In praise of ... Julia Gillard | Editorial

Australia's prime minister has put up with too much nonsense for too long from her Liberal opponent

Few rants have been longer in the fermenting, but Julia Gillard justified the wait by pouring forth a tirade of rare vintage this week. The cork of the Australian PM's rage was pulled by her Liberal opponent Tony Abbott's (aka The Mad Monk) posturing in a row over some indecent texts that parliament's speaker had sent to a male ex-staffer. Abbott's humbug claim that this made him unfit for office was too much for a PM who has battled Abbott's neanderthal instincts for years, and who – in a country where sexism is more upfront, but less insidious, than in Britain – has put up with too much nonsense for too long. On top of the notorious "deliberately barren" line from Liberal Bill Heffernan, there have been placards about bitches and witches which Abbott stood beside. So, on the floor of the house, something snapped, and we got the splendid diatribe. Dave "calm down, dear" Cameron must be grateful he's not up against the Welsh-born wizardess.

• This article was amended on 12 October 2012. The original stated that indecent texts had been sent to a female staffer. This has been corrected.


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