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The Australian politician's domestic violence comments that made us all cringe.

cory bernardi headlock
Cory Bernardi.

He’s a professional pot-stirrer who hates homosexuality and compared it to bestiality and pedophilia, wants a burqa banned and calls pro-choice organisations “pro-death”.

Normally we’d write him off as a bigot, unworthy of the public’s attention but this particular pot-stirrer happens to be a member of the Australian Senate.

You probably won’t be surprised that Liberal senator Cory Bernardi has this week said another thing that makes us want to bang on our heads on the table/cry/shout very loudly about the state of Australian politics.

Yesterday, he seemed to tell the Senate inquiry into domestic violence that, in some circumstances, it’s okay to put a woman in a headlock.

cory bernardi headlock

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Here’s how the abhorrent remark came about: A public hearing of the inquiry into domestic violence in Australia yesterday heard evidence from Women’s House Shelta’s Barbara Crossing. She told the hearing that a man had a protection order taken out against his partner using evidence she bit him under the arm. The Courier Mail reports that Ms Crossing said the only possible way that injury could have been caused was if the man had the woman in a headlock.

Senator Cory Bernardi responded in a bizarre apparent attempt to justify the man’s alleged behaviour, by telling the inquiry that police considered headlocks an “appropriate means of deferring an aggressor”.

The Senator also told representatives of the state’s oldest women’s refuge they were not “experts” in domestic violence. Cringe.

cory bernardi headlock

Greens senator Larissa Waters pulled him up on that one, saying Ms Crossing  — a support worker since 1991 — was an expert, and clarifying that a headlock was an example of domestic violence and couldn’t be justified in the way the Senator had attempted.

Sen Bernardi attempted to clarify his remark in a statement today, saying media coverage of the events did not “accurately reflect the exchange.”

“I said it was inappropriate for witnesses at the inquiry to second-guess the decisions of police in granting a protection order after they had completed an appropriate investigation based on evidence,” he said.

“I never suggested violence in any form was acceptable; I merely pointed out the fact, when asked whether it is ever right to restrain someone, that law enforcement officers use appropriate restraint techniques to deter aggressors in the course of their duties.”

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