Former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard has spoken at length in public for the first time about her removal from office and some of the issues she confronted while in power.
One of the most memorable moments in her term in office was the speech she delivered in parliament during a debate on a motion to remove the then-Speaker, Peter Slipper, after revelations that he had sent crass and sexist text messages to a staffer.
Gillard has previously talked about the anger that drove the speech in an interview with news magazine The Monthly and recapped it tonight, in an appearance at the Sydney Opera House where she was questioned by feminist author Anne Summers.
Sharing some insights into context for the impassioned speech that quickly went viral, Gillard revealed she worked off handwritten notes, and retains them today.
Gillard talked about how she tried to avoid drawing attention to her place as Australia’s first female leader, but that some of the sexist slurs that were being shared online amongst her worst detractors had not gone unnoticed.
As the days in office went on, it just seemed to me increasingly I was getting the burden of this, that sort of misogynist underside, and really none of the benefits that could come with being the first female prime minister because I wasn’t putting it in the foreground.
… This was all in and around me… in our politics, and then we got to that parliamentary debate and I must admit it was a sort of crack-point in my thinking, that I thought after everything I’ve had to see on the internet, after all the gendered abuse that I’ve seen, in newspapers, that has been called at me across the despatch box – now of all things, I’ve got to listen to Tony Abbott lecture me about sexism.
And that’s what gave the emotional start to the speech of ‘I will NOT…’, and once I’d started, it just sort of got a life of its own.
Here’s the full clip, courtesy of ABC News.
And here’s the speech where she let fly. It’s still something to behold.
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