Gillard played misogyny card: Howard

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 21 September 2014 | 20.01

Not true ... former prime minister John Howard says the idea that Tony Abbott is anti-women is "ridiculous" Source: Supplied

FORMER prime minister John Howard has slammed Julia Gillard for "playing the misogyny card", saying her leadership was doomed from the start as "she had no authority".

In an open and frank interview on Seven's Sunday Night, Howard described Ms Gillard's sexism speech in Parliament as "nonsense ... because it was untrue".

"The idea that Tony Abbott is anti-women is ridiculous — it's just quite wrong," Mr Howard told interviewer Janet Albrechtsen.

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Mr Howard said Ms Gillard's famous speech — which made headlines around the world — did not resonate with "any women I know".

"I don't think it resonated," Mr Howard told Sunday Night in his first major interview since losing power seven years ago.

Power play ... John Howard says Julia Gillard had no authority because she never won an election in her own right. Source: Supplied

"I think it is the worst possible way of promoting a greater involvement by women in public life … and to play the misogyny card — so many women of ability I know in the community pour scorn on that."

Mr Howard said he found Ms Gillard "a very pleasant person to deal with" but that she had no authority because she had never won an election in her own right.

"Removing a first term prime minister and then not to win the subsequent election meant she never had authority and the most important thing that a prime minister has is not popularity but authority."

'No authority' ... acting opposition leader Julia Gillard looks on during Question Time in 2007. Source: News Corp Australia

Mr Howard also admitted that he should have bowed out during his final term as PM, saying "it was a mistake, a miscalculation, lost my nerve or whatever description you want to give it".

Referring to his rivalry with"ambitious" former treasurer Peter Costello, Mr Howard said he understood why "he wanted me to go".

Concerns ... the former PM discussed his views on Australia's terror threat. Source: Supplied

"It's only natural he would be disappointed that I didn't retire at a time that suited him. Peter had every reason to feel disappointed but he did not have the right to feel entitled."

The former PM also offered views on multiculturalism and the threat of homegrown terror plots.

Leadership struggle ... John Howard, with Peter Costello in 2007, admits he should have bowed out in his final term. Source: News Limited

"I think some people have spent too much time in closed communities where that kind of thing can occur," he said.

"I think we should try harder at integration. I am not an overwhelming fan of the doctrine of multiculturalism.

"Once you're here you have to become part of the mainstream of the community."

On a personal front, Mr Howard praised the three women who have had the most impact on his life: his mother, his wife Janette and his daughter Melanie.

Partnership ... John Howard told Sunday Night he was "smitten" with wife Janette from the moment he met her. Source: News Limited

He said his greatest struggle was when his beloved Janette was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1996.

"I feared for her, it really did affect me badly ... I was frightened I would lose my wife."

Mr Howard said Paul Keating telephoned him to offer his support.

"It was a very decent, gracious thing for him to do," he said.

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