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Zed campaigners post ‘rape joke’ about Greens candidate

By Charlotte Harper 1 July 2016 26

Offensive material

Supporters of ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seselja have attached to the dashboard of one of their campaign vehicles text on a photograph of his key opponent, Greens candidate Christina Hobbs, saying she wants “a railing” (slang for violent sex), sparking social media outrage and calls for an apology on the eve of the Federal election.

A photograph of Ms Hobbs’ fellow Greens candidate Carly Saeedi also appears on the dashboard with the words, “I’ll give your refugee a loving home.”

Ms Hobbs has posted video of the Seselja campaign van on her Facebook page showing the offending material in position on the dashboard. She was alerted to the material via a tweet. The Greens have described the material as a “rape joke” on their Facebook feed.

“Last night I was tweeted at by a young woman who was walking home past Senator Seselja’s office when she spotted his campaign mini-van parked out the front with disturbing images of me and the Greens’ candidate for Fenner taped to the front dashboard with vile and sexist comments,” Ms Hobbs wrote on Facebook.

“The comment attached to my image included the phrase that “I want a railing”, the word “railing” being a term for violent sex, often associating with rape.

“I’m sure this was all intended as a joke, but in 2016, it’s just not funny.”

Ms Hobbs added that having put her hand up for public office, she had expected a certain level harassment.

“When you’re a female candidate you understand it’s going to be particularly vile and often sexual in nature. But what you don’t expect, is that your male political opponent is somehow going to be “in on the joke” – busing around a group of young men who seem set on harassment and intimidation.

Screen grab from video

“Throughout this campaign both me and my campaign team have put up with aggressive behaviour by a group of young men dressed in “Team Zed” jackets being bused around who I understand are largely from interstate.”

Ms Hobbs said it was ironic that today, on the last day of the campaign, she was due to announce a policy to reduce violence against women and support domestic violence survivors.

She also said Senator Seselja had been seen climbing in and out of the offending van this week.

Labor Senator Katy Gallagher has shared Ms Hobbs’ post and added her own words of support, saying the incident was “simply appalling” and could not be excused or ignored by Senator Seselja.

“He should immediately apologise to Christina Hobbs and explain exactly why this material, openly and violently degrading a female candidate, was in his campaign bus,” Senator Gallagher said.

RiotACT contacted Mr Seselja for comment and received the following statement from Canberra Liberals President Arthur Potter in response:

“Zed has unequivocally condemned this type of juvenile behaviour, it is absolutely unacceptable and we have no time for it. Zed has apologised for any offence caused and has spoken to all campaign volunteers regarding this matter.”
 

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26 Responses to
Zed campaigners post ‘rape joke’ about Greens candidate
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madelini 9:44 am 07 Jul 16

creative_canberran said :

KentFitch said :

Arthur Davies said :

Arthur Davies said :

Zed showing his true colours

Oh – I don’t think its Zed really. Just some idiot campaigners. I actually didnt know that term or that it is slang for rape.

It’s not slang for rape. But if you say “Team Zed made a sex joke” you don’t rile up as many people as if you say they made a rape joke.

At best, it’s a gendered sex slur. At worst, it is a rape “joke”. Note how no comments like this were made about Simon Sheikh?

It’s about consent. Making a sex “joke” where the subject would never consent in the real world means that it strays dangerously close to rape territory, even if it is only implied. This isn’t funny anymore, if indeed it ever was.

Well you’re wrong. It’s the same as saying someone “needs to get laid”, and the language used was a reference to the Greens stance on light-rail.

I’m happy to agree that it wasn’t appropriate. But it wasn’t a rape joke, despite how hard the Greens and the Fairfax made it out to be.

Thank you, but I am not wrong. Again, the “needs to get laid” line is most frequently directed at women; it’s rarely men who get targeted with that so that they calm down and mind their manners. More than this, it is most often men who use the line when they are talking about women.

While you are right that the language used was taken from the light rail campaign, it was recontextualised and sexualised at the expense of a woman. “Joking” about sex, particularly violent sex, at the expense of a person is symptomatic of rape culture.

Mordd 2:58 pm 05 Jul 16

dungfungus said :

Masquara said :

Masquara said :

Andrew Zed said :

Grail said :

TuggLife said :

It is unclear from this statement as to whether Senator Seselja has actually apologised directly to Ms Hobbs and Ms Saeedi, or if his team has simply put a statement out on his behalf. It is also unclear what action has been taken against those who were responsible for this reprehensible behaviour. I would like more information on both of those points from the Senator. I would expect that given the Senator’s values and the fact that he himself has a daughter, he would find this type of behaviour particularly offensive.

I heard his apology on the radio, unqualified and addressed to Hobbs directly.

That may be, but I confirmed last night he never called, texted or emailed Christina directly to apologise to her, even if the radio thing was addressed to her, I would think he could and should still contact Christina directly anyway.

It’s actually whoever defaced the posters that owe Christina a direct apology. Zed Seselja didn’t order or condone the activity, so what he expressed on radio was entirely in order.

Your common sense approach isn’t welcome here, unfortunately. The rabid anti-Zed brigade won’t accept anything other than a grovelling apology for behaviour he didn’t condone or conduct, and even then they’d still find a way to blame him and claim the apology wasn’t enough.

He was seen getting in and out of the bus all week long while the images were attached to it. He condoned it by failing to do anything about it all week long. Even if he didn’t put them there himself, it’s his campaign bus so yes he needs to take personal responsibility for the actions of his volunteers. Making a personal apology to Christina would have taken literally 2 minutes of his time but it also would have showed him to be a compassionate person, guess that’s why it didn’t happen.

Since you happen to fit the profile of the rabid anti-Zed brigade, I’ll take your claims about what happened with a grain of salt. And as I said previously, you’d have just found another reason to disregard any apology he made.

Not at all. Had he personally called Christina to apologise, that would have increased the small amount of respect I have for him. I am not a barbarian, I have a base amount of respect for Zed as a person, but it would have been greater had he taken the small effort to make a personal apology directly.

Mysteryman 10:11 am 05 Jul 16

Masquara said :

Masquara said :

Andrew Zed said :

Grail said :

TuggLife said :

It is unclear from this statement as to whether Senator Seselja has actually apologised directly to Ms Hobbs and Ms Saeedi, or if his team has simply put a statement out on his behalf. It is also unclear what action has been taken against those who were responsible for this reprehensible behaviour. I would like more information on both of those points from the Senator. I would expect that given the Senator’s values and the fact that he himself has a daughter, he would find this type of behaviour particularly offensive.

I heard his apology on the radio, unqualified and addressed to Hobbs directly.

That may be, but I confirmed last night he never called, texted or emailed Christina directly to apologise to her, even if the radio thing was addressed to her, I would think he could and should still contact Christina directly anyway.

It’s actually whoever defaced the posters that owe Christina a direct apology. Zed Seselja didn’t order or condone the activity, so what he expressed on radio was entirely in order.

Your common sense approach isn’t welcome here, unfortunately. The rabid anti-Zed brigade won’t accept anything other than a grovelling apology for behaviour he didn’t condone or conduct, and even then they’d still find a way to blame him and claim the apology wasn’t enough.

He was seen getting in and out of the bus all week long while the images were attached to it. He condoned it by failing to do anything about it all week long. Even if he didn’t put them there himself, it’s his campaign bus so yes he needs to take personal responsibility for the actions of his volunteers. Making a personal apology to Christina would have taken literally 2 minutes of his time but it also would have showed him to be a compassionate person, guess that’s why it didn’t happen.

Since you happen to fit the profile of the rabid anti-Zed brigade, I’ll take your claims about what happened with a grain of salt. And as I said previously, you’d have just found another reason to disregard any apology he made.

Mordd 9:26 am 05 Jul 16

Masquara said :

Andrew Zed said :

Grail said :

TuggLife said :

It is unclear from this statement as to whether Senator Seselja has actually apologised directly to Ms Hobbs and Ms Saeedi, or if his team has simply put a statement out on his behalf. It is also unclear what action has been taken against those who were responsible for this reprehensible behaviour. I would like more information on both of those points from the Senator. I would expect that given the Senator’s values and the fact that he himself has a daughter, he would find this type of behaviour particularly offensive.

I heard his apology on the radio, unqualified and addressed to Hobbs directly.

That may be, but I confirmed last night he never called, texted or emailed Christina directly to apologise to her, even if the radio thing was addressed to her, I would think he could and should still contact Christina directly anyway.

It’s actually whoever defaced the posters that owe Christina a direct apology. Zed Seselja didn’t order or condone the activity, so what he expressed on radio was entirely in order.

Your common sense approach isn’t welcome here, unfortunately. The rabid anti-Zed brigade won’t accept anything other than a grovelling apology for behaviour he didn’t condone or conduct, and even then they’d still find a way to blame him and claim the apology wasn’t enough.

He was seen getting in and out of the bus all week long while the images were attached to it. He condoned it by failing to do anything about it all week long. Even if he didn’t put them there himself, it’s his campaign bus so yes he needs to take personal responsibility for the actions of his volunteers. Making a personal apology to Christina would have taken literally 2 minutes of his time but it also would have showed him to be a compassionate person, guess that’s why it didn’t happen.

Mysteryman 10:22 am 04 Jul 16

Andrew Zed said :

Grail said :

TuggLife said :

It is unclear from this statement as to whether Senator Seselja has actually apologised directly to Ms Hobbs and Ms Saeedi, or if his team has simply put a statement out on his behalf. It is also unclear what action has been taken against those who were responsible for this reprehensible behaviour. I would like more information on both of those points from the Senator. I would expect that given the Senator’s values and the fact that he himself has a daughter, he would find this type of behaviour particularly offensive.

I heard his apology on the radio, unqualified and addressed to Hobbs directly.

That may be, but I confirmed last night he never called, texted or emailed Christina directly to apologise to her, even if the radio thing was addressed to her, I would think he could and should still contact Christina directly anyway.

It’s actually whoever defaced the posters that owe Christina a direct apology. Zed Seselja didn’t order or condone the activity, so what he expressed on radio was entirely in order.

Your common sense approach isn’t welcome here, unfortunately. The rabid anti-Zed brigade won’t accept anything other than a grovelling apology for behaviour he didn’t condone or conduct, and even then they’d still find a way to blame him and claim the apology wasn’t enough.

Mysteryman 10:19 am 04 Jul 16

KentFitch said :

Arthur Davies said :

Arthur Davies said :

Zed showing his true colours

Oh – I don’t think its Zed really. Just some idiot campaigners. I actually didnt know that term or that it is slang for rape.

It’s not slang for rape. But if you say “Team Zed made a sex joke” you don’t rile up as many people as if you say they made a rape joke.

At best, it’s a gendered sex slur. At worst, it is a rape “joke”. Note how no comments like this were made about Simon Sheikh?

It’s about consent. Making a sex “joke” where the subject would never consent in the real world means that it strays dangerously close to rape territory, even if it is only implied. This isn’t funny anymore, if indeed it ever was.

Well you’re wrong. It’s the same as saying someone “needs to get laid”, and the language used was a reference to the Greens stance on light-rail.

I’m happy to agree that it wasn’t appropriate. But it wasn’t a rape joke, despite how hard the Greens and the Fairfax made it out to be.

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