Melbourne: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has weighed into Australia's bitter gender debate raging around Premier Julia Gillard by saying his successor may be a female as women have all the qualities needed in leaders.

"If the circumstances are such that a female Dalai Lama is more useful, then automatically a female Dalai Lama will come," the Dalai Lama said told reporters ahead of a 10-day tour of Australia.

The Nobel Peace laureate is scheduled to speak in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Darwin. Asked about the gender war reignited by Gillard, the 77-year-old monk said the world is facing a "moral crisis" of inequality and suffering and needs leaders who can bring compassion to their post.

"In that respect, biologically, females have more potential. Females have more sensitivity about others' wellbeing. In my own case, my father was very short-tempered,” he said.

"On few occasions I also got some beatings. But my mother was so wonderfully compassionate," the Dalai Lama said.

His comments come as an Australian opposition leader sparked a controversy by using "grossly sexist and offensive" words to describe Gillard's body at a party fundraiser menu.


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