Australia's first female PM's 'murderous rage' over sexism

Australia's first female PM's 'murderous rage' over sexism

SYDNEY - Australia's first female premier Julia Gillard has described her "murderous rage" at her sexist treatment but said she would do it all again in her first public appearance since being dumped.

Gillard received a standing ovation from a sellout 2,600-person crowd as she stepped onto the stage of the Sydney Opera House for a candid discussion of her time as leader with renowned Australian feminist Anne Summers on Monday night.

It was her first civic foray since being toppled in a Labor party-room coup by Kevin Rudd on the eve of last month's national elections, and her first public remarks about the sexism that marked her time in office and her infamous misogyny speech.

Gillard said she had faced a "perfect storm" as leader in which the "wild card element of gender, being the first female prime minister" had been a defining factor.

She admitted being aware of the vicious, sometimes sexual and violent commentary both within the mainstream press and on social media sites taking aim at her gender but said she "chose not to focus on them".

"I would have said more like murderous rage," Gillard said when asked to describe how she had felt.

"So for my personal liberty it's probably a good thing that I didn't focus on them."

Gillard said her ascension to the top job had unleashed a "wellspring of enthusiasm from women and from many men" about gender equality "but there was also this underside of sexism, really violent ugly sexism that came forward," a "surprising" and "depressing" response.

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