There were extraordinary scenes in the Senate on Monday before a man was thrown out of the public gallery for hurling abuse at Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie.
The man yelled “F—ing useless!” at Senator McKenzie during Question Time on Monday amid loud calls from a group of angry farmers in the public gallery demand the Murray-Darling Basin Plan be ditched.
He was swiftly escorted from the chamber.
“That’s utterly inappropriate behaviour. I will not tolerate interjections from galleries. It’s impolite to other citizens who are also here,” Senate President Scott Ryan said.
“You’re pretty brave from down there,” another heckler yelled as the Senate President booted him #auspol
— Brett Worthington (@BWorthington_) December 2, 2019
The Nationals deputy leader was also shouted down as she attempted to speak.
A group of about 50 people cheered and applauded after One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts asked Senator McKenzie whether she would resign over her “failure” to help agriculture.
“No, Senator Roberts, I won’t be resigning,” the Nationals deputy leader replied.
Malcolm Roberts calls for Bridget McKenzie to resign as Agriculture Minister – gets a round of applause from the members of the public in the gallery. #SenateQT
— Courtney Gould (@heyycourtt) December 2, 2019
An outbreak of interjections from the public prompted the usually reserved Senator Ryan to ask if one of the men had the courage to own up.
“You calling me a coward? You’re a coward,” one man said before he was marched out.
Senator Ryan was unimpressed with the outburst.
“It is completely disrespectful to your fellow citizens to behave that way,” he said.
The group staged a mass exodus shortly after, as Senator McKenzie answered a “Dorothy Dixer” question about the government’s support for drought-affected farmers.
A convoy of farmers descended on Canberra on Monday to urge the Morrison government to scrap the basin plan.
The group wants the basin plan fixed or scrapped, more dam infrastructure and other measures such as carp control to help improve conditions in the Murray-Darling.
Their convoy comes as the government progresses plans to provide subsidised water to farmers to grow fodder for livestock.
Federal Water Minister David Littleproud said on Sunday the first 40 gigalitres would be available for farmers from December 9.