An independent MP says she was left feeling unsafe on the floor of parliament after an unnamed Coalition male was “hostile” towards her.
North Sydney MP Kylea Tink aired her concerns about the standards of behaviour in the House of Representatives following another rowdy question time on Thursday.
Her intervention led to Speaker Milton Dick acknowledging parliamentarians’ behaviour had fallen well short of expected standards.
Ms Tink said that following a vote the day prior, an opposition MP she did not name had “aggressively challenged” her voting decision.
She added he had singled out a testimony she had made previously in which she said she’d like ministers to answer questions more directly.
“His tone was hostile. And his body language was aggressive,” she told the chamber immediately after question time.
“And to the best of my recollection, his words were ‘Well where were you today then? Hey, you say you want clear answers? Well, that was your chance. And where were you?’”
Ms Tink told her colleagues she found the interaction to be “aggressive and quite confronting”.
“Yesterday’s behaviour left me feeling like my senses had been assaulted by what I experienced as excessive and unconstructive noise and aggression being thrown around the room.”
She noted that in any other professional environment “this sort of behaviour would be completely unacceptable”.
The Speaker, who had put MPs on notice early on in question time and subsequently booted five MPs for various interjections, agreed it had been a “combative week” in parliament.
“Such behaviour does not reflect well on the House, or any of us … We have to find ways of engaging in debate that also maintains respectful behaviour,” Mr Dick said after question time.
“We are simply not meeting the standards we should be meeting. This requires change.
Before question time, members know the House passed legislation for the parliament which has gone to the Senate that will help us build a safer and a more respectful parliamentary workplace.
“But the legislation is just words and pieces of paper unless the House and all of us, unless we all act differently. I hope this means something to all of us. We must do better”