Australia PM lashes out at sexist menu

SYDNEY — Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said a menu for an opposition party fundraiser that made crude comments about her body was “grossly sexist”.

It offered up “Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail – Small Breasts, Huge Thighs and a Big Red Box”.

The menu was for a dinner for Liberal National Party candidate Mal Brough – the restaurateur later said it had been “a joke” and was not used at the meal.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott condemned the incident, calling the menu “tacky”.

“I condemn it, as Mal Brough has. We should all be bigger and better than that,” he said. “We should be appealing to every Australian’s best self as we go into this election.”

But he rejected the suggestion he should withdraw support for Brough, a Liberal lawmaker who served as a minister under John Howard and is seeking a return to office in a Queensland safe seat.

‘Disendorse him’

Gillard called for Brough to be disendorsed, saying the menu followed a “pattern of behaviour” from the opposition.

“Mr. Abbott’s solution to this pattern of behaviour is not to show any leadership. I mean, he’s effectively stood by Mr. Brough,” she said.

The fundraising dinner, in late March, was attended by about 20 people, with shadow treasurer Joe Hockey as the guest of honour. The menu card in question also mocked former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and two other Labour party lawmakers, as well as the Greens.

Both Hockey and Brough told local media they did not recall having seen the menu. Brough – who has apologised – said the text was drawn up by a non-party member who was “deeply apologetic”, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

But later today an apologetic restaurant owner, Joe Richards, wrote to Brough, and told him he had mocked up the menu but it had never been produced for public distribution.

“Unfortunately a staff member saw the mock menu, and unbeknownst to myself, posted it on their Facebook,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted the letter as saying. (BBC)

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