LABOR ministers have branded an Australian cattle company boss ''sexist and silly'' after he compared the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, to an ''old cow''.
The chief executive of the Australian Agricultural Company, David Farley, was reportedly explaining his business plans for a new abattoir designed to process old cows when he made the comparison.
''So it's designed for non-productive old cows. Julia Gillard's got to watch out,'' he was reported as saying.
The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, blamed the Coalition and ''Sydney shock jocks'' for creating a culture in which such language was acceptable.
''It's become frequent … there is no place for it in our public life.''
The Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, said people who thought they had permission to make ''sexist and silly'' remarks about Ms Gillard should think again. ''It is an outrageous thing to say about the Prime Minister,'' she said. ''It would actually be an outrageous thing to say about your wife, or your daughter, or your neighbour.'' She said leaders should not be subjected to personal attacks.
Mr Farley has said his comments were taken out of context.