Hamish McDonald Sits Down With Germaine Greer

"Violence is a funny word. You can have sex with a woman without waking her up."

Since Angela Merkel isn't an Australian leader, Germaine Greer can't say she's impressed by a single one of the country's female politicians.

When asked if she felt Australia was ready for another female PM by The Project's Hamish McDonald, the opinionated writer wasn't too optimistic about the options available.

"Well, that depends upon the women," she said. "I think the women might have to be a bit better at their job." 

Greer said Julie Bishop, who just a few weeks ago many thought had a chance of coming out of the Liberal leadership spill with the top job, has "had a charmed life but she knows when the sun has set."

It's an outlook on women in Australian politics that may not sit well with many people, but it seems to pale in comparison to the collection of controversial thoughts Greer had to share with McDonald while discussing her new book.

The book, titled On Rape, calls for a radical rethink on how to deal with and define non-consensual sex, with observations of sexual violence and the #MeToo movement.

Speaking at the 2018 Hay Literary Festival in May, Greer attracted widespread criticism by making the claim "most rape" is essentially just bad sex.

"Most rape is just lazy, just careless, just insensitive. Every time a man rolls over on his exhausted wife and insists on enjoying his conjugal right, he is raping her. It will never end up in a court of law," she said at the festival.

Greer further argued sentences for rape be reduced, perhaps to 200 hours of community service or an "R" tattoo on the offender's hand, arm or cheek.

The prospect of reducing the punishment for rape was a point of contention between Greer and McDonald.

"Lots of women are saying we should reduce the burden of proof," Greer said in response to the idea she was more concerned about men getting sentences that are too long over women being sexually assaulted.

"We should ignore whether or not the perpetrator believed that the victim was consenting and that means we abrogate his civil rights. Well, if you do then I'm saying you have to reduce the sentence." 

Greer was a prominent figure in the women's liberation movement nearly 50 years ago. Image: AAP

While explaining the point of her book -- which Greer was "pissed" has garnered so much more attention in comparison to her previous writings which dealt with "less exciting" topics -- she argued that non-consensual sex women agree to in order to avoid a less desirable outcome, is not a violent act.

"Non-consensual sex, where people give in for a quiet life or because he's going to be so bad-tempered tomorrow you won't be able to speak to him or because he's going to start shagging his secretary or whatever...all of this is constrained," she said.

"Violence is a funny word. You can have sex with a woman without waking her up."

A prominent figure of feminism throughout the 70's, Greer's controversial views on rape and women have put her at odds with much of the modern feminist landscape.

The Project airs Sunday to Friday 6.30pm on TEN and tenplay.