Retiring Liberal senator Sue Boyce has described Prime Minister Tony Abbott as “a sexist” and says the coalition has been “dog whistling” with its asylum seeker policies.
Speaking on her departure from federal parliament at the end of the month, Senator Boyce has told Fairfax Media she thinks Julia Gillard’s famous misogyny speech was “powerful” and within context, “brilliant”.
However, she says Mr Abbott would have better been described by Ms Gillard as a subtle sexist, one of many in federal politics.
Senator Boyce did however concede that Mr Abbott, during her time in Canberra, had been more willing to listen to the views of women than many of her male colleagues.
Some of the coalition’s older MPs still “yearned for the life when proper mothers stayed home and looked after the children and proper fathers who had their slippers handed to them”, the Sydney Morning Herald quoted her as saying.
Senator Boyce said she was concerned by the government swinging too far to the right, particularly on issues such as asylum seekers, action against climate change and same-sex marriage.
“I think the whole asylum seeker issue is sort of fraught with dog whistling,” she said, adding that she did not appreciate the language used by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, particularly the term “illegal maritime arrivals”.