Helen Coonan : "I have two beautiful Golden Retrievers...."
UPDATE : Video is at the bottom of this post.
Definitely one of the most downright bizarre, and hilarious, panel debates ever seen on Australian TV. The subject? Consensual Sex With Your Pets.
From Monday night's Q &A on your ABC (transcript slightly edited, corrected) :
HOST TONY JONES : We have a web question from Deirdre Baker in NSW. QUOTES: "Peter Singer, in your 2001 article 'Heavy Petting' you state that mutually satisfying sexual activity between humans and animals can develop. Please explain."The video is here. It's definitely worth whipping through to about the 50 minute mark. Helen Coonan's line about her Golden Retrievers sent the audience, and host Tony Jones, into hysterical laughter, with a fair scattering in the crowd of absolutely shocked, disgusted and "oh, I'm about to wet my pants!' expressions.
PROFESSOR PETER SINGER: It is a fact that there is sexual contact between some humans and animals. I was raising the question why we have such a taboo on this. Sometimes it involves cruelty and the infliction of power and dominance on an animal, and clearly I oppose that. There can be occasions, I don't know how much vivid description you want.
TONY JONES: Go ahead.
PROFESSOR PETER SINGER: I'm clearly not on American television tonight, because no American host would have said that. An example is a woman has oral sex performed by her dog.
PROFESSOR JAYATHRI KULKARNI: Brings new meaning to doggy style!
PROFESSOR PETER SINGER: Women have said this is something that pleases them, the dog is free to do it or walk away, there's no dominance over the dog, that seems harmless.
SENATOR HELEN COONAN: This is a trained dog, obviously?
PROFESSOR PETER SINGER: It's her dog who enjoys doing it and the dog gives pleasure to the companion. I don't see why we have a taboo.
PROFESSOR JAYATHRI KULKARNI: Sorry, Peter, this is just weird. It's just weird!
PROFESSOR PETER SINGER: It's not common, but is it wrong, is the question?
JOURNALIST DAVID MARR: Jay, this is your territory.
TONY JONES: Let's get a psychiatrist's perspective on this?
PROFESSOR JAYATHRI KULKARNI: I'm thinking, Freud did say that human beings are polymorphously perverse, which is another way of saying that there are lots of different views. Sometimes you have to draw the line and go, "That's weird."
PROFESSOR PETER SINGER: Since I wrote this piece, I've had people, sex therapists come to me, and say they have had patients who were tortured with guilt because they got some sexual satisfaction from contact with their animals, and their lives were miserable. And they gave them the article because it helped them to see other people were doing the same thing, and here was somebody who was saying, "This is not a sign of terrible moral evil."
TONY JONES: Helen Coonan, parliamentary sitting week up coming up, would you like to get on the record on this?
SENATOR HELEN COONAN: Thankfully, I don't answer questions, I ask them. I won't be asking this one, Tony. I agree, that's seriously off. I can't imagine... I have two beautiful golden retrievers, and... (LAUGHTER)
PROFESSOR PETER SINGER : I thought your party stood for individual freedom.
SENATOR HELEN COONAN: I think it's off the wall. Put it this way, I'll continue to find the nice patch under my doggy's ear that he likes, that's all I'll do.
TONY JONES: I'm sorry to say, we have run out of time.
DAVID MARR: I'm not sorry.
I bet they won't be using any of that discussion in the promos for next week's show.
UPDATE : Okay, we have the video here now :