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Question Time

We made it to the House of Representative just after Question Time had started. We were seated behind the opposition benches. What I found interesting was the action away from the despatch box. Next time I go I will take a pad and pencil to make some better notes. This is all from a hazy memory.

When a question was being answered there is a lot of movement on both benches. Albanese wanders around talking to backbenchers, priming them (I suspect) on the next Dorothy Dixer question to asked, and generally keeping moods high. Abbott does a similar thing.

 What was also interesting was the space behind the Speaker. There is a open space away from the prying eyes of the TV cameras which is where Albanese and Abbott would meet after a nod of the head from one of them. The interaction between them was one of friends and mutual respect. Much smiling and touching of shoulders. To me it looked like a “well, we are gonna do this next” and “OK – we will respond like this”. I suspect that parliament needs this level of cooperation to function, even if in front of the cameras and public it looks like open warfare.

Here is my (brief) assessment of some in the house:

Harry Jenkins (Speaker): Looks at time completely bored and that he is about to fall asleep.

Rudd:  Commands the house well when he speaks. Often confers with the advisers while other questions are being answered. Sometimes offers some words to those about to answer questions or even looks up to the person answering to makes a suggestion.

Swan: Does not convey confidence when he speaks. Seemed ill at ease.

Tanner: Very polished, and seems to be part of the inner circle that would huddle to give advise (I not that Swan did not seem be part of this).

Albanese: Looks to be an effective manager of the house.

The nodders: Those sitting behind the despatch box do seem to have their nodding down pat.

Fitzgibbon: If he was further away from the despatch box he would have been in the senate. This is probably so that he does not make it onto the TV.

Turnbull: Would just sit there reading and writing. Often refers to the books in front of him (especially a green one – anyone know what it is?) Seemed not a happy puppy.

Hockey: All arms and mock bravado. At times just wanders around smiling and laughing with his own backbenchers.

Bishop: Still scary. Only asked one question. Like Swan, did not seem to be part of the inner circle that would huddle.

Abbott: Would ask the officials for the time of the answers (the officials have a timer). Would often wander behind the speaker to chat to Albanese. Looks at ease on the floor of the house.

Ruddock: I am positive I saw him move, dismissing the notion that he is not alive.

One final observation, I think it was an independent that asked Rudd a question on Climate Change. After Rudd finished answering, Rudd went up to the backbench to have a chat with that member (and the member beside him) for about 5mins. Seem genuinely interested with chatting to the member.

We also went across to the senate, but everyone was snoring.


40 Responses

  1. Interesting observations Joni. Thanks for sharing that with us.

  2. Ruddock: I am positive I saw him move, dismissing the notion that he is not alive.

    Really? That doesn’t prove anything.

  3. Well, I could not see any wires or levers, so that is why I thought he was still alive.

  4. I suspect that parliament needs this level of cooperation to function

    Indeed! Most people seem unaware that most of the legislation debated is finally passed without dissent.

    As for Swan seeming ‘ill at ease’, that is perfectly understandable given the nonsense of the past week. The way mountains can be made out of molehills meant that his position was always going to be on the line. Remember Senator Ian Campbell and his (innocent) meeting with Brian Burke causing Costello to claim Campbell was morally compromised. it was a nonsense also but that didn’t help and he lost his Ministry.

    As for the green Book, one can assume that Turnbull will constantly consult notes prepared by staff re today’s ‘script’. The questions to be asked, by whom, the order of asking, the background to same etc. Not saying that’s the Green Book.

    Minister for example have a thick folder dealing with ‘issues’ that might be the basis of a question. Usually one ‘issue’ one page of dot points outlining an appropriate answer.

  5. Was there a dress code Joni .. and are you allowed to take in food/beverages?

  6. joni and N5, I thought it might be Trunchbull’s Little Green Book of Emails.

  7. joni and N5, I thought it might be Trunchbull’s Little Green Book of Emails.

  8. Joni! You came to Canberra without telling me!!


  9. This bitch is slapped.

  10. Joni, I’ve joined Blogocrats on Facebook. I’ve also sent you a friend request.

    Will you be my friend?

  11. Turnbull has been set up big time.

  12. Kyxzil..probably just jaffas so that you can roll ’em down the aisles.

    ps..how do you pronounce Kyxzil?

  13. Latest newspoll: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25704929-601,00.html

    Of interest is..

    According to a Newspoll survey, conducted exclusively for The Australian last weekend, satisfaction with Mr Turnbull’s job as Opposition Leader has suffered the single biggest fall in the survey’s 25-year history.

  14. I was going to post on the polls but you bet me to it Min.

    scaper you got it wrong.

    Three polls and all bad for the opposition, good for the government and Rudd, but absolutely disastrous for Malcolm Turnbull.

    Newspoll 56-44; ACNielsen 58-42; Galaxy 56-44

    It appears that Turnbull’s stupid response is that he’s going to do a front bench reshuffle and promote hard liners “to take the fight to the government”, thus caving in to the hard right of the party.

    The government must be rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect.

  15. Adrian, I believe that I said the next poll would be interesting and I expected both sides to take a hit and obviously judging by the two party preference it appears on the face that the coalition has taken the hit.

    You can take bragging rights for your glorious team but after last weeks effort parliamentary standards and democracy in general has suffered but you don’t care about this, it is all about the team that you barrack for…mediocrity is the new high standard!

  16. They are not “my team” scaper, just the very flawed mob I prefer to have leading the country at the moment. It has nothing to do with “barracking”, that’s stupid and shows how wrong you have it. I just pointed out that you got it wrong in saying both parties would take a hit and they didn’t, only the opposition rightly did. If you want to get all tetchy over that then so be it.

    Parliamentary standards have suffered for a long time, but the stuff over the last few weeks has been entirely due to the opposition, as has been the previous parliamentary kafuffles. It is they who are dragging down to mud slinging and trivialities in a lame attempt to score points and gain traction whilst major and often flawed policy goes on by.

    Yet Turnbull wants to go even further down this path and bring in all the hard hitters to the front bench beside him.

    You last paragraph is an absolute laugh and so far off the mark I don’t even know where to begin, so won’t.

  17. Adrian, with Jeff off work I have to do something while he is snoozing 😉

    Thank you for the links to the other polls..interesting that all polls were conducted simultaneously; the obvious conclusion being that all were expecting some interesting results due to Utegate.

    Stage next is the speculation also from the Oz about when will Turnbull be challenged..note that it’s ‘when’ and not ‘if’.

  18. Adrian, your support of the flawed mob indicates your position succinctly and by the way, I believe your beloved party is in government so your preference is a nonsensical issue, you are living in the past.

    Also, you have attempted to derail discussion here with your blatant barracking twice so I don’t believe your criticism of your beloved party.

    If you do not believe that democracy and Parliamentary standards have suffered as a result of last weeks efforts then you are more of a party stooge than I thought you were.

    Or is it your hatred that drives your thinly disguised partisanship?

  19. There was some good stuff on the weekend over Turnbull speculation, with some of the Party’s hard liners saying Malcolm is not going anywhere, at least not for a while, as there is noone else.

    That he has now caved into the hard liners and is promoting many of them shows that he is staying and will become nothing more than a mouth piece for the hard right. Minchin will be pulling all the strings in the background so you can expect some very nasty stuff from now until the election.

    As low a standard as parliament is at the moment, watch it go even lower over the next 12 months or so.

  20. Leave off it scaper, “beloved party”, a party I didn’t even vote for, I voted for Joanna Gash, and have ever since moving to the area.

    Did you even read what I posted, and that I said parliamentary standards are crap?

    And I don’t disguise partisanship or any other kind of ship, thinly or otherwise. I will repeat, the current very flawed mob are my preferred party to lead at the moment, and will now add, because the alternative does not even bear consideration.

    Or are you saying in your “non-partisanship”, the opposition deserve to have gotten good opinion polls over their performance over the last week or so, and since they have been the opposition?

  21. Adrian, no sane person would believe that the coalition would get a boost in the polls so I don’t understand why you would put such an idiotic question to me in the first place!

    Ever since the last election I have believed that Turnbull is a liability to the opposition and the sooner he is removed from leadership, the better.

    I believe Nelson would have been a better leader but because Turnbull was backstabbing him since day one we never really got to see any potential.

  22. I personally think that Turnbull is gone. That is, having lost credibility over Utegate in the future every time he opens his mouth a natural reaction from the public will be a quizical Oh really? If he tries to reinvent himself as a person of the hard right, this will reinforce the impression of power-hungry and stands-for-nothing.

    I had high hopes for Turnbull, being a moderate that he would act to modernise the Liberals..that he would lay it on the line: I am leader, put up or shut up. To date he has done little but fluff around. The latter action to put up or shut up will be the only thing that saves him..especially with Hockey being ‘decisive’.

  23. Well, Abbott believes that Turnbull will survive this.


  24. And Abbott also believes in life after death…

  25. Typical, attack the man, not the message!

  26. Abbott probably only believes that Turnbull will survive this because Abbott knows that there is nobody left in the party who wants the job.

  27. Time for a DD and Rudd to take complete control of the Federal Government … hit whle the iron is hot …

    … its not as if the Opposition are actual;ly contributing to the running of the country – in fact quite the opposite …

    … in the long run an early election may be a more economical proposition than seing out the full term …

    … did I read/hear somewhere $11000 per minute to run Question Time – what a waste of money last week!

    Kevin sent me a nice video this morning … nothing from Malcolm …

  28. Was it for your birthday TB?

  29. Happy birthday TB. Hope you have a great day.

  30. Have to go..daughter in law and little grandie arrive from Cairns this morning 🙂

  31. Happy B’day TB. You’re a good sort for a Queerslander, I don’t care what they say about your suits & your cabaret performances: I don’t believe them!

    But seriously, have a great day.

  32. Three polls and all roughly singing the same song. I must admit, I thought some of the mud would stick to Rudd but I was wrong and it now appears that Turnbull emptied his buckets of smear all over himself. Oh dear.

    But the figures seem ‘incredible’ in the precise sense. Seems like the average punter could see what was going on and voted accordingly.

    As for Abbott saying Turnbull WILL survive – well what else could he say? Can’t really call the members together to deliver the coup de gras at this point because they have just started their six week break.

    Perhaps Bronny will through her hair into the ring once again. Well she would probably get the sympathy vote which is more than Turnbull currently gets.


  33. Try ‘throw’. LOL.

  34. Toilethound

    I don’t care what they say about your suits & your cabaret performances: I don’t believe them!

    I do. Happy B’day TB. Pity your beloved Bronco’s didn’t come up with the goods to make it an even better celebration.

  35. And the flight from Cairns is 3/4 hr late..grrrrrr.

    There was some talk (sorry no link) about how the Liberals are in deep poo because there is no back up force..very few up and comers. That this compares with Labor who have a very credible B Team. That a lot of the problem is/was JWH who refused to promote young talent..the exception being T’bull but that was only so that Howard could point the rude finger at Costello.

  36. The Oz is running a poll about who should lead the Liberal Party. Early figures, but a whopping 46% for Costello..pity that he’s retiring. Apparently the last chapter of the book is coming out and this was written in April so obviously he made his mind up to go well and truly before this happening.

  37. Back from a luverly breakfast in the Queensland sunshine – what a wonderful day!

    Thanks to all for my B/day wishes (Gawd, knows how you all knew – Blogocrats are astoundingly perceptive!)


    I still can’t understand what all the fuss is about with Tip Custard – he hasn’t really ever “done” anything … its just “expectation” …

    If ,Tip, was Opposition Leader the Government could, nay would, make a laughing stock of some of his (lack of?) decisions …

    … I guess his strength is that the voters seem to think he could “lead” the country …

    … as usual Labor will do the hard yards with infrastructure, education, health etc and the Libs will be just in time for a “new government” and take over again, so we can be ripped off by The Robber Barons as the country itself deteriorates again …

    … when will they get rid of Samuels at the ACCC!

    BTW, The Minister says I can play all day if I want too! Whoo whoo!

  38. Here is what Abbott said about his performance on the floor of the house last week:

    He also played down his performance in Parliament last week.

    The senior Liberal was widely praised for his work directing tactics in the absence of Opposition manager of business Christopher Pyne.

    “I’m very conscious that I made a couple of mistakes in Parliament last week,” Mr Abbott said.

    “What I take out of last week is that I’m pretty rusty and need to go back and read the standing orders.”

  39. Hap-hap-happy birthday TB!

  40. Many happy returns, TB.

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