News State Victoria News Anti-vaxxers send ‘sexist and violent’ messages to minister

Anti-vaxxers send ‘sexist and violent’ messages to minister

Jill Hennessy abuse
Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy says she received a message calling her a "whore". Photo: AAP
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Victoria’s Health Minister Jill Hennessy has spoken out about being the target of “sexist” and “violent” messages from anti-vaccination campaigners.

Ms Hennessy said she was used to being criticised in her job, but said anti-vaccination trolls had crossed the line.

“I’m a politician, I’m pretty resilient in getting some frank feedback, however, I do think there is a real tipping point that seems to be continuously being crossed in political discourse in recent times,” she said.

“I’m absolutely up for a full-and-frank debate, but I’m not up for a political culture that continues to degenerate into the realm of threatened violence, sexism and hysteria and at some point we’ve got to push back on this.”

Ms Hennessy released the messages sent to her that called her a “whore”, “dirty dog” and one that said, “hope you get cancer soon”.

She said some of the messages she would not disclose because there were “incredibly distressing in terms of their sexual and violent nature”.

Anti-vaxxers ‘not peace-loving hippies’

Ms Hennessy said she wanted to highlight the type of people involved in the anti-vaccination campaign.

“I want to shine a light on the fact that the anti-vaccination movement, is not a peace-loving group of hippies,” she said.

“They are an organised movement, largely stemming from the United State of America that are hell-bent on misleading parents that vaccinations are unsafe.

“That’s a dangerous message and one I’m going to continue to fight. Vaccinations save lives.”

Ms Hennessy’s video comes after New South Wales Premier Mike Baird released a YouTube clip last year where he read out hate messages he had received on social media.

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