Victorian Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams has issued a powerful response to her now former colleague, Adem Somyurek, following abusive comments he made about her that were aired on 60 Minutes on Sunday night.
The statement was short, but powerful, noting that no matter the circumstances — on the street or in the halls of Parliament — words matter. Misogynistic, offensive and abusive language is simply unacceptable.
And it simply must be called out.
“Violent, misogynistic language perpetuates the attitudes and behaviours that enable a culture of violence against women,” she said.
“Whether at home, in the street, at work or in the halls of Parliament, this language is unacceptable — when it does occur, it must be called out.
“No matter who you are, no one deserves to be threatened and abused in this way.”
Williams added that she’s grateful for the support she’s received from the community since the comments were aired, and that she commends the actions of the Premier Daniel Andrews in responding to the issue.
“Last night was another reminder of how important this work is, and how much work there is still left to do. Words spoken by one man will not derail this work.”
Adem Somyurek was sacked for comments and conduct exposed by The Age and 60 Minutes, including abusive and threatening remarks towards Williams, who is also the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence.
Somyurek was recorded saying he would “Fucking force her out of the ministry”, calling her a number of derogatory names and saying, among other things, that he’s going to “fucking knock her fucking head off”.
Premier Andrews described the words as “simply unacceptable, wicked comments” that can not be tolerated.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese said the comments were “breathtaking in the ignorance and in their inappropriateness.”