The Blue Tie Speech: Prime Minister’s Address To Women For Gillard

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has delivered a speech at the launch of Women for Gillard, in Sydney.


The group aims to emulate the Obama campaign by raising money in small amounts to support Gillard’s re-election.

As government ministers appeared to close ranks behind Gillard’s leadership, after a long weekend of speculation about a return to Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister warned that the 2013 election would be a decision that would determine whether “we will banish women’s voices from our political life”.

In a barbed reference to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, Gillard said: “We don’t want to live in an Australia where abortion again becomes the political plaything of men who think they know better.”

The speech has been ridiculed online throughout the day for its references to men in blue ties.

  • Listen to the blue tie extract of Gillard’s speech (45s)

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  • Watch the extract released by Gillard’s office:
  • Watch the full speech:
  • Women for Gillard Facebook page

Transcript of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s speech to ‘Women for Gillard’ launch in Sydney.

Thank you very much, can I start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, and pay my respects to their elders past and present.

Apart from acknowledging Clementine for that world-class introduction, I’d like to acknowledge all of the members and board and friends and supporters of Women for Gillard, and especially your national director Clarabella, thank you very much for all your hard work.

And I want to acknowledge too someone who is not in the room with us today but I very much in our hearts, and that is Anna Bligh. Anna showed the greatest courage for the people of Queensland during the greatest tests of her public life.

Now she’s showing incredible courage for herself and her family during the greatest test if her private life. And I know that we are all wishing her well. There’s a room full of love and support for her here today.

And I also want to acknowledge all of you, the women who have taken time out of all of your busy lives, some of them incredibly busy lives, to be here today.

I am humbled by your support, I thrive on your optimism; your faith in the future nourishes mine. And that faith rests on what Anne Summers so eloquently calls the Three Pillars: inclusion, equality, respect.

All of us in our own way have fought to make these things real in the life of our nation. As politicians, as leaders in our communities, as young activists setting out on our life working for change.

All of us, women who care enough to stand up and to be counted.

But we’re not here today to congratulate ourselves. We’re here today because Australian women need a voice, an authentic voice, a voice that can be trusted, and friends, that voice is Labor.

Friends, we didn’t discover ‘women’s issues’ in a focus group.

We didn’t do that. We aren’t engaged in that type of pretence; we’re driven by purpose.

Our party – the Labor Party – is the party of the many, not the few. That means we’re the party of women. Labor is the party of equal opportunity.

That means we are the party of women. Labor is the party that leaves no one behind. That means we are the party of women.

You know that and I know that, and we want to make sure that that is heard loud and clear. Look at our history. It was Labor that introduced maternity allowances, the first great wave of social reform after federation.

It was Labor that gave women the chance to serve and shine in the farms and factories of wartime in the 1940s.

It was Gough Whitlam’s Labor that delivered the first pay equality case and started federal funding for childcare.

And it was only ever Labor that was going to give this nation its first female prime minister.

It was only ever Labor that was going to put paid parental leave on the agenda and get it done.

Only Labor that understood that childcare was about affordability, but it was about quality too, and it’s about supporting the women who work in childcare.

That’s why we’ve increased childcare rebates, focussed on higher quality standards, and we’re supporting the women – predominantly women – who work in childcare centres as well.

It was only ever Labor that was going to increase the tax-free threshold to more than $18,000, benefiting low-income workers, predominantly working women.

And it was only ever Labor that was going to deliver a historic increase in the pension, particularly of benefit to single pensioners, disproportionately women, and it was only ever Labor that was going to reduce tax on superannuation for part-time working mums.

It’s only Labor that ever would have put in an equal pay principle that actually worked; that worked to make a difference so women in social and community services can get the pay and recognition that they deserve.

It was only ever Labor that was going to make sure that we had fairness and decency at work.

It was only ever Labor that was going to out a National Disability Insurance Scheme on the agenda, so women with disability and women who bear the burden of caring can get the supports that they need.

It was only ever Labor that was going to invest in the future by rolling out the National Broadband Network, and it’s only Labor that is going to invest in the education of every child in every school.

That’s Labor’s agenda, and it’s only Labor that would deliver an agenda like that for Australia’s women.

Ben Chifley famously spoke of the things worth fighting for. I’m here today to tell you about the women worth fighting for.

Australian women, who benefit from Labor’s purpose, from Labor’s passion; I’m here to tell you today, to urge you, to get out and fight. We’ve got a hard fight ahead but it’s a hard fight to wage and we must win on 14 September.

On that day, 14 September, we are going to make a big decision as a nation. It’s a decision about whether, once again, we will banish women’s voices from our political life.

I invite you to imagine it. A prime minister – a man in a blue tie – who goes on holidays to be replaced by a man in a blue tie.

A treasurer, who delivers a budget wearing a blue tie, to be supported by a finance minister – another man in a blue tie. Women once again banished from the centre of Australia’s political life.

We don’t want to see an Australia where a paid parental leave scheme divides women, that divides upper-income women from lower-income women; that divides upper-income women from their sisters who earn less but pay through potentially loss of jobs and certainly increased prices for a paid parental leave scheme that gives those that earn the most the most benefits.

We don’t want to see childcare slashed; we don’t want to see healthcare slashed; look at what has happened in Queensland: cuts to healthcare, cuts to Breast Screen. We don’t want that to be our future in Australia.

We don’t want to see superannuation slashed, particularly for working women. We don’t to see women lose rights at work, because when fairness and dignity at work goes it’s women who bear the brunt. We know that, we’ve seen it before.

We don’t want to see the National Disability Insurance Scheme put in the custody of a political party that didn’t create it, didn’t believe in it with the power that we did and simply said ‘me too’.

We don’t want to stand in front of school gates knowing that the children in that school, including the girls in that school, are getting less of an education than they should because our nation hasn’t seen fit to invest in their future.

Finally but very importantly, we don’t want to live in an Australia where abortion again becomes the political plaything of men who think they know better.

That’s not the future we should choose for our nation, it’s not the future that I want to see for Australian women, it’s not the future I want to see for Australia’s girls.

Now there is always a commentator, and there is always a pollster who tells you that we can’t win and that this is the Australia we are linked in to on 14 September.

Well, to the commentators and the pollsters I say this: there’s always a moment in every fight where you’re got to choose whether you are daunted by it or energised by it. I can tell in this room we are energised for this fight.

And we know nothing worth fighting for ever came easy. Look at the suffragettes and what they faced. Look at the garment workers who went on strike, the feminists of the 1970s.

Women’s equality has always been hard-fought for, and we’re entering a hard fight again.

But I know I’ve got so many women to share it with in this room and beyond. I’m energised for the fight, thank you for coming along.

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  1. Val Andrews says:

    Thankyou Prime Minister. It is interesting to already see comments from main stream journalists accusing you of playing the gender card with this WITHOUT A TRACE OF IRONY. I am lost in admiration for your incredible strength in the face of the appalling bullying to which you have been subjected. You are heroic.

  2. The person who wrote that speech should be ashamed of themselves. You have dug deep and opened wounds already healed. Julia Gillard you should stand ashamed and hang your head presenting that speech.
    You now show absolute contempt for the people of this nation who have suffered and are continuing to suffer under you governance. You are involved in all of Labor’s failed policies and instead of acknowledging your failings you believe you are suited for the role you hold. Maam, you have been promoted far beyond your capabilities

    • Confused says:

      I’m happy to agree/disagree but for the life of me I can’t work out what wounds you are referring to.
      Clues please, them I may have some idea about your anger and my confusion in your reply.

    • Barbara Loh says:

      So Jason would you have been happy for the Australian government to have implemented conservative party fiscal policies during the GFC ? Overseas countries that did this instead of following Australia’s fiscal stimulus policies have had a massive economic breakdowns and rocketing unemployment. Treasurer Swan was recognised and given an international award for his economic policies to escape the GFC. There are many many more suffering people in the overseas conservative government nations that did not give a stimulus package and now live in crippled economies. Thank God the conservative party policies were not being implemented here at the start of the GFC. Millions in Australia would have been become unemployed as happened overseas. Overseas people now compare and envy our present governance.

  3. Paul Grunsell says:

    Is Julia Gillard saying if your a woman you should vote Labour,then I take it that if your a man you should vote Liberal ?
    Is this Julia,s new election strategy ?
    I think a drovers dog could come up with a better strategy.
    Does Julia really think woman are that shallow that they will vote labour just because they have a woman as leader, as a man I think they are a bit deeper than that.
    But then again I am a man and run the risk of being accused of being sexist.
    Paul,Traditional Labour voter.

  4. Anne Lawton says:

    To Paul Grunsell who asks:
    “Is Julia Gillard saying if your a woman you should vote Labour,then I take it that if your a man you should vote Liberal ? Does Julia really think woman are that shallow that they will vote labour just because they have a woman as leader, as a man I think they are a bit deeper than that. But then again I am a man and run the risk of being accused of being sexist.”

    No Paul, what Julia is saying is that Labour has traditionally had women’s interests much more at heart than past Liberal/Coalition Governments, and that if we (women) vote Liberal on September 14 we risk going down a slippery slide where we lose long fought-for ground.
    I wouldn’t accuse you of being sexist for your opinion, just of not reading/listening to the speech properly.

  5. a woman not in a blue tie says:

    I am a woman who knows the ripping apart of a child in the womb is not a better choice for anyone. the mum and especially not the baby. give me the child you arnt able to provide for. I’ve been trying to have a child for over 2 years now and in the mean time how many children have been aborted because no one in government is willing to put measures in place to actually help these women to CHOOSE to keep the baby. but don’t have any problem with providing an available abortion clinic. for what. all I can gather is that you government just want MORE money. its not like you don’t get enough already even though Australia is apparently in debt

    • Christine says:

      It is a devastating situation to be in, to be unable to have your own child, and know that other people are throwing theirs away. But sadly these children are not going to be born and made available for adoption. I know 2 sisters where one aborted her child and the other is infertile, so even within a loving family women choose not to have the child born and adopted. All best wishes with your endeavours.

      It would be vastly preferable to have great contraception, and even the morning after pill.

      Australia has debt, it’s true. It’s like a person with a well paying job having a mortgage. People nearly always buy a house on borrowed money and that’s considered reasonable and normal. The question is, if their income can meet the mortgage repayments. This is the debt to GDP ratio, and Australia’s in is good shape.

      The Federal and state governments take in money and share it out again to benefit the community as a whole and are responsible for considering everyone’s long term interest. Liberal and Labor have different values, and Labor has historically supported women better.

  6. Barbara Loh says:

    I see Julia Gillard’s speech as that of a woman who feels the historic weight of thousands of years of sustained exclusion, inequality and not just lack of respect, but femicide, plus physical mental and emotional abuse that is so ingrained in most cultures and societies that many men think it is OK and really just a joke. Women feel the way men do when they are targeted by racists. The ghastly history of misogynist and racist acts mean that the people who are targeted are really wounded by these insults and have to be incredibly tough to withstand these so called jokes. Sexist abusers are also abusing their own mothers sisters and daughters with their horrible remarks that continue to hurt us.

  7. April Simon says:

    Our Prime Minister should be ashamed. She is so sexist, even to refer to the fact that she is female and her opposition is male. Gender should not be emphasized, but she is quick to claim to be the “first Australian female PM” etc… She is the one continually referring to gender. What is this ridiculous reference to men in blue ties if it is not a slur? Or a attempt at one…most men (and woman) like blue ties. If asked if we wanted our country run by woman in red jackets, or woman with black rimmed glasses…he’d have the left media all over him. This person is an embarrassment to woman. Most woman I know cannot bear the thought of her staying in office. Not because she is a woman, but because she is inept. She has no policy that has credibility, so she has resorted to silly school-yard name-calling attention-seeking rubbish.

  8. Francis Young says:

    The Emily’s List agenda prioritises free abortion on demand, and increasing the collective rate of women in paid employment, ahead of the things that matter to women as individuals.

    Children fare best when raised by their Mum and Dad, and much better when their parents are married and stay married.

    Financial and emotional pressures on marriages should be the focus of policies to help women. Instead, mothers whose preference is to be at home for their children are ridiculed and penalized. Last year, the dependent spouse rebate was scrapped. This year, the baby bonus went, and the tax free threshold and tax rates adjusted to discourage single income households. If Mum works, you get a $40,000 household tax free income allowance, plus $7500 for childcare. This disincentive to motherhood is scandalous, and proves that this movement is about Gillard for Emily’s List, not Gillard for Women.

    Policies which strengthen marriages and protect them from financial strain will do far more to help women, and everyone else, than man-hating rhetoric. I don’t wear a tie.

  9. a woman from sydney says:

    I found this page if anyone is interested!

    Gillard does not speak for me. She does not hold the kind of character that I think women should have as a role model or representative. She did not show respect or decency when she got her role as PM and has continued a downward slide since then. I find her quite embarrassing and if she isn’t lying she tells half truths. She doesn’t want equality, it is obvious by the words she uses that it’s something exaggerated, to the point of even down-troding men just to be elevated. Like a cyclone, that destroys anything things in it’s way just to reach the goal that they want. I don’t believe she has us in best interest. The stress of the crunch on small business effects marriages and families. Labor just taxes and has spending that never seems to reach the ones who need it. We don’t feel better off.

  10. Ana Milosevic says:

    So very, very proud of our Prime Minister that words cannot describe. She truly speak on behalf of ALL Women.Thanks Margo.

    • April Simon says:

      This is incorrect Ana, as I am a woman, and she does not speak on my behalf, or on behalf of almost anyone I know.

  11. Anne Lawton says:

    “a woman from sydney says”
    Good luck under a Liberal Government mate, if we are unfortunate enough to suffer it. If they get in, please come back to this site in a year and tell me how much better off you are. Would be very interested to hear!


  1. [...] Here’s an extended transcript of the speech – it’s pretty blunt stuff – via australianpolitics: [...]