The Governor-General’s office has referred calls for controversial men’s rights commentator Bettina Arndt to be stripped of her Order of Australia honour to the body that oversees the awards.
- Bettina Arndt’s Order of Australia honour has faced criticism since it was announced last month
- Complaints the Governor-General’s office have received have been passed onto the awards’ committee
- Victorian Labor and Liberal politicians are backing the push for the award to be cancelled
Last week, Ms Arndt praised comments by Queensland Police Inspector Mark Thompson, after he suggested a Brisbane man who killed his wife and three children may have been “driven too far” by the breakdown of his marriage.
She congratulated Inspector Thompson for keeping an open mind, just hours before he was stood down from leading the investigation.
A spokesman for the Governor-General’s office said it had received correspondence calling for Ms Arndt to be stripped of her Order of Australia, and the matter had been referred to the Council for consideration.
Protocol dictates that when the Governor-General receives requests to terminate or cancel an award, it is passed onto the Council of the Order of Australia.
Ms Arndt was recognised on Australia Day for “significant service to the community as a social commentator, and to gender equity through advocacy for men.”
When the council makes a recommendation, it does so directly to the Governor-General, who acts upon that advice independent of the Government.
@thebettinaarndt: Congratulations to the Queensland police for keeping an open mind and awaiting proper evidence, including the possibility that Rowan Baxter might have been “driven too far.” But note the misplaced outrage. How dare police deviate from the feminist script of seeking excuses…
Victorian Liberal senator Sarah Henderson has joined the chorus of calls for Ms Arndt to be stripped of her honour.
“I recognise that Ms Arndt, as a social commentator, has in the past made an important contribution to the debate on family violence and gender equity, including in her advocacy for Australian men who suffer family violence,” Senator Henderson wrote in a letter to the chairman of the Council.
“I say this noting that it is estimate that some 90 per cent of family violence victims are women and children.
“Notwithstanding her contribution, I believe that Ms Arndt has so seriously crossed the line in her commentary concerning this horrific act of family violence that it is no longer appropriate that she be awarded this honour recognising her work as a social commentator.”
Ms Arndt has previously courted controversy by releasing an interview with convicted rapist Nicolaas Bester, titled “Feminists persecute disgraced teacher”.
In August last year she also criticised a Victorian Court of Appeal decision to uphold a guilty verdict in the rape case against Cardinal George Pell.
Victoria’s Attorney-General Jill Hennessy last month wrote to the Governor-General David Hurley asking for Ms Arndt’s honour to be cancelled on the basis the commentator had brought the order into disrepute.
Victorian state Liberal MP Tim Smith has also joined calls for Ms Arndt to lose her award after her comments on the murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children.