An Australian politician is under fire for meowing at a female colleague during a debate. And this is just one in a string of offenses by male parliamentarians.

The debate in question was caught on tape, so you can watch as labor senator Penny Wong resists being interrupted, and David Bushby of the conservative Liberal-National party responds by audibly meowing. Wong, to her credit, isn't taking this shit — she fires back, "Blokes are allowed to yell but if a woman stands her ground, you want to make that kind of comment. It's schoolyard politics." Bushby initially defended his behavior with the following unsatisfying explanation:

Her reaction to the issue of the secretary's appearance was like that of an angry cat. It could have been a male or female cat. So I thought she was like an angry cat, the way they sometimes strike out. I like cats.

But you can see pretty clearly from the video that all Wong is doing is trying to speak — it's not catlike unless you think all assertive women are spoiling for a catfight. Bushby eventually followed up with a faux-pology: "I am sorry that Senator Wong has felt offended by my reaction."

According to the Telegraph, this isn't the first time Australian parliamentarians have been accused of inappropriate conduct. One was caught looking at porn on his government computer — another allegedly danced in his underwear at an office party. Possibly the grossest example is the MP who "was caught repeatedly sniffing the chair of a female colleague." Schoolyard politics is right — and it sounds like some members of the Australian parliament are in about seventh grade.

Australian Politician Caught 'Miaowing' At Female Colleague [Telegraph]
Wong Hits Back At Catcall [The Age]