A Speaker “on probation” cannot remain a Speaker

20 Jul
PM Tony Abbott congratulating the New Speaker Bronwyn Bishop after being elected as speaker, in the House of Representatives Chambers at the Opening of the 44th Parliament at  Parliament House in Canberra.

PM Tony Abbott congratulating the New Speaker Bronwyn Bishop after being elected as speaker, in the House of Representatives Chambers at the Opening of the 44th Parliament at Parliament House in Canberra.


Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s decision to put his handpicked Speaker Bronwyn Bishop “on probation” demonstrates, as perhaps little else can, his contemptuous disregard for our Parliament and its processes.

As Speaker, it is Bishop’s job to discipline all MPs, thus setting the tone for parliamentary behaviour, and using the authority of her position to ensure that behaviour is within the guidelines and traditions of the Westminster system.

There is already considerable discontent abroad concerning the incompetent and biased manner with which Bishop has performed her powerful job. This latest scandal surrounding her dodgy use of taxpayer funds to enhance her lifestyle and feed her apparently insatiable sense of self-importance and entitlement ought to be the last straw.

It is unclear, at least to me, exactly what Abbott means by declaring Bishop to be “on probation.” Her expenses will be scrutinised for a period of three months perhaps? She will be obliged to stay away from helicopters and limousines for six weeks? How, exactly, is a Speaker of the House of Representatives put “on probation” and more importantly, how does a Speaker “on probation” retain any authority at all over any MP in that House?

A Speaker “on probation” cannot possibly remain a Speaker. A Speaker “on probation” has lost all her authority. A Speaker must be above being put “on probation” by her Prime Minister. The very idea is an insane notion that makes absolutely no sense in any known universe. It demonstrates Abbott’s utter contempt for the Westminster system he claims to revere.

Abbott assures us that Bishop is “contrite,” however, Bishop has given the public no indication of contrition at all.

Obviously, Abbott considers his Speaker to be at fault, otherwise there would be no talk of “probation” in the first place. The errors Bishop has made disqualify her from the extraordinarily demanding requisites of her position: a Speaker of the House of Representatives cannot authoritatively carry out her duties while “on probation,” and a Prime Minister who believes that is a satisfactory solution is demonstrating his profound contempt both for Australian voters, and the Westminster system of government over which he presides.

It’s time. For both Bishop and Abbott to go. Every day they remain is a further insult to this country and to our system of governance.



10 Responses to “A Speaker “on probation” cannot remain a Speaker”

  1. hudsongodfrey July 20, 2015 at 9:45 pm #

    She should resign and sell that hair to Donald Trump to cover the debts she’s run up!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. helvityni July 21, 2015 at 8:39 am #

    Bronnie’s arrogance is breathtaking, as is Abbott’s stupidity.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. townsvilleblog July 21, 2015 at 9:37 am #

    Abbott says because she has been a good servant to the LNP is why she should stay as speaker, if anything this is a reason she should not be Speaker, she is supposed to be impartial. Why don’t the media ever pull this clot up on such things?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. doug quixote July 22, 2015 at 7:34 pm #

    Abbott will continue to support her.

    She has no shame, and no conscience.

    Rather like Abbott himself.


    • Jennifer Wilson July 22, 2015 at 8:17 pm #

      I’m sad to hear about Bob Ellis, DQ.


      • doug quixote July 23, 2015 at 7:31 pm #

        It’s a terrible thing, Guinevere. Bob should have had another ten years as the terror of the conservatives. We can only wait and hope.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson July 24, 2015 at 7:29 am #

          He has done an enormous amount, DQ. Far more than his share.


          • doug quixote July 24, 2015 at 7:46 pm #

            Yes, to say nothing of his humour, his scholarship and his humanity.


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