Friday, 22 November 2013

Has Bronwyn Bishop the intellectual capacity and political balance to do justice to the office of Speaker in the Australian House of Representatives?

One of a growing number of instances where Bronwyn Bishop’s own behaviour raises doubts about her fitness for the role of Speaker.

The Question Without Notice on 19 November 2013:

Mr EWEN JONES (Herbert) (14:50): My question is to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.
Firstly, I would like to thank the minister for visiting an Afghan family in Townsville who had spent 24 years in refugee camps before coming to Australia as part of our humanitarian visa program. How are the government's border protection policies supporting the integrity of our humanitarian program?

How the Speaker chose to hear this this question:

The SPEAKER: I thank the Manager of Opposition Business for his nice reading. But I call the minister and I would point out that when he is asked about the position of people who are coming with permanent visas and the 20,000 versus the 13,750 he is entitled to say, as he has done, that the difference between 13,750 and 20,000 constitutes information that the House would find directly relevant to the question. I call the Leader of the House

The ensuing exchange between the Speaker and members of the Labor Opposition:

Mr Burke: Madam Speaker—
The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business on a matter that is not relevance.
Mr Burke: I am seeking to understand how a ruling can make relevant material that was irrelevant to the question.
The SPEAKER: You have just said that your point of order is relevance and we have already had one and you are only entitled to one.
Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, it is with respect to how your ruling is now enforced given that we are dealing with material that you have now said is part of the question which categorically was not.
Ms Plibersek: You have just rewritten the question.
The SPEAKER: The question was one that was pertaining to numbers, as clearly was indicated by the questioner. But I would ask the minister to be relevant to the question as asked.

Not only did Bronwyn Bishop as Speaker rewrite the question, from the Chair she entered into the Hansard record an unsolicited statement which supported the political position of the party in which she is a member.


John Fraser said...

While Anthony Albanese was seeking to Table some documents the incomparable Speaker (Bishop the elder) interrupted Albanese and asked the Leader of the House (rabid Pyne) if permission was granted, she then went on to call another M.P. to ask his question while Albanese was still standing at the Despatch box.

Speaker Bishop then had to call on the M.P. to take his seat and give Albanese the call .... at which he then asked if the rest of his documents could be tabled.

Bishop (the elder) much heralded by Abbott as the suppository of parliamentary procedure is a disgrace ..... and that is not a spelling mistake.

Jeni at Northern Rivers Dreaming said...

Scary. And getting scarier.

Mark Marriott said...

So the millions of Australians who voted for members of the opposition are apparently not entitled to impartial representation in Parliament. How is that a democracy?

Anonymous said...

She has to be replaced by a more intelligent and knowlegeable person on parlimentary procedure. Her obviously biased opinion is damaging our parliement and our democracy . She was the wrong choice for speaker of the house, I hope she embarasses the Abbott government to the point where she is asked to stNd down.

Anonymous said...

The Bronwyn Bishop approach is so bias, so blatantly arrogant it defies all reason. I feel ashamed of our current Liberal-run parliament!! How disgusting that our so-called well educated PM should think it appropriate to violate our democracy in such an extreme manner. I look forward to the demise of this selfish government!!