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Question Time « Previous | |Next »
November 3, 2005

Question Time in the House of Representatives descended into chaos today. Rowdy, uproar, fiery does not describe what happened.

It was a shambles for half an or so, caused by a parliamentary brawl. The speaker's authority was continually challenged by the ALP, and rightfully so. Another seven MP's were ejected from the Chamber by a biased speaker:--that is 18 MP's in two days: 17 ALP and Liberal. Yet it takes two to tango--hurl the taunts, jeers, sneers, and abuse. However, a blind eye is being turned to the front bench of the Howard Government by the Speaker, even though the Ministers are not answering the questions asked of them.

So we go from point after point of order on relevance being made by the ALP. And they are right in 9 out of 10 situations.

The Speaker is not independent nor are his rulings fair. He is out of his depth and goes along, and supports, the Howard government's white-anting democracy. The Speaker really ought to be defending Parliament from the executive's power grab.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:34 PM | | Comments (5)
Comments

Comments

While I am aware about the ejection of ALP members, I for one rather ignore this in this case in view that there is a far more serious issue to confront.
As I made clear in my correspondence to the Speaker, he is there to ensure that all Members of the Parliament have equal rights in representing their constituency and therefore cannot tolerate that Members have to vote on a bill without each Member having its own copy. The speaker owns a duty foremost to the office of the Speaker well above his political associations.
It is his task to ensure that Members have sufficient time to consider bills before being requested to vote on a Bill.
In my view, the fact that most members of the opposition were not provided with a copy of the Industrial Relations Bill should have been totally unacceptable to the speaker and he should not have allowed the presentation of the Bill unless first every Member was provided with a copy of the Bill.
It does not matter of government political parties have the majority in the house, it is an issue that the Speaker is responsible for proper conduct of what is going on in the House. Perhaps, had the Speaker, so to say, some credibility, then a lot of problems could have been avoided in the first place regarding the non availability of copies of the Industrial Relations Bill.

GH,
I could not agree more with your argument. See this for the role of the Speaker.

Maybe the ALP will become serious about defending the power of Parliament as an institution, rather than just itching to get their hands on the machinery of executive dominance.

They do need to develop some reform proposals to improve the functioning of democracy as well as concentrating on clever theatrical parliamentary tactics.

There has never ever been a truly independent speaker in either house.
First the incumbent is a party man/woman, then he/she relies on the PM for his/her highly paid position,so he/she is totally controlled. A truly independent speaker would have to be very courageous. No speaker that I have seen or heard is courageous or any where near courageous, he/she are just party hacks.
So serving Parliament and thus the Australian people instead of the PM would be totally foreign to him/her.
It can be changed the position of speaker can be taken out of the grubby hands of lying dishonest politicians. The position can, and should be the natural progression of the Clerks of both houses. Regards, R.P.

IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE WHICH POLITICAL PARTY IS IN POWER, AS THEY ALL ARE USING THEIR POWERS TO PREVENT THE OPPOSITION (WHOMEVER THAT MAY BE AT THE TIME) TO HAVE THE APPROPRIATE TIME TO ASK QUESTIONS AS TO HOLD THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABLE.

All Members of Parliament ought to understand that they are representing the electors and should leave their party politics game play not interfere with this. We, the people, are entitled to have any government of the Day to be held accountable. This is the very purpose of Question Time.

Perhaps, we ought to have it prohibited for political parties to be involved in the running of the parliament, so that no one can dominate another Member of Parliament and neither interfere with the rights of another Member of parliament and we put them under a AWA contract of performance so we can use the very Industrial Relations reform into the Parliament.
Like, Minister fails to answer the question properly, trapdoor opens and the minister is on his/her way into oblivion!
Perhaps, after all the proposed Industrial Relations legislation may turn out to be more useful then anyone had anticipated, if just only used in Parliament.

If we are to maintain the way the Speaker is appointed (highly likely), the Speaker must renounce their party membership and vacate their seat to have any semblance of independence. The seat would go to a by-election, just as in some Councils when a mayor is elected from serving Councillors. Thus the constituents in that seat will have real representation, and the position of Speaker will have some credibility.

To give the position to an APH staff member, I think, is possibly a better solution, but the problem of independence won't go away - everyone has a leaning towards one side of Parliament, even without a party membership.