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Australia Today

A Rundown of Yesterday’s Insanely Gross, Sexist Day in the Senate

One senator suggested we combat sexual violence by giving women tasers. Another told Senator Sarah Hanson-Young to “stop shagging men”.

On Thursday, Katter's Australia Party senator Fraser Anning put forward a truly bizarre motion on how to respond to crimes of violence against women. He said the government should relax import laws on weapons such as tasers and pepper sprays, and that states should legalise and encourage their use. His argument seemed to be that encouraging women to arm themselves would prevent them from being attacked.


His claims were immediately challenged by Greens senator Janet Rice, who replied: "The last thing that women in Australia need now is another man in power telling us that we are responsible for violence against us." She also stressed that his comments were part of a disturbing pattern of the violence being seen as a women’s issue, and the responsibility being placed on women to protect themselves rather than men to not commit these crimes.

In a gross confirmation of her words, things turned even uglier during the vote with Liberal Democratic Party senator David Leyonhjelm telling Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young to “stop shagging men”. She immediately asked him if she’d heard the comments correctly, and when he stood by them she called him a creep. He told her to “fuck off”.

Senate president Scott Ryan stepped in to demand an apology but he refused. Speaking to Sky News, Leyonhjelm added: “I am prepared to rephrase my comments. I strongly urge Senator Hanson-Young to continue shagging men as she pleases.”

This display of insanity comes on the back of a national conversation around the growing rates of sexual assault and violence against women in Australia. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics released yesterday showed an eight percent increase in sexual assault victims between 2016 and 2017. The rise was in contrast to the falling rates of other crimes. Nationally, homicide saw a nine percent decrease over the same period.

Senator Anning’s motion was eventually defeated 46-5, with Government minister James McGrath adding that there were no plans for the government to relax laws around weapons importation.