Thursday, 21 November 2013

Is this the royal 'we', Madam Speaker, or are you inviting the Abbott Government to consent to your ruling?

The Australian House of Representatives Hansard of 13 November 2013 highlights the ambiguity in language used by The Speaker, the still active member of the parliamentary wing of the Liberal Party Bronwyn Bishop:

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Standing order 100(d)(ii) indicates that 'argument' should not be included in questions. I know that a wide definition has been permitted for questions, particularly from oppositions, over the years, but the phrase 'betray the Australian people' is clearly an argument and I put it to you that that part of the question should be ruled out of order.
The SPEAKER: I think on this occasion we might give a little leniency to the Leader of the Opposition and let his question stand. [my red bolding]


The problem concerning language used by the Speaker is now on the Hansard record.

Hansard 21 November 2013:

Mr BURKE (Watson—Manager of Opposition Business) (12:46): I move:
That the Speaker's ruling be dissented from......
I must say it is the first time I can recall that I have had a Speaker refer to the government's position using the pronoun 'we'. That was an extraordinary part of the way you sought to explain yourself to the chamber. If it was not enough for us to have a Speaker physically brought to the chair by a Prime Minister and a Leader of the House, to then have rulings that are governed by the term 'we' referring to yourself and the government as one, changes the role of your chair entirely and changes the role of the high office you occupy entirely.....
The SPEAKER: I ask you to withdraw the reflection on the chair that was made.
Mr BURKE: I withdraw.... 

However, Ms. Bishop took exception insisted Mr.Burke withdraw that part of his dissent motion.

 Ms.Bishop apparently also took exception to this tweet on the subject by an Opposition MP:

Speaker makes ruling citing WE as in Govt Independence of chair gone
6:10 PM - 20 Nov 13 


John Fraser said...

Bishop (the elder) is the worst Speaker in the history of the Australian parliament.

And it should also be noted that Abbott's gang praised her as the font of all knowledge in relation to parliamentary procedure.

Perhaps Abbott meant that Bishop (the elder) was the suppository of all parliament knowledge.

"Murdoch and Abbott lied to Australians".

John Fraser said...

Congratulations to North Coast Voices for scooping Fairfax Media with this article.

"We" are mightily impressed.