The Australian government has issued an apology following an incident where Patricia Karvelas, a presenter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) was asked to leave the parliamentary chamber over an objection to her attire which was deemed too revealing. An incident which caused outrage online.
The journalist said “”The attendant came up to me, she was very polite, she said she was essentially executing orders of her supervisor who said my clothes, what I’m wearing, ‘too much shoulder’,” Karvelas said.
“Basically I needed to cover up more, I needed a jacket,” she said, adding she thought her pant suit was in keeping with “parliamentary standards”.
The parliamentary dress code has been left to “individual judgement” according to the Australian parliamentary website, but the ultimate decision of what is acceptable rests with the speaker.
After the event prompted extensive public commentary online, Defence Minister Christopher Pyne addressed the issue, saying “I would like to apologise on behalf of this side of the House to Ms Karvelas for being ejected yesterday from the press gallery,”
Tony Smith, the House speaker, concurred that Karvelas should not have been asked to leave and called for a review of the parliamentary dress code for journalists.
“The journalist in question was attired in a way which would be reasonably considered professional business attire,” he said
“In the interim, I’ve asked that the definition of the formal business attire for female journalists in the chamber be applied, having regard to the attire of members generally,” Smith added.
After the apology, Karvelas tweeted she was “pleased that female journalists will be free to wear professional clothing that reflects what politicians wear” and called it a “sensible outcome”.
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