Liberal MP Recalls Walking Out Of Wildly Sexist Meeting On A Charged ‘Q&A’

On an episode of Q&A focussed on gender equality and how Australia is still striving for that goal, cabinet minister Karen Andrews revealed she recently left a stakeholder meeting in response to an unnamed man making “gestures as if he was going to remove his trousers.”

The Liberal MP, who serves as Industry, Science and Technology Minister, was asked by guest host Annabel Crabb to elaborate on an experience she shared with the Sydney Morning Herald last week.

In that piece, Andrews said “I actually shut a meeting down … it was actually just inappropriate conduct.”

The full context of that meeting was confronting.

“A male in the meeting thought it was appropriate for him to make gestures as if he was going to remove his trousers,” Andrews said.

“And at that point I called it as inappropriate behaviour, and I left the meeting.”

With a tone of diplomacy seemingly honed over decades of dealing with shitty men, Andrews added “if I was to be generous I would say the individual concerned was not used to dealing with senior women in the workplace.”

That statement comes days after Andrews noted that prejudice against women in the workplace does not diminish as they excel in their careers – and can actually become more pronounced based on a woman’s seniority within an organisation.

The Q&A discussion came amid a broader discussion of gender equality, not least within the federal parliament.

Despite the fact Andrews is one of seven cabinet ministers tapped to serve in Prime Minister Scott Morrison‘s government, the panel also focussed on his International Women’s Day statement – and his viewpoint that “we don’t want to see women rise only on the basis of others doing worse.”

“Frankly, I think it says everything about Scott Morrison,” said Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

“I think it says everything about his misunderstanding about what is really at the heart at the struggle for equality.”

And that’s not even touching on Hanson-Young’s defamation claims against former Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm, or Liberal MP Julia Bank’s claims of “bullying and intimidation” before last year’s infamous leadership spill. 

You can catch the full Q&A episode HERE.