Bronwyn Bishop Running a “Protection Riot” for The Coalition
Dame Bronwyn Bishop is facing renewed pressure over her performance of Speaker of the House with Labor accusing her of running a “protection riot” for the Opposition.
In particular she stands accused of attending Liberal party room meetings where parliamentary tactics and strategies are devised and plotted amongst Coalition colleagues.
Dame Bishop’s predecessors Anna Burke and Harry Jenkins did not attend party room meetings in order to avoid such a blatant conflict of interest.
The Speaker of the House is obliged to conduct herself impartially however this responsibility appears to have escaped Ms Bishop since she assumed the role.
Yesterday former speaker Anna Burke said that question time was beginning to resemble a “protection racket” for the Liberal Party under Ms Bishop.
“People are fast losing their patience with a House of Representatives and a question time that looks less like ministers being held to account and looks more like a protection racket to protect Tony Abbott from ever having to answer a question,” Mr Burke said.
“Ministers have to be accountable through the Parliament to the Australian people and the smirks, the jibes, the different ways that the parliament has descended, I don’t believe reflect well on this Parliament or this government.”
Bishop’s alliance to the Liberal Party was palpable when she refused to admonish Lady Christopher Pyne for referring to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten as “Electricity Bill” last year.
Under House rules, MPs are expected to refer to other MPs by their ministerial title, parliamentary office or their electoral division.
However, rather than withdrawing the slur, an appalled Lady Pyne accused Labor of “attacking” the Speaker saying that the so-called “attacks” amounted to “bullying”.
“I know Bronwyn Bishop pretty well,” said Lady Pyne.
“She is a pretty tough character and I am sure she can take it but that doesn’t mean that the Labor Party should be able to get away with the incredible rudeness that they demonstrate in the chamber.”