The choice – a good flick or the Senate Chamber?

The_Phantom 6 December 2008 15

The Australian today reported an interesting quote from our local Senator, Gary Hamphries.

Reporting a story on a Coalition split in the Senate, Senator Humphries was quoted as saying,

    Liberal senator Gary Humphries told ABC Radio he had been told there was no need to vote on the issue.

    “Since I was ensconced in my room with a cup of tea and watching the late night movie, I thought I would just stay there,” he said.

Senator Humphries’ response raises a number of important questions. This is, should our local represenative “be watching the late night movie”

or should he be in the Chamber debating and voting on issues that may be imprtant to his consisuents.

What do other rioters think of Senator Humphries attitude to his job?

[ED – to be fair to Senator Humphries the vote was already decided on this one, and it’s not normal for Senators to be in the chamber every minute of the sitting]

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15 Responses to The choice – a good flick or the Senate Chamber?
jakez jakez 12:13 am 08 Dec 08

The Liberals stuffed up in two ways on this issue. Firstly, shadow cabinet went weak at the knees and changed the Liberal stance at the last minute (personally I think cabinet setting the rules is a terrible thing), which was the wrong choice. Secondly, the Senators should have stayed for the vote.

Let’s be straight, it was not a good day at the office for the FPLP.

astrojax astrojax 2:52 pm 06 Dec 08

ant, not ‘any’ – sorry ant… [memo to astro: read before posting, read before posting…]

astrojax astrojax 2:51 pm 06 Dec 08

while any has a point, as is her wont, i rekkun pollies are paid to do the job, which ipso facto involves those hours – not like they’re in the house five days a week, 48 weeks a year.

that said, this particular media beat up (and gov’t beat up) is hilarious. why do the socialist left journos [ie all of them] all insist on alleging that the opposition ‘opposed their leaders instructions’? when i would be prepared to bet my dog’s dinner on the matter that the issue was simply not to be opposed – the govt were going to have the no.s, the matter was going to get up; what does it matter if most opposition senators didn’t vote, when the real story only got a trot out as back up, that some nationals opposed the leader but simply voted by conscience, which the lib/nats allow and the govt party rarely does.

i hope he enjoyed the movie and his cuppa.

GB GB 12:25 pm 06 Dec 08

What’s an overtime form?

Really though, I agree with ant – he works hard, and he was joking in an honest way. Boo hiss to carfeully crafted media releases, and hurrah for a bit of straightforward fresh air.

Hell, I’d even vote for him if he was in a better party.

ant ant 10:40 am 06 Dec 08

I reckon if most people were at work when the late night movie was on, we’d be furiously filling in overtime forms. If he didn’t need to be there, what’s the problem? I wonder why he wasn’t at home in bed, so to me it sounds like he was ready to attend and vote for things that needed the numbers.

I’d really hate to see the day where people in public life couldn’t be honest, and amusing, for fear of sanctimonious censure from people. Humph seems to have a bit more of the natural and the honest about him, and if that’s curtailed, we’ll end up with plastic sneaky politicians who say what people demand they say, rather than what they’d like to say or should say.

TroyWilliams TroyWilliams 10:21 am 06 Dec 08

From “The Australian” on 6 December 2008:
… all but five of the Liberal Party’s 30 remaining senators abstained – including Senate leader Nick Minchin, who explained that he “went to the loo and had a cup of coffee”.

Sure the tactics sound a bit odd and merit a debate, but Gaz is in the clear on this one.

trevar trevar 7:31 am 06 Dec 08

I would assume that if someone is using the word ‘ensconced’, their intention is to be at least a little bit facetious. He had probably made the decision not to attend the vote many hours earlier, and the movie was an amusing reason to give in the context of the interview.

futto futto 1:10 am 06 Dec 08

I understand where he is coming from. SBS late movies make me “alert, but not alarmed”…if you know what I mean.

staria staria 12:54 am 06 Dec 08

I love it when a quote is inserted into an article like this – it certainly was a juicy one. While I don’t know all the ins and outs of what went on, I did hear the whole interview and accepted that Gary was speaking humourously (as the segment is a bit on the lighter side), and also that he explained that the liberal senators had been given an instruction that they didn’t need to attend as the leadership had decided to vote for the change in legislation. I think the story should be more centred on the fact that the liberal leadership seemed to be sending very mixed messages, and that different people had different stories.

I think it’s a bit unrealistic to expect every MP/Senator to attend every single vote. Not everything going on in parliament is a big headline issue, and I’m sure quite a few things are quite straightforward with agreement on both sides (shock horror!).

The more interesting part of the segment (for me) was regarding the efficiency dividends imposed on all government departments and agencies… Now that is worth debating!!

johnboy johnboy 12:23 am 06 Dec 08

rosebud said :

Ed – why to you so often place a caveat at the end of a post? Can’t the poster and post speak for themselves/itself without editorialisation? It tends to take the edge off an otherwise potentially interesting debate. If you feel you simply must comment, can’t you log on using a non de plume and make it up, just like the rest of us?

Sadly if I were to use another name to make comments it would be a headline making piece of malfeasance to other media outlets.

Trust me, it’s a big no-no.

When I have knowledge of an area, rather than just a contrary opinion, I do feel obliged to add to things the OP might have added. Clearly marking it is of course important.

I’m sorry if you don’t like it, but in good conscience I can’t stop doing it.

fozzy fozzy 11:23 pm 05 Dec 08

As a general rule, pollies work pretty hard hours let them have the occasional break.

However, every Liberal must be in the chamber or their pay should be docked. Why shouldn’t they be bound by the same mutual obligation rules they imposed on those with far less means.

And lets not forget, as far as last nights effort was concerned, the real reason for watching the movie was to abstain from the vote – there was too much disunity in the Libs so many took the easy option to abstain rather than be seen to be breaking ranks.

GB GB 10:11 pm 05 Dec 08

I think he generally seems to work pretty hard. And unless his vote is going to make a difference, well, it doesn’t make any difference.

And I’m not convinced that senate debates change anyone’s mind, unfortunately.

[and hurrah for ed’s initial comments: it helps present at least 2 sides of a story, and spurs discussion rather than just nay-saying]

gingermick gingermick 9:45 pm 05 Dec 08

The late night movie on WIN was ‘Impostor’. Suitable choice, Gazzza?

blub blub 9:44 pm 05 Dec 08

I think he should be in the chamber for the vote – particularly if he is in the building.
It’s important for the vote to be on his record for voters, his constituents, to be able to decide, when the time comes, at the next election, just how he voted.
When he abstains from voting, by watching the late night movie, for instance, he avoids being on the record. And without a record, how do we know what he stands for? And why would we vote for, or against him.

rosebud rosebud 9:25 pm 05 Dec 08

Ed – why to you so often place a caveat at the end of a post? Can’t the poster and post speak for themselves/itself without editorialisation? It tends to take the edge off an otherwise potentially interesting debate. If you feel you simply must comment, can’t you log on using a non de plume and make it up, just like the rest of us?

On original topic – yes, I think he should be in Chamber debating – it’s what he is paid to do. And it isn’t like they do it every day, it’s like a week or two every now and then. The rest of the time, they are opening shopping centres or art exhibitions, aren’t they?

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