Opposition apologises to childless Gillard

2012-10-23 13:27
Julia Gillard. (AFP)

Julia Gillard. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sydney - Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott apologised on Tuesday after saying the government was inexperienced when it comes to having babies, a comment seen as a dig at childless Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Abbott, recently savaged by Gillard as sexist and a misogynist, made the remark when referring to cuts in a baby bonus scheme announced as part of the government's mid-year budget review.

He said scaling back the payment to cut costs and return the budget to surplus revealed a lack of "experience" within the government of raising children.

In response the unmarried Gillard, who was once described by a member of Abbott's Liberal party as "deliberately barren", said: "I think Mr Abbott can explain what he meant by that line."

Meaning

Trade Minister Craig Emerson also questioned what Abbott, who has three daughters, meant.

"If he's talking about the treasurer [Wayne Swan], well he's got several children; I've got several children," Emerson said.

"So what's he really on about to suggest that this government isn't experienced at having children and therefore with the costs of children?"

Abbott accused the government of "hyperventilating" over the issue and said he meant no offence. However, he offered to apologise.

"If she [Gillard] wants to take offence of course I'm sorry about that. And if she would like me to say sorry, I'm sorry," Abbott told Fairfax radio.

"Mate, I think a lot of people are very ready to read far too much into entirely innocent comments," he added. "This was as innocent as a comment can be."

'Over-sensitive'

Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey said the ruling Labour party was being over-sensitive.

"This is pathetic. This whole rhetoric is pathetic," he said.

"If we're at the point now where we can't refer to the government and families in the same breath, surely the debate has got to an absurd point."

Gillard, the nation's first woman leader, won praise around the world for her comments on Abbott being sexist during a parliamentary speech a fortnight ago, which saw her popularity surge in an opinion poll released on Monday.

Abbott said on Tuesday that people wanted to "move on" from the debate.

"If I've got a criticism of the government I'm criticising it because of its record, not because of the gender of any of its members," he said.

In its mid-year economic review on Monday, the government announced some Aus$16.4bn in savings over four years to help return the budget to surplus in 2012 to 2013, including cuts to the baby bonus scheme.

Read more on:    julia gillard  |  australia
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Month End Madness Sale!

Save up to 60% on across a wide range of goods from books to electronics, DVDs and many more. Sale end 31 January 2015. Shop now!

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Something is blocking the flow of things today and it is easy to become frustrated and pessimistic. The problem is that your mind...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.