Australian comedian and LGBTQI advocate, Magda Szubanski has defended comments she made earlier this week about Jenny Morrison.
Responding to a tweeted photo, in which a sombre Jenny Morrison– dressed in black with arms behind her back– watches on as her husband signs a condolence book for Queen Elizabeth following the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh, Szubanski replied “I genuinely thought this was a photoshopped Handmaid’s Tale meme. But no. It’s 21st century Aussie life.”
The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood in which married women are subservient and do not work, wear plain clothes and act as dutiful servants to their husbands. Single women are kept as baby-making machines.
The backlash against Szubanski was swift and fierce.
Liberal MP Nicolle Flint, who announced her resignation from parliament last month amid an escalating crisis of sexual misconduct within her own party, labelled Szubanski’s comments as “appalling” and “deeply nasty”.
Appearing on Nine’s A Current Affair last night, Szubanski defended her remarks, saying she was merely commenting on the growing influence of far-right Christianity in political life.
Both Scott and Jenny Morrison are devout Penticostal Christians, with the PM regularly alluding to his faith within public office.
“That was a mild way of drawing attention to the fact I do have concerns about, and trust me this is not about the majority of Christians, but the element of the far-right,” Szubanski said.
“And – they are really going to come for me now – I think that is a concern.
“I think that is quite legitimate to say in this country. I don‘t like extremes of any kind, is my stance.”
Szubanski said she felt a responsibility– given her position of profile– to call out this example, despite usually being “extremely restrained” on social media.
“In terms of the increasing presence of the religious right in politics in this country, then I will say something,” she said.
Szubanski likewise suggested that the efforts to draw controversy out of her comments, was a patent attempt by the government to redirect focus from Christine Holgate’s sensational appearance in Parliament yesterday, in which the former boss of Australia Post accused the Prime Minister of “humiliating” her publicly and bullying her into resignation.
“I‘m becoming Twitter toughened and if you speak up, this is what’s going to happen,” Szubanski said.
“What stunned me was this was such a non-event, and non-comment. It was a comment about a photo that I genuinely thought was a meme.
“I was a bit staggered that I got drawn into this over such a nothing observation that thousands of people had already made on Twitter.