Wednesday 7 December 2016

Frank O'Shea: Aussie 'sheila' culture drove Gillard from office

Frank O'Shea

Published 29/06/2013 | 17:00

The Prince Of Wales And Duchess Of Cornwall Visit Australia - Day 6...CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 10: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard attends the naming of Queen Elizabeth Terrace at Parkes Place on November 10, 2012 in Canberra, Australia. The Royal couple are on the last day of the Australian leg of a Diamond Jubilee that takes in Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)...E
The Prince Of Wales And Duchess Of Cornwall Visit Australia - Day 6...CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 10: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard attends the naming of Queen Elizabeth Terrace at Parkes Place on November 10, 2012 in Canberra, Australia. The Royal couple are on the last day of the Australian leg of a Diamond Jubilee that takes in Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)...E

THERE is one thing you should know about Australia: many people here see the role of a woman in the same way that their grandparents did. The word 'sheila' is not heard as widely as it used to be, but Helen Reddy and Germaine Greer notwithstanding, you wouldn't want to let that fool you.

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When the general election of 2010 threw up a hung parliament, independent members gave their support to Labour leader Julia Gillard to head a minority government.

The loser in that fight for numbers was Tony Abbott, a former Rhodes scholar with an Oxbridge blue for boxing. He liked to be seen in budgie-smuggler swimming shorts or in a lycra bicycle outfit: a man's man.

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