And so it reached 3:15pm. There was a sense of nervousness in the air. The House was restless; the gallery confused; the people on Twitter techy dishevelled and at a loss.
Surely on this the anniversary of the rolling of Rudd there would be a censure motion? Usually Abbott needs a pretty good reason to launch a censure motion – you know, like the day ending in a Y – so it was pretty clear there would be a censure motion today. But time was slipping by. It was now 3:20 and Jenny Macklin was responding to a question. Would Tony rise to his feet and move the motion? Everyone in the censure motion sweep sat on the edge of their chairs waiting, wondering. Could this be a fantastic day that would see a Thursday Question Time go all the way through uninterrupted.
Such a thing is so rare, so beyond the ken of the current political system, that one only hoped the galleries were full of young children. Of whom one could say – “Go find the youngest child in the gallery, because that's the only person here who will have a chance of seeing this happen again in their lifetime."
But alas. At 3:21 Tony did stand and sought leave to move a motion of censure against the PM. Why? Did this follow repeated questions that had Julia Gillard cowering and lost? Well no. Given all the questions from the Liberal Party were variants of the theme of what have you done in the last 12 months, she was able to talk about anything she wanted. And so Abbott moved this:
That this House censures the Prime Minister for her failure to achieve anything of substance in 12 months of government after supplanting her predecessor on the basis that the government had lost its way when it is clear on any assessment that things have just gone from bad to worse.
Used to be a time you censored PM’s because of serious things – you know misleading the house or allegations of corruption. Now it’s just “things have gone from bad to worse” (you know if you ignore the economic data which shows that things actually haven’t).
Censure motions used to be something to get the journos rushing back into the gallery. A hold the presses type moment. Now, under Abbott, they are jokes. The ALP MPs call out “I move! I move” When Abbott stands up. They know it’s coming. They don’t care. Gillard leaves, and Abbott makes a big deal about how John Howard would never have left during a censure motion, ignoring of course that under the ALP the censure motion was not reduced to the absurdity it has become under Abbott.
No one cares. The TV doesn’t even bother reporting it anymore.
The rest of QT? It too was hardly worth the bother. Oh yeah I guess you could say Gillard was “attacked”, if the Libs asking the same type of questions is an “attack”. The ALP had two main thrusts – the NBN deal announced today by the PM and Stephen Conroy with Telstra and Optus – a pretty key moment that will basically mean the NBN is going to be here regardless of who wins the next election – and Tony Abbott attending a conference at which climate denier fruit-loop Christopher Monckton will be speaking.
The issue with Monckton (aside from the obvious thing that everyone already knew) is that he recently compared Ross Garnaut to Hitler. And not in a subtle nudge nudge way, But with a bloody Swastika! Abbott still intends to speak – though he did condemn Monckton for his statements.
But in the end it was all a bit sideshowy.
In other real news the House and Senate sat later than expected because of this:
28. MESSAGES FROM THE SENATE
Messages from the Senate, 23 June 2011, were reported returning the following bills without amendments or requests:
No. 151—Family Assistance and Other Legislation Amendment 2011.
No. 152—Tax Laws Amendment (2011 Measures No. 5) 2011.
No. 154—Appropriation (No. 1) 2011-2012 (without requests).
No. 155—Appropriation (No. 2) 2011-2012.
No. 153—Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) (No. 1) 2011-2012, 9:41:34 PM.
29 MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE—Remuneration and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2011
Message No. 156, 23 June 2011, from the Senate was reported returning the Remuneration and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 with amendments, 9:41:46 PM.
Mr Albanese, 9:42:13 PM, moved—That the amendments be considered immediately.
Question—put and passed, 9:42:22 PM.
Mr Albanese, 9:42:33 PM, moved—That the amendments be agreed to.
Question—put and passed, 9:42:46 PM.
That there was the Budget being passed. So much for the House being unworkable. So much for the Govt losing control of the house. So much for Abbott and Hockey amending and improving the Budget.
What was Joe Hockey doing today? Well he didn’t ask a question during QT – probably because he had been too busy this morning carrying on like a primary school kid getting his advisors to take a cardboard cut out of Kevin Rudd around to various embassies and places in Canberra. He then proceeded to tweet them :
It was utterly juvenile, and only funny on a pull my finger kind of humour level. But what made Joe’s efforts so lacking in comedic timing and class was that he decided to string out the tweets over the whole day and ended by tweeting a few of them at the same time that most political watchers on Twitter were absorbed in the SBS documentary series Go Back Where You Came From. Having Hockey tweet his “jokes” while the rest of the Twit stream was filled with people expressing horror at women in such appalling conditions that they would sing a joyful song about no longer being raped, showed a decided lack of political nous.
Though he was only slightly less foolish than Scott Morrison who also tweeted during a program that forced people to confront the hell that asylum seekers have to endure each day:
What a champ.
And that my friends ends my regular blog posts on Question Time for a while. In fact it also ends my regular blog posts during the week on any topic.
I have recently moved to part-time (Thursday and Fridays off) and am writing a book for the good folk at Scribe Publications on (rather coincidentally given the last parts of this post) on Social Media: Politics, Policy and Journalism.
As it usually takes about 3 hours each night to write these posts I have decided I will for the next 6 months need to use that time to research and write the book instead.
I will try to write a couple posts a week – but they will more likely be on a Thursday or Friday night and the weekends, and be more weekly summations than a review of the day’s proceedings.
This is all a bit of an ‘I plan not to write so much”, but given this has been my addiction for the last 3 years (3rd anniversary 15th of next month) I probably will make a liar out of myself and bang out some words more regularly than once or twice a week – though the On the QT posts will probably take a back seat as they can be buggers to write – especially if I want to quote things said.
So I will still be here (and as ever on Twitter), but I hope you will excuse my drop in regularity.
I’ll keep you posted on the book progress. I have already lined up some very interesting people to interview, and hope to talk to many more as well.
This blog and more importantly your readership and support has opened this door for me, so I thank you for that.
Oh and by the way, by reading this post, you have just agreed to buy the damn book when it comes out!