Parliamentary Code of Conduct stillborn

June 13th, 2007 at 8:21 am by David Farrar

The proposed parliamentary code of conduct appears to be dead already.

I tend to agree with Cullen and Brownlee, that changing standing orders is the only effective way to regulate conduct. A code which states:

We will show respect for other Members. We will behave in a manner that enhances the dignity and decorum of the House. We will debate the issues raised and refrain from personal attacks.

was going too far. I’m not defending personal attacks, but what one personal calls a personal attack, another may call accountability. Were the questions about the conduct of Taito Phillip Field a personal attack?

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15 Responses to “Parliamentary Code of Conduct stillborn”

  1. Inventory2 () says:

    “We will show respect for other Members. We will behave in a manner that enhances the dignity and decorum of the House. We will debate the issues raised and refrain from personal attacks.”

    Does it also say “We will disappear from the public consciousness after the next election.”?

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  2. Mark () says:

    If you look at the issue objectively, it’s clear that the code of conduct was never going to happen — nor was it intended to happen. As DPF points out, a code of conduct is far too nebulous; it would be easy to abuse (i.e hide behind it to avoid criticism) and easy to circumvent (i.e. personal attacks under the guise of legitimate questions).

    That was always more about grandstanding by the minor parties, and challenging the public perception that “all politicians are bastards” than it was about real changes within the house.

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  3. Peter S () says:

    Does the code of conduct have a section on- “We will not steal taxpayers money to illegally fight the next election?”

    Thought not.

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  4. Graeme Edgeler () says:

    Peter S – I guess you should have read it then. It actually does.

    “6 Ensuring proper use of public resources

    We will apply public resources prudently and only for the purposes for which they are intended.”

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  5. dad4justice () says:

    The conduct of Parliament is a disgrace totally devoid of respect and dignity !!!

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  6. Peter S () says:

    Graeme,

    Problem is that most of em would argue that that is exactly what they did last time.

    But yeah, I should have read it first.

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  7. Rumpole () says:

    A speaker with integrity commanding respect would be a good start – IE get rid of the current arsehole.

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  8. Rumpole () says:

    A speaker with integrity commanding respect would be a good start – IE get rid of the current arsehole.

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  9. Craig Ranapia () says:

    Um, much as I hate to give props to Michael Cullen, he has a point when he says this:
    Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the House Michael Cullen suggested some of the signatories might have scribbled their names on it with their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks.

    “There are already rules in Parliament around parliamentary behaviour – the problem is not having a code of conduct, the problem is how do you enforce a code of conduct,” Dr Cullen said. “That’s down to the Speaker and the enforcement of the current rules.”

    Yes, all true as far as it goes. OTOH, some might ask whether Dr. Cullen – with his taste for snide bitchiness both inside the House and outside – is really setting the gold standard as someone who holds senior leadership roles in Parliament, Cabinet, as well as his parliamentary caucus and party organisation.
    While I certainly think Madame Speaker should get her spine out of hock ASAP, it’s not fair to put all the responsibility on her shoulders either. No Speaker is responsible for caucus discipline, and nor should they be.

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  10. brian_smaller () says:

    “Were the questions about the conduct of Taito Phillip Field a personal attack?

    Yes, when he was supporting the PM. After that…not a chance.

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  11. baxter () says:

    In my view it would be much better if questions were spontaneous (no notice given). Speeches should be made without notes.

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  12. side show bob () says:

    I’m with Baxter, question time is a joke, why do they bother. But I would not like to see parlaiment have a sterile debating chamber where everyone is to scared to show their emotions least they offend someone. I know I could not speak in parliament for more then two minutes without pissing someone off and been thrown out. Politicians should have the right to add a bit of “colour” to their speaches they are after all suppose to be human not some mindless PC noddy.

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  13. Redbaiter () says:

    Who are the people writing these “codes”. Uneducated socialist barbarians I think, apparently completely incapable of appreciating the subjective nature of so much of what they write.

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  14. dad4justice () says:

    The Past is the Past – I live for the future wombat !!

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