The decision to award a controversial men’s rights advocate an Australia Day honour has been met with fury.
Bettina Arndt was among 800 Australian recipients of the Australia Day honour for “for significant service to the community as a social commentator, and to gender equity through advocacy for men”.
But the decision to award a Member of the Order of Australia to Ms Arndt hasn’t proven to be a popular one.
Domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty, who was named Australian of the Year in 2015, told News Corp she feels “sickened”.
“My immediate response is one of utter incredulity. It makes me question the legitimacy of the awards system in the entirety across the spectrum,” she said.
"I cannot help but be appalled that someone who minimised violence towards women who is part of the inevitable pushback and backlash that we all experience as we pioneer a way forward, would be awarded.”
In 2018, Ms Arndt was widely criticised for interviewing convicted paedophile Nicolaas Bester.
Bester, a former Tasmanian school teacher, was found guilty of raping a 15-year-old girl and both possession and distribution of child porn. He was jailed for two years.
Ms Arndt’s a speaker and sex therapist who’s also thrown support behind the controversial #MenToo movement.
She’s been accused of victim blaming and being anti-feminist.
Writer and activist Van Badham wrote on Facebook Ms Arndt’s award is “vile”.
“If she is what’s ‘honoured’ as an Australian, it is no honour at all,” she wrote.
This is vile. Bettina Arndt platformed a paedophile, creating space for a convicted criminal who groomed & raped a child to brag about his crimes, while she herself blamed children for “sexual provocation”. If she is what’s “honoured” as an Australian, it is no honour AT ALL. https://t.co/M98gIPyXBe
— Van Badham (@vanbadham) January 25, 2020
Fellow activist Clementine Ford tweeted the Australia Day honours are “nonsense”.
Former Courier-Mail columnist Paul Syvret tweeted, “this is a piss take?” while writer and speaker Georgie Dent tweeted she couldn’t “help but wish it was all one sick joke”.
Ms Arndt wrote on Facebook she’s “hoping the award will attract attention” to her work and attract volunteers for her campaigns “for fair treatment for men and women”.
A petition has been started on Change.org calling for her to have the title removed.
Between that inexplicable pledge from Tanya Plibersek, Ken Wyatt’s pro January 26th stance, Bridget McKenzie’s allegiances, Scott Morrison’s ‘hazard-reduction is climate action’ & Bettina Arndt’s ‘gender equity’ award, I can’t help but wish it was all one sick joke. If only.
— Georgie Dent (@georgiedent) January 25, 2020
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.