Comments from Tony Abbott accusing the Gillard Government of being "inexperienced" when it comes to having babies are the latest in a series of assumed sexist slurs and personal attacks that have clouded Canberra these past two weeks.
The Opposition Leader has apologised over comments he made in response to the government's plans to cut the baby bonus as part of its budget delivery update on Monday.
When announcing the change which will see the bonus cut from $5000 to $3000 for second and subsequent children, Treasurer Wayne Swan justified the change arguing "after the first child you've already bought the cot, the pram and the other items that you can use again".
Mr Abbott told the Seven Network this did not reflect the reality of family living.
"If the government was a bit more experienced in this area they wouldn't come out with glib lines like that," he said.
The Prime Minister responded insisting that Mr Abbott explain what he meant by "that line".
The Opposition leader specified that he was referring to his own experience of needing a double pram after having his first daughter when the second was born 15 months later.
He said that he meant the Prime Minister no offence, but was happy to apologise.
"If she (Ms Gillard) wants to take offence of course I'm sorry about that. And if she wants to take offence of course I'm sorry about that. And if she would like me to say sorry, I'm sorry," Mr Abbott said.
The Opposition Leader — who was the subject of a scathing speech delivered by the Prime Minister in which she attacked him for sexism and misogyny — went on to say he thought people read too much into his comments.
"This was as innocent as a comment can be," he told Fairfax Radio.
Mr Abbott's suggestion that the debate "move on" from sexism and personal attacks has been echoed by shadow treasurer Joe Hockey, who described Labor's reaction to Mr Abbott's comments as "just pathetic".
"If they had more experience in a range of different areas they would understand the pressures," he said.
Mr Hockey said that Abbott's comments referred to the whole government, not just the Prime Minister, and supported the Opposition Leader's remarks, saying that he, as a father of three children under five understood the pressures.
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