Tony Abbott is convinced he is a 'modern man' as he parried accusations from Labor ministers that he behaves quite differently when dealing with female colleagues at the Parliament.
Health Minister Tanya Plibersek scored the opposition leader for displaying too rough of a demeanour while dispensing his duties as the man for the Coalition, especially on how he themes his arguments with the leading female figures at the House of Representatives.
With the acting Speaker of the House Anna Burke, Mr Abbott appeared not to mince words as Ms Plibersek told ABC on Tuesday that it seemed became a habit for the Liberal leader to pick a verbal tussle with Ms Burke.
"He's constantly offering unsolicited advice to the deputy speaker," the Labor frontbencher noted.
And the two's intense scuttle peaked yesterday during Question Time when Ms Burke instructed the opposition leader to take back his word, accusing Prime Minister Julia Gillard of being a liar, without further qualifications.
Mr Abbott obliged but injected still that Ms Gillard's earlier statement was untrue, earning the snide an ejection from the chamber for an hour.
Such has been the constant problem with the Coalition leader, Ms Plibersek stressed.
He appeared delighted tussling with Ms Burke and "he's been constantly sledging the Prime Minister across the table," she explained.
And if her memory serves, Ms Plibersek noted "I don't recall him behaving the same way with the two previous speakers (all male)."
"I think he does find it very difficult that he's dealing with two women in positions of authority ... I think it is a problem being told what to do by a woman," News Ltd quoted the health minister as saying in offering her conclusion.
And Attorney-General Nicola Roxon, another ardent foe of Mr Abbott, could not help but to agree with the suggestions of colleague.
"It does seem to me that he's not very comfortable with capable women," Ms Roxon was reported by News.Com.Au as saying on Tuesday.
"Whether that's because I'm a woman or whether that's because I win arguments with him, I think is a matter for others to make their summation," she added.
Speaking to reporters today, Mr Abbott said the accusations were not making any sense.
He pointed to his normal environment, which he noted was dominated by women left and right - a wife and daughters at home and a female chief of staff at work.
"I am an entirely modern man in this respect ... and I take directions from women every day," Mr Abbott declared.
But Labor senior frontbencher Anthony Albanese was far from convinced.
Reflecting on Mr Abbott's actuations when Peter Slipper and Harry Jenkins were seated the Speaker podium, Mr Albanese thought that the Liberal leader was more accommodating of rulings that the gentlemen had issued.
But with Ms Burke, every ruling from the female deputy speaker would almost always elicit "challenges and snipes," from the opposition leader, Mr Albanese said.
The same goes for Ms Gillard, who Mr Albanese said was a constant recipient of abuses from Mr Abbott.
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