"My father, very short temper ... I also got some beatings," says the Dalai Lama. Photo: AP
The Dalai Lama has weighed into the gender debate raging around Prime Minister Julia Gillard by saying women have the qualities needed in leaders and that his successor may be female.
The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, was addressing reporters and a contingent of admirers in Sydney on Thursday ahead of a 10-day tour of Australia.
Females have more sensitivity about others' wellbeing.
"If the circumstances are such that a female Dalai Lama is more useful, then automatically a female Dalai Lama will come," he said.
Asked about the gender debate reignited by the Prime Minister this week, he said the world is facing a "moral crisis" of inequality and suffering and needs leaders who can bring compassion to their post.
"In that respect, biologically, females have more potential.
"Females have more sensitivity about others' wellbeing.
"In my own case, my father, very short temper. On a few occasions I also got some beatings.
"But my mother was so wonderfully compassionate."
His comments come as Ms Gillard demands the political scalp of Liberal candidate Mal Brough over the "grossly sexist" wording of a menu for his federal election fundraiser.
Earlier this week she had warned the Coalition's "men in blue ties" would marginalise women and treat abortion as a political plaything if Labor lost the September election.