Labor hard-man Anthony Albanese looked across a seething House of Representatives at Scott Buchholz, a big lump of a Queensland National.

The big man, Scott Buccholz. Picture: Kym Smith

In the middle of a tense period with reputations and manners being shredded by the hour, Mr Albanese paused and made the unlikely pronouncement, “He’s a good bloke.”

It can now be revealed why, and it’s a story which demonstrates that not all MPs on either side of the Chamber are determined to be bitter all the time.

On Tuesday night Peter Slipper resigned in disgrace as Speaker, and after his announcement returned to his office.

About half an hour later Mr Buchholz knocked on his door and asked if he was OK, knowing of course he wasn’t.

He stayed with him as other Coalition and Labor MPs—including Treasurer Wayne Swan—arrived to give some comfort to the distraught former Speaker.

Mr Buchholz told The Punch he entered Parliament about the time of the Queensland floods swept through his seat of Wright and he knew how deep the pain of loss could be.

“I’m just aware of the problems people have when they are under a lot of pressure,” he said.

He said Mr Slipper was going through a tough time “and I don’t think that journey has finished for Pete yet”.

“I don’t accept what he’s done but he’s a Queenslander and he’s a member of this House.”

The next day Mr Buchholz had to get the approval of the Government to table a document during Question Time, something which Mr Albanese, as Government Leader in the House, has often refused to Opposition MPs.

But on this occasion he looked at the person making the request and said, “He’s a good bloke; yes.”

He later met Mr Albanese on another matter and asked why the praise? The minister told him it was because he had gone out of his way to look after Mr Slipper.

There is concern among MPs on both sides that Peter Slipper should be looked after, whatever the politics of his demise. It’s something which might not become public knowledge were it not for a minister calling an opponent a good bloke.

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35 comments

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    • TChong says:

      05:28am | 12/10/12

      Maybe , despite the casualties ( self promoted, or otherwise) the verbal slanging matches and fisticuffs are indications of what makes OZ politics strong.-  our parties Reps and Senators go ferociosly at each other inside the house, and in OZ, that is usually the end of the matter.
      Fortunately, very, very rarely do the punters ( for either side ) take up cudgels.
      Maybe parliament is like a colleseum, and we the people satisfy our political bloodlust by our elected proxies.
      Beats political violence on the streets, despite the politician casualties (who choose to play)

    • dovif says:

      07:14am | 12/10/12

      Of course Albanese also market tested Julia’s “impromptu” speech the day prior to Julia making the speech.

      So Albanese at least was partly involved in bring Parliament down to its current level

    • DJ says:

      07:43am | 12/10/12

      dovif - you are on blogs across a number of publications with scripted and researched answers almost every day - just curious, where do you find the time?

    • Jones says:

      07:48am | 12/10/12

      Too little too late, I suspect. The Coalition and their supporters have ensured that they have as much chance of securing Slipper’s vote as that of the other Independents.

    • Franky says:

      08:18am | 12/10/12

      Why then do we have idiots like Abbott and Pyne in office. In opposition they are only after 1 thing and that is to not be in opposition. That is the same of the Labor party. They are currently not looking after the future or present of our country they are only after staying in power.
      Where is the foresight the leadership?

    • Herman says:

      05:29am | 12/10/12

      In the speakers chair Slipper sought redemption. He saw a chance to return to the ideals that compelled him to enter politics before pragmatism and compromise. Cast out of the speakers chair he feels utterly condemned.

    • Emmy says:

      05:29am | 12/10/12

      Yes he is a good “bloke” and deserves praise for his actions. Perhaps though, with all the accusations of sexism flying around in parliament it may have been wiser for Albanese to remember his PM’s disgust of sexist language. ‘Bloke’ is for a male as sheila is for a ‘female’ Under the rules of the PM ‘sheila’ is unacceptable so Scott Buchholz should have been called a good ‘person’

    • Achmed says:

      06:44am | 12/10/12

      You shouldn’t listen to Pyne.  Its the definition he put on the sheila in a very immature school yard comment. Pyne by name whine by nature.

      The definitions of the word sheila are nothing but compementary. As is the term ‘bloke’.

      You should more than just the Liberal newsheet

    • PW says:

      06:46am | 12/10/12

      I would beg to disagree that shiela is the exact female equivalent of bloke. The term was never used in the same way and these days the slightly derogatory “sheila” is very rarely used at all, except in jokes or retro-ocker movies.

    • dovif says:

      07:03am | 12/10/12

      Emmy

      I completely disagree, calling someone a bloke and a shiela does not make the term sexist, saying she is a bad PM does not make that statement sexist.

      Once the fakeness leaves parliament, and real debate on legislation and the sexist card is no longer raised,Parliament will be a more civilised place with blokes and shielas working together without fear and loathing

    • sunny says:

      08:47am | 12/10/12

      and when Christopher Pyne objected to the work ‘bloke’, Labor MP Darryl Melham yelled ‘‘Sit down ya sheila!’‘. I thought that was bloody hilarious.

    • Mouse says:

      09:58am | 12/10/12

      I thought “bloke” was just an Australianism for a man, as opposed to “guy” used by the Americans. 
      I just wish they would all sit down and shuddup with this stupid gutter sniping, on both sides Haven’t they got more important things to do?  :o(

    • JoniM says:

      10:13am | 12/10/12

      It all goes to show just how farcical the joint has become.
      Playing the gender card for political benefit is the lowest of gutter politics and is where the ALP has yet again descended !
      We all now need to check our new ALP lexicons before we speak in case we might be offending someone or left open to be deliberately confected for use against us !
      No longer can we say ” a nasty piece of work” because that is now gender specific and attacks females !
      No longer can we say ” dying of shame” because that now means you are attacking the PM;s dead father !
      No longer can you say “She” or ‘Her”  because that just shows total disrespect of women !

      Of course, all this outrage can be put on hold if you need an extra vote from a proven misogynist in the House, or if it occurs in a really funny joke at a CFMEU function. !

    • Paul McGarry says:

      10:37am | 12/10/12

      “‘Bloke’ is for a male as sheila is for a ‘female’”

      This seems like a false equivalence.
      Blokes call blokes blokes all the time. I don’t think sheilas refer to sheilas as sheilas (unless they actually are a Sheila).

      Indeed one only has to consider the word. “Sheila” is a female name and it’s use essentially suggests that women are the same and it’s not worth the effort to consider their individual identity or attributes.

      Conversely “bloke” is almost always used to refer to a man in a way the confers additional positive attributes. A “stand up guy” sort of thing.

    • bigmuzz says:

      10:54am | 12/10/12

      this whole argument seems ridiculous to me. bloke is a term that guys use to let other guys know that someone is, well, a good bloke! nothing at all to do with sexism…. all these politicians really need to get out more if they are worrying over some bloke calling another bloke a bloke… raspberry

    • Mahhrat says:

      05:30am | 12/10/12

      If only this behaviour became the norm rather than the pleasant exception.

    • Noely says:

      05:55am | 12/10/12

      Nice work Mr Farr in not only bringing this instance to light, but is nice to see an article about our Govt that is not totally bias one way or the other, just nicely reporting a piece of common decency.  Maybe there is a faint glimmer of hope for some cooperation and decorum in our Parliament smile

    • Hank says:

      06:38am | 12/10/12

      Really?  Mr.Farr waffles on again and now in his opinion it comes down to Albanese (the king of dirt flinging sleaze) on who is or is’nt a good bloke?  I find it disturbing that a man like Slipper can be tossed around like a political football, used and abused by both sides of the house then chewed up and spat out then all of the sudden they rush to his side to render their support?  It stinks of a conceited political save face exercise and is about as genuine as Allan Jones’ apology.  It almost reminds me of that scene in that Chopper Reid movie where he stabs the guy in gaol and then looks to be concerned and is apologetic as he bleeds out. 
      You would think most people are sick to death of this sort of rubbish interfering with political process over and over again.  Just get on with the job of governing or call an election.

    • Nafe says:

      10:23am | 12/10/12

      Disagree Hank

      We all know Mal Farr is a rusted on Labor writer but I think people could use this article as an olive branch to settle the F#%@ down and get back to business.

      Even with all the robustness in parliament, I know there are people who are friends on the opposite benches, and why not?

      We are all people, we all need to just settle down, look to the future rather than the past and move on. Call out bad policy where it is, praise good policy where is exists and start the campaigning so we can see what type of government the Coalition will be.

      I have high hopes for the next government, naturaly hoping its a Liberal Coalition government but either way, lets leave the mud slinging, the personal attacks and the like to the pages of this week and Start Fresh on Monday back to a mutual respect position.

    • iansand says:

      06:57am | 12/10/12

      If only the out of chamber decency could infiltrate the chamber.

    • Andore Jr says:

      07:13am | 12/10/12

      I get all my moral cues from Albanese!

    • JoniM says:

      10:26am | 12/10/12

      I get mine from Plibersek !
      No matter how nasty you play, just keep smiling !
      And the (ALP) world smiles with you !

    • Seamus says:

      07:16am | 12/10/12

      Big waffle about absolutely nothing of substance Malcolm.  What a nonsense article.  Slipper made his bed, let him lie in it.

    • A true feminist says:

      11:45am | 12/10/12

      What exactly has Slipper done that’s so bad? Said the c word? Dislikes a vagina?
      Is gay?
      I’m just confused about what all the hype is.

    • interesting economies need small business says:

      01:18pm | 12/10/12

      I would be counted as a femo, and I don’t find his ‘mussel’ comments outrageously sexist…just peurile, schoolboy humour.

      If anything, i’m offended by his lack of intellectualism…the mussel observation is such a STUPID and unoriginal joke!

      How on earth can we be paying these drongos so much? why is our government so incredibly expensive? Our taxes are so high, to the point where retail diversity is suppressed, productivity is low by international standards and our future is a little uncertain.

      According to a Price Coopers Waterhouse study done several years ago, Australia came near to the very bottom, at 127th place, of an international comparison of countries for the total amount of tax taken from businesses.

      Yet this is not a cause for concern for our media. This incredible fact - that Australia is an incredibly high-taxing country in comparison with hundreds of other countries - did not even make a lead story at the time.  Why?

      Thingshave undoubtedly gotten much worse since, with the introduction of the carbon tax among other taxes.

      http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/corporate-tax-burden-spurs-call-for-action/story-e6frg6nf-1225800970317

    • Andrew Scott says:

      07:53am | 12/10/12

      I do speculate sometimes as to how much of what goes on in Parliament is performance for the sake of us, the public. That is, if they are at each others’ throats metaphorically, then we feel that our grievances and issues are being dealt with and so are less likely to be at each others’ throats literally, in the street.

    • Joe Blow says:

      08:06am | 12/10/12

      Only Malcolm Farr could have seen in this week’s Parliament, the opportunity to paint Anthony Albanese as a caring person. 

      Hey Malcolm,  do you reckon spending your spare time protecting others’ homes from fire, or saving people from drowning, or running/riding for charity would constitute being ‘a good bloke’?  But this type of behaviour from Tony Abbott seems to go unnoticed by you and your media pals, eh? 
      Tony Abbott’s actions indicate he is probably a better ‘bloke’ than any other politician going around - imagine the media frenzy of accolades if ever Gillard or Swan did something for the community that wasn’t for votes alone!

    • Flutz says:

      04:49pm | 12/10/12

      The article I read above is Malcolm Farr painting Scott Buchholz as a caring person and Albo acknowledging that.

      Also the good bloke behaviour from Tony Abbott has often been noticed and reported on by the media - afterall we all know about it, most of us wouldn’t know about Tony doing these things if they were left “unnoticed” by the media.

    • Di Pearton says:

      08:30am | 12/10/12

      Thank you Mr Farr! We should be hearing more of this kind of story. Maybe then the Australian voters would not be in such despair. I am sad for those young people voting for the first time, in this political climate. My first vote was for Gough Whitlam. Progress? Don’t talk to me about progress :(
      We owe our young people more than house prices they’ll never be able to afford, a planet that is in environmental deficit, a political climate that is toxic and morally bankrupt, and, in 2012 the same debate about sexism that we were having in the 70s.
      To quote HG, we really need to take a good hard look at ourselves!

    • Dan says:

      10:01am | 12/10/12

      Wow, just wow.

      A nice story about a rare moment of compassion in Parliament and out jump all the hack trolls to drag it down.

      Our problems are not restricted to parliament, the standard of debate in these pages is much, much worse.

    • marley says:

      11:00am | 12/10/12

      Well, which came first, the chicken or the egg, the bad behaviour of Parliamentarians or the general public?  I suspect the one is a reflection of the latter, but I’m not sure who’s aping whom.

    • Paul McGarry says:

      11:02am | 12/10/12

      Here here.

      The story highlighted some decent behaviour from people on both sides of the house and 90% of the comments take it as an opportunity to have a one sided snipe.

      Perhaps a large swathe of the ‘politically interested’ enjoy such games and perhaps part of the problem with pollies is that they operate in this echo chamber.

      But everyone in this country votes and while the sniping and agro may play well to the parties respective “bases” they will lose the rest of us making independent and alternative party votes more likely.

    • Ted says:

      10:47am | 12/10/12

      Julia Gillard knows she’s no longer Tony’s feisty girl.
      In the end she is a rat among the rats.

      They are rumours that the government is debating that selling products using a baiting strategy to take control over the rats “ratsack” will be prohibited.

    • Jeremiah says:

      04:37pm | 12/10/12

      must be an inside joke.

 

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