Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has lost his temper, roaring "Do not interrupt!" at a Sky News reporter, declaring he would not be apologising in the wake of the High Court decision which led to the release of people from indefinite detention.
The fiery press conference, which now has the federal opposition calling on him to say sorry to the reporter Olivia Caisley, took place as he, Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil, and Immigration Minister Andrew Giles were explaining the government's proposed preventative detention and citizenship stripping laws.
With four released detainees reoffending and in a highly charged political environment, the rushed changes are being debated in the Senate and are expected to be voted on late on Wednesday night.
The press conference was already testy before Ms Caisley put "to the ministers" if an apology was owed to "those in the community who have subjected by the misdeeds of some the detainees".
Ms O'Neil took the question, calmly explaining that it was illegal for the government to continue to detain them after the High Court made its decision. She also added that "if I had any legal power to re-detain all of these people, I would do it immediately".
Just as another question was about to be asked, Mr Dreyfus jumped back in smacking the question back as "absurd".
"I want to suggest to you that question is an absurd question. You are asking a cabinet minister, three ministers of the Crown, to apologise for upholding the law of Australia, for acting in accordance with the law of Australia, for following the instructions of the High Court of Australia," he said.
"I will not be apologising for upholding the law. I will not be apologising for pursuing the rule of law and I will not be apologising for acting..."
Mr Dreyfus snapped when Ms Caisley attempted a follow-up question.
"Do not interrupt!" he said, finger pointing.
"I will not be apologising for acting ... I will not be apologising for acting in accordance with a High Court decision. Your question is an absurd one!"
Ms O'Neil then quietly stated, "OK, I think we will move on here".
It is not the first time, Ms Caisley has tangled with senior Labor figures. In March, former Prime Minister Paul Keating labelled her question "dumb" after she asked how he was certain China was not a threat when he had not been in current top-level security briefings.
"Because I've got a brain, principally, and I can think and I can read and I read every day," Mr Keating said, before describing the question as "so dumb, it's hardly worth an answer."
Deputy Leader of the Opposition Sussan Ley has called on Mr Dreyfus to apologise for shouting down legitimate questions from a "capable and effective young woman" in the press gallery.
"It was totally inappropriate, and he did not do it to any of the men in the press conference who similarly asked tough questions," she said.
The opposition also stand by the original question and want an apology for any person adversely affected by the release of the detainees.