Liberal MP Says Bettina Arndt Should Lose Order Of Australia Over Hannah Clarke Comments

Bettina Arndt

Liberal MP Tim Smith has joined those calling for Bettina Arndt to be stripped of her Order of Australia medal, after comments she made about the murder of Hannah Clarke and her family in Brisbane.

Following Clarke’s death, Arndt spoke out in support of a Queensland police detective, since removed from the case, who questioned whether this week’s horrific murders were a case of domestic violence or a “husband being driven too far.”

The writer praised the detective, and congratulated the Queensland police service for “keeping an open mind and awaiting proper evidence, including the possibility that Rowan Baxter might have been driven too far.” She said of the case:

“But note the misplaced outrage. How dare police deviate from the feminist script of seeking excuses… and explanations when women stab their partners to death, or drive their children into dams but immediately judging a man in these circumstances as simply representing the evil violence that is in all men.”

The comments by Bettina Arndt drew significant criticism, and yesterday, Liberal MP Tim Smith wrote to the chair of the Order of Australia, asking for her award to be cancelled. He said her remarks bring the order into disrepute. Per a Fairfax report, he wrote:

“The Council of the Order of Australia has an important role protecting the Vice-Regal office and the Crown in Australia from associating itself with views that seek to make excuses for extreme violence. In this instance, a multiple murder has been committed in the most heinous fashion, with three children under the age of ten and their mother having been incinerated in a vehicle on their way to school.”

Former Today host Deborah Knight was also angered by the comments, saying:

“Bettina Arndt, you are wrong! No one can be justified in torching their wife and their three children. This has nothing to do with feminism, this has to do about protecting people. Your comments are completely wrong and they need to be called out.”

Arndt has defended her remarks, telling Fairfax:

“I supported a policeman who did his job. I felt we should support a public official who obviously made a statement in the course of an inquiry. He was a man doing his job. I think we should support someone in his position rather than attacking him for ideological reasons.”

Bettina Arndt was made a member of the Order of Australia in January. The move was met with criticism, with anti-domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty saying that she was “shocked” to hear about the honour.

Help is available.

If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.

If you’d like to speak to someone about domestic violence, please call the 1800 

Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online. 

Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online