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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Speaker on the nose « Previous | |Next »
September 20, 2007

I've re-interpreted the Leak cartoon so make the figure on the throne the Speaker of the House of representatives demanding obedience from the ALP. The reference is to the Speakers biased rulings yesterday--a disgraceful performance. The Speaker ruled on Tuesday yesterday that it was acceptable for the Prime Minister to describe Kevin Rudd "lying through his teeth", but ruled on Wednesday that it was not acceptable for two Labor members to do so.


They were thrown out of Parliament for refusing to obey the instructions of the Speaker. The rulings appear inconsistent at least, do they not? The Speaker also keeps on throwing ALP members out, but rarely government members despite the constant barrage and noise coming from the Government ranks.

What we have s a majority Government able to orchestrate proceedings pretty much at will, with the Speaker seeming to back them on that? The low grade corruption saw Question Time turn into the ALP tightly making the Speaker the issue, and it then degenerated into a shambles . So much for parliament being the clearing house of ideas. Few ideas are being discussed.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:24 AM | | Comments (16)


Yesterday was a shambles altogether, for all concerned. Right up to Lateline when Downer read tax rates from notes in a pathetic effort to demonstrate Rudd's ignorance.

Apart from a no confidence motion in the speaker, what else can be done? The opposition has had the same problem with the speaker in Queensland.

Par for the course Howardist agit-prop. An election is round the corner so they ratchet up the emotions to deny reason oxygen. The passions take over and people make conservative even reactionist decisions out of fear that we face the "end of life as we know it".
Despicable, yes.
"American", Yes.
Who keeps falling for it?
The REAL wedge artillery is emerging also. Involves sexual politics, water policy and environment, race and "fairness". Nasty cocktail.
Even I find myself "playing it" .

reform Parliament. An Independent Speaker. Try and counter the power of the executive in Parlaiment which is one of dominance that is close to a dictatorship.

Todays Question Time--the last of this Parliament---very fiery as it has transformed into a contest of wills between Rudd backed by Gillard versus Costello, after Costello suspended Question Time to move a motion to roast Rudd over his assertions of a smear campaign by the Liberal Party.

This smear campaign, according to the Rudd and Gillard includes Nairn's chief-of-staff's remarks about the Labor Party's Eden Monaro candidate being equivalent to a Nazi guard at Belsen, Rudd's heart condition, and a dirt file on Gillard.

Interesting that the journo's avoid the Nazi guard Belsen event. It's never mentioned by them in discussion.

As I understand Gary Nairn, the Federal Special Minister of State's chief of staff, Peter Phelps, heckled the Labor candidate at a public meeting. Colonel Kelly is standing against Gary Nairn in Eden-Monaro.

Dr Phelps compared Colonel Mike Kelly, a former Australian soldier, with the guards at the Nazi Belsen death camp, over his service in Iraq.

Phelp's from all acounts is an internal Right Wing warrior of Sydney's religious right.

However, Phelps was required to write to Mr Kelly apologising for his language.


I wouldn't suggest anyone hold their breath waiting for reform of parliament. I was wondering what the available options are right now. What would happen if the opposition staged a walkout in protest?

When I wrote that last comment I was thinking of the Johnathan Thurston tribunal, how in most aspects of society we expect systems to ensure fairness and keep a check on the referee.

That expectation of fairness is the thing Labor are emphasising with their complaints about smear campaigns.

What more can we expect from this rabble.

I strongly recall the budget this year. The opposition respectfully allowed Costello to deliver his budget, with little or no fuss.

When Rudd replied, the Coalition member's went to town.

Disgraceful behaviour.

Will it change when the government changes? I don't know - but I doubt it can get much worse.

Nan, am still coming to terms with that.
The new nadir for parliamentary behaviour in this country and likely to remain a permanent one.
When I was younger I participated in Vietnam demos and not even there did I here people refer to armed services personnel in such a rancorous way.
Had a lefty dared smear an ex-digger in anything remotely like the terms "Dr" Phelps ( a doctorate? Gary, how do people like Phelps and Tobin get doctorates? ) employed smearing Col. Kelly, there would have been an immediate public lynching of the "Easy Rider/ Mississippi Burning" type.
And yes, not even a dicky bird from the tabloid media hypocrites; too busy persecuting Rudd for getting an answer right ( minor technical infringement on a minor technical detail ).
All reeks of orchestration.

Now lets have a look how Alexander Downer, so much having a go at Kevin Rudd about his error about taxation threshold, so much had to say, and considering he was once Leader of the Opposition and aiming to be a Prime Minister!
Government jittery ahead of latest Newspoll
ALEXANDER DOWNER: The time isn't up when some stuntman like Mr Rudd says time is up. The time is up when the Constitution says the time is up.

JOURNALIST: When do you think we'll get the election?

ALEXANDER DOWNER: Before the expiry of the life of the Parliament. And the life of the Parliament is three years and three months from the first day of sitting. That's what the Constitution says, and so we'll have the election in due course. Mr Rudd needn't worry. There'll be an election and when there's an election, it won't be about YouTube debates, it'll be about substance.
And the life of the Parliament is three years and three months from the first day of sitting. That's what the Constitution says, and so we'll have the election in due course.
Well the constitution states;
Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 (UK)
28 Duration of House of Representatives
Every House of Representatives shall continue for three years from
the first meeting of the House, and no longer, but may be sooner
dissolved by the Governor-General.
Therefore, the Parliament seizes to have any powers at the conclusion of the three year period from the first sitting of the Parliament.

Mr. G.H Schorel-Hlavka,
It would indeed be a great boon if General Jeffreys would rescind the particular commission you refer to. Because otherwise they will have to be levered out with a crowbar.
Remember, stuck at home permanently with Janet is a grim prospect. And probably as grim for Janet as John.

the House of Representatives is little more than the political theatre of the dirty stoush in the bear pit. Since the real legislative work is done in the Senate, so Parliamentary reform should minimally involve making dam sure that Ministers answer questions properly not engaging in personal abuse.

It should also restore to the Senate its substantive House of Review functions. As Jill Sutton says in the Canberra Times:

Harry Evans's papers go on to demonstrate the way the potency of the Senate has been diminished with its reduced power to order the production of documents, to appoint committees that have the time to examine Bills and to invite public and private comment.

To be effective, the Senate needs its estimates committee function to be encouraged rather than quashed as it was in the case of the Australian Wheat Board scandal. Such committees can effectively call into scrutiny the performance of all levels of the public service.

Sutton ends by saying that With big changes afoot, Australian citizens could ensure that our Parliament, and particularly our Senate, becomes a model of the open and civilised debate we aspire to at all levels of our public life.

Imagine what Chaos the country would be in if it was run by you's lot.
Who would you's blame for everything then? Microsoft? Aliens? God?

Australia really is a lovely place do ya know?


It's been interesting to follow what Andrew Bartlett has had to say about this as well. 30 pieces of legislation went through this week and only one got the weeniest bit of media coverage. that's just scary.

Meanwhile the public gets endless re-runs of our so called dignitaries screaming abuse at each other.

In Recollections of a Bleeding Heart, Don Watson described Keating taking Hewson aside after he'd given him a blast during to question time. Hewson was genuinely upset and Keating tried to explain it was nothing personal. You have to figure they do it to impress. Maybe they're vying for the footy vote.

Or the pub brawler vote?

its political theatre. It has its own dynamic and style---eg., the great performance.

Agreed its theatre. Costello is fearfully overrated now he has deteriorated from what he was haf a dozen years ago.
Like Keating's last period, the noise has become mundane, meaningless- just part of the work-a-day .

Like a tired old actor doing one more performance.It still impressed the Canberra Press Gallery though. Guess they are not very discerning. They've seen too many bad performances from others. Big Kim Beazley sounded like a wind-up clock of confected rage.