WA MP says mining industry “pussy-whipped” by Gillard

Western Australian Liberal MP Don Randall is facing a barrage of controversy following his comments that the mining industry is “pussy-whipped” by Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Colleagues have slammed the “sexist” comments made during the Friends of Mining lunch in Parliament House on Wednesday.

The event was attended by about 50 coalition MP’s and senators, who following a presentation from the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies chief executive Simon Bennison and Cazaly Resources executive Clive Jones, heard Randall’s opinion on the industry’s lack of uproar about the mining tax.

He rose to share his view that the mining industry has been too accommodating to Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson and the Prime Minister, witnesses told The West Australian.

"The problem is that the mining industry is being pussy-whipped by Julia Gillard," he said, according to attendees.

A Liberal MP said the language used by Randall was disgraceful and another said off the back of the recent accusations of misogyny in the party, his comments were particularly misguided.

Ramdall has defended his comments, made in the presence of WA politicians including National leader Warren Truss, Opposition Leader Julie Bishop, frontbenchers Brownwyn Bishop, Ian Macfarlane, Kevin Andrews, as well as numerous backbenchers.

"It was a tongue-in-cheek type comment. I’m not denying it. It’s a term that’s often used and I use it as well," he said.

The most senior female member of Parliament she was not offended by Mr Randall’s remark.

"I took it that he was talking about males who cower in the face of dominant women," Bishop said.

"He didn’t say it in a way that I found offensive, he said it in the context that the Government was known for its retribution and the miners appeared too scared to take them on again.

"If people were offended by it, they should have asked Don Randall what he meant by it."

It’s not the first time the member for Canning has been in hot water over inappropriate comments, and in 1998 he attracted national attention for saying former Democrat leader Cheryl Knot had the “morals of an alley cat on heat,” after she jumped ship to become a Labor MP.

Three weeks ago, Liberal senator David Bushby faced sexism controversy when he "meowed" at Finance Minister Penny Wong during a Senate inquiry.

Bushby later apologised to Wong.

 

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