Liberal politician Nicolle Flint has donned a garbage bag dress in protest after a newspaper column she described as “sexist” discussed her fashion sense and accessories.
The South Australian MP has received emphatic support from fellow female politicians for a video she posted to her social media accounts on Monday.
“I’ve put up with a lot as a woman in politics,” Ms Flint said in the clip, detailing incidents where she said she was described as a “prostitute” and experienced stalking.
“Then yesterday, Sunday Mail columnist and ABC radio journalist Peter Goers criticised the way I look.”
Sick of sexist garbage?
— Nicolle Flint MP (@NicolleFlint) July 27, 2020
In his column, Goers – a former movie reviewer who hosts ABC Adelaide’s Evening Show – discussed a proposed South Australian Parliament ban on election signs being put on power poles, as well as making light of election newsletters sent from politicians to their constituents.
Goers poked fun at SA state MP David Basham for sending a “faux tabloid newspaper” filled with photos of himself, but then said the politician was “a rank amateur compared with” Ms Flint.
“Flint wears pearl earrings and a pearly smile. She favours a vast wardrobe of blazers, coats and tight, black, ankle-freezing trousers and stiletto heels,” the column stated.
“She presents herself in her own newsletter 23 times as a fashion plate.”
The Boothby MP claimed the column was “sexist garbage”.
“What I want to know is, what should a woman in politics wear?” Ms Flint asked in the video, before taking off her jacket to reveal she was wearing a plastic bag.
“How about a garbage bag? To match your rubbish views.”
In a post alongside the video on her Facebook page, she wrote: “It’s time women in public life are judged on what they stand for, not what they look like.”
I stand with @NicolleFlint 👇🏼
The sexist rubbish women in public life have to withstand should go precisely where it belongs:
— Madeleine King (@MadeleineMHKing) July 27, 2020
The video was quickly shared and supported by politicians across the federal Parliament, with many female MPs saying such rhetoric was unfair but common.
Labor MP for Brand Madeleine King also called out “sexist rubbish women in public life have to withstand”.
Another Labor MP, Kate Thwaites, retweeted the video with her message of “call it out”, adding handclapping emojis.
Assistant Minister for Financial Services Jane Hume also shared the clip, adding handclaps of her own.
Liberal Senator Sarah Henderson was similarly unimpressed, calling the column “misogynistic”.
— Senator Sarah Henderson (@SenSHenderson) July 27, 2020
Labor’s Member for Dunkley Peta Murphy shared the video with the message “Judge women in public life by what they do and what they stand for. Not what they look like or what they wear.”
ALP members Anika Wells and Marielle Smith, too, supported Ms Flint’s stand.
Be authentic but appeal widely. Be charming but don’t try too hard. Put together, but not like you spent much time on it. Made up but not like you care so much. Confident, but modest ya know? I’m with @NicolleFlint, the standards expected of women politicians are garbage #auspol
— Anika Wells MP (@AnikaWells) July 27, 2020
I’m rarely in furious agreement with @NicolleFlint but I am 100% behind her decision to call the gendered nonsense out. There is no place in our politics for denigrating commentary on the appearance of female politicians. For goodness sake: judge the policy, not the shoes #Auspol
— Senator Marielle Smith (@MsMarielleSmith) July 27, 2020
Former Labor MP Kate Ellis, who also represented South Australia in the seat of Adelaide and held office as the Minister for the Status of Women, also backed Ms Flint.
Bravo. This rubbish has gone on too much and for too long. Time to call it out https://t.co/IGBxsSqcHS
— Kate Ellis (@KateEllis22) July 27, 2020
Ms Flint’s video was also shared by many female journalists working in the federal Parliament’s press gallery, and others working in politics.
The New Daily has contacted Goers for comment.