MACARTHUR Liberal MP Russell Matheson says Prime Minister Julia Gillard's passionate speech in Parliament last week was just a "diversionary tactic" and a grab for female votes.
But many of those female voters have hailed it as a landmark speech for women.
Ms Gillard's scathing attack on Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, during which she accused him of sexism and misogyny, made news around the world and received a mixed reaction locally.
"I just think Julia Gillard is raising false allegations against the opposition to take the pressure off the issues," Mr Matheson said.
Campbelltown Labor councillor Meg Oates described the level of debate in Canberra as pathetic.
"But I thought [of Julia Gillard's speech] — it's about time. 'You can't treat people like this, whether it's sexism or racism or homophobia."
Wilma Women's Health Centre manager Kim McCausland said Ms Gillard deserved more respect. "I've said for a long, long time that she's been treated differently to previous prime ministers and I do believe she's been treated differently because of her sex," she said.