Perhaps Greens leader Richard Di Natale is still smarting from the numerous allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct levelled at his own party in recent weeks.
Or perhaps he was just playing to the politically correct brigade that makes up his core supporters.
Regardless of the motivations for his ugly outburst, he refused to withdraw calling Nationals senator Barry O’Sullivan a pig. The sordid altercation saw him suspended from parliament, the first such expulsion in 14 years.
Richard Di Natale suspended from Senate
The issue erupted in the upper house on Tuesday, when Senator O’Sullivan stated he saw a ‘bit of Nick Xenophon’ in the Greens’ Sarah Hanson-Young.
While he then insisted that there was no intended double meaning to his comments, and that he was simply referring to Hanson-Young not previously attending an enquiry, Senator Di Natale became enraged.
‘He’s an absolute pig,’ he shouted across the chamber. ‘He should be booted out. He’s a disgrace.’ Additionally, he referred to the Senator as a ‘grub’.
But his retract made no difference to Natale. ‘We have endured on this side days of sexist filth coming from that man. He is a pig,’ a furious Senator Di Natale said.
AAP reports that Senate President Scott Ryan gave Natale a number of opportunities to retract his statements and, after refusing, was removed from parliament for the rest of the day — a rule which has not been exercised since the 2004 incident with former Greens leader Bob Brown.
Sarah Hanson-Young backed Greens leader
And of course, Natale’s removal wasn’t the end of it, with Hanson-Young then calling out Senator O’Sullivan as well as conservative independents Fraser Anning, Cory Bernardi and David Leyonhjelm. She referred to them as ‘cowards’ after consistently throwing slurs at her over the last few months.
‘You are not fit to be in this chamber. You are not fit to call yourselves men,’ she said.
She then backed the Greens leader for calling out Senator O’Sullivan’s ‘reprehensible’ remarks.
‘That is what real men do. Real men don’t insult and threaten women…
‘They don’t slut shame them. They don’t attack them and make them feel bullied in their workplace.’
She relates to an incident in June, where Senator Leyonhjelm told her to ‘stop shagging men’ in parliament, which led to an ongoing civil court case.
Of course, she had her boss to hide behind while she sulked, setting a great example for Australian women everywhere.
She was described by One Nation leader Pauline Hanson as a ‘great actress’, after she said she saw nothing sexist about Senator O’Sullivan’s comments.
‘Using this sexist tag because she’s a female doesn’t wash with me and a lot of other people,’ Hanson said.
After two hours of chaos, Senator Ryan called for members to reflect on the events of the day before returning to work on Wednesday.
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