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Last night, Julie Bishop articulated the gender divide in Australian politics. In 2013, she did much to embolden that divide.
In conversation with Andrew Denton last night, Julie Bishop spoke of the “gender deafness” that coloured her time in politics. Bishop noted that: “If I spoke in a room of 20 men, if I would put forward my idea, there was sort of silence…It was as if I hadn’t spoken and then somebody would say precisely what I said or come up with precisely the same idea. And then they’d all say, ‘Oh that’s a great idea. Why don’t we do that?’”
Which I certainly don’t disagree with. The unbalance of gender in the workplace certainly exists. Later, she recounted the “grotesque in its brutality” and “pathetic” gender-based discrimination of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
At this point, I had to heavily salt the remainder of the interview.
Bishop angling herself as a beacon for women in parliament is an exercise in folly, or opportunistic positioning, as in 2013, she defended Tony Abbott after Julia Gillard called him a sexist and a misogynist in her famous speech, stating that:
“I lament the lost opportunity that Julia Gillard had to be a role model for young women,” she said.
“Instead, when her own inability to perform the job well became apparent she resorted to a victim status and I thought that was a most unfortunate message to send to young women in particular.”
“She had the most powerful position in the country. She was the most powerful elected representative in Australia and yet she chose to play a victim instead of face up to her own incompetence and misjudgments and miscalculations.”
Last night with Denton, Bishop lamented being the only woman in Tony Abbott’s cabinet in 2013.
“I wasn’t actually appointed,” she said. “I was elected deputy leader so I was there anyway. So if you put me aside, not one woman was selected and appointed.”
Interestingly, Bishop closed the above statements with a promise to never play gender politics, stating that “…you don’t have to play the gender game – never have, never will.”
You can’t have it both ways, Julie.