In Senate Estimates Hearings today Senator Macdonald refused to allow Greens Senator Hanson-Young to ask any more questions until she apologised for implying that Australian Border Force officials were misleading the Committee.
Senator Macdonald, Chair of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, said he was appalled by Senator Hanson-Young’s conduct.
“I will not have Senators on any Committee I Chair, abusing and accusing Public Servants who are not able to fight back”
“Senator Hanson Young regularly makes allegations against other Parliamentarians who can speak for themselves, and that doesn’t worry me. But accusing highly respected Public Servants of deliberately misleading the Senate is another matter , and I will not tolerate that in my committee.
“Impugning the reputations of senior officials of the Australian Border Force – or any other Government Agency – is just not acceptable.
As soon as Senator Hanson-Young had made the inference Senator Macdonald halted proceedings and called on her to apologise.
“Senator Hanson-Young refused to apologise to the officials at the table, and I accordingly advised her that I would not be calling her to ask any additional questions until such time as she apologised”
“Senator Hanson Young compounded her attitude by denying her abuse.
“I indicated to the Committee that I had obtained a video transcript of the incident which I would be reviewing it at the next break to confirm my understanding of Senator Hanson Young’s accusations”
“At this time, Senator Hanson Young then apologised to the Public Servant and consequently was given the call for further questions”
I will not have Senators abusing and accusing senior Public Servants who have no ability to defend themselves.”
“My ruling is similar to that I made when Senator Conroy maligned a Senior Defence Officer more than a year ago and was forced to apologise”
“Public Servants are not part of the political process and I won’t have Senators treating them as political combatants”