Twitter slams The Project for inappropriate joke about Julia Gillard's sex life


Candice Chung

Julia Gillard's appearance on The Project on Monday night.

Julia Gillard's appearance on The Project on Monday night. Photo: Channel Ten

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Twitter has lit up with angry comments over an interview segment that featured former Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Channel Ten's The Project

On Monday night, Gillard appeared on the show to speak about her new memoir, My Story, which details her time in the office as Australia's first female Prime Minister and the sexism she encountered.

After a brief introduction to Gillard's political legacy, the interview kicked off with birthday wishes from panelists Rove McManus and Carrie Bickmore, with the latter asking, "What has Tim [Mathieson] got you for your birthday, Juilia?”


When Gillard responded that she and Mathieson will be celebrating after she returns from her book tour on the weekend, McManus joked, "Is that a euphemism? Will he have a 'birthday suit'? Is that what you're suggesting?"

Despite visible discomfort at the inappropriate comment, the former PM responded good-humouredly, saying, “No, that was just a straight-up answer.”

Commenters on Twitter, however, weren't as forgiving, immediately calling out the disrespectful nature of the joke:

Some also noted panelist Steve Price's aggressive line of questioning about the way Gillard approached the subject of sexism in her book:

“You go back to the question obviously, of sexism in the book -- it’s quite a theme -- and back to your misogyny speech where you pointed at Tony Abbott and said you won’t be ‘lectured to’ by that man," said Price.

"Can you give me a direct example of how Tony Abbott was misogynistic towards you? Which means he hated you -- what did he do directly to you that made you feel like that?”

To which Gillard responded: “I think Tony Abbott, as leader of the opposition has exhibited some behaviours towards me which were more dismissive than he would’ve been to a male counterpart.”

“To you personally, was he sexist?” Price continued.

“Yes, I think a number of the things he said about me, and I deal with this in the book, were of a sexist nature.

"And I’m not writing the book because I want people to relive those moments. I think there is a debate to be had about how we see women and leadership, but I want my contribution in the book to be a perspective on that debate for the conversation to continue,” said Gillard.

During the six-minute interview, Gillard was also asked by other panelists about her stance on marriage equality and her reflections on life after politics. The segment concluded with Price commenting that Gillard's book is "already [selling at] half price at Big W", at which point an audible groan erupted from the studio audience.

The Project isn't the only show that received mixed reactions on their interview with the former PM in recent weeks. Channel Nine has also come under social media scrutiny after airing Ray Martin's half-hour exclusive interview with Gillard, 'The Whole Truth', with some praising Martin and others criticising him for asking about how she and her partner Tim Mathieson met and the gendered nature of the interview questions.

See Gillard's full interview on The Project here.