MP lashes ‘soul destroying’ abuse after sympathising with sacked staffer

Queensland MP Michelle Landry has lashed the abuse directed at her on social media after she expressed sympathy for a government staffer who was sacked after video emerged of him masturbating on a female MPs desk.

Ms Landry, a federal LNP member, said her remarks had been taken out of context, triggering a wave of abuse by members of the public in comments on the pages of Labor members of Queensland parliament.

The LNP member for Capricornia in Queensland, Michelle Landry, says she has been subject to a wave of abuse in recent days.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

She said she would not be bullied out of parliament but found the attacks “soul destroying”.

“I’m not putting up with it anymore,” Ms Landry said, adding her staff and family had also received abuse and death threats.

“The state Labor members let people run rampant,” Ms Landry said, without identifying them by name. “If I have stuff that talks about someone in a derogatory way on my pages, it gets deleted or hidden.”

Ms Landry’s office captured some of the comments and re-posted them on her own page to call them out and attack what she said was hypocrisy in Labor. Some of the comments describe her as an “embarrassment” or say she “doesn’t have morals”, others are obviously sexist, suggesting she would have liked someone to masturbate on her desk.

The posts relate to an interview on Tuesday morning when Ms Landry was asked by reporters about her reaction to a video of a Coalition staffer masturbating on the desk of a female member of parliament and his subsequent sacking after Channel Ten made it public.

“I was absolutely horrified when I saw that last night, I think that there is a real behaviour problem in this place and that we have to address it,” Ms Landry said.

“In saying that, the young fellow concerned, he was a really good worker and he loved the place and I feel bad for him about this. But it’s unacceptable behaviour by anyone.”

Her concern, Ms Landry said on Thursday, was not to attack someone who she believed was in a “very dark place” and potentially at risk of mental anguish or even self-harm if she joined in the attack.

Told of the comments on the day, Labor frontbencher Kristina Kenneally lambasted Ms Landry, saying she should instead have expressed sympathy for the building’s cleaners or the MP “whose desk was disrespected”.

Senator Keneally did not suggest mistreatment of women was constrained to one side of politics, or even to Parliament. “This is a society-wide problem, and I’m not so naive to think that any part of society is immune, and that includes the Australian Labor Party,” she said in the same interview.

Labor women, including Ged Kearney, Anne Aly, Deborah O’Neill and Susan Templeman, last week detailed the extensive abuse they are regularly sent or harassment in person, including highly offensive remarks directed to Ms Aly referencing her religion by labelling her an “ISIS whore”.

Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe has also described harassment by male government MPs, including repeatedly asking for dinner and putting their arms around her without permission.

If you or anyone you know needs support, you can contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732), Lifeline 131 114, or Beyond Blue 1300 224 636. For help in a crisis call 000.

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