Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria)– Members will be familiar with the recent story from Canberra of the federal member for Greenway, Michelle Rowland, initially being denied a pair in Parliament so that she could be with her sick child. At the time the story broke in the media, the federal coalition’s manager of opposition business, Christopher Pyne, and coalition whip, Warren Entsch, tried their hardest to back-pedal, stating that the coalition did not know it was Ms Rowland’s child who was sick but believed it was a family member and wanted more information. However, the newspapers revealed the letter signed by Mr Entsch refusing to grant a pair, specifically stating that the request was made because Ms Rowland’s child was sick.
It is fair to say that what occurred was quite damaging for the federal coalition.
It showed its complete ignorance of what it is like to be a working mother and of the arrangements we all need to put in place from time to time for the care of our children. Then came the encore performance from the federal coalition — and it had to be heard to be believed. The federal coalition whip thought it appropriate to judge the decisions made by Ms Rowland as a mother, stating that she should not have been at Parliament that week at all. What a disgusting display by the federal Liberal-Nationals coalition! It brought to light what the coalition really believes when it comes to women’s choices and its audacity when it comes to judging mothers and making public comment.