Victorian State Liberal MP Tim Smith has joined calls for men’s rights advocate Bettina Arndt’s Australia Day award to be cancelled following her comments on the murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children.
Mr Smith has written to the chair of the Council for the Order of Australia to formally ask the council to advise the Governor-General to cancel the honour.
Ms Arndt on Friday took to Twitter in support of a Queensland police officer who suggested the possibility Queensland man Rowan Baxter may have been “driven too far” before he doused his family in petrol and set them alight.
Mr Baxter died of self-inflicted wounds.
Queensland detective Mark Thompson was taken off the case after making the comments.
“Congratulations to the Queensland police for keeping an open mind and awaiting proper evidence, including the possibility that Rowan Baxter might have been ‘driven too far’,” Ms Arndt said.
“But note the misplaced outrage. How dare police deviate from the feminist script of seeking excuses and explanations when women stab their partners to death, or drive their children into dams but immediately judging a man in these circumstances as simply representing the evil violence that is in all men.”
With Mr Smith joining the calls, the pressure on the Council for the Order of Australia to rescind the honour has now become bipartisan.
Mr Smith said Ms Arndt’s comments on Friday sought to excuse extreme violence and “bring disrepute on the Order”.
“I don’t think the Order of Australia should be associated with people who attempt to defend or excuse or rationalise extreme violence,” Mr Smith told the ABC.
“I mean, we’re not just talking about a random situation here, we’re talking about one of the most heinous crimes I have heard about ever.”
Ms Arndt declined to comment to the ABC.
“I have no interest in being subject to ABC bias, deceptive editing and manipulation,” she said in a text message.
These comments about a man who doused his wife and children with petrol and burnt them to death are abhorrent. I don’t believe the values which underpin @thebettinaarndt’s views on this horrific family violence incident are consistent with her retaining her Order of Australia. https://t.co/gyTLUIjEQm
— Senator Sarah Henderson (@SenSHenderson) February 22, 2020
Mr Smith replied to Ms Arndt’s comments on Twitter, saying she sounded like she had “completely lost the plot”.
“This is completely crackers. Your logic is perverse. A young family has been murdered by their father and ex-partner, a crime that is completely indefensible,” he said.
“Please shut up, you are sounding like someone who has completely lost the plot.”
Ms Arndt is a controversial figure who has previously been criticised by some for what they see as public support and sympathy for male perpetrators of domestic violence and convicted paedophiles.
The Council for the Order of Australia announced on Australia Day she would be made a Member of the Order of Australia for “significant service to the community as a social commentator, and to gender equity through advocacy for men”.
In 2017, Ms Arndt published an interview on YouTube with twice-convicted paedophile Nicolaas Bester, titled “Feminists persecute disgraced teacher”.
Grace Tame, who was groomed and raped by Mr Bester when she was 15 years old, told the ABC earlier this month she wanted Ms Arndt stripped of her AM.
In the 17-minute video, Ms Arndt accused Ms Tame of “sexually provocative behaviour”.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, Victorian Attorney-General Jill Hennessy and former Australian of the Year Rosie Batty are also among those who ha