Hillary Clinton says Julia Gillard faced sexism

Last updated 18:58 10/06/2014

HARD CHOICES: Hillary Clinton with news anchor Diane Sawyer, promoting her latest book.

NOT FAIR: Former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard.

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Hillary Clinton has leapt to the defence of Julia Gillard, saying in her new book that the former Australian prime minister suffered ''outrageous sexism''.

Mrs Clinton, whose book Hard Choices covers her time as US secretary of state, wrote that ''women in public life still face an unfair double standard".

"Even leaders like former prime minister Julia Gillard of Australia have faced outrageous sexism which shouldn't be tolerated in any country," Mrs Clinton wrote.

The pair met in Perth in 2012, with Mrs Clinton giving Ms Gillard some sage advice about confronting her detractors and calling out the sexism.

Ms Gillard recalled the meeting in an interview with Anne Summers last year, given shortly before she lost her leadership.

Mrs Clinton told Ms Gillard her to defend herself against allegations from decades past which were being used drag her name through the mud.

''We did have a discussion about where our media cycle was stuck then, which was this relentless opposition questioning about events the best part of 20 years ago," Ms Gillard told Summers.

When the pair met, Ms Gillard was facing questions over her role in the Australian Workers Union affair dating back to her time as a lawyer with Slater and Gordon in the 1990s.

Mrs Clinton told Ms Gillard: ''You've got to stand up to it and be clear about it and name it for what it is because the temptation is to say, 'Look this is so absurd, it'll die a death', whereas these things unfortunately don't die a death.''

Rather than disappearing, the episode was back in the headlines on Tuesday, with Ms Gillard's former boyfriend Bruce Wilson alleging he was offered $200,000 to fabricate claims about who used stolen funds to pay for renovations to Ms Gillard's Melbourne home. He made the claim in a statement prepared for the Royal Commission into union corruption which was leaked to the ABC's Jon Faine.

Ms Gillard has repeatedly denied suggestions she acted improperly.

In her book, Mrs Clinton writes positively about Australia and its politicians, including former foreign minister Stephen Smith and former prime minister Kevin Rudd.

The book is widely accepted to be laying the groundwork for Mrs Clinton's tilt at the White House in 2016.

Mrs Clinton's observations come as Tony Abbott prepares to make his first trip to Washington as prime minister this week.

A spokesman for Ms Gillard said the former prime minister had no comment about Mrs Clinton's book.

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- Brisbane Times

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