The Opposition has been forced on to the back foot in the row over sexism in politics, after a Liberal Party fundraising menu which contained crude references to Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s breasts, thighs and genitalia emerged online.
The menu was used at a dinner for about 20 people hosted by former Howard government minister and now Coalition candidate Mal Brough in Brisbane on March 28. Opposition Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey was the guest of honour.
It featured a dish called “Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail – Small Breasts, Huge Thighs & A Big Red Box”.
The revelation comes as Ms Gillard reignited the so-called “gender wars” on Tuesday, during a speech in which she argued that women’s voices in political life would be “banished” under a Tony Abbott-led Coalition government.
Her speech at a Labor women’s event has drawn fierce criticism from the Coalition – who have called her comments desperate – and has even been questioned by Labor MPs.
But union leader and Gillard supporter Paul Howes tweeted that the menu proved Ms Gillard’s gender attack on the Coalition had been right.
Mr Brough has apologised and says the menu was written by a non-party member who thought it would be “humorous” but is now “deeply apologetic”.
The Liberal National Party has released a statement saying the “content of the menu card was absolutely unacceptable and has no place at any LNP event.”
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has also condemned it, but says it should “absolutely not” cast doubt on Mr Brough’s pre-selection for the Sunshine Coast seat of Fisher.
“I think we should all be bigger and better than that; whether it’s a tacky, scatological menu out the front of a Liberal Party event, whether it’s squalid jokes told at union conference dinners with ministers present,” the Opposition Leader said.
“Whatever it is, I think we should be better than that. I think we should be appealing to every Australian’s best self as we go into this election.”
Former prime minister Kevin Rudd says Mr Brough has only apologised because the menu has become public.
Mr Brough has also defended his colleague, telling the ABC “Mr Hockey had nothing to do with it.”
Ms Gillard kicked off this latest round of the gender debate yesterday with a warning that abortion would be “the political plaything of men who think they know better” if the Opposition wins the September election.