Federal Minister for Women Michaelia Cash has defended her refusal to be labelled a feminist, despite protest from fellow panel members on ABC’s Q&A program.
Responding to a question from the audience about why she would not carry the feminist tag, Ms Cash said that any prospective title did not matter.
“I’m not scared of the word,” Ms Cash said. “You can call me a feminist, but the mere fact that I don’t label myself as such does not mean that I do not get up every single day and fight for equality.
“I don’t label myself as a feminist because I don’t believe in labels, that does not mean that I don’t get up every single day and fight for gender equality.”
Speaking on International Women’s Day on Monday night, one panel member said she was “troubled” by the fact that Alan Jones considered himself a feminist, but that Ms Cash would not.
“It troubles me that Alan Jones is willing to label himself a feminist but our minister for women isn’t,” media personality Mia Freedman said.
“You [Ms Cash] are running from the perception of it, and I think it’s a really outdated perception that feminism is about angry women or it will alienate men somehow or that it will offend men.
“I think you don’t have to be scared that have word because no one thinks feminism is that anymore.”
Watch the exchange below:
— ABC Q&A (@QandA) March 7, 2016
Ms Cash said her record, her commitment and her work as minister for women meant that she was comfortable for how hard she fought for women’s rights, label or no label.
Ms Freedman concluded: “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, its a duck. You’re a feminist, Michaelia.”
The guests on the Q&A panel was made up of three women and two men, significant because a review into the program in 2015 found there were not enough female guests.
The debate was reminiscent of one Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was embroiled in, when she too said she was not a feminist.
Jones’ ‘traumatic’ Stolen Generation comments
An Aboriginal audience member took issue with comments made by Mr Jones on his 2GB radio show earlier this year.
He said Australia needed “another Stolen Generation” to fix the problem of children of all background being neglected by their parents.
Mr Jones defended his comments on Monday night, explaining he was merely repeating a call made by Chief Minister of the Northern Territory Adam Giles.
“Adam Giles said that he would remove neglected Aboriginal children from their parents and put them in adoptive homes,” Mr Jones said.
“I was making a comment there that if the courts took action against the parents in favour of the children, they were, according to Adam Giles, frightened of being regarded as creating another Stolen Generation.”
United States-based Australian broadcaster and media personality Josh Zepps accepted the context Mr Jones made the comments in, but still slammed them as offensive.
“Like it or hate it, the reality is I think it’s extremely callous to belittle the suffering of people whose families were torn apart,” he said.
“You don’t just regard an entire race of people as many culpable and worthy of being split apart I don’t know why this is something that is still coming up in 2016.”
Trump is a ‘lunatic’
Mr Jones went onto describe Republican US Presidential candidate hopeful Donald Trump as a “lunatic”, when asked by an audience member about the controversial figure.
“This is the point, I think the bloke is a bit of a lunatic,” Mr Jones said.
“But he is entertaining. There is no way in the world he will become President and I agree with whomever said it, I think you’re right, Hillary [Clinton] is not getting the votes of the young women, but I think that at most probably at the end of the day there is no opposition.”
Ms Freedman then compared Trump to former One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and mining magnate-turned-politician Clive Palmer.
“There is a real disillusionment with politicians and I think that’s why we are seeings rise of micro parties, we are seeing people like Clive Palmer had our own disastrous experiment with Pauline Hanson and I’m really reminded that with Trump,” she said.
“Every time Pauline Hanson would say something really ignorant, people would say, ‘oh, we will see the polls go down,’ but people loved her more and Trump is riding on that.”