Free-for-all sexist attacks may 'turn off women' from politics

Julia Gillard. Photo / NZPA
Julia Gillard. Photo / NZPA

Sexist attacks on Prime Minister Julia Gillard, including by a Perth shock jock who questioned her partner's sexuality, may discourage Australian women from entering politics, says Greens MP Adam Bandt.

Howard Sattler's live interview on Perth's Radio 6PR on Thursday made international headlines after he asked Gillard about her partner Tim Mathieson's sexuality. Sattler has since been sacked.

Bandt says gender and sexuality-based attacks on Gillard and other public figures must stop.

"I cannot imagine (former prime minister) John Howard ever being asked about Janette Howard's sexuality," he said yesterday.

"The events of this last week, and in fact many of the events of the last couple of years, may sadly lead some women to reconsider whether they want to get involved in politics.

"I'm worried that there seems to be a bit of a free-for-all at the moment where it seems okay to start attacking the Prime Minister based on her gender."

Gillard has expressed concern Sattler's questioning sent the wrong message to young girls, who should be encouraged to enter public life.

Sattler on Thursday had asked Gillard to test some "myths, rumours, snide jokes and innuendos", following up with, "Tim's gay. That's not me saying it, that's a myth".

"Well, that's absurd," Gillard responded.

"Yeah, but you hear it, he must be gay, he's a hairdresser ... you can confirm that he's not?" Sattler asked.

"Oh, Howard, don't be ridiculous, of course not," the Prime Minister replied.

Also this week it was revealed Ms Gillard's body had been mocked in a menu produced by a Brisbane restaurateur for a Liberal-National Party fundraiser.

- AAP

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