Page 4041 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 20 September 2017

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of meeting with the Guides and hearing all they had to say. As you can imagine from the events and celebrations I have just spoken of, there is plenty going on in the guiding and scouting movements.

Male privilege

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (6.44): I would like to talk about some of the comments that were made earlier in the day by Mr Parton when he donned his red cap and launched his leadership bid to make Canberra great again. The statement “If you are a heterosexual, employed, white male over the age of 30, you are not really included in anything” is a rally call reminiscent of another place. I am not sure the message resonates in the ACT, but that is not for me to judge, and I will now defer to the community to decide. This is a very dangerous experiment.

I will call this my voluntary, non-binding vox pop from ABC Canberra’s Facebook site, where an article on Mr Parton’s comments was posted earlier today. Madam Speaker, the comments flowed in. The first comment was: “Thank goodness for Virginia Haussegger.” That refers to Ms Haussegger’s comments that Mr Parton’s comments were “foolish” and “offensive to all those not part of that privileged class”. Another comment was: “And yet there he is—white, employed, male, probably heterosexual, over 30 standing in the legislative assembly surrounded by quite a few others in the same category making decisions and having a say.” Yet another comment was: “Gee Mark Parton”—this is from a male—“you have really led a secluded life. When I was thirty, I was still playing cricket, going to soccer with my daughter … I was proudly carrying my newest daughter around. There are many things you can do to feel included. Don’t grandstand.” Another comment was: “Ah the old turn it around and play the victim card. The church is good at this, quick to comment and impose its rule and beliefs, but also quick to play the victim card when the roles are reversed.” Then we had some other comments that suggested that this might have been a little bit of satire. “Please tell me this is an article taken from the Beetoota Advocate,” one person said. Another one said, “Yeah those guys really do it tough.” And then there is the final comment that I will mention this evening: “Wow how can they be excluded when they control almost everything in this country?”

They are just some of the comments responding to Mr Parton’s comments in the chamber earlier today.

Mr Parton has put his foot in his mouth before. In the past, he backflipped on his intrusive suggestion that the Strava cycling app should be used to catch speeding cyclists. Based on comments from the community today in relation to his comments in the chamber, this might be another statement worthy of a backflip.

Mr Parton, I just want to touch upon one area in which heterosexual white males over the age of 30 are included, and that is the institution of marriage. I want to say this to you: same-sex marriage is an area where we really do genuinely appreciate your support in terms of the yes vote. I have acknowledged that publicly and, in an unqualified way, at a yes campaign event as well. The yes campaign will continue to accept advocates from all walks of life, even if they do not use the right language, and that is important.

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