SYDNEY (AFP) – Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who was famously accused of misogyny by former leader Julia Gillard, on Friday suggested sexism was behind criticism of his female chief-of-staff.
Abbott’s office has battled falling polls in recent weeks and some within the conservative government’s ranks have complained that his advisor Peta Credlin holds too much power.
“Do you really think that my chief-of-staff would be under this kind of criticism if her name was P-E-T-E-R as opposed to P-E-T-A?” Abbott asked state broadcaster ABC.
“I think people need to take a long hard look at themselves with some of these criticisms.”
Abbott, who has been criticised for only having one woman in his cabinet – Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who reports say has a tense relationship with Credlin – said any complaints about his office should come to him.
“This is the same office which ran a very effective opposition, it’s the same office which has got an enormous amount done this year sometimes under very difficult circumstances,” he said.