Bishop challenges Labor women on “obscene” Slipper
Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop has challenged Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her female ministers to say where they stand on “sexist” texts sent by Speaker Peter Slipper.
DEPUTY Opposition Leader Julie Bishop has challenged Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her female ministers to say where they stand on “sexist” texts sent by Speaker Peter Slipper.
Senior Liberal George Brandis on Sunday said it was up to female members of the government to declare if they were protecting “a vile misogynist”.
It follows the revelation of crude text messages about women sent to his staffer James Ashby, who has accused Mr Slipper of sexual harassment.
Ms Bishop said the text messages sent by Mr Slipper were disparaging, offensive and obscene.
“This is a real leadership test for Julia Gillard,” she told Sky News.
“If she is so concerned about what she terms sexist and misogynist behaviour, then she cannot possibly maintain her support for Peter Slipper as the House of Representatives Speaker.”
The prime minister must state whether she supports Mr Slipper continuing in the role, Ms Bishop said.
The deputy opposition leader said she herself would find it difficult to appear in the lower house and show respect for a speaker who held and expressed the views Mr Slipper had done in text messages revealed to the court.
“His statements… about women indicate a very obscene, extreme, degrading view of women,” Ms Bishop said.
She also called on Labor women, especially women who are ministers, to state where they stand on the remarks.
Labor had targeted Opposition Leader Tony Abbott for being sexist and misogynist, so should apply the same standard to Mr Slipper, she said.
The federal government has said it won’t comment on the case any further while it is before the Federal Court.
Ms Bishop said the government was using that as “a fig leaf”, considering Foreign Minister Bob Carr had previously described Mr Ashby as more rehearsed than a kabuki actor and that Attorney-General Nicola Roxon had labelled Mr Ashby’s claim vexatious.
“It was all very well for them to comment on the Slipper Ashby case when they thought they had a political point to make,” she said.
Meanwhile, Julia Gillard received some sexist messages of her own during an open Facebook Q&A session on Monday. The prime minister’s office quickly censored the hateful comments.