Gillard barred for 'snivelling grub' slurSydney Morning HeraldMay 31, 2006
Julia Gillard has accused the government of double standards after calling Tony Abbott a ``snivelling grub'' and being thrown out of parliament.
Mr Abbott used the same term just last week but escaped expulsion from the House of Representatives.
Ms Gillard accused the health minister of having a gutter mentality and a bully-boy demeanour, which she said had driven her to the insult.
She was ordered out of the House of Representatives early this morning and, under the ruling, cannot return for 24 hours.
"I move that that snivelling grub over there be not further heard,'' she said, interrupting Mr Abbott's speech on laws changing private health insurance.
Ms Gillard, the opposition health spokeswomen, withdrew the comment - "If I have offended grubs I withdraw unconditionally'' - but that did not satisfy the speaker of the house, David Hawker, who named her for defying his request for an unconditional backdown.
Under lower house rules, Mr Abbott was then obliged to move a motion ordering her from the chamber.
But Ms Gillard said her comments were precisely the same as those used last Thursday by Mr Abbott when he called her colleague, Kelvin Thomson, a "snivelling grub''.
Her motion today was to test whether the speaker would deal with a Labor jibe in the same way, she said.
"To test the speaker's ruling, I deliberately moved a motion in exactly the same terms and offered a withdrawal in exactly the same terms,'' she told reporters in Canberra.
"Now, this is a ridiculous situation where if Tony Abbott says something it's fine, if I say exactly the same thing, I am suspended from parliament for 24 hours. "This is double standards writ large.''
Mr Abbott was driving down the parliamentary standards of conduct, she said.
"I think people will make of that that Tony Abbott, because of his bully-boy demeanour, because of his less-than-intelligent tactics as leader of government business, has driven this house to new lows,'' Ms Gillard said.
"We didn't want it to come to this. We objected to his conduct last Thursday.
"If Tony Abbott is perpetually in the gutter and we do nothing, it's just our side and the reputation of our parliament that suffers.''
Ms Gillard called on the government to employ one set of standards for all parliamentarians.
"Every person who has been voted to sit in the House of Representatives by Australians should be treated the same,'' she said.
"There's not one rule for Tony Abbott and another rule for Labor members in this parliament. There should be one rule for everyone.''
Mr Hawker told parliament this morning he would review Labor's arguments.
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