In possibly the first time in Q&A history, the panel came together in a rare show of unity.
And it took US presidential candidate Donald Trump to do it.
The panel discussed the issue of the Republican candidate’s remarks on women, his effect on conservatism, and how Australia would cope with a Trump-like nominee – all with resounding solidarity.
Greens leader Richard Di Natale opened the conversation when he told the audience he was staggered Mr Trump was still a candidate for US president following his “locker room” comments.
“That stuff should have disqualified him straight out,” Senator Di Natale said. “What a repulsive human being this guy is.”
He said Mr Trump should be judged for his comments and should not be allowed into office.
“The problem is the man is an election away from becoming the president of the US.
“I mean, it’s not just that he’s a vile human being, he’s also potentially very, very dangerous. And so of course he should be judged.”
Senator Di Natale described Mr Trump’s ideas and recent comments as “wacko stuff”.
“On the back of wanting to build a wall to keep Mexicans out of the US, on the back of wanting ban on Muslim immigration, now … I think he implied Hillary Clinton was on drugs or something at the last presidential debate.”
Watch Richard Di Natale’s comments on Trump below:
“I just hope in a few weeks’ time he’s a footnote in history and we can move on.”
‘Trump not a conservative’
John Roskam, executive director of conservative think tank the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) and diametrically opposed to Senator Di Natale’s views, echoed the Greens politician’s comments on Mr Trump.
“I’m not sure Trump is a conservative,” he said.
“Sadly, I don’t disagree with some of what Richard said about Donald Trump. His private comments go to character.”
While Labor MP Tim Watts believed Mr Trump is a conservative, he agreed with Mr Trump’s damaging persona, saying it is a warning for Australian conservatives.
“When you bring that into Australian conservative politics, then you undermine your ability to deal with phenomenons like One Nation down the track,” he said.
“If you will call them out for their trashing of institutions, what ground are you standing on to do that?
“He’s been able to enter the scene in the US because conservative ideology has imploded.”
Women and Trump
President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Ged Kearney, said it’s “appalling that the possibility of someone like Donald Trump with those hideous sexist views could possibly be the president of the US”.
“We need to look at our institutions and what is happening in our institutions,” Ms Kearney said.
“Republicans and Democrats, and people from all sides were saying exactly what Tim said, ‘This is the demise of the institution. Even of the political party’.
“We have to look at what Richard has been talking about which is the gross inequality that’s occurring in Australia right now. People are anxious.”