Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The price we pay for Tony Abbott's never-ending censure motions and other nonsense

After the general election ballot box, Question Time in both houses of Australia’s federal parliament is perhaps the principle way that the government of the day is held accountable - now that much of the national mainstream media spends most of its time uncritically regurgitating political media releases as a substitute for investigative journalism.

According to the Australian Parliament website statistics link, in 1963 (an election year) the House of Representatives sat for 53 days and the Government was asked 968 Questions Without Notice during Question Time.
In the following year 1964, the House sat for 65 days and there were 1,557 Questions Without Notice recorded.

In 2010 (an election year) and 2011 the House sat for 55 and 64 days respectively, taking  948 Questions Without Notice in the first instance and 882 Questions Without Notice in the second instance.

Now I may be wrong, but I think that the period 2010 to 2011 was only the second time that House of Representatives’ Questions Without Notice have fallen in number (when an ordinary year followed an election year) in the last forty-eight years.

It seems that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s grandstanding is actually ensuring that other Members of Parliament are being given fewer opportunities to apply that very Australian maxim - keep the b@stards honest.

If it’s Thursday it must be censure time is not quite so funny a phrase when one remembers that, every time he rose to his feet and uttered the words I move that so much of the standing and sessional orders be suspended as would prevent the Leader of the Opposition from moving forthwith the following motion, voters were denied an opportunity to hear their own elected representatives raise important national and local issues.

Drawing of Coat of Arms from Google Images

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