NSW Women’s Minister accused by male opponent of ‘playing gender card’

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A NSW parliamentary hearing became tense after the Women’s Minister was accused by a male opponent of ‘playing the gender card’.

A NSW budget estimates hearing got heated on Thursday after the state’s Women’s Minister was accused of “playing the gender card”.

Nationals MP Bronnie Taylor, who is Minister for Women as well as responsible for the new portfolio of Rural Health, reacted strongly against the accusation by the chair of the committee and demanded it be withdrawn.

Ms Taylor’s sparring match with committee chair and Labor MP Greg Donnelly came after repeated questions about what her role as Rural Health Minister would entail.

Mr Donnelly suggested to Ms Taylor she would have a junior role subservient to Health Minister Brad Hazzard and that it was unclear what her responsibilities would be.

“You’ve had multiple questions directed to you to help us understand what that role is, and you’ve come up with diddly squat,” Mr Donnelly said.

It prompted Ms Taylor to defend herself and say: “I am the most senior woman in this government in NSW, and to try and patronise in that way is unacceptable.”

Mr Donnelly shot back that Ms Taylor was “playing the gender card” and the committee erupted.

Ms Taylor was backed up by the only other woman asking questions at the time, Greens MP Cate Faehrmann, who also asked Mr Donnelly to withdraw the comment.

He declined to do so and said only that he regretted if the Minister “took offence”.

Later in the hearing he apologised for the comment.

Ms Taylor told the committee her job as the state’s first Rural Health Minister would mean she was responsible, alongside Mr Hazzard, for the nine local health districts designated as regional or rural.

“So I work very closely with Minister Hazzard; he is the senior Minister in the health cluster and my remit is to focus on rural and regional health,” she said.

NSW Labor put out a press release during the hearing, prior to Mr Donnelly’s controversial comment, accusing Ms Taylor of being unable to explain what her detailed responsibilities would be.

“I am deeply disappointed that the Minister still hasn’t worked out how her agency is going to work, let alone begin to tackle the myriad of issues that residents and health professionals raised across the course of (an ongoing inquiry into rural health access),” said Labor’s health spokesman, Ryan Park.

Originally published as NSW Women’s Minister accused by male opponent of ‘playing gender card’


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