Queensland’s new senator Barry O’Sullivan says low sugar levels are to blame for a potty-mouthed outburst about an LNP candidate.
Queensland’s new senator has blamed low sugar levels for an expletive-riddled outburst that proved too much for state parliament.
State Labor MP Jo-Ann Miller on Tuesday tabled a transcript of a potty-mouthed tirade by Barry O’Sullivan, who’ll be sworn in as a senator in Canberra on Wednesday.
But Speaker Fiona Simpson forced her to withdraw it and resubmit it, minus the profanities.
The Liberal National Party heavyweight has admitted the original transcript “sounded like morse code with all the dots and dashes in it”.
Mr O’Sullivan says it was a record of a frustrating conversation he had about an LNP candidate who’d been the subject of very serious allegations.
“He just wasn’t prepared to step up to them and it was a frustrating conversation,” Mr O’Sullivan told ABC radio on Wednesday.
“My blood sugar levels were down and it was late at night.”
Ms Miller says she’s concerned the original transcript has been taken off parliament’s website.
“Look it’s up to the speaker, she is obviously in charge of the parliament,” she told ABC radio.
“However I think that many eyebrows will be raised in relation to the openness and transparency issues, and the parliament might like to investigate these matters.”
A spokesman for the Speaker says she’s asked the clerk to look into it.
In any case, Ms Miller says Queenslanders deserve more than a “big, boorish, bad-mouthed bovver boy” as their Senate representative.
Mr O’Sullivan says the MP’s comments are water off a duck’s back.
“There’s nothing left for the Labor party to call me that I haven’t already experienced in life,” he said.
Mr O’Sullivan will replace Barnaby Joyce in the Senate.
Ms Simpson said she did not ask anyone to take transcripts down from Hansard.
She said if the opposition had any allegations, they should contact her directly.
“I welcome transparency and if the opposition has any allegations, they need to be very clear as to what they are,” Ms Simpson told reporters.
“They have not been near me and I would ask them to have the courtesy of talking to the Speaker about what their allegations are specifically.”
Ms Simpson said she did not think Labor’s attack on Mr O’Sullivan on Tuesday was appropriate in parliament.
“I don’t think it was necessarily in the best interests of the parliament to see a man with his young family, his grandchildren there, hearing that display,” she said.
“But ultimately the public will make their own decision as to how they believe the behaviour of the parliament was.”
Ms Simpson says she has investigated the matter with the clerk of parliament who advises that no one has asked officers to remove the original transcript.
The investigation revealed the document had originally been tabled in 2010 and taken down a short time later, most likely because of the unparliamentary language.
Ms Simpson went on the attack and warned Ms Miller she could face consequences for peddling incorrect information to media and asked her to rectify the situation.
Especially considering she disrespected the chair and parliamentary staff, she said.
“A member who makes vague allegations in the media rather than raising a clear allegation through the proper avenues, is acting counter to transparency and accountability,” she said.
“This may not protect them or their staff member from contempt proceedings.”