Hazzard's assault confirms what many ladies suspect – contempt is …

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  • Analysis
  • Politics
  • NSW
  • State Parliament
By Jacqueline Maley

August 7, 2020 — 12.06pm

Is Brad Hazzard on his monthlies? He is of a certain age, so perhaps he is suffering midlife mood swings?

About Hazzard's

Hazzard's attack confirms what many women suspect: contempt is …

About attack
Attack may refer to:

Excuse the sexism, but how else to explain the display the NSW Health Minister put on in State Parliament on Thursday, when questioned by Opposition Leader Jodi McKay over mask supplies?

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Hazzard's attack confirms what many women suspect: contempt is …

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His outburst, for which he apologised on Friday morning, began when McKay posed an inquiry to Hazzard over comments he made on 2GB radio about the wearing of masks in NSW.

The government has resisted opposition calls to make masks mandatory.

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McKay saw an opportunity, or so she thought, and wanted to know whether this was because there was a supply problem.

“Do we or don’t we have enough face masks?” she asked.

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Hazzard took exception to the question. He was clearly angered by what he saw as an attempt to politicise mask-wearing when the government wants to encourage community unity on the issue.

He didn’t answer the question, which is unremarkable.

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But in his not answering the question he repeatedly insulted and belittled McKay, calling her a “pork chop” and a “goose”, the “temporary leader of the opposition” and “quite stupid”.

“Just be quiet,” he told her, and compared her to an errant schoolkid.

When McKay repeated her question about masks, he retorted: “You certainly need one”, and seemed to begin a quip about her size, before thinking better of it.

“If I was sitting next to someone like you in a bus I would definitely have a mask on,” he said instead, eliciting guffaws from his parliamentary colleagues.

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Hazzard must be under extraordinary strain. Apart from managing the pandemic health response of the country’s most populous state, he has faced particular criticism since the government’s bungling of the Ruby Princess disembarkation. And he did apologise.

“I was tired and I was frustrated and I shouldn’t have responded the way I did,” he told 2GB on Friday morning. “I am sorry for doing that to you, Jodi, and generally.”

But it was disappointing, in a bone-deep, weary way, that he needed to apologise in the first place.

What is unnerving, particularly for people of the female variety, is how easily this stuff trips off the tongue for some people.

Contempt can’t be very far below the surface, can it, if bullying comments about a woman’s weight, or her looks, are the first that spring to mind during an argument about something else entirely.

Viewing this sort of thing, it becomes difficult to escape the dreary conclusion that this is the lens through which we are viewed when we move through professional spaces.

Still.

Twitter: @JacquelineMaley

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Jacqueline Maley
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Jacqueline Maley is a senior journalist, columnist and former Canberra press gallery sketch writer for The Sydney Morning Herald. In 2017 she won the Peter Ruehl Award for Outstanding Columnist at the Kennedy Awards

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