Members Statement - Member for Clarinda

Extracted from Hansard
02 May 2018

Members Statement – Member for Clarinda

I rise to put on the record a vile incident that occurred in this place during the previous sitting week. Following the member for Clarinda making an inappropriate gesture in the chamber during question time, which the member for Ringwood and I raised in a point of order, I was subjected to a torrent of verbal abuse in the lift. Upon leaving the chamber I walked to the lift, where I waited. The member for Clarinda approached, and as we waited I said to him that I was very disappointed in his behaviour. When we entered the lift, the member for Clarinda began shouting at me, and as it went on, he became louder and louder. He leaned in toward me and pointed his finger in my face. I felt incredibly uncomfortable, and when the lift opened in the basement, I exited, even though I had not made it to my intended location. I said to the member for Clarinda that I did not feel safe and I was leaving to report him to the Speaker.

I was shaken and completely taken aback by what had happened. I was accused of being a racist and an ageist — two points that were not part of anything that had transpired. I reported the matter to the Speaker and referred it to the Privileges Committee. I also find it astounding that, rather than apologising, the member for Clarinda indicated that I was involved in a robust discussion. The witnesses who heard his tirade and saw him pointing a finger in my face have reported they only heard his voice yelling.

On that day the Premier launched a campaign urging people to speak up and say something when they saw women being treated badly. I expected some sort of apology or discussion, but there has been nothing. I am shocked and appalled that no apology has been forthcoming from the Premier or from the member for this appalling behaviour that occurred in a place where we shape the values of our state.