Americans are used to politicians making passive-agressive comments about their opponents and dodging questions on Meet The Press, so the shouting matches that take place during other countries' parliamentary proceedings seem oddly sensible — until legislators start cat-calling each other. Incredibly, just one month after Liberal David Bushby meowed at Finance Minister Penny Wong, a politician from the Labor party made the same noise at another woman. And that's not all: Apparently shouting sexist cat references at female MPs is a "thing."
While debating the carbon tax, a "meow" was heard while Liberal Deputy Leader Julie Bishop was speaking. Then, proving that he truly has the maturity of a middle schooler, Labor's Joel Fitzgibbon refused to fess up. From news.com.au:
Speaker Harry Jenkins twice said he had not heard the feline reference during rowdy exchanges, but invited the unnamed culprit to withdraw it.
No Labor MP stood to take the blame as the Opposition loudly said they knew who it was and pointed.
After the vote, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the noise had been made by Government Whip Joel Fitzgibbon and that she had instructed him to personally apologise to Ms Bishop.
Wow. We do not want to see what goes down when someone smells a funky odor in parliament.
Women's affairs minister Tanya Plibersek was criticized for complaining about the first incident, but saying nothing now that a member of her own party had meowed. Plibersek claims she didn't hear the comment. Or perhaps she just finds it hard to defend Bishop since she did the exact same thing in 2008, with an added hand gesture. As shown in this photo, Bishop meowed at Prime Minister Julia Gillard and made a claw motion.
Thank you, Julie Bishop, for giving us one small reason to be proud of our own legislators: Ladies in Congress aren't hurling sexist comments at each other on C-SPAN (yet).