Gillard accused of starting 'gender war'

Last updated 15:44 22/11/2012
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard
PRIME MINISTER: Julia Gillard.

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Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott has taken a bold swipe at the prime minister, accusing Julia Gillard of attempting to start a "gender war".

Since Ms Gillard gained international attention last month for labelling Mr Abbott a misogynist in parliament, he has repeatedly rejected the tag, talking up his affinity with and understanding of the fairer sex.

On Thursday, he suggested that the federal government had divided "Australian against Australian" with its "class war"-invoking mining tax and industrial relations policies that put workers in conflict with employers.

He also claimed Ms Gillard had tried to pit women against men.

"One thing I will never do should I have the honour of leading this country is deliberately set out to divide Australian against Australian," he told a function in Perth.

"I think I can say with absolute confidence that you will never find from me any attempt to invoke a gender war against my political opponents.

"Never will I attempt to say that as a man that I have been the victim of powerful forces beyond my control and how dare any prime minister of Australia play the victim card?"

Mr Abbott said the single factor that made the current government "utterly unworthy" of leading the country was its "attempt to set Australian against another for a party-political advantage".

"You will never find from me invocation of a false class war," he said.

"I will never try to set workers against managers because I understand in a way I fear the current incumbents do not, that it is only by working together that we're going to generate prosperity that all Australians have a right to expect."

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