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Leyonhjelm Under Pressure To Apologise Over “Appalling” Comments

Pressure mounts on Senator David Leyonhjelm to apologise over sexist comments

David Leyonhjelm finds some time for quiet reflection in the Senate.
Image © 2018 AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Federal cabinet minister Simon Birmingham has called on David Leyonhjelm to publicly apologise for his "appalling" comments about Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

"I would expect that apologies would be the appropriate order of the day. Frankly, people ought to be a little bigger and better than that," Senator Birmingham told Sky on Monday.

In parliament on Thursday, Senator Leyonhjelm alluded to Senator Hanson-Young's private life, telling her to "stop shagging men".

When she approached him after the comment, which was yelled across the Senate chamber during a motion on arming women with weapons for their safety, he told her to "f*** off".

Senate president Scott Ryan asked Senator Leyonhjelm to apologise but he refused.

"It's certainly not the way I conduct my politics. I don't believe that type of commentary has any place in decent fair public policy," Senator Birmingham said.

Senator Leyonhjelm said if the Greens senator took offence, it was an issue for her.

"I am prepared to rephrase my comments. I strongly urge Senator Hanson-Young to continue shagging men as she pleases," Senator Leyonhjelm said.

Senator Hanson-Young described the comments as sexist and offensive, adding she was disappointed Senator Leyonhjelm had not apologised.

Sky News on Sunday was forced to apologise for its coverage of the incident, following public outcry for broadcasting and strap-lining what it described as Senator Leyonhjelm's "appalling" remarks. It also suspended a producer.

-          with AAP