Premier O’Farrell uses the rude finger to silence the Opposition.
Yesterday the NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell, was accused by State Opposition Leader John Robertson of being one of Tony Abbott’s lap dogs. Mr. O’Farrell’s reply was to stick up his middle finger at his accuser. But he wasn’t about to admit to flipping the bird at his political rival, allowing his office to declare that he was indicating Mr. Robertson had not stuck to his one allotted question, instead asking two.
It was a lively session of the NSW State Parliament with another member sent out for taking photos and the Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner asking of the speaker, "Why don't you grow some, pal?" And they say Federal Parliament has lost its way?
Mr. Robertson accused the Premier of arrogance, commenting rather mildly, "What you see is a Premier who doesn't behave the way you'd expect a premier of NSW to behave.
Read more on the ABC.
So how should a Premier behave?
Is ‘flipping the bird’ really that bad?
We have had a lot of commentary on the slipping of standards in the Federal Parliament, in particular during the minority government led (mostly) by ex-PM Julia Gillard. In fact Mr. Abbott has suggested that Ms. Gillard was responsible in some way for the decline in the members’ behaviour, an accusation vigorously denied by members of the government who believe Mr. Abbott and his followers are to blame.
And now we have riotous scenes in the NSW Parliament and a lack of respect shown by no less a person than the Premier himself.
Are these the politicians we deserve?
Or are they a pale imitation of the leaders we desperately need?
Does using the rude finger really matter that much?
Or is it further evidence that we are all going to hell in a hand basket?
Clearly there are no right or wrong answers to the above questions. It’s a matter of opinion, and your opinion is probably heavily influenced by your age and upbringing. We have always had strong emotions and forceful debate in our parliaments. But there does need to be a line and that line seems to have shifted dramatically, with personal insults now the order of the day in Question Time.
What to do?
Well we actually don’t have to put up with this circus. If you are unhappy with your local representative – be they a state, federal or local government member – then why not phone them or write to them and tell them so? And while you are at it, ask them if they are planning on lifting their standard of behaviour? I’m serious. If we all did it, we could have a huge impact on our politicians and their behaviour far more effectively than the speakers of the house seem to.
What about you? Do you think our pollies have gone too far? Or has Kaye simply lost her sense of humour and tolerance for a good old Aussie dustup?
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