Aussie PM slams ‘grossly sexist and offensive’ menu


Thu, Jun 13, 2013 - Page 6

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard yesterday accused the opposition of a pattern of misogynist behavior, branding a menu for a party fundraiser “grossly sexist and offensive” after it featured a quail dish named after her that offered “small breasts” and “huge thighs.”

The menu was used at a dinner in March for Mal Brough, a government minister under former Australian prime minister John Howard and now an opposition candidate for September’s national elections.

Australian Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey was the guest of honor.

The menu only yesterday surfaced on Twitter, listing a dish called “Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail: Small Breasts and Huge Thighs, and A Big Red Box.”

Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott of the Liberal Party of Australia condemned the description.

However, the flame-haired Gillard, whose comments on misogyny last year won her global acclaim, said it demonstrated a “pattern of behavior” within Liberal ranks and called for Abbott not to endorse Brough.

“I’ve certainly been very clear on my view about Mr Abbott,” Gillard told reporters, in reference to the parliamentary misogyny tirade which was directed at her conservative counterpart and went viral. “Here we are yet again, Mr Abbott saying that he condemns behavior, but we see a pattern of behavior. It doesn’t go away.”

Gillard said Abbott had previously stood next to signs which described her in a sexist way, including as a bitch and witch, and young Liberals had hosted a function where jokes were made about the death of her father.

“And now, we have Mr Brough and Mr Hockey sat a function with this grossly sexist and offensive menu on display. Join the dots,” she said.

Gillard said that if Abbott were elected prime minister on Sept. 14, as predicted by opinion polls, “it wouldn’t be a question of what’s on fundraising menus, we’d see this lack of respect for women littered throughout all of his government policy documents.”

The menu emerged a day after Gillard reignited the gender war with a speech in which she said the conservative opposition would marginalize women if they won the upcoming election.

Gillard, the nation’s first female leader, warned that the government would be dominated by “men in blue ties” should Abbott assume office.

“On that day, 14 September, we are going to make a big decision as a nation,” she told the launch of Labor group Women for Gillard. “It’s a decision about whether, once again, we will banish women’s voice from the core of our political life. We don’t want to live in an Australia where abortion again becomes the political plaything of men who think they know better.”

The opposition called the comments a “crude political ploy from a desperate PM leading a bitterly divided party” and demanded an apology.

However, Abbott, and the Liberal National Party, said the menu went too far.

“I think we should all be bigger and better than that — whether it’s a tacky, scatological menu out the front of a Liberal Party event, whether it’s squalid jokes told at union conference dinners with ministers present,” Abbott said. “Whatever it is, I think we should be better than that. I think we should be appealing to every Australian’s best self as we go into this election.”