News National ‘Girly man’ insulting: Wong
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‘Girly man’ insulting: Wong

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Labor has attacked Finance Minister Mathias Cormann for labelling Bill Shorten an “economic girly man” for opposing the budget.

The Liberal senator channelled Arnold Schwarzenegger, calling Opposition Leader Bill Shorten an “economic girly man”, a phrase coined by the former California governor to describe budget pessimists.

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But senior Labor frontbencher Penny Wong questioned the use of “girly” as an insult.

“If we use `girl’ as an insult, what are we telling our sons and our daughters about being a girl? You’re saying it is somehow less competent, weak,” Senator Wong told Sky News on Sunday.

“Imagine if we used any racial term in the way it was used, I think we would all be outraged.”

But Senator Cormann’s colleague Christopher Pyne laughed off the remarks.

“I think Mathias Cormann used a colourful phrase, and I have to say it’s unusual for Mathias to use a colourful phrase,” the education minister told Sky News.

“I don’t think it is the most important issue floating past us today.”