The ‘right to bare arms’ in Australia’s parliament

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The 'right to bare arms' in Australia's parliament

Image copyright @PatsKarvelas
Image caption Patricia Karvelas's bare arm has become a talking point on social media

People on social media are showing their support for a female journalist after she revealed that she had been kicked out of Australia's parliament for showing too much flesh.

Patricia Karvelas said she had been told to leave a question time session with politicians because "you can allegedly see too much skin."

The incident has prompted comparisons between her outfit and the clothing choices of MP Julie Bishop, who often opts for short-sleeved or sleeveless dresses during parliamentary sessions.

Now many people are taking to social media in support of the ABC News presenter, with some calling the decision to remove her outrageous and a joke.

Skip Twitter post by @PatsKarvelas

This is my controversial outfit #auspol pic.twitter.com/8Ve0ZTYEtl

— PatriciaKarvelas (@PatsKarvelas) December 3, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @PatsKarvelas

Speaking on ABC News Karvelas explained that a "polite" attendant came up to her and said her clothes showed "too much shoulder" and that she "needed to cover up more".

Karvelas contested the request believing her outfit to be in keeping with parliamentary standards.

Right to bare arms

Speaker Tony Smith said at the end of question time that he would investigate the matter.

According to the Parliament of Australia website, standard of dress is a matter of "individual judgement", although the ultimate decision of what is acceptable rests with the speaker.

Such standards "should involve good trousers, a jacket, collar and tie for men and a similar standard of formality for women".

With the guidance being the same for both MPs and the press, many people including political reporter Airlie Walsh have highlighted certain inconsistencies.

Skip Twitter post by @AirlieWalsh

Julie Bishop last Monday. @PatsKarvelas this Monday. pic.twitter.com/HSJlyAzbAR

— Airlie Walsh (@AirlieWalsh) December 3, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @AirlieWalsh

It is not the first time the issue has been raised.

MP Adam Bandt tweeted that he had a failed attempt to change the "ridiculous 'bare arms' rule" last year.

And it seems that Karvelas has been ejected on a previous occasion for showing too much shoulder.

This situation has produced strong feelings from those online with one Twitter user calling the decision "degrading, insulting patriarchal sexism" that "demeans" women.

Skip Twitter post by @PeterWMurphy1

While I acknowledge the wonderful solidarity being shown to Patricia Karvelas (incl. numerous offers of a jacket), the degrading, insulting patriarchal sexism of this decision beggars belief. It demeans the intelligence and professionalism of women. This is just wrong #qt #auspol

— Peter Murphy (@PeterWMurphy1) December 3, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @PeterWMurphy1

Some women have come out in support of Karvelas by posting pictures of themselves with bare arms.

Elizabeth Saunders feels "lucky" that her bare arms are only involved in teaching and not sat inside a press gallery.

Skip Twitter post by @E_R_Saunders

Lucky my bare arms and I were only teaching teenagers today and not in the press gallery… @PatsKarvelas pic.twitter.com/nAzSgDG8cV

— Elizabeth Saunders ???? (@E_R_Saunders) December 3, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @E_R_Saunders

And another Twitter user shared a picture of her bare arm with the hashtag #ShowUsSomeArm, which Karvelas retweeted.

Skip Twitter post by @lke73_historian

Good gods! You've started something, PK! Dare I? Yes Duckies! There it is! #ShowUsSomeArm pic.twitter.com/tatgn5Yrk2

— Plodding Historian (@lke73_historian) December 3, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @lke73_historian

And others have seen the funny side and in a play on words said this situation demonstrates that Australia needs a US-style second amendment – the right to bear arms.

Image copyright @timpoliti

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