Senator Amanda Stoker rules out switch to the House of Representatives

Senator Amanda Stoker has ruled out a switch to the lower house. Yesterday the Queensland senator killed off speculation that she would seek pre-selection for the seat of Bowman, where disgraced MP Andrew Laming is retiring at the next election.

“I can can confirm that I am seeking pre-selection to represent the Liberal National Party (LNP) as a Senator for Queensland at the next federal election,” Senator Stoker said in a statement.

“My application is currently with the Secretariat and if approved I will seek endorsement for a Liberal position on the LNP Senate ticket.”

“Despite media speculation to the contrary, I do not seek preselection for the seat of Bowman.”

Andrew Laming has declared he’ll not be running at the next election brining an end to his 18 years in the federal parliament. The MP has recently taken leave to seek counselling and empathy training following a series of controversies where he was accused of allegedly harassing constituents and taking an inappropriate photograph of a young woman.

The senator’s clarification that she intends to remain in the Senate comes as she faces criticism for her previous statements about transgender women and strong anti-abortion stance. On Monday Senator Stoker was given additional responsibilities in the cabinet re-shuffle adding Assistant Minister for Women to her roles.

The appointment has been questioned given Senator Stoker’s long history of campaigning against transgender women. During her time in parliament Senator Stoker has conducted a survey via her website about transgender women and vowed to fight the “gender agenda”. The senator has also voiced her opposition to conversion therapy legislation and stated that she believes people choose their sexuality.

On Tuesday evening Australia of the Year, sexual assault survivor Grace Tame, added her voice to the growing criticism over Senator Stoker’s appointment.

In 2017 controversial commentator Bettina Arndt published an interview with the man convicted of repeatedly raping Tame. In the interview she suggested that school girls could act provocatively towards teachers. In 2020 Arndt was given an Order of Australia for her contribution to gender equity, a decision that was widely condemned by abuse survivors. Senator Stoker publicly backed Arndt being given the award.

Tame said by appointing Stoker to her new role as the Assistant Minister for Women, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was either ignorant to the issues, or completely aware of them and making calculated moves to perpetuate them.

“If the latter is true, then what we’re seeing is further abuse of power, masterfully disguised as progress,” Tame posted on social media. “The very same psychological manipulation at the heart of these recently exposed evils.”

UPDATE: 1-04-21: Senator Stoker has issued a statement responding to Grace Tame’s comments. 

Senator Stoker said Tame’s comments were passionate but not informed as they did not correspond with the Senator’s long history of work in the area of preventing sexual assaults. Senator Stoker said Tame must be unaware of her previous career achievements.

Senator Stoker  highlighted that she had worked as a prosecutor and barrister working for women and children who were the victims of sexual crimes and unconscionable exploitation. Senator Stoker said throughout her legal career she had given many hours pro bono to support women dealing with sexual harassment.  Senator Stoker said she had worked behind the scenes and out of the media spotlight to introduce better systems to investigate and deal with sexual assault and harassment, while in parliament she had been a ‘relentless fighter’ for projects that improve the safety of women.

Senator Stoker invited Grace Tame to visit her office and learn more about their “many shared goals”.

The Queensland Senator said she had discussed the calls for sexologist Bettina Arndt to be stripped of her Australia Day Award in parliament, saying it would be hypocritical for Arndt to be denied the award, when former broadcaster Mike Carlton was also receiving one.  Senator Stoker said Carlton had “advocated for the strangling of my parliamentary colleague, Ms Flint.”

Mike Carlton has in turn accused Stoker of defamation, questioning her characterisation of his Twitter post during Liberal MP Nicole Flint’s appearance on the ABC’s Q&A program.

OIP Staff, OUTinPerth contacted Senator Stoker’s office for comment.

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