ABC spat: ‘Are you calling me a liar?’
VIRGINIA Trioli and Senator David Leyonhjelm have locked horns in a fiery exchange on the ABC's 7.30 in which the independent Queensland politician challenged her, "Are you calling me a liar?".
Responding to questions about his latest parliamentary stoush with Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Senator Leyonhjelm told acting host Trioli, "No woman in my family would accuse all men of being sexual predators".
Trioli: "Neither did Sarah Hanson-Young. You can't produce that quote and you are denying it."
Leyonhjelm: "So you are calling me a liar. Thank you very much."
The exchange continued with Trioli accusing Leyonhjelm of being "frankly bitchy when women take you on".
Senator Leyonhjelm said that when people "write obnoxious emails to me and the woman who wrote that did, I feel that I am perfectly entitled to respond".
The feisty interview came after both Senator Hanson-Young and Senator Leyonhjelm had criticised one another on Channel 10's The Project, and the stoush spilled over onto the ABC.
A defiant Hanson-Young declared on The Project she would "not be bullied", and vowed to take a stand against Senator Leyonhjelm over "hideous" and "hurtful" comments made towards her in parliament.
Senator Hanson-Young said she had sought the advice of lawyer Rebecca Giles. It has been reported Senator Hanson-Young is suing Senator Leyonhjelm over him telling her last week in the Senate to "stop shagging men".
"I'm standing up. I've decided as a matter of principle, I am not going to take this," she told The Project.
"I am not going to be intimidated, I am not going to be bullied and I'm in a very principled and privileged position. There are many women out there, whether they are on the factory floor or they are stewards on an airline or they work in the hospitality industry, many women cop sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace and don't have the ability. I'm doing this for them.
"These comments are offensive, they are inflammatory, and they are all based on a lie. They need to be called out."
Appearing on the same program, Senator Leyonhjelm denied making comments about Senator-Hanson-Young's private life.
"I am not apologising for anything. I stand by it. I am opposed to double standards," Senator Leyonhjelm said.
"I made no comment whatsoever on her private life, other than that there were two standards being applied."
He claimed Senator Hanson-Young had said "word to the effect that all men are rapists", and went on to repeat claims about Senator Hanson-Young's private life.
In her interview, Senator Hanson-Young denied she had made the statement about men, saying, "I just want to put it really clearly that I never said those comments, I never inferred them, I do not believe them".
"What is clear and what is consistent is his total disrespect. And that's why I'm standing up," she said.
Senator Hanson-Young said she had also been motivated to take action because of her daughter.
"I am trying to show her a very clear lesson here. That is that women don't deserve to be disrespected like this. And especially, not by a member of the parliament. Our parliament should be better," she said.
"Our parliament should be the pinnacle of how we engage in respectful debate, and just because you are losing an argument gives no person - whether they are a member or parliament or a commentator or they are somebody in the privacy of backyard discussion over a barbecue - gives nobody has the right to treat a woman like that with such sexist slurs just because they couldn't win the argument on sound facts."
Earlier, Senator Hanson-Young called on Senator Leyonhjelm to resign over his "reprehensible" comments.\
We ask why senator David Leyonhjelm won’t be apologising for his "sexist" comments and hear senator Sarah Hanson-Young’s response, explaining why she’s speaking out. #auspol #TheProjectTV pic.twitter.com/KsEFBRccd6— The Project (@theprojecttv) 2 July 2018
"I believe he has proven himself incapable of showing respect and is unfit to represent not only women, but all decent Australians, in our nation's parliament," she said in a statement on Monday.
Senator Leyonhjelm said there is no way he will apologise.
The Greens will try to have Senator Leyonhjelm censured by parliament, with leader Richard Di Natale calling on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to condemn the comments.