Liberal MP Robyn Parker speaking at an official function earlier this year. Photo: Peter StoopRobyn Parker says she does not consider an email NSW Nationals MP John Williams sent her after he made sexist remarks about her in front of 100 people to be “an apology”.
During Mr Williams’s bid for pre-selection for the upper house in April, he is reported to have verbally attacked the Member for Maitland, threatening to “tear her a new orifice” and saying she had “never had a real man”.
Mr Williams, the member for Murray-Darling, was angry about a decision her department had made when she was still environment minister.
He was talking in front of about 100 Nationals members, including NSW deputy premier Andrew Stoner.
Mr Williams sent Ms Parker an email the day after his comments were made.
“Regrettably I let my emotions take over and said some things that probably destroyed my chances of a winnable place,” he wrote.
After his comments, Mr Williams emerged as an endorsed candidate, albeit in the almost unwinnable fourth position.
The offensive comments were revealed yesterday by Fairfax media at a time when the number of women in the NSW upper house from all parties is set to plummet.
Ms Parker, a Liberal MP, did not bring the attack against her into the public sphere but said now she was being asked about it she felt the need to speak strongly against it to show it should not be tolerated by any female.
She also said she thought the email Mr Williams sent her was self-centred and did not constitute an apology.
“The email was basically, in my view, him considering the effect on himself,” she said.
“He admitted it had cost him dearly but he did not admit what he said was inappropriate.
“It’s hurtful because we are in 2014 and this is an attitude that’s still prevalent, we have a lot more work to do.
“Those comments are not nice in any context and we need to stop those sort of behaviours wherever we are; no women should tolerate it.
“I think it is difficult for women in politics and we know that this is not a new thing and has been going on for some time.”
In 2004, Ms Parker told parliament she was raped as a teenager. She made the revelation while speaking in support of legislative change in regard to the Criminal Procedure Amendment (Sexual Offence Evidence Bill).
Jenny Aitchison will be running against Ms Parker in next year’s state election.
However yesterday the Labor candidate gave her full support to her opponent, saying the comments Mr Williams made were disgraceful.
“It’s not acceptable for any woman to be denigrated on the basis of their sex,” she said.
“I’m appalled. It’s tough for all women in politics; I’ve been the butt of sexist comments myself.”
Cessnock councillor and Liberal branch vice-president Cordelia Troy said Mr Williams needed to issue a public apology to Ms Parker.
“You play the ball not the man and to attack someone so personally, to attack them with such aggressive sexual language, there is no place for it in the community or in the parliament,” she said.
“It’s hate speech, he should be expelled.
“He owes Robyn a public apology.
“Everyone was attacking that women over the racist remarks she made on the train the other day but I think this is far worse; it’s an extremely serious issue, this man is supposed to a leader.”
Mr Williams was unavailable for comment yesterday but has previously told Fairfax media: “If I had my time again I would have never had said it. It was a stupid thing to say”.
Mr Stoner’s office declined to comment yesterday, but it is understood the deputy premier has in the past spoken to Mr Williams about his inappropriate language.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.