Lord knows what must have gone through the two police officers’ minds as they saw firebrand Senator Lidia Thorpe steaming menacingly towards them and the marquee they were guarding as anti-trans or pro-women activist (take your pick) Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull made her pitch to a handful of folk.
In the end, duty called, and they barred her way, grappling with her as she fell to the ground.
Was she knocked to the ground, which was slippery underfoot? Or did she let gravity do the work in classic passive-resistance style?
Either way, it wasn’t a good look for anyone, let alone a member of parliament.
Her claim that the police had “pulverised” her was clearly and characteristically over the top.
The police now face a Professional Standards probe. The incident, which overshadowed everything else on the day, including the momentous announcement of the Voice question, has provoked a string of views.
Should she have been allowed to confront Keen-Minshull (also known as Posie Parker) and possibly disrupt her speech?
Could the police have been more genteel?
Should a senator behave that way?
No, probably not and no.
There was already a counter rally nearby where people could vent their spleen at Posie’s views and gather in solidarity with her targets.
Few people actually turned up to hear what Posie had to say.
For some reason, Senator Thorpe felt entitled to take it on herself to give her an earful, just the sort of conflict the media were there to capture.
No reporter was really there to provide a nuanced, balanced account of the arguments. They were there in case something happened after the nonsense in Melbourne when a bunch of Nazi numbskulls thought they would turn up to provide some muscle at a rally.
Disturbing as it is to know that there are actually people in Australia willing to wear that dark moniker, the chance of like-minded thugs appearing in Canberra was pretty slim.
As Andrew Barr said, Canberra would be the last place you would expect Posie to have an audience anyhow.
I don’t want to get into the minefield that is the current transgender debate, but the principle of free speech needs to be maintained in all this.
The senator did not have the right to attempt to silence someone with the legal right to make a speech on land set aside outside Parliament for that purpose, no matter how repulsive she found it.
All speech is not necessarily equal. There are laws around hate speech and incitement to violence, but the speech did not meet that test and would have passed with hardly a mention.
All Senator Thorpe did was elevate the event to an unwarranted slot in the news and add to her own record of sorry behaviour.
Elected on a Green ticket, she now has another four or so years before she has to face the people, who will no doubt give her an opportunity to pursue another career.