Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Aussie PM accused of ‘showing cleavage’

Aussie PM accused of ‘showing cleavage’
The ABC has defended the broadcast of allegations that Prime Minister Julia Gillard was disrespecting the nation by showing cleavage in federal Parliament.

Fairfax columnist and industrial relations consultant Grace Collier told a panel discussion on ABC Radio National on Sunday that it was wrong to show so much flesh during parliamentary sittings as it was an issue of workplace conduct.

In the latest case to trigger claims of prejudice against Ms Gillard as a female leader, Ms Collier made the comments while discussing last week’s Howard Sattler controversy.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate for a Prime Minister to be showing her cleavage in Parliament,” the Australian Financial Review columnist said during the Outsiders panel segment.

“It’s not something I want to see. In my opinion as an industrial relations consultant, it is inappropriate to be in Parliament, it is disrespectful to yourself and to the Australian community and to the parliament to present yourself in a manner that is unprofessional.

“In every Australian workplace we have certain standards of presentation and conduct. It’s not just about personal presentation. It's about conduct.”

Her comments were immediately howled down by the other people on the show, saying she was a right-winger, a claim Ms Collier denied.

Feminist and social commentator Eva Cox defended Ms Gillard and criticised Ms Collier.

“I think you are showing a considerable prejudice against a woman who dresses quite conservatively, very reasonably,” she said.

Ms Collier said: “I don’t want to see any politician’s flesh in Parliament.”

Ms Cox said: “Men don’t have breasts to show.”

Ms Collier said: “Some do, and they’re well covered.”

Show host Jonathan Green later promoted the episode on Twitter, saying it was “lively”.

An ABC spokeswoman said Ms Collier was not an employee and the observations were strongly rejected by the rest of the panel.

“The RN audience is capable of weighing different views and perspectives when aired during a live debate,” she said.

A spokeswoman for Ms Gillard declined to comment.

However, a senior Labor source said Ms Collier “should crawl back into the gutter she came from’’.

The comments come amid Parliament’s gender wars after Fairfax radio host Howard Sattler was sacked last week after asking Ms Gillard whether her partner Tim Mathieson was gay because he was a male hairdresser.

Daily Telegraph columnist Piers Akerman also came under fire yesterday over an appearance on ABC’s Insiders.

Akerman said Sattler’s behaviour was the “most stupid thing he had ever heard on public broadcasting” and that the rumours had circulated in the Canberra press gallery since 2010.

‘‘A lot of people in the Canberra gallery have been saying the same thing ,’’ he said.

Host Barrie Cassidy criticised the comment.

“You’ve just done precisely what Howard Sattler did and passed on rumours and that’s just as pathetic, quite frankly,’’ he said.

Akerman later denied passing on rumours, saying he was just pointing out how wrong Sattler was to air the rumours when the press gallery had not.

At the end of the show, Akerman said: ‘‘If the Prime Minister is watching, as she usually does, I hope she hasn’t taken any offence at anything I’ve said this morning.’’

Mr Sattler yesterday said he may enter politics and run against Defence Minister Stephen Smith in WA in the September election.

- News.com.au

Komen Anda

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