Question Time: a petition for change

tony-gillardWe should adopt a policy advocating reform of Question Time.

It does not serve its purpose. It does not set an example for public debate. It should be completely re-thought.

I spent a number of days in the Federal Parliament this year and it’s not pretty. What you miss on TV but understand watching the whole chamber is the animalistic nature of it.

Two packs of animals. Someone runs up to the other pack, bares their teeth, then scurries back to their pack. It is a contest of intimidation. When a weakness is detected in a pack, the voices of the opposing pack rise up in catcall and ridicule. They sniff blood; the volume of animal noises increases. It is what I imagine a stoning is like.

Almost every question from the opposition attempts to embarrass the government, not solicit information. The repetition is sickening. Questions are repeated with minor variations so as to find a weak spot and dictate the news cycle.

Questions are almost all about the past. The questioners want to find an inconsistency, a failure, a lie. They want to attack. They want the media to righteously demolish their enemy.

Almost every answer blunts the attack by speaking for as long and indirectly as possible. When the government asks a question of itself it is designed to use up time and talk positively about accomplishments. Or about the failings of the opposition in previous years. Answers are press releases. How many thousands of bureaucratic hours are wasted in this?

I watched David Cameron in the House of Commons the day he answered 138 questions from the Opposition about phone hacking. Short, direct answers. The British Parliament is not perfect; it is adversarial and backwards-looking like ours, but there is respect and debate that is a level above what happens in Australia. Find me a politician that says different.

All of Australia talks about the brattish, churlish, unproductive, attention-seeking nature of Question Time. We should petition the Parliament for change.

Photo sourced from MystifyMe Concert Photography (Troy).

Prelude to Executions Represents Torture Under United Nations Convention

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Australian Sex Party MLC, Fiona Patten, has called on the United Nations to immediately ask Indonesia to show cause as to why it should not be struck off the list of signatories to the 1984 United Nations Convention against Torture.

“The news that Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have been transferred to the execution island of Nusakambangan today, is a very sad day for all Australians and Indonesians,” she said. “The death penalty is barbaric and inhumane. Essentially what is being done to these two men ahead of their abhorrent execution is a form of torture in itself - something most thinking nations reject.”

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Thousands of Victorians expected to take LSD this weekend

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Fiona Patten MLC holding Bicycle Day commemorative blotter artwork outside Parliament

Psychedelic enthusiasts across Victoria will be taking acid (LSD) on Sunday April 19th to celebrate Bicycle Day's 72nd anniversary, marking the birth of western psychedelic culture.

Fiona Patten MLC called on the Minister to relax the prohibitionary regulations around LSD for medical research in Victoria, “Sadly, there are a couple of organisations in Victoria which would like to explore further medical research in this area but it is incredibly difficult because of the prohibitive laws. I ask if the minister would consider reviewing the legal status of some psychedelic substances in relation to medical use.”

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