Question Time Ahead of Time

The second Question Time of the political year is only hours away and if the short affair yesterday is any indication then it will certainly be another rowdy affair. Yesterday questions were dominated by the topic of the ec0nomy, albeit from different angles from either side of politics. Nevertheless the Craig Thomson affair was broached as was a dental scheme in Medicare by the Greens MP for Melbourne Adam Bandt.

The Coalition does look set to continue to focus on the economy in their questioning of the Gillard Government in relation to spending and therefore the NBN as well as taxation, read the Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) and the carbon tax. The investigation of Craig Thomson by Fair Work Australia (FWA) should also be featured, likely more than yesterday. Whether or not the questions are about the Gillard Government having faith in the MP or the body conducting the investigation is another story, though for my mind it is likely both would be canvassed, even in the same individual question.

The Government as they did yesterday will also likely focus on the economy as it has been foreshadowed as the issue of focus in recent weeks, the Government conceiving it as a comparative strength. Questions will likely focus on what benefits people will get from the spending and taxation the government has undertaken or has legislated to undertake. The ALP Government through its Prime Minister and Treasurer will also likely focus on the Australian economy with other economies, particularly European ones.

One unpredictable factor is the issues that will be canvassed by whichever Independent MP/s will be given the opportunity to answer a question, though you can be sure that if it is one of the rural and regional MPs, the questions will either be on further regional assistance or a “half-dixer” on issues the Gillard Government agreed to support them on in return for helping deliver the ALP minority government.

Another factor in the boisterous affair that is Question Time, as far as the House of Representatives is concerned will be robed Speaker Peter Slipper who has brought new rules to bear in the conduct of Question Time. From yesterday on, the Speaker indicated that there will be no warning of MPs who are too disorderly, the dreaded 94a now at risk of being used on a more regular basis.

The Speaker also flagged further changes to Question Time in relation to the time length of both questions and answers. This is a very positive development and with a reduction in time out goes some of the mindless rubbish and confected anger that all too often invades Question Time.

The scene is set, the participants in Canberra are ready for the main event that is Question Time in just under 4 hours from time of writing. Will my predictions play out, unlike my Coalition predictions yesterday? Will I be blindsided again, predicting the wrong parliamentary tactics? Be watching or listening at 2pm AEDT to find out.

About Tom Bridge

A perennial student of politics, providing commentary for money and for free. Email me at tbridgey@gmail.com or contact me on 0435 035 095 for engagements.

Posted on February 8, 2012, in Federal Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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