Richard Di Natale On Q&A: 'Privilege Is Usually Invisible To Those Who Have It'

He slammed a questioner who denied male privilege contributes to domestic violence.

17/10/2016 11:10 PM AEDT | Updated 18/10/2016 12:11 AM AEDT
Monday night's Q&A program covered everything from Australia's domestic violence crisis to Donald Trump.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale has slammed a Q&A questioner and panellist who argued male privilege does not contribute to domestic violence.

On Monday night, the panel debated whether the Respectful Relationships program -- which will be implemented into Victorian schools in 2017 -- is an effective tool to reduce domestic violence rates, after a questioner claimed the program ostracised men and boys.

"If it's about respect, why do we need the gender overlay? Surely it's superfluous," a teenage boy in the audience asked.

"Privilege is usually invisible to those who have it," Di Natale replied.

"Right from the messages we get from people like Donald Trump to the sort of behaviour we model, we have a responsibility to try and ensure that we achieve respect and I think there's absolutely a role within schools for that sort of conversation to happen.

"And to acknowledge what is a reality and that is that when it comes to privilege, it is mostly those of us sitting at this panel who are male and middle aged who benefit from it."

Di Natale was joined by Labor MP Tim Watts, economist and commentator Judith Sloan, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions Ged Kearney and IR commentator Grace Collier as everything from unions, marriage equality, sexism and Donald Trump were debated.

Institute of Public Affairs Executive Director, John Roskam, argued the Respectful Relationships program went beyond teaching children respect, but gendered the issue. Sloan was critical of the program, too, arguing education in the home was critical and men have "lost their way" as their breadwinner roles have been "undermined".

However, it was Labor's Tim Watts who seemed most astonished domestic violence rates against women continued to be questioned.

"I've done a lots of work on family violence in my electorate in the wake of a particularly horrible murder shortly after I was elected," Watts told the Q&A audience.

"A woman was killed on the main street of Sunshine in my electorate in front of her children by her ex-husband, after seeing her lawyer to get protection from the courts on this. As a result of that I plunged into this issue to try and find out how it worked.

"One of the things that shocked me the most is how often you hear that question.

"You hear a question saying, 'Two women a week are murdered by a partner or former partner in this country. What about me? What about men?'"

A 16-year-old girl in the audience asked the panel how the nation can prevent "men who brag about sexual assault" running for office -- which you can watch below.

ACTU President Ged Kearney said the airing of Donald Trump's comments were having a positive impact on the discourse around sexism in Australia, despite the Republican Presidential nominee's "hideous, sexist views".

"There is a bit of a silver lining," Kearney told the audience.

"My son is a beautiful 25-year-old boy. I'm very proud of him. It started a conversation about: Is that really how men are? Is that really how men talk? 'I don't talk like that, Mum. My friends don't talk like that.'

"It might be a really good start of a conversation about things which are and aren't acceptable."

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