on air now

Merrick Watts clashes with anti-feminist Bettina Arndt on suicide prevention

Anti-feminist Bettina Ardnt has clashed with Merrick Watts over the appointment of a female suicide prevention advisor.

The Prime Minister has appointed National Mental Health Commission CEO Christine Morgan as the national suicide prevention advisor to combat skyrocketing suicide rates.

Scott Morrison has said about 80 per cent of people who took their own lives had mental health issues.

But Ms Ardnt argues relationship breakdowns are the reason for male suicides and not mental health.

She tells Merrick the appointment is unacceptable as more men take their own lives than women.

“This is mainly a male issue and appointing a woman, a woman whose other hat is all to do with mental health, is a real problem because it implies that the major issues are to do with mental health issues and that simply is not true.”

But Merrick has shot back, arguing that taking issue with the gender of the advisor detracts from the purpose of the appointment.

“I don’t think you should do anything but employ people on merit.”

Click PLAY to listen to the fiery interview

If you’re in need of help, contact BeyondBlue on 1300 22 4636 or, or Lifeline on 13 11 14 or

‘There is something we can do’: National suicide prevention adviser confident of change