Today marks the return of the political juggernaut that some of us love to hate, some of us just downright detest and the select few, like me just love for all the noisy, angry and at times theatrical performances. We are in a unique position for this week seemingly knowing ahead of time who or what policy will be in the political cross-hairs for at least the week ahead. That takes away some of the anticipation but the dramatic performances and the unknown factors, including the new Speaker, Peter Slipper point to a, politically at least, edge of your seat week.
So first we turn to what we can reasonably assume will come as far as the questions go from both sides of the both chambers and the cross-bench MPs lucky enough (for them) to be asking a question.
The Coalition have signalled their intentions over the early weeks of this year to pursue Craig Thomson, the Member for Dobell relating to his time with the Health Services Union. It is no secret that the ruthless intensity behind this is in part because of the tight nature of the parliament and it will continue in Question Time this week.
In pursuing the Government over the handling of Craig Thomson, the questions will likely focus on two or three factors: why Craig Thomson still has the support of the Prime Minister, and on Fair Work Australia and why it is giving the growth 0f grass a run for its money. There are indications too that the Coalition will pursue claims of political interference.
The Government on the other hand has signalled recently that they will aim to highlight what they perceive its strength to be, the economy and the dreaded “Dorothy Dixer” will provide them that opportunity. The Gillard Government will likely not focus on the state of the budget, which looks even more likely to remain in deficit again, but the perceived comparative strength with other global economies.
Now to the comparative unknown factor, the impact the new Speaker will have over the House of Representatives. The main question most in political circles will be asking in relation to Mr Slipper is how many Coalition MPs will be either warned or booted under the Standing Order we all should refer to as the “coffee break order”, the 94a.
Another eventuality in the back of your mind should be a possible censure motion anywhere between 3-3:30pm AEDT with the Opposition Leader stepping up to the Despatch Box to outline the failings of the Gillard Government.
There are only a few hours to go before the sport that is Question Time kicks off and the events play themselves out in some glorious shouting and acting worthy of an AACTA or perhaps more appropriate, a Logie. It will be an eventful week and I for one am intrigued by the prospects of an exciting week, so from 2pm AEDT all I can say is, get watching!