Parliamentary question time really needs to change.
I mean, it’s called ‘question time’ for a reason. Someone should at least pretend to answer a question.
Instead, last week in Federal Parliament, Labor MPs moved a motion of no confidence in Speaker Bronwyn Bishop, accusing her of bias and incompetence.
Which I think is completely unfair, because bias and incompetence is something that every single excuse for a politician involved in that farce called question time is equally guilty of.
I know the speaker is supposed to be impartial, and she clearly isn’t, but Parliamentary Question time sits atop a structure built of so many stupidities that it makes a house of cards look both earthquake and tsunami proof.
The motion of no confidence in Bronwyn never had any hope of passing. The Labor politicians don’t have the votes to pass anything, and even suggesting it was just another poor stunt among the many that has come to comprise Question Time.
According to people who were around back before television, apparently there was a golden time in Australian politics when politicians actually answered the questions they were asked.
Instead of this current complete car wreck, which runs like the worst scripted play in all of history, but is allowed to continue despite nobody asking for more.
Have you tried watching parliamentary question time lately?
Give it a go. It’s horrendous.
One of two things always happens. A politician will ask a politician from their same party to talk about something they’ve done.
So the politician who’s been asked will stand up and read a pre-prepared speech detailing why they’re amazing.
Option two involves an opposition politician asking a question. Which will then be answered with a whole lot of accusations and questions that are nothing to do with the original question.
In the background at all times are garbled insults and other rubbish.
The only discernable purpose of the whole thing seems to be to provide a spiteful grab for the nightly news.
A clever quip, the big, bold statement or the harsh critique that makes it onto our small screens in primetime.
Really though, it’s a rabble of apparent professionals in designer clothes, behaving like they’re wearing tracksuits and are all under eight years old.
The behaviour these humans exhibit would not be tolerated in a classroom, a meeting or even in the crowd at a football match.
Instead of this awful excuse for attention grabbing that plays out like some atrocious talent show, where competitors vie for the title of blackest soul, I have an alternate suggestion idea.
Why not force the politicians to actually answer every question?
This would be easily achieved by instigating proper penalties for anyone who veers off topic, refuses to answer the question, launches person attacks or shouts indecipherable insults.
Banishing them from the chamber doesn’t work. It’s the same as sending a worker off early for their holiday break.
Instead, let’s start docking their pay.
Next, pick a speaker who’s not even a politician but a trained arbitrator skilled in keeping debate on track.
Once we start hitting them where it hurts, and have someone who knows what they’re doing running things, let’s see how much longer the stupidity lasts.
Until then, I’m not asking any more questions. I’m stating it for the record. Parliamentary Question time is completely and utterly pointless.
Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.
Catch him at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from March 27 to April 20.
His first book ‘Mining My Own Business’ about life on a FIFO mining site is available now.