Michelle Landry's "Bullying" Accusation: A Breakdown
Updated: Jan 18
On Thursday the 27th of October 2022, Ms. Landry accused Mr. Albanese of bullying and humiliating her during Question Time. The incident began when Ms. Landry asked the Prime Minister a question regarding delayed federal funding for the Rockhampton Ring Road project in her seat of Capricornia.
In Mr. Albanese's response, he mentioned the Yeppen Floodplain. Opposition Leader, Peter Dutton, then interjected in an attempt to correct Mr. Albanese's pronunciation of Yeppoon. Video feed of the Question Time session then shows Mr. Albanese angling his attention away from Ms. Landry to Mr. Dutton before chiding Mr. Dutton for his error:
"'Yeppen Floodplain'; Yeppoon's a different place. "
The video feed then cuts to Ms. Landry laughing at Anthony Albanese's remarks immediately following this comment. Mr. Albanese then continued:
"And you might want to ask the member for Capricornia, because Yeppoon is on the coast, north of Rockhampton, and Yeppen Floodplain is to the south; it's the southern entry of the Bruce Highway into Rockhampton."
Mr. Albanese then yelled "Queenslander! Queenslander! It says it all!" at Mr. Dutton, mocking Mr. Dutton's knowledge of his native Queensland's geography. Nationals Leader, David Littleproud, and other Coalition MPs, including Nola Marino, could be seen smiling or laughing at Mr. Albanese's remarks. Mr. Albanese then continued his response and could be seen looking and pointing at various members of the cross bench, before focusing again on Ms. Landry.
Later during the session, Deputy Liberal Leader, Sussan Ley, raised concerns about the exchange to parliament, stating that Ms. Landry has left the chamber "in tears" following the exchange. Mr. Albanese called Ms. Landry after the session was concluded and claimed that he was aiming his remarks at the opposition leader and not towards her. Ms. Landry confirmed that Mr. Albanese had called her and apologised but questioned “if he didn’t think there was a problem, why did he ring me to apologise?” Mr. Albanese later reported that he had made the phone call because he is “always concerned if someone is upset."
Political editor for Channel 10, Peter van Onselen, questioned how the incident could be considered bullying.
Nationals MP, Ann Webster, and Liberal MP, Melissa McIntoch, supported Ms. Landry's perspective of the exchange and attested that Mr. Albanese was indeed yelling at her, with Ms. Webster stating:
“As somebody who is sitting very close to Michelle, I know that the prime minister was directing his aggressive comments to her...And it’s unacceptable. We have all had enough. We want respect in the parliament houses and we wanted to be treated with respect.”
Following the Question Time session, Ms. Landry, joined by female Coalition colleagues, addressed the media in regards to the incident.
"Look, I just wanted to make comment about what happened in the chamber today. Now I've been a federal MP down here for nine years, been involved heavily with federal politics for over twelve and, you know, I really do not appreciate being spoken to and screamed at by the Prime Minster as I was today. I asked a question which I've talked to you a lot of you about, my, the Ring Road in Rockhampton, and I feel that I've been humiliated by him and by the Labor party. The fact that they've, we've been talking today about kindness in the parliament, looking after each other, and all the nice kind words, after he screamed and pointed and yelled at me then all his MPs, females included in that, were screaming, and laughing and pointing and yelling as well, and this is not the first time that I've endured stuff from the Labor party, from the Prime Minister's office who have spread smear campaigns about me in Rockhampton and also, just, you know, the stuff from some of the female MPs in the Labor party, and I think that this should be a place that we all work together. I try to treat people with respect as how I want to be treated. But, and I want to thank my female colleagues here today for supporting me because we've all had enough. You know, they're a mob of hypocrites if they can say that: 'Everything's so wonderful on the left,' well it's not. They treat us appallingly. The female, our female MPs and senators are treated like absolute garbage all the time by the left and we have had enough. So that's why we're here today. We're here to make a stand and this is about women across Australia. I have two daughters and if I don't stand up against this bullying in the parliament, well, you know, they just won't have the respect for me."
With reference to Ms. Landry's press conference, former Liberal MP, Julia Banks, claimed the Coalition were performing a "political performance stunt" and suggested that the behaviour was representative of "being complicit to the patriarchy":
The following morning, Ms. Landry posted screenshots of the Question Time footage to social media and noted how she initially found Mr. Albanese's response comical:
‘I did laugh at the start of the answer provided however, it quickly descended into bullying behaviour by the prime minister and the Labor Party."
2GB Host, Ben Fordham, claimed the exchange was not bullying but instead rigorous debate:
"So I went and had a look at the footage of what unfolded in Question Time late yesterday and I was waiting and waiting and waiting and anticipating the moment I was going to see some bullying from Mr. Albanese but what I saw was not bullying, not in the slightest. What I witnessed in question time yesterday was rigorous debate between two sides of politics.
Speaker of the House, Milton Dick, reviewed the Question Time footage and stated that he did not see Mr. Albanese behave disrespectfully towards Ms Landry:
"During the answer, the prime minister was also directly responding to interjections from the leader of the opposition...In reviewing the footage, I did not see the prime minister show any disrespect to the member for Capricornia."
The day following the exchange, it was reported that Yeppoon locals defended Ms. Landry stating that the MP had endured a "tough few weeks" following the death of her father.
Comments on Staffer Fired for Masturbating in Parliament House
On March 22nd 2021 a Liberal Party staffer was fired after filming himself masturbating onto the desk of a female MP. This footage was then allegedly shared amongst other Coalition staffers who had also filmed themselves committing similar acts within parliament house. Reports indicated the staffer had also filmed himself performing another sex act on another man seemingly in his boss's office.
Ms. Landry stated to media that she felt bad for him regarding the loss of his job:
"The young fellow concerned, you know, he was a really good worker and he loved the place and I feel bad for him about this but, you know, it's unacceptable behaviour."
Federal Labor Senator, Kristina Keneally, was asked for comment on the matter by journalists. "She said what?" Ms. Keneally questioned before having the full quote read to her. Ms. Keneally was bewildered by the statement:
"She said she feels bad for him because he loved working here? That's what Michelle Landry said? How about feeling bad for the cleaners who had to come in and clean after that disgusting mess? How about feeling bad for the female MP whose desk was disrespected? I am left without words that this is the response from Michelle Landry.
Ms. Landry was criticised for her comment and endured online trolling in the days following. She later clarified her sentiments stating that she did not want to join in on attacking a person who was in a "dark place" and potentially at risk of self-harm.
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