Mr Watt sat silently as his colleagues applauded the family violence campaigner.
A Victorian Liberal MP who remained seated during a standing ovation for Rosie Batty has defended his actions.
38-year old Graham Watt was in a special joint sitting of parliament with his colleagues when he failed to stand to applaud Australian of the Year Rosie Batty yesterday.
Ms Batty, whose son Luke was killed by his father Greg Anderson likened the domestic violence to family terrorism in her speech.
As she finished every member of the chamber got to their feet except Mr Watt who remained in his seat.
After the event Mr Watt released a statement, saying that: “For very personal and private reasons I chose not to stand”.
“Family violence is an issue of incredible sensitivity to me and my family and at some point I will be making a public contribution about the indiscriminate nature of family violence,” he said.
“I am very passionate about dealing with the scourge of family violence and supporting all those who are victims of it, male and female.”
The Victorian Oppositon Leader Matthew Guy has defended his actions, saying that they did not reflect a lack of support to combat family violence.
“I think it’s fair to say that he has his own experiences and perspectives that are deeply personal and would be difficult for most of us to comprehend or to have understood because we haven’t been through them,” Mr Guy told 774 ABC Melbourne.
“Graham is utterly against family violence in any form and I think some of the emotion of yesterday totally overwhelmed him, I think that’s the only way I could put it.”
Unfortunately, Mr Watts actions have been used by groups who say they are committed to “ending the gendered discussion of family violence” interpreting his refusal to applaud as an alliance with their cause.
One writing on his Facebook page:“About time someone spoke up and stood for both sides of Domestic violence, it is NOT simply a gender issue and compassion needs to be shown for men and women.”
Another: “Thank you for your incredible courage, Graham. You will cop abuse and be branded as a hater of women, but that is what happens to people who dare to question the narrative on domestic violence. Rest assured there are thousands of people silently cheering you. I wish they had the guts to applaud you in public.”
Others launching personal attacks and criticism of Rosie Batty on Watt’s Facebook page.
Watch Mr Watts say seated in this video here…