Nationals senator Barry O’Sullivan caused outrage in parliament on Wednesday after declaring himself woman in order to avoid other politicians attacking him over his anti-abortion views.
The moment was captured on video, with O’Sullivan saying he was changing his gender so he could avoid criticism from others – particularly those in the Greens Party. According to Buzzfeed, the drama began earlier this week when the 61-year-old moved a motion calling for those in favour or abortion to be banned from the annual Day of the Unborn Child movement, which favours pro-life.
In the motion, O’Sullivan said it was hypocritical of pro-choice activists to complain about pro-life protestors near abortion clinics when they protest pro-life events.
He was met with criticism from Greens senator Larissa Waters, who took offence to men telling women what to do with their bodies.
“Senator O’Sullivan needs to get his hands and his rosaries off my ovaries and those of the 10,000 Queensland women who have an abortion each year, 10,000 women who have the right to make a decision about their own bodies without the opinion of senator O’Sullivan getting in their way,” she said during the debate.
She also shared the video on her Twitter page and added: “I had a motion congratulating abortion activists of Qld. LNP Senator O’Sullivan blocked it. This typifies everything that’s wrong with the abortion debate – men telling women what to do.”
The comments were later withdrawn, although O’Sullivan said he viewed Waters’ words as an attack.
“She attacked me for my religious basis the other day, using words like ‘rosary beads’ because I had the Audacity to raise issues around late term abortion, where babies who are only a minute away from getting a smack on the arse and a name are being aborted under the policies of the Australian Greens,” he said in parliament on Wednesday.
“So I will not stand silent, I will not stand mute while these people try to continue to marginalise policies and ideas that we want to discuss for this nation that I think are largely supported still by the majority of the nation.”
O’Sullivan insisted pro-life supporters were an “increasingly silent majority” because they’re not game to speak and said he moved sensible motions that reflect the views of “so many” people in society. He then made his controversial gender statement.
“I am going to declare my gender today, as I can, to be a woman and then you’ll no longer be able to attack me,” he said.
Waters later took to Twitter to slam O’Sullivan over his comments.
“Senator O’Sullivan’s bigoted, transphobic, sexist, misogynistic, racist, discriminatory, prehistoric views are not shared by Queenslanders or the vast majority of the nation, as he claims,” she wrote. “He’s lost support of his party – he & his views should just retire.”
Senator O’Sullivan’s bigoted, transphobic, sexist, misogynistic, racist, discriminatory, prehistoric views are not shared by Queenslanders or the vast majority of the nation, as he claims. He’s lost support of his party – he & his views should just retire.https://t.co/iwhGPrAlxQ
— Larissa Waters (@larissawaters) November 14, 2018