Australian far right senator Malcolm Roberts says sexual harassment laws go too far, arguing "some girls" actually like to be wolf-whistled.
The One Nation senator from Queensland was arguing about Australia's race hate laws against offensive and harassing speech on the ABC's Radio National Drive program, with host Patricia Karvelas, before the topic turned to verbal sexual harassment.
KARVELAS: You did say you did think that sexual harassment should be illegal, and it is of course, but sexual harassment can be verbal. It's not always physical. When it's verbal should that also be legal?
ROBERTS: Well we know when someone... is a wolf-whistle harassment? It depends upon the person. Some girls think that that is wonderful, they, you know, they smile. Others are offended. So, wolf-whistle in one court are we going to outlaw it, and another court we're going to say it's fine, a compliment?
KARVELAS: So in that sense you think sexual harassment laws go too far as well?
ROBERTS: When it comes to verbal, as I said before, yeah.
KARVELAS: You do?
KARVELAS: So do you believe in law reform around sexual harassment laws?
ROBERTS: I haven't seen the sexual harassment laws so I'd need to read them first.
Responding to the claim some "girls" like wolf whistling, Labor's Linda Burney had a three word response.
FWIW the relevant law is Australia's Sex Discrimination Act (1984) which defines sexual harassment and includes statements that would offend, humiliate and intimidate. Here's a link, and the relevant section screenshotted for the senator:
Mark Di Stefano is a media and politics correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Mark Di Stefano at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.