A group of teal independents have slammed the parliamentary debate as aggressive and abusive, demanding more respect for women in the House, sparking a fierce backlash from a political commentator.
Independent North Sydney MP Kylea Tink has for the first time raised concerns about the conduct of politicians in Parliament during Question Time in a speech last Thursday.
Ms Tink explained that she felt unsafe due to the “hostile” and “aggressive” behavior in the room, noting that it would not be tolerated in any other workplace.
She has since been supported in her position by fellow independents Teal, Allegra Spender and Zoe Daniel.
Ms Spender, MP for Wentworth, described Question Time as “very, very aggressive”.
Independent MP for North Sydney Kylea Tink (pictured) raised concerns about the conduct of politicians in Parliament during Question Time last Thursday.
“Yelling at each other is not a serious debate, it’s actually just abuse,” she said, as reported News Corp..
Both women described the interrogations and behavior of opposition MPs as “inappropriate”.
“Men whistling at women in the room, making pointed remarks to women in the room about what they are saying is completely inappropriate,” said Ms. Daniel, the Goldstein MP.
“I have a 16-year-old son, I am horrified by what he might observe, the way people behave in this room and the example it sets for our children.”
She was supported by fellow Teal Independents Allegra Spender and Zoe Daniel (both pictured).
But Sky News political commentator Liz Storer questioned why the trio chose political careers if they couldn’t handle a heated workplace.
“These women are absolutely embarrassing. If you can’t beat the heat, get the hell out of Kuwait,” she said.
“Why did you choose this kind of job? We don’t want people with lily-livers and limp wrists getting together to hold hands and sing Kumbaya.”
“We want powerful actors, people who can debate, we want people who get heated when the cause demands it. And here are these guys saying, “Ohh, we can’t hack you at any time.” It’s too aggressive.”
“For example, if you want to be weak and cry, get out of Parliament.”
In her speech last week, Ms Tink said she had never experienced such chaos in Parliament, in any other workplace.
Sky News presenter Liz Storer (pictured) questioned why the trio chose political careers if they couldn’t handle a heated workplace
Mrs. Tink was greeted with jeers and heavy sighs as she stood up, but by the time she finished speaking the room was unusually silent.
“Yesterday I felt like my senses had been assaulted,” the independent MP said.
She highlighted the behavior of an unnamed opposition MP who she said “yelled at me aggressively…his tone was hostile and his body language was aggressive.”
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton later said he had spoken to the unnamed member about the heated exchange and was “pleased” the matter had been resolved.
At first, Ms. Tink was greeted with boos and loud sighs as she stood up, but by the time she finished speaking, the room was unusually quiet.
Ms Tink said she wondered whether to address his concerns, for fear it might further annoy her colleagues.
“Mr. President, if this was the first time, I might have ignored this, but that’s not the case,” she said, noting that she had seen “many other women” in politics be treated the same way.
“I’m not proud of the way my workplace was portrayed yesterday and, frankly, I didn’t feel safe.”
The chief executive of frontline gender-based violence service Mary’s House Services, Yvette Vignando, also described the behavior as unacceptable.
She said those involved in the domestic violence sector “hang their heads in despair” when they see the behavior tolerated in Parliament.