If you needed any further proof that politicians can behave like absolute rowdy children, a Liberal Senator has apologised after he was accused of “growling” at Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie during Question Time today. Ironically, this happened the same day a parliamentary review found that one in three Parliament staffers have reported sexual harassment. Way to go, Australia’s political class!

Senator Lambie was in the middle of presenting her plea to the government to improve social housing in her state when at least one person in the chamber allegedly made a growling noise from their microphone. In the footage below, you can ever so faintly hear a noise that could be described as a growl.

Seriously, why does our tax-payer money go towards supporting these people who act like literal Rugrats on red cordial on the daily?

After Lambie’s speech, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young took to the floor to call out the alleged behaviour.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate given what happened today to have growling and dog noises coming from this side of the chamber while a female member in this place is on her feet,” Hanson-Young said.

“It happened. I don’t know who is responsible for it but it is inappropriate.

Labor Senator Penny Wong then chimed in to say that she heard it too.

“Well, I did, in fact, say, ‘who’s growling’”, she told Senate President Slade Brockman.

“I would ask one of the senators at that end perhaps to do the right thing and withdraw. At least ‘fess up.”

Brockman said he didn’t hear the cat-calling noises that both Wong and Hanson-Young alleged. As a result, he couldn’t ask a member of the Senate to withdraw something he himself didn’t hear.

“I did not hear the particular incident you’ve raised. If it occurred, I’d ask the senator involved to reflect upon it and to withdraw if they did do what has been stated.”

A few hours after Question Time, Victorian Liberal Senator David Van admitted to interjecting Jacqui Lambie’s speech before apologising for his behavior. He did however deny the description that he “growled” at her.

And look, even if he didn’t specifically make dog noises at her, what he admitted to is still not on.

Earlier this morning, a review of parliamentary workplace culture revealed that one in three employees have experienced sexual harassment while working in parliament, while more than half the people working in Commonwealth parliamentary workplaces have experienced bullying.

The Australian Human Rights Commission review was sparked by the alleged rape of Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins and has made 28 recommendations, including stronger alcohol policies, better gender balance, better leadership, and expanding reporting and support.

It also called for a new code of conduct, and for heads of departments to come together and write a joint statement of acknowledgement of the harm caused by workplace bullying, sexual harassment, and assault, and a commitment to shared accountability.

Image: Facebook [Senator David Van] / Getty Images [Sam Mooy/Stringer]