Julian McGauran makes rude gesture to Australian Senate

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Friday, August 12, 2005

The Senator Julian McGauran in the Australian Senate had made an "unseemly" gesture across the floor of the Senate whilst it was in session on August 11, apparently as a result of interjections about a division taking place.

Whilst this was not immediately debated, Senator Bob Brown had asked the Acting Deputy President of the Senate to look into the matter[1]. Later the President of the Senate ruled that the gesture was "unseemly but not obscene"[2].

This ruling caused a fierce debate, with Senator Brown saying that McGauran's "arrogant and disgusting"[3] actions exemplified the Government's attitude towards its new-found Senate majority, whilst Senator Ron Boswell, the National Party Senate leader, had criticised Brown of hypocrisy, stating that Brown had "broken every law in Australia" and "every law in Tasmania"[4] (which Bartlett noted as a point of order as being hyperbole).

Senator McGauran then spoke, stating that he "regret[ted] his actions"[5]. Brown however noted that this was not an unqualified apology. A motion was then put that the President's ruling be dissented from, which debate was set for another sitting. Senator Chris Evans, the Labor Senate leader and Senator Brown had called for McGauran's sacking as Chief Government whip; his National Party superiors have said that they will speak to McGauran about the incident.