The real story behind the viral 'close your legs' comment in parliament.

Queensland's shadow Health and Women's Minister, Ros Bates, caused a stir when she reportedly said "close your legs" during the opposition's speech in parliament. 

Naturally, there was a lot of backlash online, with Australians calling for her resignation for using such language towards another woman, Health Minister Shannon Fentiman, in Parliament House. 

The video was also shared by Premier Steven Miles, who said, "No woman should be treated like this in a workplace, or anywhere for that matter". 

Following the video's circulation on social media platforms, numerous members of the public expressed outrage over her alleged remarks.

"You are not fit to represent women with your disgusting comment," said one user.

"Your comments to Shannon Fentiman show you are not worthy to be in a parliamentary position. They were disgraceful, disgusting and unforgivable," said another.

While there's certainly no question that it is a horrible thing to yell at someone across a parliamentary chamber, there's more to the story.

Watch: Let's Talk Pregnancy. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

During question time, the Health Minister Shannon Fentiman was asked about the 'bypassing' of rural birthing services at hospitals such as Weipa and Beaudesert in Queensland. 


Fentiman said that while some hospitals were occasionally bypassed due to staff shortages or planned upgrades, it was only for short periods and expectant mothers were always made aware of the situation and supported with midwives and rural health staff to birth safely. 

"Hardworking staff do deserve a break at Christmas-time, but we work with local mothers to make sure they are supported," she said. 

In a video shared by Fentiman, Bates then interrupted Fentiman's talk on women's health by shouting, "Close your legs". 

Fentiman stopped in her tracks as the chamber erupted in disdain at Bates' comment. Another politician can be heard off camera calling the Mudgeeraba MP a "potty mouth".

The Speaker quickly interjected and asked Bates to withdraw her comment, which she did before sitting back down in her seat.

However, Bates says the comment was taken out of context.


She released a scathing statement on X, saying she never said "close your legs", instead, she said "cross your legs" in response to the debate about rural mothers being forced to travel long distances to access maternity services when ones closer to them are closed.

"With Labor suggesting women could just bypass their local hospital to go to another hospital to give birth, I could not believe Labor was telling mothers the ‘cross your legs’ while in labour," the statement read.


"This is the comment I made. 

"We have had women give birth on the side of the road in Queensland due to maternity services being closed in regional areas and this is what we are demanding the health minister answer for today. 

"The comment was clearly not about the Health Minister, it was about the alarming Queensland maternity crisis, which continues to worsen on her watch and is putting women and children at risk."

Bates criticised Labor's decision to post the video with no context, admitting that she found it "deeply offensive".

"Shannon Fentiman is aware I am a victim of domestic violence," said Bates.

"She is also aware I am a mother. For her to mis-characterise my words for her own political gain and attempt to portray me as a misogynist is deeply offensive."

She said Fentiman had "deliberately misrepresented parliament" and demanded an apology.

Following Bates' statement, Fentiman was forced to repost the video with the correct captions.


"Many of you will have seen a video I shared earlier today of the parliament of Ros Bates MP, a senior LNP woman yelling at me, 'close your legs', during question time," Fentiman said in a video shared on X.

"She's now confirmed that in fact, she yelled at me, 'cross your legs', and under parliamentary rules, I now have to repost the video with the correct captions.

"Whether it's cross your legs or close your legs, it's still abhorrent, completely insulting. So if you have liked, comment or shared the video, please do so again."

Fentiman also said during question time that the opposition was trying to create fear for expectant mums living regionally. 

"We work hard to make sure birthing services remain [in rural communities] and it is always publicly available and well communicated to the public," she said. "I reject [the comments] whole-heartedly and stop causing fear in the community."

Feature Image: Instagram @shannonfentimanmp/@rosbates.