Bettina Arndt's Order of Australia is formally under review

Bettina Arndt’s Order of Australia is formally under review

Hannah Clarke
The New Daily reports that Bettina Arndt’s Order of Australia will be reviewed by the independent board responsible for the Australia Day awards.

The office of Governor-General, David Hurley, confirmed it had received correspondence calling for Arndt’s honour to be rescinded, which will be considered by the board.

Arndt was controversially recognised in the 2020 Australia Day honours “for significant service to the community as a social commentator, and to gender equity through advocacy for men”.

Remarks she has made previously either excusing or minimising sexual abuse, even of minors, have been raised as being inconsistent with the honours.

Comments Arndt made about the abhorrent murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children have sparked renewed criticisms over her suitability as an awarded-citizen.

Arndt took to Twitter on Friday to congratulate the Queensland police for “keeping an open mind and awaiting proper evidence, including the possibility that Rowan Baxter might have been ‘driven too far’.”

The tweet has been almost universally condemned. The Queensland police detective Mark Thompson who used those words “driven too far” was removed from investigating the case as a result.

The Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said it was the only appropriate response.

“I apologise for what was said and how it was said. Phraseology was completely wrong and the words and way it was said should not have been used,” she told ABC Radio.  “I sincerely apologise to the community and to victims about the way it was put.”

Arndt however has not apologised and instead dug in and took issue with the detective being stood down.

Liberal MP, Tim Smith, told The New Daily, “This is not a left-versus-right issue, this is not a Labor-versus-Liberal issue. This is a right-versus-wrong issue. Anyone who seeks to justify, explain or rationalise why a man would commit mass murder by incinerating his three little kids and their mum in a car is wrong.”

In his letter to the chairman of the Order of Australia Shane Stone asking to rescind Arndt’s award Tim Smith wrote that the council has an important role to play and cannot associate with views that make excuses for extreme violence.

“In this instance, a multiple murder has been committed in the most heinous fashion, with three children under the age of ten and their mother having been incinerated in a vehicle on their way to school,” he wrote.

Smith argues the award should be cancelled for behaving in a manner that has brought the Order of Australia into disrepute.

If you agree, you can email the Governor General’s office here to express your view. As Samantha Maiden tweeted earlier on Monday, the Governor General must refer all correspondence and complaints to the Order of Australia panel so if you want to be heard, it’s the first step.

 

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