Liberal senator and retired Major General Jim Molan has clashed with Labor senator Doug Cameron during Senate estimates, after Cameron slammed him for “flag-wrapping nonsense”.
Senator Molan, who served as the chief of operations for the Headquarters Multinational Force in Iraq, accused the Labor senator of insulting the military in response to Senator Cameron's objections to Senator Molan's interjections while questioning witnesses about underpayments of Tasmania's lowest-paid workers.
"You're not a general anymore, and I'm not a private in your army," Senator Cameron said to Senator Molan after an interjection during the Labor senator's line of questioning.
Senator Molan called for a point of order and demanded an apology, saying, "On a number of occasions senator you have run that line against me. I don't care what you say about me, what you are saying is very similar to what we've seen you say before, you are insulting everyone who has worn the uniform of this country over many, many years and I believe you owe me an apology."
Senator Cameron rejected the calls for apology, saying, "Don't give me that flag-wrapping nonsense."
Scenes of the exchange have been posted to social media channels of both senators, with the public weighing in with their commentary.
One commenter backed Senator Cameron, saying, "It offends me that he claims we as armed forces families think as he does ... I stand with Senator Cameron." While another said, "Doug is a union bully from way back."
This is not the first time Senator Molan has clashed with his fellow parliamentarians. Earlier this year, Greens MP Adam Bandt accused Molan of being a "coward" and would "probably be up for prosecution" if there was ever a review into his conduct on the battlefield. Senator Molan threaten to sue the Greens MP for defamation but stepped back from this after drawing two apologies from the member for Melbourne.