Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has taken aim at Tony Abbott over his 'sex appeal' candidate gaffe.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says Tony Abbott would find himself in serious strife if he made his "sex appeal" comments in the workplace.
On his first trip to the key marginal Sydney seat of Lindsay on Tuesday, the opposition leader was asked how Liberal candidate Fiona Scott compared with predecessor Jackie Kelly.
"They're young, they're feisty and, I think I can probably say, have a bit of sex appeal," he told reporters.
Mr Rudd says the comments were "pretty odd".
"If any male employer stood up in a workplace anywhere in Australia, and pointing to a female staff member, said this person is a good staff member because they've got sex appeal ...
"I think the employer would be finding themselves in serious strife," he told reporters in Cairns.
Mr Rudd said there was no place in modern Australia for racism, homophobia or sexism.
But Mr Abbott dismissed the gaffe as a "dad moment".
"Look, as the kids said to me I had a dad moment, a daggy dad moment maybe," he told reporters in Brisbane.
Ms Scott also sought to downplay the comment on Wednesday, telling Macquarie Radio it was a "charming compliment".
Labor frontbencher Penny Wong said the gaffe gave a glimpse into the opposition leader's views on women.
"I wasn't altogether surprised and nor were many Australian women, I suspect," she told ABC radio.
"This is consistent with some of the views Mr Abbott has expressed over many, many years."
Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey said it was an "entirely trivial" matter and it was time to move on.
"I think there are things that matter much more to the Australian people that we should be dealing with," he said.