Liberal senator Hollie Hughes distraught after 'disgusting' slur

Liberal senator Hollie Hughes says she was dumbfounded to hear a senator reportedly tell her "At least I keep my legs shut" in the Senate.

Greens senator Lidia Thorpe directed the comment her in the chamber on Wednesday, leading to an outcry from coalition benches.

Senator Hughes says she took the comments as a shot at her son who has autism, not as a slut shaming slur.

She had called Senator Thorpe's stunt in Question Time a disgrace after the Greens senator interjected an answer about the national disability insurance scheme and stormed out in protest at Indigenous deaths in custody.

"Have a go at me all you want to, I could not care less," she told Sky News on Thursday.

"But when someone invokes someone's child, I think they have crossed a line."


Senator Hughes also expressed her disappointment the comments were made a day after a landmark review into Parliament House's culture was handed down.

"I hope people in this place take stock over the Christmas break," she said.

"Senator Thorpe needs to think about how she engages with senators."

The review, conducted by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, detailed a leadership deficit, where disrespectful behaviour "comes from the top".

It also revealed some of the worst bullying was woman on woman.

Senators Lydia Thorpe, left, Ben Small and Hollie Hughes. Pictures: Screenshot, Keegan Carroll

Senators Lydia Thorpe, left, Ben Small and Hollie Hughes. Pictures: Screenshot, Keegan Carroll

Liberal senator Ben Small called out Senator Thorpe's interjection on the Senate floor, saying the "outrageous" comment ranked at the top of "the scheme of disgusting statements made in this chamber".

Senator Thorpe initially withdrew the comment saying; "I just got a view of something over there that disturbed me".

The senator then returned to apologise to Senator Hughes and unreservedly take back her comments.

The comments also came a day after a Liberal senator was accused of making dog noises towards another female parliamentarian.

Senator Amanda Stoker said it was important to get the culture within Parliament House right.

"It is important we all lead from the top," she told Sky News.

"(Senator Hughes) is a tough nut, she will be OK. It is personal and it is not nice. At least Senator Thorpe has apologised."

Senator Thorpe's office was contacted for comment.

Australian Associated Press

This story Senator distraught after 'disgusting' slur first appeared on The Canberra Times.