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Was the Prime Minister's tirade at Abbott justified?

The Prime Minister's explosive attack has earned her praise around the world and criticism back home
A fuming performance by the Prime Minister attacking Tony Abbott for his 'sexism' and 'misogyny' not only shocked the Opposition Leader, but has the whole world talking.
Julia Gillard's explosive tirade made international headlines, caused feminists to cheer, and has also been a source of embarrassment for the PM following the Speaker's resignation — a call for which spurred the attack.
There's no doubt the impassioned rant unleashed in parliament yesterday got our attention, but was it justified?
The ferocious speech came in reaction to calls from the Opposition to sack Speaker Peter Slipper over 'sexist' text messages, a motion which Gillard rejected and sent her into a scathing attack on Tony Abbott over his hypocritical idea of sexism and misogyny.
"I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man, I will not… not now, not ever," she said.
"If he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia… he needs a mirror."
Only hours later, Slipper resigned as Speaker, leaving the Prime Minister and fellow supporters red-faced.
Political commentators have come out in criticism of the Prime Minister's rant, saying it showed poor political judgment, and that she should be embarrassed for supporting the former Speaker over the same issues that led to his resignation.
"Gillard's parliamentary presentation was brilliantly ferocious, emotionally stirring and evocative of a wronged and injured party," wrote The Australian's Dennis Shanahan.
"But the substance and argument fell well short of an acceptable political strategy and risked only alienating more voters disenchanted with the grubby, hypocritical and personal abuse from both sides of parliament."
In rare agreement, the Sydney Morning Herald's Peter Hartcher acknowledged Gillard's flawed judgment, saying all she achieved was a serious loss of credibility.
"She chose power over principle. It was the wrong choice," he wrote.
"It was an unprincipled decision and turned out not to be pragmatic either. The Prime Minister gained nothing and lost a great deal."
While there are many critics, the defensive Prime Minister, as we've never seen her before, has also won public support, as well as many new international fans.
Supporters rushed to Twitter praising "the real Julia" as a champion for women. Twitter feeds overflowed with 'Go Julia' hash tags and Facebook newsfeeds with statuses of appraisal.
And though she may have critics closer to the home, Gillard's speech has seen her praised as a "badass" and champion for women around the world.
Clips from the speech and some of the PM's impassioned quotes have being doing the rounds on the world wide web, earning top spots on popular US websites Jezebel, The Daily Beast, Salon, and was even praised by conservative British magazine The Spectator.
"No matter what you think of her politics, there's much to admire in the manner in which Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister, sets about Tony Abbott, the Leader of the Opposition," columnist Alex Massie wrote.
The speech prompted enthusiastic praise from the popular US women's website Jezebel, which highlighted the PM's quotes and flatteringly described her as "one badass mother---er".
International mainstream media has also picked up the speech, London's Daily Telegraph praising Ms Gillard for "playing her best hand".
"Watching a female Prime Minister tear apart the male leader of the Opposition with such aplomb, composure — but most importantly armed with a brilliantly impressive set of insults - backed up with dates and times of when each shocking comment was said — was the best card Gillard, ever the political animal, could have played in such a situation," wrote women's editor Emma Barnett.
But Barnett also acknowledged how the move may have cost her, as critics have closer to home.
"Defending the indefensible is a pretty tough job and could still cost her dear," she said.

Your say: Do you think the Prime Minister's tirade was justified?

Video: Gillard blasts Abbott on sexism

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