Greens leader Richard Di Natale has been thrown out of Parliament for calling Liberal Senator Barry O’Sullivan “a pig” after he made sexually suggestive remarks about Sarah Hanson-Young.
On the same day that former Liberal Julia Banks quit citing an ugly political culture, there was uproar in the Senate and claims of “slut shaming” on the floor of Parliament.
The Queensland MP Barry O’Sullivan sparked uproar after he claimed “there was a bit of Nick Xenophon in her” and then added “I don’t mean that to be a double reference”.
“She didn’t turn up. She didn’t front. She didn’t turn up. It was her inquiry co-sponsored with the Australian Labor Party and she didn’t turn up.
“There’s a bit of Nick Xenophon in her – and I don’t mean that to be a double reference – but there’s a bit of Xenophon in her, references committees and not attending,” Senator O’Sullivan said.
The president of Senate Scott Ryan demanded Senator O’Sullivan withdraw the remark, as Senator Di Natale could be heard yelling “He’s a disgrace”.
“You grub!” Mr Di Natale shouted in the chamber.
Liberal Democratic Senator David Leyonhjelm then claimed that “Senator Di Natale and Senator [Jordon] Steele-John have both insulted and used unparliamentary language in relation to Senator O’Sullivan as well”.
“They called him a pig, and other words which I am not going to repeat. I ask you to invite them to withdraw as well,” he said.
The president then asked both men to withdraw the remarks, but Senator Di Natale refused to do so and was suspended by the chamber for the rest of the day.
“I will not withdraw,” he said.
“Mr President, we have endured on this side days of sexist filth coming from that man. He is a pig and he should consider, and he should reflect on, the standards he is adopting in this chamber.”
Senator Di Natale is the first senator suspended since former Greens leader Bob Brown in 2003. Before that, it was ALP’s Chris Schacht in 2001.
After Senator Di Natale was ejected from the chamber, Senator Hanson-Young said she was sick of putting up with the sexist slurs in the chamber.
“As the person in this chamber whom the reprehensible and disgusting comments were directed to by Senator O’Sullivan, I want to make it very clear that I am thankful to Senator Di Natale for standing up and calling them out,” she said.
“That is what real men do. Real men don’t insult and threaten women, and they don’t slut-shame them and they don’t attack them and make them feel bullied in their workplace.
“I have sat in this chamber for weeks and weeks – months – and heard the disgusting slurs and attacks coming from a particular group in this place, and I for one am sick of it.
“And I know many of my female colleagues on all sides of politics are sick of it, too, and I will name you because you are not fit to be in this chamber. You’re not fit to represent your constituents, and you’re not fit to call yourselves men: Senator O’Sullivan, Senator [Fraser] Anning, Senator [Cory] Bernardi and Senator Leyonhjelm.”
Senator Hanson-Young recently wrote a book, En Garde, about being “slut shamed” as a female politician.