Bettina Arndt

Activists call for Bettina Arndt to be stripped of Order of Australia honour

LGBTIQ advocates have written to the federal government urging it to rescind the Order of Australia award bestowed on Bettina Arndt in this year’s Australia Day honours.

The advocates, all of whom have been appointed to the Order of Australia for their own work, cited commentary by Arndt that they say is based on biased research, and has harmed LGBTIQ people and their families.

Arndt was controversially appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in January in recognition of her “significant service to the community as a social commentator” and services to “gender equity through advocacy for men”.

Veteran LGBTIQ rights activist and former senator Brian Greig OAM said that while Arndt’s award appears to be under review because of her recent comments about domestic violence, in which she seemingly blamed Hannah Clarke for her and her children’s murders, his group’s letter is focused on her negative remarks on same-sex parenting.

“Many LGBTIQ people were astonished when Ms Arndt was awarded an Australian honour because of her disparaging and untruthful commentary about same-sex couples raising children,” said Greig.

“None of this has been helped by Ms Arndt disingenuously alluding to herself as qualified in the area of clinical psychology or sociology – which she is not.”

Greig said that Arndt’s anti-LGBTIQ bias was on display in December 2011, when she authored an article in The Australian professing concern about children raised by same-sex parents.

“To back her claims about the children of LGBTIQ parents, Ms Arndt dismissed the genuine academic research into same-sex parenting as ‘biased’ and then spruiked the work of Lerner, Nagai, and Nock, despite the strong links these ‘researchers’ have to the American religious right,” he said.

“We believe that any social commentator worthy of appointment to the Order of Australia should respect genuine academic research and be able to distinguish such research from sham, politically motivated studies.

“Ms Arndt failed that test. As a result, LGBTIQ people and their families endured the harm that inevitably comes from being portrayed unfairly and negatively.”

The letter calling for Arndt to be stripped of her honour has been co-signed by Sally Goldner AM, Rodney Croome AM, Shelley Argent OAM, and Ivan Hinton-Teoh OAM.

A growing number of politicians are joining the call for Arndt’s Order of Australia award to be rescinded.

Among others, Liberal senator Jonathon Duniam called her comments about domestic violence “abhorrent and unacceptable”, ABC News has reported.

A Labor motion to recognise Arndt’s comments as “reckless” and “abhorrent” were opposed only by One Nation senators Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts.

A public petition is also calling for Arndt’s award to be rescinded, with more than 56,000 signatures so far.

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