Liberal senator apologises but denies ‘dog noise’ claims at Lambie

Coalition senator David Van apologised for his interjections.

Coalition senator David Van apologised for his interjections. Photo: AAP

Liberal senator David Van has apologised to Jacqui Lambie for interrupting her in Parliament, but denied claims that someone growled or made “dog noises” at her during debate.

Senator Van apologised for making “disorderly” interjections while she asked the government a question about social housing in her home state of Tasmania on Tuesday.

He said he regretted making the interjections, but denied the “characterisation” of his actions alleged by other senators.

“I’ve reflected on my behaviour during question time and I acknowledge that interjections are always disorderly,” he said.

“While I do not accept the characterisation of my interjections in a manner that was raised in points of order at that time by other senators, I do regret the interjections and I apologise to Senator Lambie and to the Senate unreservedly.”

It came after Labor and Greens senators claimed growling and “dog noises”, directed at Senator Lambie, had come from a section of Coalition politicians in the chamber.

The alleged incident, on Tuesday afternoon, came just hours after a landmark report on sexual harassment and sexism in Parliament was released.

Senate President Slade Brockman said he did not hear the alleged noises, despite several senators claiming they came from a back corner of the chamber, where several Coalition members were seated.

Coalition senator Hollie Hughes also denied the alleged incident on social media.

But Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, the first to claim the noises had been made, said it was inappropriate for politicians to make “growling and dog noises” while a woman spoke.

“It happened. I don’t know who is responsible for it, but it is inappropriate,” she said.

Labor’s Senate leader Senator Wong also stood to claim she heard the noise being made.

“I said ‘Who’s growling?’ I’d ask one of the senators at that end to do the right thing and withdraw,” she said, also pointing toward a corner of the chamber where Coalition senators were sitting.

“At least ‘fess up.”

Senator Lambie’s office declined to comment.

Senator Jacqui Lambie.

The New Daily contacted several Coalition senators – including Senator Van – who were sitting in that part of the chamber.

A representative did not return a request for comment.

But several hours after the incident, Senator Van returned to the chamber to apologise for interjecting, while disputing he had made the noises that senators Hanson-Young and Wong had alleged.

“I commit to holding myself to a higher standard in the future,” he said.

Greens senator Larissa Waters told reporters shortly after question time that she did not hear the alleged “dog noises”, but she believed they were made.

“Senator Lambie can obviously speak for herself, but she looked pretty unhappy at the treatment that she received,” she said.

“She’s a pretty tough lady, but no one should cop that in their workplace and certainly not on a day like today when a report about stopping sexism in Parliament and rape in Parliament is handed down.”

Commissioner Jenkins’ Set the Standard report, released on Tuesday morning, found 40 per cent of women working in federal politics have experienced sexual harassment.

It found nearly two-thirds of female politicians have been harassed.

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