FORMER Prime Minister John Howard has taken to Sunday Night on Channel 7 to deliver a stinging criticism of Julia Gillard's internationally acclaimed speech accusing Tony Abbott of misogyny, labelling it "nonsense".
Howard appeared in a special edition of Sunday Night titled, 'Howard Unmasked'.
Howard himself was the second-longest serving prime minister, in office for 11 years from 1996 until his landslide defeat at the hand of Labor's Kevin Rudd in 2007.
Howard lost his own seat as the Coalition lost government.
During the interview by Australian columnist Janet Albrechtson, Mr Howard is asked what he thought of the famed speech and the way it resonated with voters.
"I thought it was nonsense," he said.
"I thought it was untrue.
"The idea that Tony Abbott is anti-women is ridiculous. It's quite wrong.
"I think it's the worst possible way of promoting a greater involvement by women in public life -- something I support, we should have more women in Parliament but not through quotas -- is to play the misogyny card."
Mr Howard said while the speech may have resonated with "sections of the media" he questioned whether it gained traction with women in the community.
The former PM also touched on the ambitions of former Treasurer Peter Costello -- the man who so desperately wanted Howard to give up the top job.
Howard said there was "nothing wrong" with Costello wanting the big chair, but the Treasurer had no right to feel entitled to it.
"He wanted me to go, I understood that," Howard said.
"THere was nothing wrong with that.
"His ambition was thoroughly legitimate."
When asked if Howard thought Costello lacked the killer instinct to take the job, Howard said there would be no benefit in a public analysis of Costello's personality.
"Peter had every reason to feel disappointed but he had no right to feel entitled," Howard said.
"Noone has any entitlement to anything in public life. It's a myth."
Howard has returned to the public eye following the release of his book on Australia's longest-serving prime minister Robert Menzies: The Menzies Era.
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