The Cat's Meow.

Senator Penny Wong

Oh. No. They. Didn’t.

There was quite the commotion yesterday in the Senate when Liberal Senator David Bushby made a catty remark to Labor Senator Penny Wong after she got a little huffy about being interrupted.

“Meow!” he called out across the chamber, in the apparently age-old remark. And then the proverbial got ‘real’.

Senator Wong didn’t approve at all.

And then the Internet was lit up in a blaze of ‘are you kidding me’ as people debated the merits of the phrase ‘meow’ and whether or not it was sexist. After all, it was Prime Minister Julia Gillard who called opposition member Chris Pyne a ‘mincing poodle’ a while back.

Indeed, ‘colourful’ remarks have been flying across the chambers since parliament began. If you don’t believe us, reference pretty much anything ever said by Paul Keating.

But do we draw the line at things that are sexist? Is a man saying ‘meow’ to a woman sexist?

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon had the last word on the matter after Penny Wong accepted an apology from Senator Bushby.

Senator David Bushby (right).

“Nick Xenophon said Senator Bushby did the right thing by apologising.

“I think the other lesson to be learnt here is that no one should try and imitate Julie Bishop except Julie Bishop,” he told reporters.

The senator was referring to a “meow” the deputy opposition leader aimed at Ms Gillard in the previous parliament.”

Are we too precious? Or should we all be a little more like Penny Wong and call out sexism wherever and however it happens?

Watch the showdown for yourself: