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Remembering How Julia Gillard Was Treated As PM Drove One Of Her Ministers To Tears

One nice moment in the midst of everything else being truly, truly terrible.

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Prime Minister Julia Gillard had broken her election-eve promise to never introduce a carbon tax and she was copping it from then-opposition leader Tony Abbott as well as conservative shock jocks and the nation's newspapers.

Abbott was doing everything he could to punish Gillard for the backflip, including speaking at rallies attended by, in the words of former environment minister Greg Combet, "all sorts of fruit loops."

It was at this time that Tony Abbott, accompanied by several of his MPs, spoke in front of a sign which declared that Julia Gillard was then-Greens leader Bob Brown's "bitch."

Close Gillard ally and confidant, former trade minister Craig Emerson, tears up as he remembers how his leader was treated.

"I felt like vomiting when I saw the signs," a clearly emotional Emerson says. "'Ditch the Witch' is bad enough but 'Ju-liar' and 'Bob Brown's bitch' is so deeply and utterly offensive, deeply and utterly offensive to any woman in this country let alone the prime minister of Australia."

It's one of the few nice sentiments in tonight's episode, which focuses on the three years Kevin Rudd spent stalking Julia Gillard in his attempts to regain the top job.

In tonight's episode, Gillard also says she thought Abbott's actions should have cost him his job.

"I really don't know why this wasn't a career ending moment for Tony Abbott – sexism is no better than racism," she said.

The Killing Season: The Long Shadow airs tonight at 8.30 on the ABC.

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