In October, 1980 the ‘Iron lady’ of British politics Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher announced at the Conservative Party Conference that “The lady’s not for turning”, which was greeted with ruptures of applause and cheers from MP’s and supporters. It became something of a Thatcherite motto. At the time Thatcher was under pressure to do a U-turn in regards to her economic policies. Thatcher was to stare-down her critics within and outside the Conservative Party.
Perhaps Bronwyn Bishop was conjuring up the spirit of the former ‘Iron Lady’ Thatcher and whom Bishop worships and attempts to emulates her in appearance and actions, and revels in being compared to Thatcher. When earlier this week she told the media that she would not be resigning from the Speaker’s Chair, she was conjuring up the spirit of Thatcher and attempted to stare down her critics in the same way the late Thatcher did. But, of course it’s not working. From what I know about Thatcher she never chartered a $5000 helicopter.
Meanwhile ‘Choppergate’ drags on and on with no apparent end in sight for the scandal to end. Bronwyn Bishop has got it into her head that we are her servants and she’ll do what she wants when she wants no matter the costs. Well I have a message for Bishop and her likes, she is our servant and we the people can decide how long she’ll be our servant for!
Now, I know it’s highly unlikely that the good burgess of Mackellar in the North Shore suburb of Sydney are going to suddenly rise-up with their pitch-folks and pikes and demand Bronwnnies head on a pike. But the good people of Mackellar on the North Shore, also don’t take too kindly to politicians wasting their taxes in such an extravagant manner. So who knows they just might take up with their pitch-folks and pikes yet! But, the rest of us common folk who live in this vast continent can write, phone and email our local federal members to register our disgust in her behaviour.
We should demand a clean up the system of politicians perks from a self-regulated system – which never works – to having an independently administered statutory body that oversees politician’s privileges. This will hopefully ensure the ‘chopper-gate’ fiasco is not repeated, but with politicians such as Bronwyn Bishop who knows.
The simple fact is the only reason this situation has come about is due to the poor leadership of a certain Prime Minister, Abbott. She was his ‘Captain Pick’ for the Speakers position as – a factional – pay back for her years of support, and to cause chaos to the Labor Party.
Although she’s razor sharp on parliamentary standing orders and history of the Westminster system, she is terrible at applying the same rules to herself and Liberal National Party side of politics. She has been accused of being the most partisan Speaker in the history of the House of Representatives and the numbers alone support that claim. She has named and thrown out well over 400 members of parliament, with 393 being from Labor.
Other politicians from either sides have been Speakers, even the disgraced Peter Slipper, with all his pomp and ceremony whilst in the position was considered a very good Speaker. My local Federal Member of Chisholm, Anna Burke, did a great job in a very rough parliament and so did Harry Jenkins. Bishop may have a great knowledge on parliamentary procedures, but she is biased in the way she applies those procedures.
The longer Abbott supports Bishop then the longer it will damage not only his government but his blind support for her also calls into question his leadership as well. A large number of the frontbench refuse to support her both publicly and privately, with the Treasurer Joe Hockey refusing to publicly support her. Either Bishop goes, or Abbott goes, it will have to be one or the other.