Has Speaker Slipper A Strategy For A Surfeit of SSOs?

Reformer? Or snake in the grass?
Watch Peter Slipper kicking ass,
And doing it with gravitas.
In Oz speak that means ‘bit o’ class.’

It isn’t just the way he’s dressed
In long black gown and fancy vest.
What has onlookers most impressed
Is the end of uproar and unrest.

Members are no longer hostage
To shouts, insults, bad language.
More legislation now has carriage.
That’s not something to disparage.

The Chamber fills no more with cries
Of outraged members screaming,  “Lies!”
Simply saying,  “You fantasize.”
Does not shock.  Nor does,  “Porky pies!”

What of time-wasting SSO’s
Used by Abbott against his foes?
Some forty two so far of those.
More still?  Only God,  or Slipper,  knows!

Will Prissie Pyne,  when censured,  use
‘Time Out’ to find the Members’ loos,
Fearing the Speaker may refuse
To let him rise to make more POOs?

For Liberals he’s a mystery.
Slipper?  Reformer?  A Tory,
Now handing Labor victory,
To be praised one day by history?

Acknowledgement:  That delightful cartoon is by Chadwick in the Global Mail.

Explanatory Note:   An SSO is a motion for the Suspension of Standing Orders!  A POO is a Point of Order!

NOTES:   Today’s uproar in the House of Representatives with yet another defeated motion for Suspension of Standing Orders from Tony Abbott  has prompted me write this pome about the 27th Speaker in the Australian House of Representatives.

Peter Slipper’s accession to the Speakership was a controversial one, the result of a brilliant play by the Prime Minister.    Apart from its impact on the balance of numbers in our hung Parliament it promises huge changes in that House as he brings it back from the chaos wrought by his own party,  the Coalition,  as a strategy to bring down the government.   Lenore Taylor discusses the likely impact of Slipper’s appointment as Speaker on Tony Abbott’s war of attrition against Julia Gillard.   I love the baleful look on Abbott’s face in the picture there of Slipper being dragged in the traditional Westminster ceremony to the Speaker’s Chair.

I’m pretty sure that Slipper,  smarting though he may be from his treatment by the Liberals,  has no conscious intention to support the Labor Party.  I think he’s fascinated by the idea of himself in the role of Speaker and determined to make a very good job of it.  He seems to me more perfectionist,  even vain,  than vengeful.  Be that as it may,  I wonder how much more of an asset than one more precious vote the Prime Minister anticipated her new Speaker in the Lower House might be.

There’s a good overview of Australia’s history of parliamentary pomp and ceremony by Mike Seccombe in the Global Mail and the likely impact of the new speaker and his love of it all.

POST SCRIPT on 01//03    Maybe I should modify my title in which I had tried to use alliteration.   The answer to my question is that Speaker Slipper does not, as yet have a strategy for dealing with a surfeit of SSOs.   As I watch Question Time in the House of Representatives Julie Bishop is moving an almost incoherent motion for yet another (43rd?. 44th?) Suspension of Standing Orders with an outline of every one of Julia Gillard’s supposed lies, accusing her of being ‘silly and slippery and slimy and shifty’.

At one point she asks  ‘Do we have to have any more this?’  followed by Poo Pyne, seconding her with an equally crazy argument, entirely irrelevant to the government of this country.  These people are bonkers! Fabricating a scandal around something the Prime Minister may or may not have said or done in trying to form a new cabinet!   As Pyne says,   ‘The Australian people deserve better than this!’      They sure do!

I am beginning to suspect entrapment here. This really makes the Opposition look insanely obsessed by a non-issue and quite unable to deal with real matters of policy.   Is it possible that these futile SSOs give the government a chance to point out their irrelevancy and to outline their own substantial initiatives about which the Opposition should be questioning them.

NB – POST POST SCRIPT!  And a very important one too!     Ashgebranious has written today, 15/03/12,  about the cost to the taxpayer of  these non-essential SSOs and the incalculable cost to members of the public who come to our  parliament for business reasons and must waste time kicking their heels waiting for debate to resume.


Casablanca,    01/03/12,    Patricia WA,    I see that you have celebrated your inclusion into Pandora with another excellent pome.     QT under Slipper has been transformed and I expect that it may start to rate in Glenn Dyer’s daily TV List in Crikey.

Gravel,     01/03/12,    Another brilliant post Patricia,  and again congratulations for being included in the National Archives,  an achievement very well deserved and not before time.

jane,     01/03/12patriciawa, love the pome.   I had an inkling that Slipper might be the very one to sink the Slipper into the appalling behaviour rampant in the Lower house at QT. On the occasions when he stood in for Harry Jenkins, he took control of the house in no uncertain terms.

Roswell,     01/03/12,    Another gem Patricia

Miglo,     01/03/12,    Roswell summed it up in one suitable word, Patricia.

Sue,    01/03/12,     Thank you patriciawa you have made my day.

Pip,   01/03/12,    patricia, good work on your pome :smile:

Catching up,    01/03/12,    Congratulations, keep up the good work.  Political verse is a worthy and old tradition. Look where nursery rhymes come from.  It is a skill that has disappeared in our modern age.  Where would the Bulletin have been without Lawson, one of the best.   It is time that this skill sat once again beside that of the cartoonist.   

Michael,     03/03/12,     thanks Patricia – leaving another smile on my dial



About patriciawa

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