This week Tony Abbott defended his chief of staff, Peta Credlin, against attack from those within his own party. He said, things would be different if her name was spelled P-E-T-E-R instead of P-E-T-A.
Essentially, he was saying that criticisms of Peta Credlin are sexist. He’s not wrong. People in his party have a history of making sexist slurs against her. On The Project in June, Barnaby Joyce said of Credlin’s no nonsense attitude, “I’m on good information from her husband that she is a woman.”
Others have preferred to leak to the media about their concerns over the secret and unwarranted influence she apparently exerts over the government.
The Prime Minister was right to call this behaviour for what it is. It is sexist.
Yes, I’m aware of the irony. If Tony Abbott was going to take the time to point out sexism in his own party or politics more generally, he would need to cancel all of his commitments for the next few months.
Yes, I’m also aware of the hypocrisy. The PM has made more than his share of sexist remarks. And he actively denied that any criticisms of former PM Julia Gillard had nothing to do with her gender – only her competency.
I’m putting aside that the same repost could be made about the criticisms of Peta Credlin, because there’s something more interesting here.
That something is The Gender Card.
When any one in politics, public life or private conversation points out that they are being treated differently, they’re accused of playing a Card.
If someone points out that they are being treated differently due to their skin colour, it’s The Race Card. When someone points out sexism, it’s The Gender Card.