Hillary Clinton has revealed personal details about her life in a wideranging talk covering her Republican and "Goldwater girl" past, "viking" husband and being called a "c**t".

Ms Clinton, who famously lost the 2016 US presidential election to Donald Trump, is in the country as part of a two-city speaking tour which wrapped up in Sydney on Friday night after appearing in Melbourne earlier this week, reports news.com.au.

The former Secretary of State used the "An Evening with Hillary Rodham Clinton" forum to address the "misogyny", "sexism" and "vitriol" that she "and many other women" have been the targets of in a conversation with former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

She said she had been subjected to countless rape and death threats, as well as profanities on social media such as "b***h" and "c**t".


"The more successful a man becomes the more people like him," Ms Clinton told the audience at Sydney's International Convention Centre. "With women it's the opposite.

"Calling a woman incompetent or disagreeing might not be pleasant but it's fair game ... But when it goes into the most foul, really horrible insults and accusations where there's no argument or debate, and it's just name calling of the most vile sort, that's something different."

Outside the venue, self-professed "serial trouble maker" Jim Sternhell, who is affiliated with the One Nation Party, was the only obvious Clinton detractor within the vicinity.

"Obtain financial advantage by deception, arrest Hillary Clinton", read the handpainted sign he was holding.

"I'm here to let people know that she's a crook," Mr Sternhell told news.com.au.

But his sentiments — which he screamed down a megaphone at passers-by — were largely ignored by some 7000 people who had paid between $195 — $495 per ticket to hear her story first-hand. As Ms Clinton walked onto the stage, the audience rose to its feet and cheered in scenes reminiscent of the response she elicited from supporters on the 2016 US election campaign trail.

Then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Photo / AP
Then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Photo / AP

It was a tiny taste of what it might have looked like had she "smashed the glass ceiling" and been elected president, as she — and the 65.84 million Americans who voted for her had once so confidently expected. She might have won the national popular vote — compared to Mr Trump's 62.98 million — but Ms Clinton ultimately walked away without getting what she came for.

It was one of several topics Ms Gillard interviewed Ms Clinton about on stage. The pair also discussed the suspected Russian interference in the 2016 US election and China's influence on Australia — but the conversation started light.


Ms Gillard opened the forum with a question about a "cowgirl outfit" Ms Clinton wore in the 1960s when she campaigned for Republican Barry Goldwater before later becoming a Democrat.

"There was a cowgirl outfit involved ... can you explain that to us," Ms Gillard said.

Ms Clinton: "Who have you been talking to?"

"I have my cowgirl sources," Ms Gillard replied.

Ms Clinton explained she was a 'Goldwater girl' at the time and her job was to dress up as a cowgirl and "pass things out".

The conversation soon turned to how Ms Clinton and her husband, former US president Bill Clinton, met. Ms Clinton revealed that she was studying law at the prestigious Yale University when she first spotted him.

"He looked at that time like a Viking," Ms Clinton said. "He had sort of long, reddish blonde hair and a reddish, blonde beard. He was pretty striking looking."

A friend she was with told her: 'That's Bill Clinton, he's from Arkansas and that's all he ever talks about'. Moments later, Ms Clinton overheard Mr Clinton talking about the growth of watermelons in his home state of Arkansas.

"[He said] 'and not only that, we grow the biggest watermelons in the world'," Ms Clinton said. The pair got talking and the rest is history.

"Now Hillary, I have to say to you, if I passed a young man talking about something like that at Adelaide University, I would have just kept on walking," Ms Gillard said.

Ms Clinton: "But would it depend what he looked like?"

"Ah, possibly," Ms Gillard responded.


Ms Clinton told the forum that the US needs to see concrete actions by North Korea before making any concessions of its own in the week that has seen three prisoners released and President Trump announce a June 12 meeting with Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

She said she was hopeful about the diplomacy, but that the US must remain "clear-eyed" about how hard the negotiations will be and how often North Korea has broken promises before.

She also warned against conferring too much prestige or legitimacy on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un without seeing concrete concessions. She told the crowd it was crucial that US troops remain on the Korean Peninsula and that the US remains a Pacific power.


Ms Clinton warned that Australia must not allow an expansionist China to subvert Australia's national interests. She said Australia must stand up to "under the radar" efforts to influence Australian politics as China extends its influence and power.

"I would hope that Australia would stand up against efforts, under the radar as we say, to influence Australian politics and policy," Ms Clinton said in Melbourne earlier this week.

"You must not let that happen. It is insidious." It could eat away at the fabric of democracy and build distrust, she added. "If you think there's a hidden hand somewhere that is buying off politicians or otherwise exercising influence, then that begins to really tear at the fabric of a democratic society.

"I am hoping that we will have American leadership once again to back you up and support you in what you need to do to be a good trading partner, take advantage of the strategic position you find yourself in, but not allow China to undermine or subvert your own national interests or values."

Ms Clinton said Australia must pay heed to warnings about Chinese efforts to gain political power and manipulate policy outcomes.

"This is an urgent problem and one we must confront immediately and together." Ms Clinton said what had been learned about the Russian interference in the 2016 US election, which she lost to Donald Trump, was more than alarming. "It is a clear and present danger to democracy," she said.


Ms Clinton also said information warfare was waged from within the Kremlin. "The Russians are still playing on anything and everything they can to turn Americans against each other, from issues of race and gun violence to the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

"And it's not just happening in the US," she said.

"This is bigger than one candidate, one election or even one country."

She said Russian President Vladimir Putin's authoritarianism was "rippling out from the Kremlin" and emboldening right-wing nationalists, separatists, racists, and neo Nazis across Europe and beyond.

"I believe our world is at a crossroads and what we do next week not only as governments but as business leaders, media, influencers and ordinary citizens matters enormously," Mrs Clinton said on Friday.