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Gillard accused of letting down Australian women

Published on Oct 10, 2012 10:04 AM

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard was on Wednesday accused of letting down Australian women by defending her tainted parliamentary speaker and using gender to deflect criticism.

Ms Gillard, the nation's first woman leader, lashed out on Tuesday at opposition leader Tony Abbott after he called for the removal of speaker Peter Slipper over lurid text messages which included crude references to female genitalia.

Mr Slipper, who stood aside in April amid claims of gay sex harassment, survived an opposition motion to dump him with the support of Ms Gillard and her ruling Labor party, but later resigned.

During the debate, a fired-up Ms Gillard accused Abbott of hypocrisy and double-standards, saying she had been offended by many of his remarks over the years and she would not be "lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man".

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