Senator Di Natale, whose mother and father were born in Apulia and Sicily respectively, said that he could no longer endure certain comments repeatedly made by conservative colleagues.
“They do it over and over and over again. Sometimes you don't hear it, but we do,” he said.
“Sometimes they put it on the record.
“Then they withdraw it.
“But those words can never be taken back.
“They hurt and they damage.”
In response to Di Natale’s comments, Liberal Nationals' Senator Barry O'Sullivan, Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm and Independent Fraser Anning walked out of the chamber.
O’Sullivan, Leyonhjelm, Anning and conservative Senator Cory Bernardi were named by Senator Sarah Hanson Young of the Greens on Tuesday as continual perpetrators of “disgusting slurs and abuse” who “slut-shame” and bully women in the workplace.
Her comments came after O’Sullivan said on Tuesday that Hanson-Young had “a bit of [Nick] Xenophon in her — and I don't mean that to be a double reference", causing the parliament to descend into furious debate.
Di Natale was suspended from the Senate after retorting and describing O’Sullivan as “a pig” and perpetrator of continual “sexist filth”.
Since returning to the Senate on Wednesday, Di Natale has made it clear that his position remains uncompromised, saying that “no one deserves to endure what my colleagues have endured for many months”.
Liberal MP Julia Banks quit the Liberal party on Wednesday, moving to the crossbench and describing the treatment of women in Parliament as “years behind” the business world.