Sunday, March 1, 2009

The PM is an ass

House of Representatives, Hansard, Tuesday 24th February 2009. Page 26.

Special Air Service Regiment

Mr ROBERT—On behalf of the members for Curtin and Paterson my question is to the Prime Minister.
What action has the Prime Minister personally taken to fix the appalling SAS pay scandal since he stood in front of our soldiers in Afghanistan on 22 December and told them, ‘I’m going to go home and spend Christmas with my wife and three kids and you’re not’? What does the Prime Minister say to the wives and kids of SAS soldiers serving in what he described as ‘the hellhole of Afghanistan’ whose pay has been docked and who have incurred debts because of the scandal his incompetent government refuses to fix?

Mr RUDD—In reference to the honourable member’s question, if he were to stand as I did, and other members have, with our forces serving in that environment and the dangers that they face, then the response — and the right response — to those brave soldiers is to say, ‘We are going home to Christmas, to be with our families, and you are going to be here.’ That is exactly what I said and the honourable member knows that. I would suggest that the honourable member seeking to ‘render’ my remarks in the way in which he has done reflects on him in a particular way.

Mr Robert—Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
As a former serving officer who has stood overseas in operations with our soldiers—although I was wearing a uniform, sir — I ask the Prime Minister to withdraw his comment as he seeks to make a personal reflection upon my service in our country’s uniform.

Opposition members interjecting —

The SPEAKER — Order! The Prime Minister has the call and I ask the Prime Minister to take some recognition of the comments just made by the member for Fadden. I say to the House that often there are things that occur on the run — and this nearly gets me entering into the answer that the Prime Minister is giving — that in other circumstances are given different interpretations.
I think that it is fair, whether it was a point of order or not, that I gave the opportunity for the member for Fadden to put the point that he has made. I think, if we leave it at that and get back to the matters that have been raised with the Prime Minister, it will assist the House.

Mr RUDD—As the honourable member has raised this, let me quote to the House the paragraph to which he refers. This was me in Afghanistan to the troops assembled:
It doesn’t make it any easier to be apart from them — that is, your family — at this time of year. I’m going to go home and spend my Christmas with my wife and three kids and you’re not. And I understand that’s hard.
But you know, at this time of year in particular, as the families of the nation settle down around a Christmas tree and share presents, the nation will be thinking of you as well.

Opposition members interjecting —

Mr Robert—Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
The first part of the question was: ‘What action has the Prime Minister personally taken to fix—

The SPEAKER—There is no point of order because the Prime Minister has concluded. I would remind people that there is a general warning.

Organ Donation
Ms RISHWORTH (3.28 pm)—My question is to ....
My question about organ donation is will someone give the straw man a brain?

I saw this exchange on Insiders... at 15:32. You know, the written word does not ooze as much "smug" as KRudd did in the house.


Skeeter said...

Thanks for finding that in Hansard, Kae. I had a brief, unsuccessful look for it before leaving home for the day.
The fact that it was aired on Insiders is a major breakthrough. Thanks to the media's cherry-picking of what they report from Parliament, the general population has no idea of what is happening in that place.
Question Time is a farce. The government ministers steadfastly refuse to give coherent, relevant answers to any questions from the Opposition. Instead, they recite rhetoric and then turn the question into an attack on the opposition. The Speaker is hopeless. Points of Order from the Opposition calling for relevance are invariably deflected by the Speaker with "The Prime Minister is addressing the question."
The latest ploy being used by Mr Rudd is, when relevance is raised by the opposition, Mr Rudd remains seated and indicates to the Speaker that he has finished his answer. You can see an example of this at the end of the Hansard account of Robert's question. Mr Rudd concludes his answer without making any reference to the core of the question.

Anonymous said...

Mr Speaker Sir certainly protected the ridiculour Rudd on that occasion. Mehaul.