Slip­per scan­dal

Geelong Advertiser - - TAKE TWO - ROD MACKEN­ZIE Rod Macken­zie, OAM, is a for­mer MP for Gee­long Prov­ince. He lives at Grovedale.

THE re­cent ap­palling be­hav­iour in our Fed­eral Par­lia­ment over Peter Slip­per must be an all-time low in Aus­tralian pol­i­tics, says Rod Macken­zie.

THE re­cent ap­palling be­hav­iour in our Fed­eral Par­lia­ment over Peter Slip­per must be an all-time low in Aus­tralian pol­i­tics and as a re­sult the big­gest losers were the Aus­tralian Par­lia­ment and the Aus­tralian peo­ple.

The on­go­ing saga of the Peter Slip­per af­fair from his cyn­i­cal ap­point­ment to his long-over­due res­ig­na­tion was the most uned­i­fy­ing po­lit­i­cal spec­ta­cle the Aus­tralian pub­lic has ever had to wit­ness

Un­for­tu­nately this low stan­dard of par­lia­men­tary be­hav­iour is set to continue un­less by some mir­a­cle some politi­cians of in­tegrity and for­ti­tude are elected and can dis­play the lead­er­ship that is nec­es­sary to re­store the

The first pri­or­ity of any re­form has to be the restora­tion of the proper role of the Speaker ...

Par­lia­ment to its proper and re­spectable place in our so­ci­ety.

The first pri­or­ity of any re­form has to be the restora­tion of the proper role of the Speaker and the elec­tion process that will en­sure the po­si­tion is filled by per­sons of in­tel­li­gence and in­tegrity, to­tally im­par­tial and de­void of party af­fil­i­a­tion.

For far too long Aus­tralian Speak­ers have been elected purely on party lines. They do not re­lin­quish their party af­fil­i­a­tions and are of­ten nom­i­nated by their party be­cause of their party loy­alty.

The po­si­tion, which is in fact sec­ond only to the Prime Min­is­ter, is of­ten seen as a Mickey Mouse po­si­tion that is con­trolled by the gov­ern­ment of the day.

The Speaker is in re­al­ity elected by the par­lia­ment not the gov­ern­ment and his/ her al­le­giance is firstly to the par­lia­ment.

The Speaker has the power to con­trol when par­lia­ment sits and rises, he/she rep­re­sents the par­lia­ment at all of­fi­cial func­tions, is its pro­tec­tor and re­spon­si­ble for its ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The Speaker pre­sides over and con­trols par­lia­men­tary de­bate and be­hav­iour.

This is a po­si­tion that needs to be filled by a per­son of in­tegrity and im­par­tial­ity and held in re­spect by all mem­bers.

In sev­eral over­seas par­lia­ments speak­ers are non-par­ti­san; some are even elected by the peo­ple and hold a higher po­si­tion than the prime min­is­ter of the coun­try — in each case, it is found that the par­lia­ments and the mem­bers are held in much higher es­teem than their Aus­tralian coun­ter­parts.

Hope­fully, and I am not at all op­ti­mistic, some politi­cians will be elected with the strength and wis­dom to fight for re­form and for the restora­tion of a par­lia­ment and mem­bers that we can all re­spect and we can see a ces­sa­tion of low stan­dards of par­lia­men­tary be­hav­iour be­ing ex­hib­ited at present.

Ousted Speaker Peter Slip­per.

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