Senator David Leyonhjelm is refusing to apologise to Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. Picture: Gary Ramage
Senator David Leyonhjelm is refusing to apologise to Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. Picture: Gary Ramage

'Slut shaming' Senator’s absurd apology demands

SARAH Hanson-Young today rejected an extraordinary list of apology conditions from David Leyonhjelm saying, "he's slut-shaming me".

The Greens senator said she now had a responsibility to pursue Liberal Democrat Senator Leyonhjelm for his comments on her personal life which have detonated a national uproar.

Mr Leyonhjelm has in the Senate, and on radio and TV interviews, told the Greens senator to "stop shagging men" and made claims about her private life.

She has sent a lawyer's letter to Mr Leyonhjelm and today made clear she would not back down.

"I have a responsibility now, I have a responsibility to call this for what it is," Ms Hanson-Young told ABC radio today.

She said Mr Leyonhjelm had suggested she was "sexually promiscuous".

"He is - for lack of a better word, and I really apologise for this; I'm thankful that my daughter is home in bed still and not up for school - he's slut-shaming me," she said.

"And women right around this country know it, men, decent men know it, and I'm not prepared to sit here and be intimidated."

Mr Leyonhjelm has provided with the list of actions he wants Ms Hanson-Young to undertake before he will apologise.

He said if Ms Hanson-Young announces publicly:

1. She no longer believes men are collectively responsible for the actions of those men who commit violence.

2. She accepts we are each individuals, responsible for our own actions, and cannot blame others.

3. She accepts that women should have a right to carry the means of protecting themselves against violent people (men or women), such as pepper spray and mace.

Mr Leyonhjelm will announce publicly:

1. I have misjudged her.

2. I will forgive her for her previous comments.

3. I will apologise for my previous comments.

Ms Hanson-Young's rejection of his original proposal in the Senate to allow the carrying of mace and pepper spray, started their clash.


Last night Mr Leyonhjelm got into a fiery exchange with ABC's 7.30 host Virginia Trioli about his comments and accused Trioli of calling him a liar.

Responding to questions about his latest parliamentary stoush with Ms Hanson-Young, he told acting host Trioli, "No woman in my family would accuse all men of being sexual predators".

Trioli: "Neither did Sarah Hanson-Young. You can't produce that quote and you are denying it."

Mr Leyonhjelm: "So you are calling me a liar. Thank you very much."

He also said: "Do I have to remember every word precisely for it to be true?" To which Trioli replied: "In order to justify a pretty strong comment, yeah, I reckon you do."

The exchange continued with Trioli accusing Mr Leyonhjelm of being "bitchy when women take you on".

The feisty interview came after both Ms Hanson-Young and Mr Leyonhjelm criticised one another on Channel 10's The Project, and the stoush spilt over onto the ABC.

A defiant Ms Hanson-Young declared on The Project she would "not be bullied", and vowed to take a stand against Mr Leyonhjelm over "hideous" and "hurtful" comments made towards her in parliament.

Ms Hanson-Young said she had sought the advice of lawyer Rebecca Giles. There are reports Ms Hanson-Young sent legal letters to Mr Leyonhjelm over him telling her last week in the Senate to "stop shagging men".

"I'm standing up. I've decided as a matter of principle, I am not going to take this," she told The Project.

"I am not going to be intimidated, I am not going to be bullied and I'm in a very principled and privileged position. There are many women out there, whether they are on the factory floor or they are stewards on an airline or they work in the hospitality industry, many women cop sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace and don't have the ability. I'm doing this for them.

Virginia Trioli puts Senator David Leyonhjelm on the spot in a fiery exchange on 7.30. Picture: ABC
Virginia Trioli puts Senator David Leyonhjelm on the spot in a fiery exchange on 7.30. Picture: ABC

"These comments are offensive, they are inflammatory, and they are all based on a lie. They need to be called out."

Appearing on the same program, Mr Leyonhjelm denied making comments about Ms Hanson-Young's private life.

"I am not apologising for anything. I stand by it. I am opposed to double standards," he said.

"I made no comment whatsoever on her private life, other than that there were two standards being applied."

He claimed Ms Hanson-Young had said "word to the effect that all men are rapists", and went on to repeat claims about Ms Hanson-Young's private life.

In her interview, Ms Hanson-Young denied she had made the statement about men, saying, "I just want to put it really clearly that I never said those comments, I never inferred them, I do not believe them.

"What is clear and what is consistent is his total disrespect. And that's why I'm standing up."

Ms Hanson-Young said she had also been motivated to take action because of her daughter Kora.

"I am trying to show her a very clear lesson here. That is that women don't deserve to be disrespected like this. And especially, not by a member of the parliament. Our parliament should be better," she said.

"Our parliament should be the pinnacle of how we engage in respectful debate, and just because you are losing an argument gives no person - whether they are a member of parliament or a commentator or they are somebody in the privacy of backyard discussion over a barbecue - gives nobody the right to treat a woman like that with such sexist slurs just because they couldn't win the argument on sound facts."

Earlier, Ms Hanson-Young called on Mr Leyonhjelm to resign over his "reprehensible" comments.

"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," she said in a statement on Monday.

Mr Leyonhjelm said there was no way he would apologise.

The Greens will try to have Mr Leyonhjelm censured by parliament, with leader Richard Di Natale calling on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to condemn the comments.

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