There is a saying which comes to mind whenever I see poor behaviour in parliament: ‘The behaviour you walk past is the behaviour you accept.’
What is it about men that they still think it is acceptable to abuse a woman representative in parliament and not even offer a courteous apology when they are called out?
I appreciate that everyone is under pressure through the difficulties of COVID-19, but that must never excuse plain bad behaviour in our parliaments.
It only seems like yesterday that we watched in horror as Julia Gillard was subjected to constant vilification by both press and the parliamentary opposition. We liked to believe things had changed since those dark days of 2010 to 2013.
In the NSW parliament last week Brad Hazzard, Minister for Health, reacted to a reasonable question about the availability of face masks which had been touted as being in short supply. The question was asked by the opposition leader Jodi McKay. In response Hazzard verbally abused Ms. McKay, calling her the ‘temporary opposition leader’, labelled her ‘stupid’, a ‘complete pork chop’ and aggressively suggested she step down from her position.
His effort appeared designed to intimidate a younger, smaller female counterpart…an ugly approach by a male politician.
Again, last week in the NSW parliament the Shooters MP Phil Donato described female National MP Steph Cook as ‘barren’ when she asked a question about a school crossing. In replying Ms. Cook described Donato’s remarks as ‘highly personal and vulgar’ and ‘extremely distressful’. Donato attempted to deflect his comments by claiming they were ‘taken out of context’ but he clearly meant every word.
Where are the parliamentarians who will stand up to these bullies and make them cool their heels, remove them from parliamentary sittings until they properly and genuinely apologise for cruel and unnecessary remarks?
These male politicians are still getting away with blatant misogyny. It is ten years since Julia Gillard called out their misogynistic behaviour and some male politicians still haven’t moved on. It is time the electorate moved them on!
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Ref.: Tarla Lambert, Women’s Agenda.