SYDNEY – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Wednesday said there was “no place” for sexism, racism or homophobia in Australia as election rival Tony Abbott laughed off his touting of a candidate’s sex appeal.
Abbott came under fire for the gaffe while campaigning in Sydney on Tuesday, renewing the nation’s debate over misogyny that which raged during former leader Julia Gillard’s time in office.
“If any male employer stood up in a workplace anywhere in Australia and, pointing to a female staff member, said (like Abbott), ‘This person is a good staff member because they’ve got sex appeal,’ I think people would scratch their heads at least and I think the employer would be finding themselves in serious strife,” Rudd told reporters.
“My policy’s pretty simple, that in modern Australia, neither sexism nor racism nor homophobia has any place whatsoever,” he said.
Abbott defended his blunder, describing it Wednesday as a “dad moment, a ‘daggy’ (uncool) moment maybe.”
He was under fire again almost immediately over remarks made in a radio interview about gay marriage. “I’m not someone who wants to see radical change based on the fashion of the moment,” Abbott said.