One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts has been blasted online after he declared some “women like being whistled at”.
Discussing potential changes to the Racial Discrimination Act, specifically section 18C, the Senator told ABC’s Radio National Drive on Monday afternoon that “offence is taken, not given”, and current sexual harassment laws are “excessive” and need to be reformed.
“When it comes to verbal (sexual harassment), as I said before, yeah (the laws go too far),” he said.
“Is a wolf-whistle harassment? … Some girls think that that is wonderful, they, you know, they smile – others are offended. So wolf-whistle in one court are we going to outlaw it and another court we’re going to say it’s fine, a compliment?”
Following his statements, listeners took to social media, and added fuel to the ongoing debate about sexism in politics. Greens MP Janet Rice called Sen. Roberts “another self-appointed expert on how women feel about sexual harassment”.
— Narelle Ford (@narelleford) March 20, 2017
Labor MP Trish Doyle received media attention for rolling her eyes at a male politician who interrupted her during a pro-choice speech in parliament, and said the fight against sexism in Australia continues.
“We also have to work very hard to invoke what the wonderful Joyce Stevens said, and to encourage young men and women to step up and recognise the world for what it is. The member for Londonderry said it is also important that we grow our young men into good feminists,” she said.
Former UOW Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs Society president Mitchell Brown said the problem lies with the politicians rather than the policies.
“They forget that they’re representing the people rather than their own personal views. That’s the main issue – changing this ideology and mentality through education and media education in Australia,” he said.
Photo credit: RN Drive, James Vyver.