The office of Governor-General, David Hurley, confirmed it had received correspondence calling for Arndt’s honour to be rescinded, which will be considered by the board.
Governor General’s office confirms Bettina Arndt’s Order of Australia under review after formal complaints regarding her support for police keeping an open mind on whether a killer dad who burned wife and children to death in Brisbane was ‘driven’ to it https://t.co/5TwpG5iBLq
— 𝕤𝕒𝕞𝕒𝕟𝕥𝕙𝕒 𝕞𝕒𝕚𝕕𝕖𝕟 (@samanthamaiden) February 23, 2020
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’.”
…and explanations when women stab their partners to death, or drive their children into dams but immediately judging a man in these circumstances as simply representing the evil violence that is in all men. https://t.co/gCMCn1kma1
— Bettina Arndt (@thebettinaarndt) February 20, 2020
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.
Today I wrote to the Chair of the Council for the Order of Australia to formally ask the Council to advise the Governor-General that Bettina Arndt’s AM be cancelled because of her comments that sought to excuse extreme violence. Her comments will “bring disrepute on the Order.” pic.twitter.com/fizGF1fP7o
— Tim Smith MP (@TimSmithMP) February 22, 2020
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.”
Tried to think of a response worthy of the arsehattery of this tweet. Can't think of anything.
He burned his ex-partner and little children to death. Set them on fire.
What on earth is wrong with you. https://t.co/Hh9P7LDZ6c
— Hugh Riminton (@hughriminton) February 21, 2020
On Bettina Arndt's Order of Australia honours, QLD's Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women @difarmerMP says it absolutely should be revoked. "We do not need public figures calling domestic violence anything than what it is" she told @frankelly08 on @RNBreakfast #auspol
— Julia Holman (@JulesHolman) February 23, 2020
I think Bettina Arndt will and should return her Order of Australia medal . Controversy around the awards is destructive . And she well deserves the criticism .
— Neil Mitchell (@3AWNeilMitchell) February 22, 2020
These comments about a man who doused his wife and children with petrol and burnt them to death are abhorrent. I don’t believe the values which underpin @thebettinaarndt’s views on this horrific family violence incident are consistent with her retaining her Order of Australia. https://t.co/gyTLUIjEQm
— Senator Sarah Henderson (@SenSHenderson) February 22, 2020
The awarding of an OAM to Arn*t was a shocking lapse in judgement that requires correction. She may be a favourite of the aggrieved extreme fringes but she is unworthy of an honour that is bestowed on behalf of us all as a nation. https://t.co/FJ9xfUATx1 via @theage
— Brian Mitchell MP (@BrianMitchellMP) February 22, 2020
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.