Oftentimes, if you were to scratch a libertarian (P.TV does not condone doing this), you would find an asshole. Even more oftentimes, they will make it abundantly clear to you that they are an asshole well before you get within scratching distance. Libertarians are theoretically concerned with the right of every person to live their lives as they see fit but, as Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm so beautifully typifies, they are more often just concerned with their own personal right to purchase and use high-powered automatic weapons while doing DMT and riding a motorbike at 150km/h in a school zone with no helmet on.
His dogged pursuit of individual freedom will occasionally put him on the right side of issues: he was an early advocate for marriage equality, he’s argued passionately for legalising weed, he has been a staunch opponent of the government’s push for stronger powers to spy on its own citizens, and he wants it to be legal to buy fireworks (still undecided if this is ultimately good or bad but it would definitely be fun in the hours before we burnt down all of our houses). I’m mentioning these because it’s important that we highlight the good things the man has done when we point out that he is – aggressively and relentlessly – a massive fuck.
Some people are in politics to make the world a better place. Some are in it for career reasons. Some do it because they believe it will help them solve their personal problems. Some people do it because they’ve seen too many brown people at the shopping centre lately and it’s making them uncomfortable. Leyonhjelm is in politics exclusively to piss people off, and if that’s the metric by which you judge his success, he’s incredibly successful.
When he’s not busy posting about loosening Australia‘s gun laws exclusively on days on which mass shootings have happened in the States, inviting paedophilia apologist and crypto-fascist fuckwit Milo Yiannopoulos into parliament, distancing himself from American neo-Nazi websites that are using his image, or threatening to call the police on The Chaser for doing something he had been praising someone else for doing in the weeks prior, he’s just generally being a shit to the people around him.
As you’re probably aware, included among those people is Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young. Leyonhjelm, with infinite grace and wisdom, decided that the best response to a speech from Hanson-Young regarding violence against women was to yell at her from across the floor of the chamber, advising her to ‘stop shagging men’. When she confronted him about it afterwards, he told her to “fuck off“. Lovely man, by all accounts.
Far from apologising, Leyonhjelm went on Outsiders apparently with the sole purpose of repeating what he said, but with more words this time. Sky News suspended a producer from the show after Leyonhjelm’s comments were reproduced in a strap saying that there are “well known” rumours about Hanson-Young “liking men“. It’s all well and good to suspend a producer for a graphics decision, but there seem to have been no repercussions to Rowan Dean or Ross Cameron for facilitating the comments or to Leyonhjelm for making them.
Even Tony Abbott, whose blood is 78% reptile, suggested that Leyonhjelm apologise when talking to 2GB:
Having made a tacky comment, the bloke should apologise. All of us, I suppose, get carried away but when you make a mistake, fix it as fast as you can. Leyonhjelm goes on Sky on the weekend and in a very smug and self-righteous way repeats the damn thing.
Not only did Leyonhjelm seem very smug and self-righteous on the program, he also quite proudly uploaded the entire clip to his website this afternoon.
In response, Hanson-Young has said today that she will be seeking legal advice “in relation to the commentary between Senator David Leyonhjelm and the hosts of both the Sky News Outsiders program and 3AW Weekend Breakfast broadcast on Sunday, July 1.”
In the statement, Hanson-Young called on Leyonhjelm to resign:
Comments made by Senator Leyonhjelm about me and broadcast on these two shows are reprehensible, hurtful, and no woman, whether in public or in the privacy of her own home deserves them.
Senator Leyonhjelm should do the decent thing and resign. I believe he has proven himself incapable of showing respect and is unfit to represent not only women, but all decent Australians, in our nation’s Parliament.
I would like to thank the many people who have reached out in support overnight. Thank you for all the words of support and care, they mean a lot to me.
It is a sad reflection on society that even in 2018, attacks like these occur to women after they have spoken out about sexism, sexual harassment and abuse in their workplace and daily lives.
Given that Leyonhjelm’s supporter base is largely brought together by their shared desire to see left-wing people pissed off with little to no regard for the reason why, it’s difficult to imagine any reason for Leyonhjelm to show any contrition or regret without it being a legal imposition.
Speaking to Fairfax today, Leyonhjelm restated his position that he is, in fact, not sorry at all:
It would be easier [to apologise] but it would be insincere, wouldn’t it, because I don’t think I have anything to apologise for. Insincere apologies seem to be all the rage at the moment and I’m not in for it.
What an absolute peanut.