Barry Hall was sacked for a 'vile' comment. But have you heard what Senator Leyonhjelm said?

This week, Senator David Leyonhjelm used tax-payer dollars to stand in the Senate and tell Senator Sarah Hanson-Young to “stop shagging men”. When she challenged him, he told her to “f*ck off”.

He then appeared on Sky News Australia. Senator Leyonhjelm, who works for you and I, sat on the panel of ‘Outsiders‘ and said Senator Hanson-Young was “well known for liking men” and “rumours about her in Parliament are well known”.

We can all breathe a sigh of relief that our public representatives truly are talking about the stuff that matters in Parliament.

It is as though our politicians are desperate to be characters on a reality television show none of us agreed to watch. The vicious personal attacks, the name calling, and the interrogation of what one does in their private lives is something voters never asked for.

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young demands an apology. Post continues. 

One day after Senator Leyonhjelm’s comments in the Senate, retired AFL-star Barry Hall joined three other commentators on Triple M for Melbourne’s pre-game coverage.

Presenter Leigh Montagna, also a former AFL player, began telling the story of how his wife, Erinn Byrne, was undergoing a procedure by an obstetrician to help induce labour. Another man on the panel ‘joked’ that he’d heard the obstetrician was good looking, before Hall made an entirely inappropriate sexual remark that Mamamia has deemed unsuitable to publish.

Hall was sacked before the program ended.

Head of content at Triple M, Mike Fitzpatrick released a statement that said: “Tonight on Triple M Football there were unacceptable and inappropriate comments made by a member of the commentary team.


“The commentator was removed immediately from the broadcast and an apology was issued on air afterwards. Immediate action was taken with the termination of employment for one team member.”

The decision was universally applauded, and if there was any question about where the ‘line’ was, most of us agreed that Hall had crossed it by the length of a football field. Or two.

We discuss this issue on the latest episode of Mamamia Out Loud:

In politics, however, it feels like Senator Leyonhjelm is desperately searching for a line that does not yet exist.

We’ve watched as one of our highest ranking public officials slut-shamed another. When Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called on Senator Leyonhjelm to apologise, he decided to call Turnbull a “pussy”. On Saturday, Senator Leyonhjelm went on to call journalist Angela Bishop a “bigoted bitch” on Twitter, and not only has he refused to apologise, he’s also refused to delete the tweet.

Can we seriously expect the Australian public to respect our politicians when they seem entirely incapable of respecting each other?

Surely we have a problem when Triple M are doing a better job at demanding basic respect for women than Parliament House is.

The job of football commentators is to talk about football, and the job of politicians is to talk about policy. This week, both have failed dismally at doing what they are paid to do.

But perhaps their remarks were necessary. It takes comments like those made by Hall and Senator Leyonhjelm to be said in a public forum, and taken out from behind closed doors, in order for us to, first, know what we’re dealing with, and second, decide on what we’re willing to accept.

Hall learned the hard way that comments that humiliate, degrade and ultimately objectify women won’t be tolerated.

If only that lesson was on offer for Senator Leyonhjelm.

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