Glenn Sterle calls Bridget McKenzie a ‘naughty little girl’ during senate estimates

Home Politics Glenn Sterle calls Bridget McKenzie a ‘naughty little girl’ during senate estimates
Glenn Sterle calls Bridget McKenzie a ‘naughty little girl’ during senate estimates

A Labor senator has been forced to apologise and withdraw a comment in which he referred to a fellow senator as a “naughty little girl”.

Senator Glenn Sterle became seemingly frustrated at the interjections and conduct of the Regional and Rural Affairs and Trade committee on Tuesday morning, making the comment when Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie attempted to speak.

“Senator McKenzie, do you always have to have the last word. I was going to defend you then. Honestly, you’re like a naughty little girl,” he said.

“Can you just be quiet while someone finishes. You don’t have to have the last word … I’m going to do my block in a minute.”

His committee colleagues attempted to call Senator Sterle out on his comments, asking him to withdraw them.

“No, I will not withdraw it,” he told Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson, who attempted to raise a point of order.

Queensland Nationals senator Matt Canavan said it was within the rights of other senators to raise points and issues.

“I don’t think (it’s) helpful for the general goodwill of this committee,” Senator Canavan said.

Senator Sterle responded, saying he was “desperately trying to keep some civility” in the committee, as he asked for silence so Senator McKenzie could have the floor for her questions.

Senator McKenzie then asked for Senator Sterle to withdraw his comments.

“Yes, okay, I take that back. You’re not a naughty little girl,” Senator Serle said.

“I apologise.”

About an hour later, Senator Serle apologised again more amply, saying he had “reflected upon my words earlier today”.

“Senator McKenzie, I want to apologise for my outburst under the pressure. There is no excuse for the language that I used … I hope you will accept my apology,” he said.

“That was unlike me. I’m not dodging it … it was out of order.”

Senator Sterle’s comments come a day after the government introduced new sexual harassment legislation to parliament, based off Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkin’s Respect@Work report.

Deputy opposition leader Sussan Ley said the Senator’s comments were “unacceptable”.

“It is unacceptable and needs to be called out … Is this the respectful workplace Anthony Albanese promised us,” she told NCA NewsWire.

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