Australian Labor senator Katy Gallagher has been targeted by right wing trolls after a year-old video of her using the term "mansplaining" was posted by a conservative American political commentator on Facebook.
Gallagher is the leader of opposition business in the Senate and shadow minister for small business and financial services. Prior to entering federal parliament she was the chief minister of the ACT.
She normally receives a modest number of comments from her roughly 9,100 Facebook followers. But that all changed three days ago.
Since Friday, Gallagher has been targeted by right wing supporters of controversial former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos after he posted a video where she accused a Liberal politician of "mansplaining".
Yiannopoulos' video, which has been viewed more than 1.5 million times and shared more than 13,000 times, features a fiery debate from Australian parliament over a year ago, on February 11, 2016.
The 2014 Macquarie Dictionary word of the year, "mansplaining" is an explanation given by a man to a woman in a way that is considered patronising because it assumes the woman is ignorant of the subject matter.
Gallagher used the term to describe the answers given by communications minister Mitch Fifield while discussing government spending on welfare, during a Senate estimates committee.
Fifield: Let me stop you so you don't waste your line of questioning.
Gallagher: I love the mansplaining. I'm enjoying it.
Senator Fifield: You are loving what?
Gallagher: The mansplaining that is going on.
Fifield: What do you mean?
Gallagher: By not answering the question. By repeating processes which are not related to the question that I have asked.
Fifield: What is 'mansplaining', Senator?
Gallagher: It is the slightly patronising and condescending way that you are responding to my questions.
Fifield: I would suggest, Senator, that if you are putting the word 'man' in front of some description of what I am doing, you are doing that which I am sure you are very much against — that is, making a sexist implication about how I am conducting my role as a man. Is that what you are saying, Senator?
Gallagher: What I am saying is that the way you have been responding to me has been patronising and condescending and I have responded to that. The easier way to deal with this —
Fifield: By saying I am mansplaining.
Gallagher: – Is not to have that way in responding to the questions I have asked.
Fifield: Imagine if I said you were 'womansplaining'. Imagine the reaction if I said you were 'womansplaining'. You are saying that I am mansplaining.
Gallagher: Well, it is a term that is used when—
Senator Fifield: Is it? By whom? By rude senators.
Chair: Doesn't make it any less offensive.
Fifield: By senators who are seeking to make gender an issue.
Gallagher: I am not. I am just saying that your answers to me have been condescending and patronising and I have responded to that. The way not to have that is not to have that approach in the way you have answered your questions.
Fifield: I am not being patronising, senator. I thought we were having a good hearted exchange until you said that I was 'mansplaining'. Do you want to reconsider what you said, senator?
Gallagher: No, I don't.
Fifield: I just find it extraordinary, senator, that you or any senator at this table would seek to invoke gender in impugning how a senator is responding.
Gallagher: I am surprised that you do not understand the term 'mansplaining'.
Fifield: Let the record show that Senator Gallagher thinks it is appropriate to refer to a senator as 'mansplaining'.
Gallagher: It is already there on the record. It is on the Hansard.
Fifield: I am quite frankly appalled.
Yiannopoulos' supporters have applauded Fifield and attacked Gallagher, accusing her of being a "bitch", "bigot", "hypocrite" and "misandrist who is not fit to hold public office".
"You're a bigot, plain and simple," a Facebook profile under the name Mike Bauer wrote on each of Gallagher's photos from the past three months. "Disgusting hypocritical act of sexism."
"She's the second bitch to have pulled that shit in Parliament that I have seen," Matt Antonello said.
"This woman is a misandrist who should not be holding public office," wrote Jeremy Brooker. "Disgusting and ridiculous."
Yiannopoulos’ video has been widely shared between Australian Liberal and conservative groups, particularly in Fifield’s home state of Victoria.
After the video was posted, numerous fake accounts featuring the same profile and banner pictures as the verified Gallagher page began appearing on Facebook.
Pretending to be Gallagher, the accounts commented on posts made on Gallagher's verified page, swearing at and abusing the Labor senator's supporters and in some heated exchanges challenging them to fight.
Gallagher's office deleted the comments and has attempted to block the fake profiles, but they can only report them as they pop up as there is no way to prevent someone from setting up a page using her name and picture.
Gallagher apologised to followers who were offended by the comments posted from the fake profiles with her name and picture on Sunday night.
"Looks like my page was hacked," Gallagher said. "Apologies to those who were offended by some comments posted in my name - they weren't from me I promise. Thank you to those who alerted me."
Fifield tweeting his support for Gallagher on Monday, saying "there is no place for trolls" and people from all political parties should be treated with "civility".
Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.
Contact Alice Workman at email@example.com.
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