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?  This 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.