I missed today’s Question Time and forgot to tape it on APAC, but nonetheless through the use of the Hansard Live Minutes, a few twitter comments and my ability to make stuff up, here is the recap of the day’s proceedings.
The day was framed by the latest Newspoll which showed both the ALP and LNP had gone back 2% and that the Greens had picked up all 4% to get to a whopping (and rather unrealistic 16%). If only there were a topical, visual image to sum up the way the public at the moment thinks about both Abbott and Rudd… hmmm how about:
Ah yes. Nothing like a three story deep sink hole to help capture the essence of a poll.
Prior to Question Time, Kevin Rudd gave a press conference where he announced nothing new, but essentially was there to be asked a heap of questions by the press gallery. This of course annoyed the hell out of the press gallery, who consider it the height of rudeness to be made to stand in the Parliament House courtyard on a cold June day and forced to ask questions to the Prime Minister of Australia.
Rudd used the press conference to delve deep into his Strine bag of expressions and came out such terms as “bunkum” and “balderdash” to describe the mining industries’ claims about the RSPT. He also found room to use his old favourite of “rolled gold” to describe the mining companies' campaign – in this case a “rolled gold bucket of fear”. And given the Treasury estimates we’ve only got about 30 years worth of gold left in the ground here in the great brown land of Oz, that’s going to be one mighty valuable bucket.
Rudd then had to stop answering questions because he had to go off to Question Time (yeah that sounded as weird as when he said it).
Once inside the warm surrounds of the House of Representatives, we had Tony Abbott run in and decide immediately to move a suspension motion to force the PM to explain why he had “mislead the House” over the impact of the RSPT on share prices. To everyone's great relief Albo stood up and did the Parliamentary equivalent of saying STFU and moved that he no longer be heard. Not only had this suspension motion essentially been done yesterday, the suggestion of Rudd misleading the House on this issue is so monumentally stupid as to really have you wondering if Abbott actually believes that in the heat of the moment you can also exaggerate what you hear.
This all required a vote that took five minutes.
Then Joe Hockey stood up and tried to second the motion and before he could even get a six seconds into his speech Albo moved the motion of STFU to him as well. This required a vote that took another six minutes, by which time it was 16 minutes past the hour, and anyone still watching was seriously wishing he or she was within jumping distance of a big sinkhole...
Abbott then asked his first question to Rudd on the predictable and Rudd took all of two minutes to answer it.
The first Dixer was to Stephen Smith on the Israeli army intercepting a flotilla of boats in international waters and killing 10 people. He was his usual calm, reserved and damn glad he’s our Foreign Minister self. Julie Bishop afterwards on indulgence stood up and said it would be naive to think that Israel is the only country that boards vessels in international waters and kills people doing so, and that in fact Australia was doing so right now. In secret.
Hockey then asked Wayne Swan about something to do with mining, the economy and everything. The Libs didn’t like his response as we can see by:
Mr Hockey, 2:26:30 PM, to Mr Swan (Treasurer), Point of order, Mr Hockey, 2:29:47 PM, Mr Swan, 2:30:06 PM, Point of order, Mr Pyne, 2:30:59 PM, Mr Swan, 2:31:32 PM
Swan then took a Dixer on the economy, which also allowed him to talk about the decision by the RBA to keep interest rates on hold. In the statement by the RBA there was this bit:
Inflation appears likely to be in the upper half of the target zone over the next year.
This line will be interpreted by the cool, measured and logical media as RUN FOR THE HILLS, YOUR MORTGAGE REPAYMENTS ARE ABOUT TO SKYROCKET!
There were more answers to questions by Rudd that the opposition didn’t like – especially one from Sussan Ley which resulted in:
Ms Ley, 2:45:26 PM, to Mr Rudd (Prime Minister), Point of order, Mr Pyne, 2:47:07 PM, Mr Rudd, 2:47:23 PM, Point of order, Mr Pyne, 2:47:52 PM, Mr Rudd, 2:48:54 PM
I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and assume it was about Government advertising and Rudd was bringing up the huge amounts spent by the Howard Government.
A wild stab in the dark is probably what viewers of the proceedings were wishing for by this stage, especially as both Chainsaw Macfarlane and Warren Truss did their usual dodge of reading out some letter/article/statement by somebody as part of their question and then after the answer attempting unsuccessfully to table the document.
In between Tanner was asked a Dixer on why it was important to counter misleading information. I’ll just assume his answer was excellent, though attentive observers would have noticed behind his brow a suggestion in his body language that implied if the bloody Greens take his seat at the election he’ll come back to Canberra and kneecap Rudd.
By this point everyone was hoping for a bit of Julia, and she didn't disappoint as she brought out he Work Choices mouse pads. These are truly one of the most sought after objects by all ALP friendlies – especially if signed by the great woman herself – and you would think they’d be easier to get your hands on them than they are given there’s 34,000 of the damn things. She however took the levity a bit too far when she started pondering if there were some WorkChoices budgie smugglers out there. The three people still watching were thus forced to get out a mental wire brush to scrub that image from their brains….
Kate Ellis was asked a question as well today. I’ll assume as with most answers by her or Tanya Plibersek that because they are about “women’s stuff” the general hubbub in the House increased and pretty much everyone ignored her.
By this stage we needed something to liven things up. Abbott decided he had the answer, and decided to move yet another censure motion on exactly the same issue that was moved yesterday and and hour and a half earlier. Thankfully Albo sensed that no one on God’s green earth wanted to hear Shouty Tony again and so he once again moved a motion of STFU. This took 5 minutes to resolve (guess what, the Government won).
Joe then stood up to second the censure motion, and was this time given an entire nine seconds, before Albo moved another motion to STFU (no one wanted to witness Angry Joe either). This one and the motion to have the censure motion denied took up another six minutes after which Rudd put the entire session out of its misery.
And the big winner of the day? Easy - the Greens who by having absolutely nothing to do with the whole damn thing took the contest by virtue of a default.