Calling out abuse

18 Mar 2021 speech

Ms FLINT (Boothby—Government Whip) (10:43): I have had a tough few days. I have tried hard to contain my emotion at my decision to leave the parliament at the end of this term, especially when explaining the reasons. Recounting, yet again, the treatment I suffered at the hands of GetUp, Labor and Extinction Rebellion, and the dangerous behaviour their actions have encouraged, is hard. I have tried not to cry during my speeches and during the TV and radio interviews I've done. At times, I have failed and I will probably fail now. As a woman, I get angry at myself for doing this. But, as I wrote in my opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald today, I'm tired of the political fight, I'm tired of pretending to be brave and I'm tired of having to defend the fact I'm a woman, yet here I am having to fight and defend myself again.

The online abuse, trolling, victim shaming and blaming, the complete denial of things, I have suffered during my time in parliament and that has been aimed at me over the past 48 hours is disgusting. Those involved should be ashamed. I cannot believe that GetUp are claiming that the tens of thousands of phone calls their volunteers made calling me evil, and the groups of protesters following me around my electorate to hunt me down and intimidate me—often with a man who stalked me—was acceptable behaviour. I can't believe that journalists like Paul Bongiorno are tweeting that my experience is merely a politically motivated smear campaign against GetUp. I've had women on Twitter who claim to be against violence against women tweeting that I'm playing the gender card. Senator Hollie Hughes' response to these sorts of attacks says it all: 'This is disgraceful. We believe all women except conservative women.' Johannes Leak's cartoon in The Australian today says it all as well.

It's disgraceful, as are the many emails I've received, of which I'm now going to read a few. One says: 'Please do not complain about the treatment you are receiving, as obviously this is your weak characteristic and others will capitalise on this trait. If you are not strong, this place is not for weaklings and, please, do not use the female cry tactic'—I apologise for having done that again—'as it will not work. It's not that it's a male's world, it's that you're weak.' Another says: 'No wonder you are being stalked by someone. You deserve it. You're a piece of crap.' And there's this: 'I do not believe one word you said. The filth you're associated with, both in your past with Sky News and the LNP rape club with its continued lies and cover-ups, gives me the reason not to believe you. Don't insult my intelligence with denials or your false crocodile tears. I'm looking forward to seeing your demise.' Finally: 'You are a most rancid coward, an infamous and endless liar, a consummate shrivelled dirtbag, a ruling class sl- u-t and intellectual disgrace. Now go lick your Smirkee's balls, you Liberal crim.' This has to stop.