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).

Domestic Violence/Abortion claims an insult to all women

christians

The Australian Sex Party says that all Victorians should be outraged by comments made yesterday by the Victorian state director of the Australian Christians, Vickie Janson, suggesting a link between domestic violence and abortion.

Sex Party President, Fiona Patten said “These comments are absurd and insulting to all women. They accuse women who choose to terminate a pregnancy of being responsible for the assaults of other women” she said. “Those who perpetrate domestic violence have more in common with those who seek to control a woman’s body through legislation limiting access to abortion, than those who support a woman’s right to choose whether or not she completes a pregnancy”.

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It’s time politicians had a rethink on waging the ‘unwinnable war’ on recreational drugs

Cannabis

IN a remarkable and largely overlooked statement on Radio 3AW with Neil Mitchell on April 29, Tony Abbott admitted the war on drugs is “not a war we will ever finally win”.

“The war on drugs is a war you can lose,” the Prime Minister said. “You may not ever win it, but you’ve always got to fight it.”

This game-changing statement followed a press conference about the release of an Australian Crime Commission report on illicit drugs, which admitted that “despite record seizures and arrests we are still only detecting the tip of the drug iceberg”.

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