Tony Abbott Cries "Sexism" In Spite Of His... Splotchy Track Record With It


It looks like that infamous "Misogyny Speech" must have really sunk in. After being lambasted for being misogynistic by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2012, Australian PM Tony Abbott slammed colleagues for being sexist in their criticism of the country's female Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin. (Many members of Parliament have griped that Credlin has too much power.) It's a noteworthy move because Abbott's image was questioned after Gillard's rather epic speech, in which she accused the leader of the opposition at the time of "peddling a double standard."

This week, the already brewing tension between Credlin and Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop reached a boiling point when Abbott's office vetoed Bishop's request to attend a UN climate summit in Peru. This slight was just the latest piece of evidence of increasing tension between the two elite leaders in Abbott's cabinet. This tension has drawn criticism from MPs who are concerned that Credlin's micromanaging is creating serious dysfunction within the government. Earlier in December, numerous members of the Coalition made public but anonymous complaints accusing Credlin of having too much influence over Prime Minister Abbott and isolating him from his cabinet.However, according to the Cranberra Times, many of Credlin's critics admit that her competence is not in dispute, and in fact she may be "too good" at her job. So what exactly is the problem? That's the point Abbott aimed to make when he appeared on ABC News Breakfast on Friday and called out Credlin's critics.

When the anchor asks to confirm that he's referring to his colleagues, Abbot simply says:

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This isn't the first time Abbott has called sexism. In 2012, after Speaker of the House Peter Slipper allegedly sexually harassed an openly gay male staff member in text messages, Abbott called for Slipper's resignation and condemned Gillard's inaction, saying, "Every day the prime minister stands in this parliament to defend this Speaker will be another day of shame for this parliament, another day of shame for a government which should already have died of shame." The "dying of shame" line was a jab at Gillard's recently deceased father, who a DJ had said "died of shame" over his daughter's government. So yeah, claws were out.

In response, Gillard fired back with an unrelenting 15-minute tirade, in which she said:

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Oh, but that's not all. Gillard then went into specifics.

Nope, that's not all either.

But perhaps one of the most damning comments Abbot's made was on abortion, which he called "the easy way out." In case you wanted to know, Gillard reminded the House of Representatives that Abbot made that comment in March 2004.

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And so what is Abbott's agenda here? Why is he suddenly so impassioned by the fight against sexism?

Hmm, this feels familiar. Could Abbott be speaking out against sexism now because it suits his political purpose? Either way, it was noble of him nonetheless to stand up for Credlin, a formidable woman who — let's be honest — he'd probably be lost without. Alternative headlines: Australian PM Tony Abbott Slams Sexist Critics of His Female Chief of Staff After a Splotchy Personal Track Record With SexismAustralian PM Tony Abbott Calls Critics of Chief of Staff Peta Credlin 'Sexist,' But Is He Really One to Talk?Images: Getty Images (3)