Tuesday, 16 October 2012

What Does It Take?

I watched with interest yesterday as Google News' various sources went from reporting Craig Thomson's scandalous charges, to reporting how Thomson was going to have them all thrown out and would get off scot-free, except for a massive and probably bankrupting fine.

But of course, bankruptcy would mean he would have to stand down as an MHR, so it would be a good thing, obviously, if all the charges were thrown out. And as for that whole misleading-parliament thing - weeeelllll, he could still keep serving, because after all, it's such a lot of fuss and bother to have a by-election when there's a Federal one round the corner.

The relief on the part of these news services was almost palpable, and their anxiety over Thomson's future quite touching. One felt as if they were on the verge of passing the hat round for poor old Craig.

So now I ask you: just what DOES a member of parliament have to do at the moment to be forced to stand down?

The Prime Minister staged a coup to displace a sitting Prime Minister and grab his job for herself. She is still up to her neck in some shonky business involving the AWU and the theft of around $400,000, all files relating to which have mysteriously disappeared, if indeed they ever existed. But she's still there.

Our Treasurer is delusional enough to think that his views on the US elections are of any concern to anyone except perhaps his immediate family. He also believes that if we spend more and more money it will miraculously grow back behind the sofa cushions. But he's still there.

Our Attorney General appears to have interfered with and attempted to block court proceedings. Peter Slipper was securely tucked away behind Nicola Roxon's skirts, and wasn't going anywhere until someone got to him behind the scenes. And even then he chose to fall on his sword, rather than be dismissed.

If Craig Thomson pranced naked into the chamber during a televised broadcast and waggled his bare bottom at the camera, would that do it? Or would some sub-section of some statute be wheeled out to argue that this kind of thing is in fact within the acceptable range of Parliamentary behaviour?

And just where does it say that in a hung parliament all bets are off, and the normal rules don't apply?

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