The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Coalition Senator Sam McMahon was encouraged to exit the Senate on Wednesday night over her disoriented behaviour, with some politicians describing her as being “off her head” and “maggoted”.
The claims were made anonymously by more than 10 different senators from different political parties.
“It was totally inappropriate,” one Senator told the newspaper.
“This is a place of work, we all have a social drink from time to time but this was on another level.”
Another said McMahon appeared to walk into a door as she entered the chamber.
McMahon, who represents the Northern Territory for the Country Liberal Party and sits in the Nationals party room, denied the allegations.
While she told the Herald that she had one glass of wine and was feeling overwhelmed after receiving “sad personal news”, a spokesperson has since told the NT News that she was just feeling “unwell”.
“A number of off the record allegations with no names attached is the height of cowardice,” the spokesperson added.
“This is part of a political machine manufacturing any reason to dislodge Senator McMahon before preselection – even fictional ones.”
CCTV footage from the Senate on Wednesday night shows McMahon walking slowly across the floor. She appears to be assisted at different moments by Nationals Senate leader Bridget McKenzie and Attorney-General Michaelia Cash.
Eventually, Nationals Senate whip Perin Davey comes over and appears to ask McMahon to leave.
“We all thought she wasn’t going to make it that far,” a Coalition Senator told the Herald.
When McMahon left, she was granted a pair – someone from the opposition who would sit out to compensate for McMahon not being able to vote.
There’s nothing wrong with having a drink at the end of a long day. But allegedly being “maggoted” in the Senate is a whole other level.