Sarah Hanson-Young divided opinion on Sunday when she brought her 11-year-old daughter into her ongoing sexism row with Senator David Leyonhjelm, with critics saying she used her “as a weapon” by allowing the schoolgirl to be interviewed about the issue.
The Greens Senator for South Australia appeared alongside Kora on Channel Ten’s The Project to discuss her public debate with Leyonhjelm after she called him out in the Senate last month, claiming he told her to “stop shagging men”.
The pair have been at loggerheads ever since, but Hanson-Young took things one step further when she involved her young daughter in the argument, as the pair chatted to presenter Lisa Wilkinson about Leyonhjelm’s actions, with Kora saying he should apologise for comments he made about her mother’s sex life.
She said: “Being unfair to women or any gender isn’t right and he has refused to apologise and he deserved to apologise. I would say [to Mr Leyonhjelm] that being a bully was not right and I would try to stay confident which most women and young women must do.”
However, many people disagreed with Hanson-Young’s decision to involve her daughter in the debate with people branding it as “unethical”. One user wrote: “I always find it disgusting when parents bring their children to a protest and in this case, putting her daughter in the front of the media to fight her own battle. It’s against the ethics of parenting. SHY is unfit to be a parent and especially as a senate.”
Another said: “This is so wrong & makes me so angry. Children should not be brought into adult situations.”
However, another viewer argued that Kora looked like she “wanted to be there”, they said: “Sounds like the young lady wanted to be there with her mother to give her support no harm done. No one should be bullied if people spoke to each at work like they do in parliament they would not have a job as well as wasting valuable time.”
I always find it disgusting when parents bring their children to a protest and in this case, putting her daughter in the front of the media to fight her own battle. It’s against the ethics of parenting. SHY is unfit to be a parent and especially as a senate.
— Steve Kenyon (@_stevekenyon) July 22, 2018
Hanson-Young recently confirmed she is taking legal action against the New South Wales representative and a crowdfunding campaign was set up to help fund her suit, which has so far raised more than $59,000.
Leyonhjelm then hit back by launching his own GoFundMe campaign to “fight the Greens” which has raked in around $25,000 in donations.
The argument began on June 28 when Hanson-Young, 36, stood up in the Senate and said: “Earlier today, during the motion relating to violence against women, Senator Leyonhjelm yelled an offensive and sexist slur at me from across the chamber. After the vote on the motion was complete, I walked over to the senator and confronted him directly.
“I asked whether I had heard him correctly. He confirmed that he had yelled, ‘You should stop shagging men, Sarah.’ Shocked, I told him that he was a creep. His reply was to tell me to ‘f… off’. I informed the leader of the Greens, and he has raised it with both Senator Leyonhjelm and the President. I am disappointed that the senator has refused to apologise for this offensive and sexist slur, and I call on him to formally withdraw and apologise directly.”
Leyonhjelm, 66, then appeared on various radio TV and radio outlets where he continued to defend his statements and refused to apologise to Hanson-Young. Speaking on Sky News, he said: “Sarah called out words to the effect of, ‘yeah they should stop raping women’. So I responded to her, she didn’t like my response. When the division was over, she came over to me and called me a creep.
“I told her to go and make love in another place and she decided that was all really bad. There won’t be any backing of or apologising.”