SEXISM is institutionalised in the Australian Parliament, the leader of the Greens, Christine Milne, has said, as debate on the issue continued to dominate politicians' public comments.
Senator Milne was reacting to tweets by the Labor factional powerbroker Senator David Feeney featuring identical pictures of Senator Milne with the caption: ''The different emotional states of Senator Christine Milne''.
''The thing about sexism is it's institutionalised in the Parliament; it's institutionalised in big business across the country. You see that when you look at people being treated differently because of gender,'' Senator Milne said.
''There are very few women in senior executive positions … while we have now women in leadership positions in the Parliament, you still get things like the 'handbag hit squad' reference. Now, I find that really offensive.''
Senator Milne said the Prime Minister's attack on the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, was a ''powerful'' speech.
Had it not been in the context of the Peter Slipper no-confidence motion it would have been seen across Australia in the same way as internationally, ''as a strong speech and a necessary speech'', she told Sky News.
She defended the Greens' decision to vote with the government to not sack Mr Slipper because of respect for the institution.