Leyonhjelm rejects ‘misandry’ claim by Hanson-Young: not all men are rapists
Senator Fraser Anning moves a sensible motion to protect women from violence and allows self-protection
from Senator David Leyonhjelm
A number of supporters have contacted me in the last week to clarify what was said in the senate and why in the exchange with Sarah Hanson-Young. You may have heard media discussion, but many media accounts have lied about, misrepresented or distorted what I said.
The purpose of this email is to correct the record and allow you to judge for yourself.
18/06/2018 – Senator Hanson-Young appeared on Sunrise following the rape and murder of Eurydice Dixon to speak on women’s safety. During this interview she said:
“I think that women around this country are sick and tired of being made to feel responsible for the fact that men cannot control themselves and deal with their own issues. It’s not women’s fault that men behave like morons and like pigs.”
28/06/2018 – Senator Anning introduced a motion in the Senate calling for women to be permitted to use pepper spray, mace and tasers for self-defence. The motion reads:
At various points during the speech, Senator Hanson-Young interjects. The video confirms her saying “that’s right” and “hear hear” at various points. It is available here (the motion begins at 12:06:15).
Just after Senator Rice’s speech, Senator Hanson-Young calls out something like “women wouldn’t need pepper spray if men weren’t rapists”.
I responded, “Well you should stop shagging men then, Sarah”.
Following this, Hanson-Young approached my desk and asked me what I’d just said. When I confirmed my comment she called me a creep and I told her to “f… off”. None of this was captured by the microphones or reported in Hansard.
Later that day Hanson-Young made a statement to the Senate (shown below). I wasn’t in the chamber at the time.
In response I issued this media release in which I made the point that the exchange was essentially about misandry; that is, the labelling of all men as rapists.
That evening I appeared on Sky’s Paul Murray show where the issue was discussed. You can view the relevant extract here.
29/06/2018 – Media reports were tending to misrepresent the issue and leaving out important contextual details, framing the issue as though Hanson-Young was an innocent victim of sexism rather than a sexist who had been called out on her double-standard.
I was contacted by Rowan Dean and invited to appear on Outsiders the following day. I confirmed I was willing to appear but indicated that I preferred to focus the discussion on misandry rather than just my exchange with Hanson-Young.
30/06/2018 – On Outsiders I was asked about the exchange with Hanson-Young. You can view the video extract here. The transcript of my comments which seem to have prompted the complaints is as follows:
Senator Leyonhjelm: It was in a motion to consider self-defence. There was a motion calling on the government to make it possible for women to protect themselves, thinking in terms of the Eurydice Dixon case or the Jill Meagher case. And the Greens Senator, Janet Rice making a one minute statement which suggested that it’s all men, that men need to change their behaviour and so forth. Sarah called out, I don’t know the exact words because there was a lot of chatter going on, to the effect “men should stop raping women”, the implication being all men are rapists. Now Sarah’s, this is not a criticism, but Sarah is known for liking men. The rumours about her in Parliament House are well known, so I just said “well stop shagging men then Sarah”. I mean it just doesn’t make any sense if you think they’re all rapists, why would you shag them? So she took great offence to that, which is her problem not my problem. In retrospect she has a right to shag as many men as she likes, I don’t care, you know. But she took great offence and she came over and called me a creep. I told her to — am I allowed to say the F word on TV?…
In the remainder of the interview I highlighted the double-standard of characterising all men as predators while also having relationships with them. I also took the time to explain how individualism is central to libertarianism and that this is profoundly different to the collectivism inherent in racism and sexism.
Later that day I did a radio interview with 3AW in which I made the same points. I have a copy of this interview but 3AW has declined to make it publicly available. Here is a transcript of the main point I made.
Senator Leyonhjelm: What I was referring to was the double standards. On the one hand saying all men are responsible for the violence that occurred to Eurydice Dixon, and on the other hand having relationships with men as she does, as she well known for, not that I am critical of that, so that is the double standard that I was concerned about. I am also concerned about the misandry, I don’t think it is legitimate, any more legitimate,e to being misandrist than to be a misogynist and I was calling that out as well. I also take exception to this idea that there is some kind of collective responsibility for men, or women for that matter, for bad things that happen.
Senator Leyonhjelm: She is known for having relationships with men, she had a quite famous one, with a Liberal member of parliament a few years ago, Barry Haase. I am not criticising her for that, she is perfectly entitled to do that, but….
3AW interviewer 2: but when you mention it, are you kind of..
Senator Leyonhjelm: the double standards are what I am concerned about, you can’t on the one hand say, say or infer, all men are rapists and on the other hand have relationships with men. My comment was “stop shagging men then”, otherwise you are being hypocritical. That was the point of my comment and it was not slut-shaming and —
It is worth emphasising that at no time have I mentioned or implied how many or how often Sarah Hanson-Young has relationships with men. That was irrelevant to my point.
In the afternoon of that day I was called by Rowan Dean who told me there was a Change.org petition asking the CEO of Qantas to withdraw the company’s sponsorship of Sky. Rowan was concerned that the Outsiders show might be axed and asked if I would come on Chris Kenny’s show that evening to apologise. I made it clear I would not apologise, but indicated willingness to confirm Sky was not responsible for what I had said. In the event, I was not asked to make such an appearance.
02/07/12 – Hanson-Young appeared on The Project on Channel 10. She denied making comments about men being rapists, saying “I’ve never believed that, never thought that, and never said that”. Mainstream media outlets were quick to believe her, with none of them bothering to ask the obvious follow-up question: what is it that she did say in the Senate that prompted my “stop shagging” comment?
It is relevant that Senator Derryn Hinch, who sits close to the Greens like me, tweeted that she did not say all men are rapists, but rather “She said something like women wouldn’t need pepper sprays if men weren’t rapists.”