The Punch answers the questions of confused MPs
The new paradigm has begun to play mind games with our federal MPs. Yesterday nobody was quite sure what was expected of them. At times it was a little embarrassing to watch, like some awkward kid consistently dancing out of time at the Rock Eisteddfod
Manager of Opposition Business and chief prosecutor in the case of Gillard v the BER Christopher Pyne copped the worst of it. Pyne didn’t ask for a division on a vote that would have forced a judicial inquiry into the Government’s BER spending. A vote the Coalition lost. Awkward.
No matter, Pyne plans to introduce his bill into the Senate after a session with the choreographer on Thursday afternoon.
Politicians shouldn’t feel bad though. Journalists have also been finding this all very confusing. See if you can read this news story and decipher what the hell happened yesterday. This is not indictment upon its authors; it’s just an indication of the bizarre barn dance that voting in the House of Reps has become.
In an effort to ease the strain on our politicians The Punch presents some answers to commonly asked questions about procedure and voting in the new parliament.
Hi Punch, I’m confused, what party do I belong to?
This is an important question when considering how to vote. You could be a member of the ALP, the Liberals, the Nationals or the Greens. Unless of course you’re Andrew Wilkie and have been a member of almost all of them.
But I don’t belong to any of these parties anymore, what am I now?
Hi Andrew, you’re called an independent now. You will join Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor and Bob Katter on what’s called the “cross bench” in political parlance. They, like you, used to belong to a party. It was called the Nationals and is currently on display at the National Museum.
Hold on, if I’m an independent who do I vote for?
This is really tricky and a personal decision. Mostly it depends on how much money Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott offered to pump into the multi-billion dollar Death Star currently being built in your electorate. But we suggest you mix it up, bring in ‘wildcards’ to dictate your decision, like tariffs on bananas and personal vendettas dating back to the days when your band toured with MotorHead, only to have the t-shirt money lost by Warren Truss after one of his wild wagers* on how much Jim Bean he could skull.
Hi I’m Adam Bandt, I’m an MP with the Greens. I’m in a party but I’m all alone, should I hang out with the other parties, or will they try and get me to vote for them?
Nice suit Adam.
Actually nice glasses too.
What are you earning as a Green MP to put together a hip outfit like that?
We at the Greens believe that the price of a hip suit and thick rimmed glasses is between the individual and the state which pays him to wear it. Although I refuse to wear anything made in Singapore because of the brutal use of the death penalty in that country.
What about China?
The quality and competitive prices of Chinese tailors outweighs their brutal use of the death penalty.
Makes sense. Look Adam you can hang out with the major parties all you want, just don’t expect the Liberals to take anything you say seriously because they know deep down you’d like to have them all shipped off to Singapore. Don’t worry the feeling is mutual. And if Cheryl Kernot has taught us anything, it’s that prominent minor party MPs shouldn’t hang out too much with the Foreign Minister. So if Kevin Rudd invites you to “burn the midnight oil” on APEC preparations, politely decline.
Hi my name is Peter Garrett, what am I doing here?
We don’t know Peter. Look busy.
Okay smart guy my name is Scott Morrison and I’ve got a question for you. How are you going to stop the boats?
What? Sorry Scott I didn’t mention boats.
Yes you did, just then, how you going to stop them?
Ha! no answers. Typical. How would you like a detention centre on your website?
Not sure. Can they write opinion pieces?
Hi my name is Peter Slipper. I became deputy-speaker contrary to the wishes of my leader Tony Abbott. Will I always have to vote for the Liberals now?
Peter there’s an old Sicilian proverb which roughly translates as: if you dare cross the floor Tony Abbott will track you down and break you in two with his bare hands.
Thanks Punch. Those wise but cryptic Sicilians aye.
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