The Senate has collectively dunked on so-called “men’s rights activist” Bettina Arndt for her “reckless” and “abhorrent” comments in the wake of the murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children.
On Tuesday, the Senate passed a motion to condemn Arndt’s comments and state that “the values that underpin Ms Arndt’s views on this horrific family violence incident are not consistent with her retaining her Order of Australia.”
The motion was moved by Labor senator Kristina Keneally and was backed by all other Labor, Coalition and Greens senators. Countless Labor and Liberal politicians had already called for the medal to be rescinded in the wake of Arndt’s comments.
Arndt had defended the case’s lead inspector Mark Thompson, who said that Clarke’s estranged husband may have been “driven too far”. On Australia Day, she received an Order of Australia medal (OAM) for her services “to gender equity through advocacy for men.”
The only senators to oppose the motion were One Nation duo Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts.
Hanson is the Deputy Chair of the Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System, which is tasked with inquiring into how the justice system deals with domestic violence, among other things.
“Bettina Arndt has the right to support the role of police and, in particular, Detective Inspector Mark Thompson,” she said in the chamber.
On Monday, she defended Arndt on Sunrise and said she should not be stripped of the medal.
The motion is largely symbolic, as the Governor-General’s office has already referred the issue to the independent council which oversees the awards.
The council will make a recommendation back to the Governor-General’s office, which will then act on that advice.