Outgoing independent Senator David Leyonhjelm has described himself as “the last line of defence for women” as he called for “vulnerable people” to arm themselves with pepper spray.
The Liberal Democrats senator used his final days in federal parliament to renew his push to arm women, tabling a motion on Wednesday requesting the legalisation of pepper spray after a spate of attacks against women.
“While other politicians offer thoughts and prayers following each rape and murder of an innocent victim,” Senator Leyonhjelm said on Thursday.
“I actually want to give people the option to defend themselves if they choose.”
The senator also referred to himself as “the last line of defence for women”, saying women would be better protected if they had access to pepper spray.
Greens Senator Janet Rice previously slammed the idea in Parliament as “ill-conceived, blundering and harmful”, instead urging supporters of the idea to focus on preventing male violence against women.
“The Greens’ comments that men should stop hurting women ignores the harsh reality: there are people out there hell-bent on hurting others, and waving a wishing wand hoping they will suddenly become decent people over night is childish,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.
It was during debate about the motion, originally proposed in June by then Katter Australia Party Senator Fraser Anning, that Senator Leyonhjelm uttered his infamous sledge against Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
“You’ll have to stop shagging men now, Sarah,” he yelled at her during the vote, sparking a national debate about the treatment of women and “slut-shaming”.
The original motion on legalising pepper spray was opposed by both major parties and comprehensively defeated in the Senate at the time.
Senator Leyonhjelm is leaving federal parliament to run for a seat in the NSW Parliament in March.
He’s vowed to push the case for pepper spray if elected.