A Coalition MP who claims Anthony Albanese bullied her to the point of tears in parliament lost her beloved father a few weeks ago after a ‘very difficult’ year.
Michelle Landry, the Nationals MP for Capricornia in central Queensland, claimed she was ‘humiliated’ by the prime minister during Question Time on Thursday.
After Ms Landry asked a question, Mr Albanese launched into a fiery tirade mocking Opposition Leader Peter Dutton for confusing two areas in his home state.
Ms Landry took the tirade personally and her colleagues complained she had stormed out of the chamber in tears.
The PM refused to apologise on Friday, insisting he was only addressing Mr Dutton and Ms Landry, 60, was criticised for being too easily rattled.
But locals in her hometown of Yeppoon defended their MP, saying she had a ‘tough few weeks’ after the death of her father William Bruce Martin.
Liberal National MP Michelle Landry (back centre with her daughters Kirstin Daniels and Jessica Price) lost her father William Bruce Martin (bottom left) on October 1
Mr Martin died on October 1 aged 86, and was mourned by four generations of his family at his funeral on October 13.
Ms Landry soldiered on in the interim, attending numerous community events including on the day of and morning after his death.
‘The last three months have been very difficult. Dad spent 12 days in hospital extremely ill, then he caught Covid. He was in a lot of pain,’ she said in her eulogy.
‘My Dad was tough. He waited for his last great-grandson to be born, our precious Fitzwilliam.
‘He passed away a couple of days later. In his final weeks he found his faith again and was at peace with God.
‘I am sure he is up there looking down on us with his pipe or cigar, drinking a rum and coke, and taking Chloe his Labrador dog for a walk!’
Mr Martin and his wife Gloria ran Lucky Daniels Casket Agency, a corner store in Rockhampton, for 21 years and Ms Landry grew up in the shop.
The family patriarch lived to see Ms Landry’s grandson Fitzwilliam born on September 28 when her daughter Jessica Price give birth.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese launched into a fiery tirade as he mocked Opposition Leader Peter Dutton for a geography gaffe during Ms Landry’s question, after which she accused him of bullying her
Ms Landry was was criticised for being too easily rattled, but locals in her hometown of Yeppoon defended their MP, saying she had a ‘tough few weeks’ after the death of her father
Ms Price was at the centre of another time Ms Landry claimed to have been bullied by the Labor Party – which she alluded to after the drama in parliament.
Capricornia was, with two short interruptions, in Labor hands since 1961 until Ms Landry won the seat on the votes of disgruntled coal miners in 2013.
She claimed CFMEU thugs harassed her, Ms Price, and her son-in-law Tim Price including threats and intimidation, while they were living in the coal mining area of Blackwater, west of Rockhampton.
‘It was dreadful. I’m the one doing the job, I’m the public figure. They shouldn’t be picking on your family,’ she said at the time.
CFMEU Queensland president Stephen Smyth said the allegations were ‘baseless’ and if there was evidence they should have been reported to police.
‘Ms Landry should be called on to apologise to the union members and families in Blackwater for her allegations, which have affected many,’ he said at the time.
Ms Price was in 2015 put on probation for two years without conviction for stealing $8,150 from the ANZ bank, her then-employer.
Mr Martin lived to see Ms Landry’s grandson Fitzwilliam born on September 28 when her daughter Jessica Price give birth
Mr Martin and his wife Gloria ran Lucky Daniels Casket Agency, a corner store in Rockhampton, for 21 years and Ms Landry grew up in the shop
Mr Albanese on Friday morning furiously rubbished Ms Landry’s claims that he bullied her, insisting his shouty remarks were only aimed at Mr Dutton.
‘You’ll see me having an exchange with Peter Dutton, not with the member for Capricornia, about the fact he was interjecting, yelling at me, confusing… he didn’t know his Yeppoon from his Yeppen – they’re two different places,’ he told Sky News.
‘It was an exchange between myself and Peter Dutton and the footage shows during that time Michelle Landry actually laughing at my response, that was good humoured, a bit of a joke about Queenslander, a reference of course Peter Dutton didn’t know.’
Mr Albanese twice pointed at Mr Dutton and shouted ‘Queenslander!’ to mock his mistake about his home state.
This was an obscure reference to State of Origin legend Billy Moore firing up the Maroons as they took the field for the second half of the 1995 clash.
The Sydney-born PM is a diehard rugby league fan and his reference prompted rowdy cheers and banging of tables from the Labor benches, which Ms Landry claimed was egging him on in bullying her.
Mr Albanese said he called Ms Landry as a courtesy to explain his remarks weren’t aimed at her, because he was concerned she was upset – but did not apologise because one wasn’t needed.
‘No, she has my respect. I never said anything against her. Peter Dutton wants to interject while I’m answering a question, he can expect a response,’ he said.
Ms Landry posted screenshots from parliament footage she claimed showed Anthony Albanese was attacking her, as he was looking in her direction, while he insists his tirade was only aimed at Peter Dutton
However, Ms Landry doubled down later on Friday morning by posting screenshots from parliament footage she claimed showed the PM was attacking her.
‘I did laugh at the start of the answer provided however, it quickly descended into bullying behavior by the prime minister and the Labor Party,’ she said.
‘In the screenshots below, you can clearly see he is not directing the remainder of his answer at Peter Dutton who is directly in front of him. He is directing his anger and vitriol at me.
‘For all of the local and interstate Labor trolls who have inundated my social media channels with derogatory messages and who have cherry-picked screenshots, you need to remember that everyone has a family, and I am doing my job in standing up for Capricornia.’
Prominent media commentators, even those often critical of the government, largely sided with Mr Albanese, saying they didn’t seen any bullying in his response.
‘What I witnessed in question time yesterday was rigorous debate between two sides of politics. That seems pretty standard behaviour to me,’ 2GB radio host Ben Fordham said.
Liberal National member for Capricornia Michelle Landry (pictured) left parliament in tears on Thursday
The drama began when Ms Landry rose in Question Time on Thursday to accuse the prime minister of breaking a promise.
She said the Budget delated $800 million of Commonwealth funding to construct the Rockhampton Ring Road by at least two years.
Mr Albanese’s answer made reference to funding the Bruce Highway through the Yeppen Floodplain, south of Rockhampton.
Mr Dutton – also from Queensland – interjected about the town of Yeppoon, more than 50km away on the coast.
The PM seized upon this geographic error to mock the opposition leader for not knowing his home state well enough.
‘Yeppoon is a different place! And you might want to ask the Member for Capricornia, because Yeppoon is on the coast, north of Rockhampton and Rockhampton is to the south,’ he excitedly exclaimed.
‘Yeppen Floodplain is to the south, it’s the southern entry of the Bruce Highway into Rockhampton!’
Mr Albanese got a rousing cheer from the Labor Party benches and twice shook his fist towards Mr Dutton shouting ‘Queenslander!’
‘Says it all!’ he added, dismissively.
The PM then explained the history of the road project and with a consistently raised voice blasted the opposition for not getting it down while in government.
‘We will get this project done, like we got the Yeppen Floodplain done, like we, by the way, got roads to Yeppoon done as well,’ he said.
The increasingly rowdy Labor benches responded to the PM’s boisterous display by cheering, clapping, and banging their tables.
Mr Anthony yells “Queenslander” during Question Time after mocking Peter Dutton
Mr Albanese at the same time made a dismissive swishing motion with his hands towards the Coalition benches as they rose in uproar.
The episode seemed like a good bit of parliamentary theatrics at Mr Dutton’s expense until the end of Question Time when deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley raised a point of order.
‘The Member for Capricornia has left the chamber in tears and in a state of high distress,’ she said.
She asked Speaker Milton Dick to review the video and consider the appropriateness of his ‘tone’ during his very shouty answer. Mr Dick said he would do so and get back to her.
Ms Landry, deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley, and nine other female Coalition MPs held a press conference after Question Time ended, accusing Mr Albanese of ‘bullying’ her.
‘I really do not appreciate being spoken to and screamed at by the prime minister, as I was today,’ Ms Landry said.
‘I feel that I’ve been humiliated by him and the Labor Party.
‘We’ve been talking today about kindness in the Parliament, looking after each other and all the nice kind words.
‘But after he screamed and pointed and yelled at me, all his MPs – females included in that – were screaming, laughing and yelling as well.
Ms Landry, Ms Ley, and several other female Coalition MPs held a press conference after Question Time ended, accusing Mr Albanese of ‘bullying’ her
‘This is not the first time that I’ve endured this stuff from the Labor Party, from the PM’s office who spread smear campaigns about me in Rockhampton.
‘I think this should be a place where we can all work together, I try to treat people with respect and how I wanted to be treated.
‘I want to thank my female colleagues for being here with me today because we’ve all had enough.
They’re a mob of hypocrites if they can say that everything is so wonderful on the left. Well, it’s not.
‘They treat us appallingly, our female MPs and senators are treated like absolute garbage all the time by the left and we have had enough.
Michelle Landry said it was not the first time she;d been the victim of a Labor smear campaign
‘This is about women across Australia. I have two daughters and if I don’t stand up against this bullying in the parliament, they just won’t have respect for me.’
Ms Ley then quoted a statement by Mr Albanese from months earlier, declaring parliament needed to do better to stamp out bullying.
‘More needs to be done to change the culture of Parliament House, culture sit above policy and procedure and must change,’ she quoted.
‘There’s a cultural problem with sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace in the House.’
Ms Ley said the Budget talked a lot about respect in the workplace, as had many members of the Labor Party since it won government.
‘Well, if Mr Albanese doesn’t go back into parliament this afternoon, stand and publicly apologise… then all of these statements are not worth the paper they are printed on and he may as well throw them in the garbage bin,’ she said.
‘This was an incredibly distressing experience for Michelle, and there were others in the chamber who heard it, who felt it, and who really, really didn’t like it.’
Sussan Ley quoted a statement by Mr Albanese from months earlier, declaring parliament needed to do better to stamp out bullying
Mr Dick later told the House of Representatives he had reviewed the footage and didn’t believe Mr Albanese disrespected Ms Landry.
‘I can confirm the prime minister was answering the question from the Member for Capricornia. During the answer, the prime minister was also directly responding to interjections from the leader of the opposition,’ he said.
‘In reviewing the footage, I did not see the prime minister show any disrespect to the Member for Capricornia.
‘As the footage was not on the Member for Capricornia for the entire response, I did not see her leave the chamber.
‘Of the footage of the Member for Capricornia that I was able to review, she appeared engaged in the response from the prime minister.’
Mr Albanese’s office was asked if the PM intended to publicly apologise to Ms Landry or make any other comment on the matter.