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"You are so patronising." Last night, Q+A panellist Andrew Liveris gave a masterclass in mansplaining.

Well, thank goodness for former Dow Chemical boss Andrew Liveris. 

I mean, how else would Narelda Jacobs, a respected journalist with more than two decades' experience, know what fossil fuels can be used for? And how would Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, a parliamentarian who's spent the last 13 years debating policy in Canberra, know how to conduct herself when engaging in discourse?

Liveris gave both women (entirely uncalled for) lectures on Thursday night's episode of ABC program Q+A, in what Senator Hanson-Young and fellow panellist Minister Malcolm Turnbull described as a classic display of "mansplaining".

Watch: Andrew Liveris mansplains to Narelda Jacobs on fossil fuels.


Video via ABC

The exchanges came amid a discussion on climate change, prompted by this week's Leaders Summit on Climate hosted by United States President Joe Biden. While the States announced an emissions reduction target of 50-52 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 and the UK announced a 78 per cent cut by 2035, Australia continues to lag behind at 26–28 per cent by 2030.

Lamenting our slow progress, Jacobs accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of alienating most Australians by saying it's an issue for the industry to deliver on rather than bringing the rest of the country along, too.

But gather 'round, children. Because Mr Liveris is ready to give his lesson.

The Australian-born American executive leant forward and said, "Let me teach you a new term: fossil feedstock."

Only, he didn't teach. If he had, he would have explained that the term refers to raw materials like crude oil, natural gas and brown coal that are used to produce another product. (In his view, we should still be digging up these materials but using them as manufacturing feedstocks rather than burning them as fuel.)

"If you want to live a modern life, you need a fossil feedstock," he said. "You can't get carbon any other way. If you want a chemistry lesson, I'll help you out the back."

Yep. He actually told a fellow panellist he'll take them outside and teach them a lesson.


Cue groan from the audience.

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"You're so patronising," Senator Hanson-Young replied. "Seriously."

"And you're not?" Liveris shot back.

"I'm not the one shaking my finger at people, mate."

"Well, you're yelling."

To be clear, she wasn't. She was challenging him. But I guess we're just sticking with the narrative that a woman who asserts herself is shouty and hysterical. 

Earlier in the program, Liveris responded to the Senator's accusation that he is a "gas man" who loves fossil fuels, by saying, "I'm an energy policy man, which is all of the above. Do you know what that means?"

When the program ended, Queensland Greens tweeted in defence of the Senator, writing, "Women should be able to appear on Q+A and speak without being spoken down to, interrupted, mocked, patronised, have a finger pointed at them and spoken over the top of.

"That was appalling behaviour from Andrew Liveris and disappointing to see it not called out by the host."

Host Hamish McDonald did not directly address Liveris during the exchange, but instead called on all the panellists to "try [to] keep it respectful".

Many viewers also called out Liveris' mansplaining behaviour.

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Let's hope Mr Liveris learned a new term. 

Feature image: ABC.

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