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

"the will of the parliament" « Previous | |Next »
June 17, 2011

I watched a live feed of Question Time in the House of Representatives yesterday. What an inverted world. The Liberals were defending their new kinder, gentler, good Nauru solution to the refugee boat problem in contrast to the ALP's evil, nasty, inhumane Malaysian solution. This is Tony Abbott talking about Nauru:

I have seen where boat people will be accommodated—and well accommodated. I have seen where boat people's children will be educated—and well educated. I have seen the police headquarters which will deal with security issues involving boat people in Nauru. And I can tell you this, Mr Speaker: there are no rattans in Nauru and there are no whipping posts in Nauru.

The traditional Liberal message of sending real tough messages to stop the boats was shelved. Abbott was positively welcoming the boats to sail to Nauru. We love you he cooed. It was an upside down moment.

MoirA, Abbott, boats.jpg

Of course, none of this was genuine or honest. The hypocrisy on display was the result of the usual tactic to use Question Time to put pressure on the Gillard Government. This time the Coalition utilized both houses of Parliament supporting The Greens motion moved by Green’s MP Adam Bandt:

That this House:

(1) condemns the Gillard Government’s deal with Malaysia that would see 800 asylum seekers intercepted in Australian waters and sent to Malaysia; and

(2) calls on the Government to immediately abandon this proposal,

The motion passed 72-70 with the Libs voting with the Greens and of the independents MPs, Katter and Wilkie voted for and Oakeshott and Windsor voted against. It was reported thus.

This then became the tactical Liberal weapon to lay into the Gillard Government and keep them on the ropes. Question Time consisted of a mere five questions. Then we had the usual attempt to suspend standing orders, only this time, it was to move a motion to censure the Gillard Government for defying the will of Parliament, and defying the will of the people of Australia. So much for representative democracy!

It got worse. Julie Bishop contribution to the suspension motion consisted of calling Julia Gillard “this arrogant Prime Minister” again and again for defying the will of Parliament, and then this gem:

This is the type of behaviour we see in Third World dictatorships. This is the kind of behaviour, overriding the majority of both houses of parliament, overriding the will of the parliament, overriding the views of the majority of the elected members to this place.

So we now have a dictatorship--not a dictatorship of the executive when the Coalition had control of both houses of Parliament--- but a real dinky die third world dictatorship. Poor Australia. It has finally come to this under Gillard. Australia is like Burma. Or North Korea? Or Syria.

I guess the irony was lost on Julie Bishop---that Abbott and her were standing up in the House of Representatives with live internet and broadcast feeds full of mock outrage calling the Prime Minister arrogant and trying to censure the PM for her arrogance. That is a strange Third World dictatorship.

I appreciate that Question Time in the House of Representatives is merely political theatre, but we do judge the theatre in terms of the quality of the play and whether it says any meaningful within the traditions of the theater. On that criteria what were offered yesterday was political junk that trashed the liberal democratic conventions of Parliament. Not many watch the political theatre that is Question Time live, so what happened yesterday in Question Time doesn't actually matter in the electorate.

The Liberals don't care about trashing the liberal democratic conventions of Parliament. All that matters to them is getting Gillard on the ropes and punching her incessantly until she sinks to her knees in exhaustion and the Independents dump her. They reckon Gillard is staring into the political abyss and they will do and say anything to nudge her into that abyss. Power, not principle, is all that matters.

For the record, the Coalition's attempt to suspend standing orders to censure the PM was lost. They didn't have the numbers. The whole exercise was for the cameras. I couldn't be bothered watching the 7pm news headlines on TV.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:01 PM | | Comments (5)


The fact that he thinks its just a game just confirms me in my acceptance of Bob Hawke's judgement of him as a nutter.

it is hard to understand Julie Bishop's thinking forms. It certainly has nothing to do with traditional logic or dialectics.

Sadly Walter, I believe this is a classic case of ...cometh the hour, cometh the man.

Young Tony is the perfect fit for today's self-absorbed, dumbed-down, paranoid, aggressive Australia. Julia, unfortunately, can't quite make the grade.

As usual, we get the leaders we deserve.

Abbott and the Coalition reckon that Gillard is politically finished. It is only a matter of delivering the coup de grace. And that is only a question of timing.

Many in the Canberra media gallery agree. They are starting to write the obituaries two years before the next election.

Abbott's Nauru visit was a stunt designed to keep the pressure on the Gillard Govt as part of a never ending election campaign.

So is his floated proposal for a referendum on the carbon tax within 90 days to give voters a say on the carbon tax.

The stunts work. They get people talking about them and keep the focus on the costs of Labor's plan.