I give as good as I get: Gillard
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is interviewed for the AFR in her Parliament House suite in Canberra on 30 November 2012 Photo: Andrew Meares for AFR Photo: Andrew Meares
Prime Minister Julia Gillard had no idea of the significance of her now-famous "misogyny" speech after she gave it. It was up to Treasurer Wayne Swan to read the zeitgeist.
Ms Gillard, named on Tuesday as Australia's most influential female voice in a poll by Fairfax Media's Daily Life website, recounted how she sat down after delivering the scorching speech, directed at Opposition leader Tony Abbott, and prepared to get on with other work while at the despatch box in the House of Representatives.
"I thought I had given a hard-hitting speech but I didn't have any inkling of the effect of it," Ms Gillard said.
The Most Influential Female Voices
1. Julia Gillard: Our first female Prime Minister had kept silent on sexism directed at her and entrenched in Australian politics since her election but when she finally spoke it wasn’t just Australia, but the world, that stopped and listened. For many of the thousands of women who nominated her she is an inspiration . Throughout a difficult and turbulent year she has taught many of us an important lesson in how to stand up to sexism. It’s not an understatement to call her misogyny speech a watershed moment for women in this country. Photo: Andrew Meares
"I said to Wayne, 'Oh, we're going to have to sit here now and listen to all these bloody speeches in reply. I should get my chief of staff to bring some correspondence so at least I can be getting on with something.
"And Wayne, with a slightly odd look on his face, and he is not someone known for the most demonstrative facial expressions ... said 'Yeah, you can't really give the 'I accuse' speech and settle back and do your correspondence.' "
Speaking to Daily Life at the end of the bruising parliamentary year, Ms Gillard revealed that while she is able to "compartmentalise" the criticism directed at her, her partner Tim Mathieson feels it deeply.
"Sometimes we have a discussion about whether he's watching it too closely, in the sense that he's more at risk that it emotionally affects him than it emotionally affects me," Ms Gillard said.
She doesn't allow the "public hurly burly" to affect her sense of self. "I have always had a very strong sense of myself and not had that easily pushed and pulled by the the views of others," she said.
In a shot at Mr Abbott and what she called his "old-fashioned and close-minded attitudes", she added that "criticism most hurts when it comes from people you respect".
Women around Australia send Ms Gillard flowers, jewellery, notes and scarves to show their support for her, she said.
But she rejected suggestions that while the speech boosted her popularity with women, it cruelled her support among male voters.
"My sense is that people get a little too hard and fast about the lines here. I've had a lot of men come up to me and say, 'Congratulations'."
Ms Gillard also hinted at the political future of her friend and fellow female politician Hillary Clinton, whom she named as one of the women she most looked up to.
"She's a fascinating person and [we had a] great discussion," Ms Gillard said.
"I admire Hillary Clinton. What a life, with potentially more [achievements] to come."
Read the full interview including transcript at www.dailylife.com.au