's speech went viral, the Macquarie Dictionary updated its definition of the term "misogyny". Previously defined as a "hatred of women" by the Australian dictionary, misogyny now encompasses "entrenched prejudices of women." Director of The Australian National Dictionary Centre in Canberra, Dr Laugesen said the broader definition has a long history, with the original Oxford English Dictionary defining misogyny as "hatred or dislike or prejudice against women" and examples dating back to the 19th century.
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- Coorey, Phillip (10 November 2012). "Now it's Obama's turn to raise Gillard speech". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 21 October 2013.
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Transcript and video
Selected further media coverage
- Hall, Bianca (26 July 2013), "Julia Gillard surprised by impact of misogyny speech", The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media), archived from the original on 23 August 2013, retrieved 5 September 2013
- Hepworth, Katherine (14 October 2012), Gillard’s misogyny speech looks even better than it reads, The Conversation, archived from the original on 2 July 2013, retrieved 5 September 2013
- Maher, Sid (26 July 2013), "Emotional power of misogyny speech was lost on Gillard", The Australian, archived from the original on 27 July 2013, retrieved 5 September 2013
- Murphy, Katharine (26 July 2013), "Julia Gillard reveals what she thought when she gave the 'misogyny speech'", The Guardian, archived from the original on 23 August 2013, retrieved 5 September 2013
- Welsh, Caitlin (10 October 2012), What the Australian Media missed in Gillard's misogyny speech, Fairfax Media, retrieved 6 September 2013
- Yenko, Athena (27 June 2013), The Irony: PM Julia Gillard Once Feminist Icon for Misogyny Speech, Now Ousted as First Female Prime Minister, International Business Times AU, retrieved 6 September 2013