Australian Parliament chaos as Anthony Albanese brings up Katherine Deves

Simple comment sparks rowdiest Question Time in years as grown men sling petty insults at one another – and the worst part is YOU pay these people at least $217,060 a year

  • Parliament had its rowdiest session since election that Speaker couldn’t control
  • Michael McCormack said it started over flood taxation question to the PM
  • Soon he and the attorney-general were calling each other ‘a disgrace’
  • Prime minister joined in by using transphobic candidate to sledge Alex Hawke 

A furious MP has explained how a question to the prime minister about climate change sparked a free-for-all as MPs flung playground insults at each other.

Speaker Milton Dick was unable to control the unruly politicians on Tuesday as Question Time became one of the federal parliament’s rowdiest sessions since the new Labor government was elected.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese even brought up controversial failed Liberal candidate Katherine Deves to sledge an opponent while others called each other names like schoolchildren.

Former deputy prime minister Michael McCormack, a key participant in the fracas, later blasted Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus as an inner-city snob in explaining why he joined in as insults flew across the chamber.

‘I’ll stick up for my colleagues any day of the week,’ he told Daily Mail Australia. 

‘I’m not going to cop lectures from Mark Dreyfrus who has never had to look these constituents in the eyes and try to help them when they’ve lost everything.’

The drama erupted after Nationals MP Kevin Hogan asked the prime minister whether government payments to flood victims in his electorate of Page would be taxed.

Mr Albanese gave a lengthy answer, but Mr Hogan was not satisfied and heckled the PM at the end of his reply, claiming his constituents would be ‘worse off’.

Mr Dick told Mr Hogan four times to stop interjecting before Mr Dreyfus yelled at him to ‘grow up’ from across the aisle.

Mr McCormack backed up his colleague with a similar insult before the slanging match reached absurd depths.

‘You’re a disgrace,’ Mr Dreyfus said. ‘No, you’re a disgrace,’ Mr McCormack shot back – only for Mr Dreyfus to try to one-up him with ‘no, you’re a disgrace’, again.

Former Nationals MP Michael McCormack (centre) visits flood affected areas in Forbes, NSW, last month with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (right)

Former Nationals MP Michael McCormack (centre) visits flood affected areas in Forbes, NSW, last month with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (right)

Nationals MP Kevin Hogan speaks to residents in Lismore, NSW, in his electorate of Page after they were hit by flooding for the third time this year

Nationals MP Kevin Hogan speaks to residents in Lismore, NSW, in his electorate of Page after they were hit by flooding for the third time this year

Mr McCormack said his colleague asked a ‘perfectly reasonable’ question of the PM after Lismore, in his electorate of Page, was flooded three times this year. 

‘Then you’ve got Mark Dreyfus, and inner-city type who would never have encountered the sorts of stress, pressure, heartache, loss, and sense of devastation of a constituent who’s been through a natural disaster, and there he is yelling at Kevin Hogan, almost mocking and jeering him,’ he said.

‘So I arced up and he turned to me and said “grow up”. So there was an exchange where I told him to grow up back, he told me I was a disgrace, I told him he was a disgrace back. 

‘In the meantime, I got warned and that’s probably when you should shut up but I’m not going to cop lectures from Mark Dreyfus who has never had to look these constituents in the eyes and try to help them when they’ve lost everything, yelling at my colleague from one side of the chamber to the other. 

‘He was out of line big time and I reminded him of that. What makes him the authority on [this issue]?’

The ruined town centre of Lismore, NSW, which was devastated by floods three times this year

The ruined town centre of Lismore, NSW, which was devastated by floods three times this year

Mr McCormack continued his outraged spray at the attorney-general, who represents the southeast Melbourne electorate of Issacs but lives in the wealthy inner-city suburb of Malvern 9km away. 

‘Kevin has led his community when it was reeling from flooding the likes of which we’ve never seen, and will change the shape and the heart of Lismore forever,’ he said.

‘I’m going through floods at the moment and it’s a hard start to the day when a farmer calls you at 6am and says he needs help to move sheep to higher ground, or to build a levee bank to protect his home. 

‘And then you’ve got this inner-city politician, who doesn’t even live in his electorate, telling my colleague that he’s a disgrace?’

Mr McCormack praised Mr Albanese for visiting flood-hit Eugowra on Tuesday, and acting PM Richard Marles when he toured Eugowra and Forbes last week.

‘They’ve shown good leadership to do that, it’s necessary for them to see first hand the effects of these floods,’ he said.

‘But Mark Dreyfrus, who probably only sees three places – his home, the airport lounge, and the intersection of parliament – don’t go yelling at a regional member. 

‘I’ll stick up for my colleagues every day of the week because I know that when their communities hurt, they hurt too.’

Mr McCormack praised Mr Albanese for visiting flood-hit Eugowra on Tuesday with NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet (pictured)

Mr McCormack praised Mr Albanese for visiting flood-hit Eugowra on Tuesday with NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet (pictured)

The flood damaged Parallel Motors in Eugowra near Forbes in central-western NSW as flash flooding, overflowing dams and swollen rivers continue to deeply affect the area

The flood damaged Parallel Motors in Eugowra near Forbes in central-western NSW as flash flooding, overflowing dams and swollen rivers continue to deeply affect the area

Mr Albanese made his jab just nine minutes earlier after Liberal MP Alex Hawke asked about Australia signing up to the climate change loss and damage fund.

‘Why on earth did this government sign up to a new UN fund, which will channel Australian taxpayers’ money to other countries, including China?’ he asked.

Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen chastised Mr Hawke for asking the question, as he is the former minister for the Pacific, which would be one of the top beneficiaries of the fund.

‘It is unsurprising to get a question like that from this opposition led by a man who thinks that the impact on the Pacific of climate change is a laughing matter,’ he said. 

Liberal MP Alex Hawke became the butt of jokes after he asked about Australia signing up to the climate change loss and damage fund

Liberal MP Alex Hawke became the butt of jokes after he asked about Australia signing up to the climate change loss and damage fund

‘Not only does this opposition engage in the sort of cheap dogwhistle politics. They also don’t even know what was agreed.

‘They don’t know what was agreed and I’m surprised to get a question like that from a man who was the minister for the Pacific. That is the best they can do.’

Mr Albanese thought it was funny that Mr Hawke, now a backbencher, was put up to ask a question relevant to the Pacific.

‘They set you up for that, that was the biggest set up since Katherine Deves,’ he said.

Ms Deves stood for the seat of Warringah at the last election and was trounced after her transphobic tweets emerged calling transgender children ‘mutilated’, among other controversial statements.

Mr Hawke responded by yelling out from his seat something along the lines of ‘take it outside and then we’ll see’. 

Katherine Deves stood for the seat of Warringah at the last election and was trounced after her transphobic tweets emerged calling transgender children 'mutilated', among other controversial statements

Katherine Deves stood for the seat of Warringah at the last election and was trounced after her transphobic tweets emerged calling transgender children ‘mutilated’, among other controversial statements

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