‘DISGUSTING’: Lister under fire over women’s rights remark
Member for Southern Downs James Lister has defended the stance on women’s rights and gendered violence that was slammed as “disgusting, belittling” conduct in a fierce online debate.
Warwick resident Sue Hamlet wrote a comment questioning the politician’s comparative silence on gendered violence and plans to “tackle toxic masculinity”, which was met with harsh words from Mr Lister.
“Thanks for the lesson in Twitter politics Sue, but you don’t understand a thing about the expectations of this electorate,” he wrote.
“I’d love to see you walk the main street of Goondiwindi and share with people your view that I should prioritise ‘tacking toxic masculinity’ above representing the community over the issue of the recidivist crime problem they’re experiencing.”
Alongside Ms Hamlet’s response calling on him to take of last week’s protests to speak up for women’s rights, Mr Lister’s comment attracted criticism from many other Southern Downs residents.
“The way in which you have responded to this like it’s a non-existent topic is disgusting … you were belittling and frankly proved exactly her point,” resident Teash Leahy said.
“We’ve had many fine members for our electorate who listened to all of the electorate. So far what I see from you doesn’t impress me,” James Heffernan wrote.
Helen Nicholls said Mr Lister’s response was “ironic” considering the people commenting were members of his electorate and were sharing their expectations with him.
Bronnie Dee slammed the MP’s “dismissive” response to a member of his own electorate.
“Imagine thinking that standing up against gendered violence prevents you from standing up against crime. Surely you should be representing your entire electorate on multiple issues,” she wrote.
Mr Lister did not offer any rebuttal on Facebook at the time, but has since told the Daily News his focus would remain on the youth crime petition despite the public outcry.
“People should read the petition. Its content is very specific and very serious. People who disagree with my calls for repeat offenders to be locked up should say so rather than weaponising a separate issue to attack the messenger,” he said.
“Rape culture and misogyny deserve separate attention and are not the issue people sign my petition for – it’s the car thefts, break-ins, vandalism, hooning, and anti-social behaviour which many angry and scared people have taken up with me.
“Unlike the social media crowd, they aren’t lining up to call me a sexist brute. They’re lining up, in their hundreds, to sign my petition.”
Ms Hamlet hoped the fierce online debate would push addressing women’s rights and gendered violence up the state member’s priority list, and said she would be open to further discussions with the elected representative.
“It’s a problem to be out of step with what matters in the electorate, but it’s a bigger problem to stay out of step,” she said.
“I’m willing to overlook the dismissive element of how he replied to me, but mostly I just want him to realise his electorate does care about this.
“We want to hear from him and the leader he can be.
“We want people who speak up for what matters, not just be the nice guy.”