Yes, indeed. Yesterday was a spritely day in the House of Representatives.
To be quite frank, having watched it all unfold during what wasn’t Question Time, I’m loathe to actually call any of the sitting members my representatives. QT started off with standing and sessional orders being suspended so that Brendan Nelson could make a completely pointless speech extolling the virtues of Pine Gap, with Joel Fitzgibbon responding for the Opposition. QT finally got underway at 2:15pm. Clearly, Nelson’s time-waster was merely that. A means of wasting away the opportunity for the Opposition to raise any relevant questions of policy to the Government. We saw and heard four questions which held even slight relevance to policy, when the fun & games really started. A ‘Dorothy Dixer’ from the Member for Cowper to Costello opened the door for the oncoming personal tirades from both sides, beginning with continued derision from Costello over Rudd’s gaff of the day before when he failed to quote the current taxation tiers. Frankly, I didn’t know the tiers verbatim, ‘Dolly’ Downer didn’t known them verbatim as proven on Lateline that evening, in fact, I seriously doubt anyone outside of your average CPA could quote them verbatim, other than to claim them flawed, which they are.
Credit where it’s due, however. Costello put on a performance which would rank right up there with the best theatre I’ve ever seen in Parliament, Reps or Senate. None of it serious and all true theatre, born out by the fact that when he made his, now well publicised, slip of the tongue – “This is the last question time—It could well be the last question time before the election—and, as far as you are concerned, you would want it to be the last question time.” – the chagrinned smirk which played across his face was there for all to see. Equally clear was the determined attempt by Labor to dispense entirely with any relevance to policy during the last QT, by deliberately seeding the fray with pointless questions about just who was sourcing dirt on whom and who’s ministerial suite it was that Jason Koutsoukis was offered a dirt file on Julia Gillard in. The entire two-and-a-half hours, whilst highly entertaining, was a complete and utter waste the people’s time as regards the real purpose of QT. The Government benches cried out in faux outrage at the verbal assaults against their Prime Minister, none of whom earlier in the week had really wanted to back into the coming election, while on the Opposition benches, insult & innuendo flew in response to like, with just a dash of validity to qualify Gillard’s later statements on Lateline that all Labor was doing, was asking questions.
There was a moment, towards the end of Rudd’s performance, that I gained a brief impression that some personal angst was showing through, but the moment was brief, and Rudd quickly caught himself, ending his tirade somewhat abruptly. Perhaps this is a sign of inexperience in the heat of the Parliamentary cauldron, however, tempering metal is done in extremely high temperatures, then quickly quenched. Let’s not be under any illusions. Yesterday’s theatre was entirely engineered by a Labor Party which had been caught on the hop by the government making merry with Rudd’s tax threshhold gaff of the day prior. Yesterday was payback, and frankly, I’m not entirely sure who was paid back the better.
Today is Kevin Rudd’s fiftieth birthday, and having had my own last weekend, I can entirely sympathise with his apparent lack of willingness to celebrate – according to some elements in the media. As with the airing of his medical records, Rudd undoubtedly believes, as I do, that if you can’t at the very least do what you want on your birthday, if you can’t have some small part of your life to yourself, then life in general and those who inhabit it make for some pretty sad company. Happy Birthday, Kevin. Here’s to a brilliant campaign and an uproarious election night celebration. Who’s bothered with fifty when you make Prime Minister, eh?