Mar 012007

Bannerman listens to Parliamentary broadcasts almost religiously. In fact, it’s the most fun you can have with a radio while working without actually having to listen to it. Closely that is.

One gem which passed by today during the debate on the Airports Amendment Bill 2006, by John Murphy, Member for Lowe.

"I have long argued that, as an airport, Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport operates very well as a shopping centre and car park."

Truly classic stuff. Question time is the main attraction. A chance to listen to a mixture of schoolyard taunts and strategic maneuvering around one’s opponent with words. Today’s QT was no let-down in either stakes.

The strategic maneuvering and tactical strike prize for this session of Parliament goes without doubt to Peter Costello. His attack today on Labor over Rudd’s breakfast-lunch-dinner fiasco with Western Australia’s version of political cyanide – Brian Burke – in 2005 should go down in the annuls of House of Reps crackers. Probably not on a par with some of Keating’s gems, but it was pretty close. Well done, Peter! See what you can achieve when you really try?

Mind you, reader, Bannerman fails to see anything of real substance in the conservatives drawing to the public notice that Kevin Rudd, in company with Graham Edwards (Cowan), met and dined with Brian Burke. For all we know, he may well have been entreating Burke to stay the hell away from politics in W.A. now that he’d been released from the slammer. Still, shit thrown, usually if not sticking, tends to stain and certainly stinks.

Now, sadly, we need to be dealing with the schoolyard taunts. The Hansard draft is available remarkably quickly these days, so sins committed can be examined and re-examined before they’ve begun to cool. Bannerman simply wants to say this. If proper Parliamentary behaviour standards have sunk to where members can get away scot free with assaulting an opponent with their religious beliefs, then we the people need to seriously consider making changes. To wit, Bannerman gives you the Leader of the House, Tony Abbott.

Mr ABBOTT-I am happy to assist the House by withdrawing, Mr Speaker. This is what the Leader of the Opposition’s health minister in the Rudd Queensland Christian socialist Labor government told parliament in 1991: ‘I can confirm that under the restructured department of health the position of chief nursing officer for Queensland will disappear.’ Members opposite think the Commonwealth government, which does not employ nurses, must have a chief nurse but the Queensland government, which employs tens of thousands of nurses, must not have a chief nursing officer. What is now clear is that members opposite in the Labor Party actually have four health policies. Their first policy is to have a single funder for health, if you believe the deputy leader. Their second policy is not to have a single funder for health, if you believe the shadow minister for federalism; their third policy is to have a chief nurse, if you believe the deputy leader; and their fourth policy is not to have a chief nurse, if you believe the Leader of the Opposition when he was the de facto Premier of Queensland.
He is a real piece of work, this bloke. He is not a socialist, but he is a Christian socialist. He attacks Howard’s utopia but he is happy to have Brian Burke as his Western Australian numbers man. He is a disciple of Dietrich Bonhoeffer when he is seeking Christian votes, but he is the associate of Brian Burke when he wants support in caucus.
The SPEAKER-Order! The minister will bring his answer to a conclusion.
Mr ABBOTT-I think the people of Australia are starting to get a sense of this bloke. They understand that deep down he is a phoney. He is a phoney.

The real piece of work in the game is Tony Abbott, and make no mistakes about it. Regardless of who was attacking whom, the accusation that a members religions beliefs taint their position as a duly elected member of the people is simply beyond the pale. Bannerman is disgusted, not only that an elected member should even think of pulling such a stunt, but that a member of the government of the day should do so, with immunity. David Hawker sat on his fat arse and said nothing. That’s hardly anything new for Hawker, but Bannerman does expect higher standards from the Speaker at least. Clearly, this is asking way too much. Somehow, that the failed priest and pseudo-christian conscience of the Howardian cabal should choose to sink to new depths is equally unsurprising. Bannerman is more aghast at the irony of the act more than anything else. Frankly, if anyone looks bad today from a religious perspective, it’s the corrupt catholic, Tony Abbott.

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