Politics-Australis, where anything goes including double standards and a good old fashioned gender war. During Tuesday's question time the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, was pressured into supporting the disgraced anatomy surrealist, Speaker of the House, Peter Slipper. Her strategy was simple: to confront Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, with a blistering attack on his own history of sexist statements real or imagined, thereby, hopefully, to some extent, deflecting attention away from the dirty deed she had to perform in keeping Slipper in his job.
Abbott's call for the government to dump Slipper after his private text messages went public was itself a stunt- the parliament of Australia cannot be made a kangaroo court determining guilt or innocence while Slipper's case is before the courts, and of course Abbott knew this. It was all about reducing the government's numbers, a win the Prime Minister wasn't prepared to give him. But what seemed to be missed in all the political argy bargy, was the historic complexion of Gillard's speech in reply. For 15 minutes the nation - and as it turned out the world - watched the Prime Minister behead the two-faced hydra of misogyny - execution swift and lethal.
Gillard made it clear that women have had a gutful of sneering men who still don't understand what equality actually means. The Canberra press gallery argued the toss over the politicking and the context in which it was made, oblivious to its power and bearing as a catalyst for something new: a bulletin pinned to the notice-boards along the testosteroned corridors of power in politics, the media or anywhere else for that matter, placing men on notice that the time for reform was now.
Nevertheless, regrettable are the circumstances that forced her hand. Calls of hypocricy over Ms Gillard's support of Slipper - whose unsavoury text messages included referring to female genitalia as resembling a popular seaside resort mollusc - are not exactly easy to ignore. Parliamentary standards are the poorer for that reason (little did she know that Mr Slipper would resign some four hours later). But as a clarion call for an end to the undead predisposition of too many men who still see women through Middle Ages eyes it has few equals. It may well go down as a defining moment, and one that only a female PM could deliver.