Senators claim Coalition men made ‘dog noises’ at Jacqui Lambie in Parliament

Senator Jacqui Lambie.

Senator Jacqui Lambie. Photo: AAP

Senators Penny Wong and Sarah Hanson-Young have claimed Coalition politicians made “dog noises” at Jacqui Lambie inside the Senate, just hours after a landmark report on sexual harassment in Parliament was released.

Senate President Slade Brockman said he did not hear the noises that were alleged.

But several senators claimed on Tuesday to have heard the noise from a back corner of the chamber, where several Coalition members were seated.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate, given what’s been handed down today, to have growling and dog noises coming from this side of the chamber, while a female member in this place is on her feet,” Senator Hanson-Young said, while gesturing to members on her left.

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

The heated incident occurred in the Senate’s question time on Tuesday, as Senator Lambie asked the government about social housing in her home state of Tasmania. Senator Lambie began speaking loudly, telling Finance Minister Simon Birmingham “you have the power to turn this around”.

Othe senators interjected, as Senator Brockman called for order. Senator Lambie and Coalition senator Eric Abetz – also from Tasmania – could be heard arguing.

At that point, footage captured by parliamentary cameras and microphones picked up what appeared to sound like a faint “grr” in the background.

The camera was not pointed at the back corner of the chamber, but Senator Hanson-Young immediately stood to claim that a senator in that corner had made “dog noises”.

The New Daily has contacted Coalition senators who were seated in the section of the chamber indicated by Senators Hanson-Young and Wong.

Senator Lambie’s office declined to comment.

“If we’re going to change culture from the top, that means all of us,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

Labor’s Senate leader, Senator Wong, also stood to claim she had 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.”

Sarah Hanson-Young claimed to have heard “dog noises”. Photo: AAP

Senator Brockman said he did not hear the noises and so could not make a ruling.

“I cannot ask ask anyone to withdraw something I did not hear,” he said, before moving on to continue the Senate’s Question Time.

“I did not hear the particular incident you’ve raised. If it occurred, I’d ask the senator involved to reflect upon it and to withdraw if they did do what has been stated.”

Others physically present in the chamber at the time said they did not hear the alleged noises. However, the area of the chamber indicated by Senators Hanson-Young and Wong is at the far end of the Senate, away from the side where the Senate president and journalists sit.

Others noted that, due to COVID rules requiring senators wear face masks in the chamber, the noise of interjections has been muffled.

Following Question Time, Greens senator Larissa Waters criticised the “gendered slur”. In a press conference, she said she did not directly hear the alleged noises in the chamber, but was critical that “none of the people sitting around them called them out either.”

Labor MP Brian Mitchell called it “appalling”.

-more to come

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