Tony Abbott’s Wall-Punching Incident May Reopen With Barbara Ramjan Lawsuit vs Liberal Powerbroker
By Vittorio Hernandez | October 25, 2012 9:30 AM EST
The accusations of misogyny continues to hound Opposition leader Tony Abbott long after Prime Minister Julia Gillard used strong words in Parliament on her nemesis to describe his dislike for powerful women.
The charge may go a full circle from the woman who has accused Mr Abbott of bullying her when she beat him in a student election at the University of Sydney. The threat to resurrect the misogyny issue against the Coalition leader looms again after Barbara Ramjan filed on Monday with the New South Wales Supreme Court a lawsuit against Liberal powerbroker Michael Kroger.
Mr Kroger made nasty comments against Ms Ramjan in a TV show on Sept 23 and in two articles published by The Australian on Sept 24. He was actually defending his friend, Mr Abbott, who allegedly threw a punch in the wall 35 years ago after his poll loss to Ms Ramjan.
The long-forgotten incident, which Mr Abbott even denied, was made known to the public in an essay by journalist David Marr. The essay was published in September.
Mr Kroger even accused Ms Ramjan's husband, a former Supreme Court judge, of making false complaints against political rivals. He eventually apologised to Ms Ramjan on Tuesday but by then she had already filed the defamation action.
Besides the lawsuit that could revive the misogyny charge, a female House Speaker in Parliament and the improving political fortune of Ms Gillard, one more bullet against Mr Abbott is the result of a global survey released last week that said Australian women topped 128 nations in terms of female access to education, equal pay, childcare and anti-discrimination policies.
The study indicates more stronger and powerful women emerging in Australia.
Mr Abbott's brushes with women, past and present, led a Sydney Morning Herald opinion writer to point out that he does not choose his female opponents very well. Sydney barrister and author Charles Waterstreet's unsolicited advice to the Coalition leader who wants to be Australia's next prime minister is to put a closure first to the Ramjan affair so it would no longer be used as an issue against him in the 2013 election.
"One thing he could do is get dressed, get on his bicycle and cycle down to Barbara Ramjan's house and apologise," Mr Waterstreet wrote in his Oct 14 opinion piece.
To contact the editor, e-mail: