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During an event Friday concerning "women's advancement," Australia's first female prime minister was confronted with what proved to be a difficult question, namely, "What is a woman?"
Julia Gillard's tortured four-minute response, wherein she managed to avoid ever mentioning those immutable characteristics that distinguished her from all her predecessors, has prompted ridicule and contempt internationally.
Gillard, a Welsh-born lawyer, became Australian prime minister in June 2010. Facing an abysmal approval rating, her left-leaning Labor Party ousted her three years later, but not before she could issue her famous lecture about misogyny to her soon-to-be successor across the aisle, Tony Abbott.
The former prime minister joined Frances Adamson, the governor of South Australia, at Government House in Adelaide last week to discuss "the issues, challenges and opportunities facing Australian women."
At one point during the event, women's rights activist and comedian Biddy O'Loughlin asked a set of penetrating questions germane to the topic at hand: "What is a woman, and do you agree with Queensland's Attorney-General Minister for Women Shannon Fentiman that trans women are women and with UK's leader of the Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer that some women can have a penis?"
Gillard said she would be happy to answer, but prefaced her response by expressing concern that "this has turned into a kind of 'gotcha' parlor game."
Rather than partake in such a "game," Gillard suggested that it would be prudent instead to "come at this once again from first principles."
On the basis of first principles, Gillard concluded, "There are a number of people who genuinely believe that they are trapped in the wrong body, and they want to be recognized as the gender their mind and soul have always told them that they are — and that doesn't go one way. It goes both ways. You know, people who have transitioned from being men to being women and women who have transitioned to being men."
She added, "I think we've just got to say, like we'd want to show everybody else in the community love, inclusion, and respect, we should do that for each of those individuals."
Concerning what constitutes a "woman" in 2023, Gillard appeared willing to defer to transvestites, saying, "Transsexual women believe that part of that inclusion is referring to them the way they want to be referred to, using the pronouns that they want to have used about them. I would seek to do that in that circumstance."
Australia's first woman prime minister then intimated the controversy over whom is meant by "woman" is not "inherent in the discussion."
Genevieve Gluck, the co-founder of the feminist publication Reduxx, tweeted in response to the video of Gillard's response, "Even politicians are afraid of upsetting the very group of men that women are now expected to invite into our intimate spaces. Women are not a thought experiment - we can't defend what we can't define."
Australian politician Moira Deeming, an independent member of the Victorian Legislative Council, noted, "Tragically, it was our first female Prime Minister that presided over the erasure of sex based rights in Australia. Now she frames reasonable questions & complaints about the consequences, as petty bigotry."
The Spectator Australia reported that toward the end of Gillard's time at the helm of the nation, she oversaw the enactment of an amendment to the country's Sex Discrimination Act of 1984 which eliminated the definition of "woman," previously recognized to mean "a member of the female sex irrespective of age." The so-called Gillard amendments also erased the definition of "man" from the SDA.
Katherine Deves, writing for the Spectator, noted, "The Gillard amendments imposed the biggest game of wilful pretend imaginable on women and girls, now forced to suspend their reality and believe that a ‘penis-owner’ is a woman, because he says so."
Sky News host Rita Panahi blasted Gillard over her latest response, saying, "We've seen that question stump many gutless bureaucrats and politicians, but I never thought that Australia's first female prime minister, the first woman in the lodge as leader of this great nation, would be incapable of answering 'what is a woman?' but here we are."
"Around four minutes of idiotic waffle that shows where Australia’s ... first female prime minister stands on this most crucial issue," continued Panahi. "She stands firmly with the trans activists that have hijacked the left and modern feminism."
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Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.