The Privileges of Parliament

edlang 11 August 2005 8

While driving home this evening I heard on the ABC news an item regarding a gesture Julian McGauran made this afternoon in the Senate Chamber. As luck would have it, I was in the public gallery at the time and I too noted the gesture, much to my disbelief.

Apparently Sen. McGauran was not censured as the Deputy President found that the gesture was (from memory, quoting the soundbite) “unseemly but not obscene”. Crazy! I never knew that such gestures were covered by parliamentary privilege.

I’m very tempted to return to the public gallery tomorrow while the Senate is in session to show my support for McGauran by gesturing at the floor with wild and gay abandon.

Bob Brown has a media release on this event.

(Ok, ok: there was a wee bit of context. Bob Brown had just followed on from Senator Andrew Bartlett and continued the latter’s complaint that insufficient notice of leave was granted, or something to that effect. A motion was then moved, the result disputed, and a division called. The other Senators took their sweet time entering the chamber. When the doors were locked, McGauran was set to tally the nays and (I think?) Ruth Weber tallied the Is. Weber counted her 31 people without much ado but McGauran took forever to count the nays. He started to be heckled by the ALP senators — John Faulkner calling him a clown, demanding a Government whip who could count to ten, the slow speed to be recorded in Hansard, etc etc. From memory it may have been Kim Carr who then said something as McGauran walked back to his seat, causing him to make the gesture. One of the other ALP senators asked if it was OK to use two fingers. I got fed up with the slow pace of the whole thing and left. I wish I’d stuck around!)

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8 Responses to The Privileges of Parliament
Indi Indi 3:28 pm 12 Aug 05

I’d be intrigued to see some substantive evidence as to what exactly Senator McG has down for his constituency for the past decade or so. Like I said, its all still just like the schoolyard days for that boy…

Thumper Thumper 11:18 am 12 Aug 05

This is our federal parliament. He has acted like a spoilt schoolboy.

Seriously, this is a man who will make decisions for the country and his response to questioning? Well, it would appear he said, or gestured, ‘get f*cked’.

The Senate doesn’t appear to be a happy place at the moment.

Kerces Kerces 10:31 am 12 Aug 05

I was surprised by that too. But according to the CT report this morning, it was labelled an ‘unseemly’ gesture, not an ‘obscene’ one.

Smackbang Smackbang 9:31 am 12 Aug 05

From what I could see on the news, it was his index finger he gesticulated with, not his middle finger. when did that become a rude gesture?

Absent Diane Absent Diane 9:29 am 12 Aug 05

No such thing as hell

Indi Indi 8:24 am 12 Aug 05

what a bunch of sissies – copping a school yard flip of the forefinger from a Nat….yawn

Ralph Ralph 7:53 am 12 Aug 05

Geez, what toilet behaviour! No wonder we’re all going to hell in hand basket! And what a poor example to be setting for children!

That’s it, I’m ringing John Laws.

johnboy johnboy 8:37 pm 11 Aug 05

All you need to know about Liberal attitudes.

Like kids let out of school right now.

Only uglier.

(BTW very borderline on local topicallity but bonus points for being in the chamber did it for me)

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