I have been subjected to a fair bit of criticism over my comments in the House the other day. It seems that some people took exception to my observation that Chris Finlayson had been beaten on three occasions, each time by a woman member of Parliament.
I’m an up-front sort of guy, and I’m not perfect. If I make a mistake I own up, and I take my punishment.
But I’m really struggling to see what I’ve done wrong this time.
I want to explain what I meant when I made the remark in question. But before I do that, let me relate to you some of my history when it comes to championing the rights of women.
I’ve spent most of my life fighting for the under-represented and disadvantaged in our society. That includes the ladies. They deserve our respect and admiration for the way they iron our shirts, cook our meals, and raise the children. I would never say or do anything to upset those hardworking girls, and not just because if I coincide an ill-advised remark with their time of the month it could get ugly.
I don’t have a sexist bone in my body. I think it’s sweet the way some of the girls want to play politics with the big boys in Parliament, and I’m a big fan of women generally. Heck, I’m married to one! That’s more than Chris Finlayson can say, incidentally.
I go out of my way to respect the women in my party and in Parliament. I’m well aware that if we want more women in Parliament then we need to show them our respect. That means treating them right. It means telling them how pretty they look, and how fine their figure appears in that nice little dress. Turn around and let me look at you properly, dollface.
I’m all for robust debate in the House, but I sometimes have to remind my colleagues to take it easy on the ladies in the other team. “Don’t upset them, and don’t hurt their feelings,” I tell my colleagues in caucus. “The girls in National may be misguided, but this is politics, and can we really expect them to understand this whole complicated business?”
So I meant no disrespect to the ladies when I made that remark. I wasn’t meaning to suggest that it was in any way embarrassing for Mr Finlayson to be beaten by women in three contests. No, not at all! I was congratulating him for his chivalry in deliberately losing so that a nice little lady could take a seat in the House.
I really don’t see why I should apologise when I’m really the victim in all of this. I mean no disrespect towards the ladies, and I simply can’t believe that anyone who knows me would think otherwise.
Really, I’m the one who should be apologised to. Most of the people complaining about what I said are women, but, you know, I’m man enough to move on, and I don’t take any of this personally. Those girls are probably unaccustomed to the cut and thrust of parliamentary debate, so I can’t really take personally their failure to grasp what I meant.