The opposition senators will move a motion on Tuesday condemning Ms Arndt’s “reckless and abhorrent” comments about the recent murders of Queensland mum Hannah Clarke and her three children.
“The values that underpin Ms Arndt’s views on this horrific family violence incident are not consistent with her retaining her Order of Australia,” the senators said in their motion.
Senator Keneally urged her upper house colleagues to “stand firm” and make it clear there was no excuse for family violence.
“There is no excuse for what happened to Hannah Clarke and her three children, it was a murder plain and simple, but there is nothing plain and simple about the tragedy that is domestic violence,” she told reporters.
“And there is nothing plain and simple about using your position with an Order of Australia to spread comments that could be seen to be inciting violence, that seem to be condoning violence.”
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Senior government minister Peter Dutton condemned Ms Arndt’s remarks but would not say whether her award should be revoked.
“I don’t agree with the comments,” he told reporters.
Liberal senators Sarah Henderson and Hollie Hughes have also spoken out against Ms Arndt.
The activist drew scrutiny last week after tweeting “Congratulations to the Queensland police for keeping an open mind and awaiting proper evidence, including the possibility that Rowan Baxter might have been ‘driven too far’.”
Detective inspector Mark Thompson stood aside after also being criticised for saying the day after Wednesday’s killing that officers were keeping an open mind as they piece together exactly what happened in the lead-up to the murders.
Det Insp Thompson said there were “probably” people in the community deciding “is this an issue of a woman suffering significant domestic violence and her and her children perishing at the hands of her husband? Or is this an instance of a husband being driven too far by issues that he’s suffered by certain circumstances into committing acts of this form.”
In a letter to Council for the Order of Australia chairman Shane Stone on Monday, Senator Henderson said Ms Arndt’s comments have “brought disrepute on the order”.
“These comments which concern a man who doused his wife and children in petrol and burnt them to death are abhorrent,” she wrote.
The senator noted she has previously supported Ms Arndt for her “important contribution to the debate on family violence and gender equity”.
“I believe that Ms Arndt has so seriously crossed the line in her commentary concerning this horrific act of family violence that it is no longer appropriate that she be awarded this honour,” she said.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson described the murders as a ‘”horrendous act” but said Ms Arndt should keep her award.
“She is clearly stating what she thinks and what a police officer said,” she told Nine’s Today show.
Governor-General David Hurley has forwarded complaints about her Order of Australia to the body that manages the awards.