School Children Shouldn't Watch How Our Political Leaders Behave
There was a little story a while ago that summed up the state of Australian politics.
Tours of school children in Canberra were being warned they shouldn’t watch Parliament in action, Question Time, because they could be exposed to verbal altercations and even bullying.
School children it seems shouldn’t see how our political leaders behave.
And on Tuesday that behaviour got even worse.
It started with Liberal MP for Chisholm Julia Banks sensationally quitting the the Liberal Party after previously outlining allegations of bullying and harassment of women within the Party.
Then Queensland LNP Senator Barry O’Sullivan got to his feet in the Senate, and said this about Sarah Hanson-Young:
“There’s a bit of Nick Xenophon in her, and I don’t mean that to be a double reference but there’s a bit of Xenophon in her."
This was shocking even to those on his side of politics. Nationals staffers openly questioned the lunacy of making that statement, on what had already been a bad day.
Oddly, he wasn’t booted out. It was Greens Leader Richard Di Natale, after he called O’Sullivan a “pig” and then refused to withdraw it.
“We have endured on this side, days of sexist filth coming from that man,” he said
“He is a sexist pig, and he should consider and reflect on the standards he is adopting in this Chamber.”
But this isn’t an isolated incident. And the government is now battling to convince the public they don’t have a problem with women.
That’s a tough sell, given that there are just 12 female MPs in the Coalition out of 74.
And in Wednesday’s Question Time we had to watch one of them try to do just that.
Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer was asked whether she said that this Liberal Government was seen as ‘homophobic, anti-women, climate change deniers’.
O’Dwyer was reported as having made this statement in a crisis meeting for Victorian MP following their disastrous showing at the state election.
Standing up to the Despatch Box she started:
“I thank the member for her question. It gives me an opportunity to be able to explain again to the House how this government is the national government for Australian women.”
Unsurprisingly it went downhill from there.
As she attempted to go on, it got so heated, it invoked memories of the famous Julia Gillard misogyny speech.
“You won’t listen to a woman at the Despatch Box,” she yelled across the chamber.
“So I will not take a lesson from you on that.”
Perhaps this Parliament should start taking tours of school classrooms.
It seems there are some lessons they might have missed.
Main image: Getty.