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Senator Abetz's Comments on President-Elect Donald Trump

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Tags: Sexism, Women, Racism


In his glowing praise of US president-elect Trump the day after the election, Liberal Senator Eric Abetz claimed a win for the conservatives, crowing about the election of a man who on the evidence is a sexist, racist, homophobic, lying bully.  Do you agree that president-elect Trump's comments about women are sexist and his behaviour condones sexual violence against women?  You will agree that sexist attitudes feed gender inequality and violence against women.  As Australian of the Year, Lieutenant-General David Morrison says, the standard you walk past is the standard you accept.  As Premier of Tasmania who has made much of tackling violence against women, what is your response to Senator Abetz's glowing endorsement of a man who has gloated about sexually assaulting women?  Have you walked past his comments or will you stand in here today and put Senator Abetz back in his place on behalf of every woman and girl in Tasmania?



Madam Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Greens for her question and can say very comfortably that there is a lot of what president-elect Trump says that I do not necessarily agree with.  There is a lot that he has said that I certainly do not believe would appropriately describe what we are doing here as a state government to reduce the incidence of family violence and to better support vulnerable people in our communities. 

It is fair to say that the member is mis-characterising what Senator Abetz said.  I am aware of the statement where Senator Abetz said he thought that centre-right parties and their policies might be something that resonates with people in the community.  It is not true or fair for the member to suggest that Senator Abetz was ascribing his support to each and everything that president-elect Donald Trump has said and nor will I do such a thing.  What is of more importance to Tasmanians is what we are doing to reduce the incidence of family violence.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker.  The question was specific on behalf of women and girls.  Will the Premier walk away from Senator Abetz's endorsement of Trump?

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  The member has just used this as an opportunity to re-ask one aspect of the question.  There were numerous questions contained in that question and the Premier is I presume attempting to answer all of them.  Members know my ruling in that regard.  It was not a specific question.

Ms O'CONNOR - On the point of order, Madam Speaker.  The Premier has decided clearly not to address the question.

Madam SPEAKER - No, that is not a point of order.  The member will resume her seat immediately and the Premier will continue answering his question.

Mr HODGMAN - I said very clearly that there is a lot of what president-elect Trump has said that I do not necessarily agree with.  I point to what we are doing here as a state government to address family violence.  It has been described as nation-leading.  We are implementing policies, programs and initiatives to support women in our community.  For some time in this place we had general agreement and consensus from members opposite that we were heading in the right direction.  They ascribed their support to what we are doing.  In recent times, all the Leader of the Greens has done -

Greens members interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  Both the member for Denison and Franklin, Ms O'Connor and Ms Woodruff, will stop their shouting at the Premier.

Mr HODGMAN - is try to make political gain out of the issue of family violence, violence against women and children, demonstrating that, where there is a political opportunity, Labor and the Greens will seize upon it.

We are delivering a significant program.  Yes, it presents many challenges, and more women and children being reported as a result of our increased efforts.  We are coming together with every state and territory in the country to lead a concerted effort at a national level. 

The hypocrisy of the member opposite, when another matter was brought to her attention - the bullying and intimidation of a female, no less, the member for Denison, her colleague - the Leader of the Greens said she should take it and cop it on the chin.