<p>AUSTRALIA’S opposition leader Tony Abbott back-pedalled after endorsing derogatory comments about the appearance of Julia Gillard, the country's female prime minister.</p>
The furore began when well-known Australian feminist Germaine Greer told ABC television that Gillard wore unflattering jackets and had a "big a-se".
"Every time she turns round, you've got that strange horizontal crease, which means they're cut too narrow in the hips," Greer said.
"You've got a big a-se, Julia. Just get on with it."
While meeting the public at a community forum on Thursday the issue came up and Mr Abbott responded: "I know, I know, I know. Germaine Greer was right on that subject."
On Friday he said he regretted the remark after it was widely played on television.
"It was an off-the-cuff remark responding to an observation of a member of the public and I shouldn't have said it and I regret it," he said.
Miss Gillard is Australia's first female leader and her boyfriend Tim Mathieson has previously hit out at people "bullying" her.
"Being a woman, I think she's gets targeted quite a bit by the big boys in town," he said at the time.
"Bullying women just doesn't work for me ... calling females names does not get you anywhere," he added.