Herald Sun - - NEWS - ANEEKA SIMONIS aneeka.simonis@news.com.au

FORMER emer­gency ser­vices min­is­ter Jane Gar­rett has spo­ken of her dis­gust over a grubby list pub­lished by former Mel­bourne city coun­cil­lor Stephen Mayne, which rated her and other high-pro­file fe­male La­bor govern­ment staffers based on their phys­i­cal and sex­ual at­trac­tive­ness.

The “Bracks Babes” list, pub­lished by Crikey in 2001 while Mr Mayne was edi­tor, de­scribed a se­nior staffer who em­bod­ied “the dom­i­na­trix fan­tasy, pow­er­ful, fright­en­ing and blonde”.

Oth­ers were de­scribed as “ooz­ing sex and fun”, “very tasty”, “dark, sen­sual and very at­trac­tive” and “ev­ery boy’s dream”.

The list, which Mr Mayne claims was com­piled by an anony­mous male La­bor staffer, was on the Crikey web­site un­til yes­ter­day. Ms Gar­rett, who was tar­geted in the list, said it was “in­cred­i­bly dis­re­spect­ful”. She was dis­turbed to know it had re­mained in the pub­lic do­main.

“It was ob­vi­ously de­signed to ob­jec­tify women, make fun of them and be­lit­tle their con­tri­bu­tion,” she said.

Ms Gar­rett said there was a “col­lec­tive” anger by women named on the list.

“It dis­tressed a lot of peo­ple at the time. It’s dis­turb­ing to know it was still float­ing around today.”

Former ed­u­ca­tion ad­viser Bron­wyn Parker said the list made her feel “pow­er­less” and had con­tin­ued to haunt her.

“I was ab­so­lutely re­pulsed. It was in­ap­pro­pri­ate and un­pro­fes­sional,” she said.

Fel­low staffer Re­becca Ni­chol­son said her in­clu­sion on the list made her feel un­safe at work.

Mr Mayne, a critic of former lord mayor Robert Doyle dur­ing the sex­ual ha­rass­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tion and a pub­lic sup­porter of the #MeToo cam­paign, apol­o­gised for pub­lish­ing the list which he first de­scribed as “light-hearted”.

“I re­gret de­scrib­ing it as ‘light-hearted’ even though the male La­bor staffer who wrote it framed it in those terms,” he said. “It was ter­ri­ble and should never have been pub­lished and I sin­cerely apol­o­gise to the women con­cerned for do­ing so for a short pe­riod on Novem­ber 18, 2001, and for any sub­se­quent in­ad­ver­tent re­pub­li­ca­tion which may have oc­curred.”

Mr Mayne said he deleted the list within hours of pub­li­ca­tion but a du­pli­cate ver­sion ap­peared the next year in protest against Crikey be­ing de­nied ac­cess to the state Bud­get lockup. The ar­ti­cle said the Bracks ad­min­is­tra­tion was “stacked with hot babes” and “de­sir­able women” who con­trolled the male-dom­i­nated govern­ment, and that the list was “cheap, tacky, and an as­sault on women’s rights”.

Mr Mayne said he was ad­vised the story had been re­moved in Novem­ber last year af­ter a com­plaint was made.

In a state­ment, Crikey said: “We were ap­palled by it and took the story down im­me­di­ately. Crikey holds it­self to high stan­dards of in­tegrity and anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion and apol­o­gises un­re­servedly for the hurt caused to the women men­tioned in the story.”

Founder of crikey.com, Stephen Mayne.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.