OPINION: AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT IS A TOXIC BOYS CLUB

Australia is making headlines recently and not for the right reasons.

A Four Corners episode called ‘Inside The Canberra Bubble’ has exposed a history of sexist and inappropriate behaviour within the coalition government.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson Young was 25 when she gained her seat in parliament in 2007, being the youngest person to do so.

Since then she has been using her voice passively to fight for topical issues and women’s rights. 

For the most part she has ignored the sexist comments until a debate in 2019 on women’s safety in after Melbourne comedian Eurydice Dixon was killed walking home.  

Ms Hanson-Young said women wouldn’t need extra protection if men didn’t rape and in response to this an older male senator called out, “You should stop shagging men, Sarah.”

In 2012 Julia Gillard gave a history breaking speech about misogyny in Australia Parliament after former Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition Tony Abbott called her sexist.

Julia’s speech targets the Leader of The Opposition saying that his double standards are repulsive.

 “Let’s go through the opposition leader’s repulsive double standards when it comes to misogyny and sexism,” she said in the now famous speech.

But today, the coalition government is still not listening or hearing women of the nation.

In a press conference held on the 23rd of March 2021 the coalition government went out to assure Australian women they are being heard.

 “I acknowledge that many Australians, especially women, believe that I haven’t heard them,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.  

This press conference comes ten years to the day since Tony Abbott appeared out the front of Parliament House in front of a “ditch the witch’ sign aimed at Julia Gillard.

The press conference also comes two years after the rape allegation of liberal staff member Brittney Higgins in the ministerial wing.

At the end of the day the problem isn’t the lack of women in politics, it is the way the men treat them.

Women deserve equal respect in the workplace, in the home and in their everyday life.

The toxic man club is a concept that belongs in the dark ages and it is time for change.

By Lucy Fawcett