As a conservative real good news stories have been rather thin on the ground of late but the news that the cardboard cut out strategy has now successfully illustrated the folly of Brother Number One‘s attempt to pervert the nature of our parliament brings a much need victory to our side of the house.
The backdown came as the Coalition says it was about to launch a High Court challenge to the controversial sitting, which did not have question time, divisions or quorums.
The Opposition, objecting to the Prime Minister not being in Parliament, spectacularly disrupted the one Friday sitting held. One disruptive act involved bringing into the House a cardboard cut-out of Kevin Rudd, who was out of Canberra on the day. The House was suspended twice amid wild scenes.
Shadow attorney-general George Brandis and shadow justice minister Christopher Pyne said the Opposition had an opinion from “Australia’s most senior silk”, Tom Hughes, QC, that supported its belief that Friday sittings with no division or quorum arrangements violated the constitution.
Section 39 says that “until Parliament otherwise provides, the presence of at least one third of the whole number of the members of the House of Representatives shall be necessary to constitute a meeting of the House”.
Mr Hughes supported the Opposition argument that prohibiting quorum calls, so allowing the House to sit without a quorum, was unconstitutional. But the Government says the quorum is only needed at the start of the day and that it has legal advice to support this.
But of course what should horrify the people of Australia is that such ersatz sittings were introduced by the Ruddites in the first place…