Senate Unites To Condemn Bettina Arndt Over Domestic Violence Comments
The Senate has voted nearly unanimously to condemn Bettina Arndt for controversial domestic violence comments -- with Pauline Hanson's One Nation the only holdouts.
Labor frontbenchers Penny Wong and Kristina Keneally have demanded men's rights activist Arndt be stripped of her Order of Australia following comments about the Clarke family murders.
On Tuesday, the shadow ministers moved a motion in the Senate condemning "reckless and abhorrent" comments about the recent murders of Queensland woman Hannah Clarke and her three children.
Arndt drew scrutiny last week after tweeting "Congratulations to the Queensland police for keeping an open mind and awaiting proper evidence, including the possibility that Rowan Baxter might have been 'driven too far'."
The Labor motion asked the Senate to agree to the statement that "the values that underpin Ms Arndt's views on this horrific family violence incident are not consistent with her retaining her Order of Australia."
On Tuesday government senators joined with Labor to pass the motion. The chamber voted nearly unanimously to support it. Only One Nation senators Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts voted against it.
Hanson herself had previously come under fire for controversial comments about the Brisbane murder.
"A lot of people are driven to do these acts for one reason or another ... but don't bastardise all men out there, all women for this matter ... because these things happen," she said.
Arndt was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in January for "significant service to the community as a social commentator, and to gender equity through advocacy for men".
The government said it supported Labor's motion condemning Arndt, but in a statement to the Senate, the Coalition clarified that it did not support the idea of politicians stripping civil honours.
"There is no excuse for what happened to Hannah Clarke and her three children, it was a murder plain and simple, but there is nothing plain and simple about the tragedy that is domestic violence," Keneally said before the vote.
"And there is nothing plain and simple about using your position with an Order of Australia to spread comments that could be seen to be inciting violence, that seem to be condoning violence."
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said the matter "must be above politics."
"Today Labor will move to have her Order of Australia withdrawn. Because victims of family violence should never, never be blamed for family violence," he said.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton also condemned Arndt's remarks but would not comment on whether her award should be revoked.
"I don't agree with the comments," he told reporters.
Liberal senators Sarah Henderson and Hollie Hughes have also spoken out against Arndt, with Henderson writing a letter to the Council for the Order of Australia.
"I believe that Ms Arndt has so seriously crossed the line in her commentary concerning this horrific act of family violence that it is no longer appropriate that she be awarded this honour," she said.
Governor-General David Hurley has forwarded complaints about Arndt's Order of Australia to the body that manages the awards.