I believe that is the appropriate path forward and that people will then have an opportunity to make up their minds with the fullest information available to them.
But, whenever people make up their minds about those questions, what I won’t stand for, what I will never stand for, is the Leader of the Opposition coming into this place and peddling a double standard; peddling a standard for Mr Slipper he would not set for himself, peddling a standard for Mr Slipper he has not set for other members of his frontbench; peddling a standard for Mr Slipper that has not been acquitted by the people who have been sent out to say the vilest and most revolting things, like his former shadow parliamentary secretary, Senator Bernardi.
I will not ever see the Leader of the Opposition seek to impose his double standard on this parliament. Sexism should always be unacceptable. We should conduct ourselves as it should be always unacceptable.
The Leader of the Opposition says, ‘Do something.’ Well he could do something himself if he wants to deal with sexism in this parliament. He could change his behaviour, he could apologise for all his past statements, he could apologise for standing next to signs describing me as a witch and a bitch—terminology that is now objected to by the frontbench of the opposition.
He could change a standard himself if he sought to do so. But we will see none of that from the Leader of the Opposition, because on these questions he is incapable of change. Capable of double standards but incapable of change. His double standards should not rule this parliament.
Good sense, common sense, proper process is what should rule this parliament. That’s what I believe is the path forward for this parliament, not the kind of double standards and political game-playing imposed by the Leader of the Opposition, now looking at his watch because, apparently, a woman’s spoken too long—I’ve had him yell at me to shut up in the past.
But I will take the remaining seconds of my speaking time to say to the Leader of the Opposition I think the best course for him is to reflect on the standards he has exhibited in public life, on the responsibility he should take for his public statements, on his close personal connection with Peter Slipper, on the hypocrisy he has displayed in this House today.
And on that basis, because of the Leader of the Opposition’s motivations, this parliament today should reject this motion, and the Leader of the Opposition should think seriously about the role of women in public life and in Australian society—because we are entitled to a better standard than this.