The fallout from Peter Dutton's "mad f***ing witch" gaffe text continues, with a veritable coven of women dressing as witches on Friday to call for his resignation.
Dutton, the federal Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons again earlier this week when he accidentally sent journalist Samantha Maiden a text message meant for dumped minister Jamie Briggs. Dutton's text, about a story Maiden had written after Briggs' resignation last week, aimed to reassure Briggs by rubbishing Maiden as a "mad f***ing witch".
Since the gaffe was made public, social media networks have been populated by women trying to reclaim the word "witch". On Friday, groups of women dressed in Halloween-style witches garb and took to Melbourne's Federation Square and assembled outside Dutton's electoral office in Queensland to call for his resignation.
Dressed in pointy hats, brandishing broomsticks and with slogans painted on mock gravestones -- "NOT charmed by sexism," "Equality is magic," "We'll put a spell on patriarchy" -- the women posted pictures of their demonstrations on Twitter under the hashtags #TheDuttonWitchProject and #Witchin.
Jennie Hill is the founder of the "Mad F***ing Witches" Facebook page (with the profanity spelled in full) and has been involved in the organisation of the twin gatherings in Qld and Victoria. She told The Huffington Post Australia about 30 women had gathered to protest Dutton's text.
"We're trying to bring attention to the whole idea of reclaiming the word witches as a positive word. This blokey attitude in the parliament -- even if the text was sent by mistake -- this misogynistic atittude of calling women 'mad witches' is not the way women want parliament to be run," she said.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has resisted calls by Labor and the Greens to punish Dutton for the text, only releasing a short statement saying, "As I advised the minister yesterday, his language was clearly inappropriate as he recognised by apologising immediately to Ms Maiden".
HuffPost Australia has contacted Dutton's office for comment.