It happened yesterday but in the interests of my doctorate I’m only blogging once a day. Liberal Senator David Bushby – who, let’s be honest, no one outside of Tasmania had heard of before, despite the fact he’s been in Parliament for four years – actually meowed at Penny Wong.
Check it out:
In case you can’t watch it, after Bushby meowed, Wong replied:
“It is just extraordinary. The blokes are allowed to yell but if a woman stands her ground, you want to make that kind of comment. It’s not schoolyard politics, mate”.
And instead of apologising, Bushby said this nonsense:
“Her reaction to the issue of the [Treasury] Secretary’s appearance [at estimates] was like that of an angry cat. It could have been a male or female cat. So I thought she was like an angry cat, the way they sometimes strike out. I like cats.”
Um, what? And I’m not a cat person, but I’ve never seen an angry cat say “If I can finish now” when interrupted. It also shows Bushby has no idea why what he did was offensive, because he said it “could have been a male or female cat”. Clearly, in his mind, it’s only offensive to meow at a colleague if you imply she’s a female cat. Or something.
And then WA Liberal Mathias Cormann said Wong was in a bad mood. Ah, she must have her period. That explains why a woman wouldn’t like being interrupted. (And yes, everyone has bad moods and that’s fine, but we all know what is implied when a man says a woman was in a bad mood.)
Mr Bushby later said he was “sorry that Senator Wong has felt offended by my reaction. I have tried to call her to personally apologise”. Which was possibly just a tweet and by “I have tried” means he didn’t actually apologise personally.
Of course, it wasn’t a real apology, just the new apology, which is all the rage these days: I’m not sorry I was offensive, but I’m sorry if you were offended.
And sorry she “felt offended” when she was meowed at? There are very few workplaces where it is acceptable to meow at a colleague, and Parliament is not one of them.
Until yesterday, I didn’t know anything about David Bushby. I’m not even sure I’d heard of him before. According to Open Australia, Bushby has “spoken in 21 debates in the last year – well below average amongst Senators”. Obviously, these 21 could be interesting and relevant and well-argued and so are better than someone who just blathers on and on and on at any opportunity. But given that he meowed at a colleague, I find that pretty unlikely.
Bushby’s website says he’s been on six committees in four years. Can someone with more committee knowledge help me out here – is six a lot or not very many?
His website also says he is married and has three daughters. That’s four women in his immediate life and I’d like to think that if someone meowed at one of them at work, he’d be furious.
We’re pretty used to seeing politicians carry on, but seriously, meowing at someone? Senator David Bushby is 46 years old. He’ll be 47 next month, and this is how he carries on? Let’s hope he thinks twice before acting like a child again.