Tony Abbott has lashed out at sexism in the wake of fresh criticism of his team, stating that his chief of staff would not be scrutinised as heavily if she were male.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has lashed out at sexism in the wake of fresh criticism of his team, stating that his chief of staff would not be scrutinised as heavily if she were male.
Mr Abbott defended his long-time chief of staff Peta Credlin during an interview with the ABC, following a series of reports of tensions between her and senior members of parliament.
“Do you really think my chief of staff would be under this kind of criticism if her name was P-E-T-E-R, as opposed to P-E-T-A?” he said.
“I think people need to take a long, hard look at themselves with some of these criticisms.”
His comments follow a report from News Corp, citing a breakdown in the working relationship between Ms Credlin and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
The report, which compared the two political heavyweights to “Siamese fighting fish stuck in the same tank”, has been dismissed by Ms Bishop.
Mr Abbott’s comments also follow his own criticism of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard for playing what he called the gender card.
Speaking in the wake of Ms Gillard’s famous 2012 misogyny speech, the then-Opposition Leader said that her comments were a “bit rich”.
“Just because the Prime Minister has sometimes been the victim of unfair criticism doesn't mean she can dismiss any criticism as sexism or she can dismiss any criticism on gender grounds,” he said.