There are so many contenders for most outrageous comment made in yesterday’s Senate estimates hearing involving the Human Rights Commission’s Gillian Triggs.

There was this one, from LNP Senator Barry O’Sullivan:

“I thought you might like to hear a man’s voice.”

This one from the chair of the committee — LNP Senator Ian Macdonald — to Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young when she asked whether O’Sullivan would be withdrawing the previous comment:

“You are not serious, are you?”

And another from O’Sullivan, this time to Labor senator Penny Wong:

“Oh dear, oh dear, Penny … settle down.”

But our vote for the most disgraceful admission to come out of yesterday’s hearing, when Triggs was questioned for hours about her organisation’s Forgotten Children report, was this one from the chairman himself:

“I haven’t bothered to read the final report because I think it is partisan.”

So let’s get this straight: a government senator, who is paid from the public purse and whose job it is to lead an interrogation of the HRC and its report into children in immigration detention, has not actually bothered to read it?

It’s getting harder and harder to take this government seriously. Ian Macdonald has failed in one of the central tasks of his job and should step aside.

Peter Fray

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