by Gareth Hughes
This week the Speaker revealed he has been receiving numerous emails about “absolutely disgraceful” behaviour in the House.
From the Hansard:
‘…Order! Now look, order. I apologise to Dr Russel Norman but the noise will…Order!…The house will settle down, this is absolutely disgraceful.
Members of the public watching this will email me this afternoon about how disgusted they are by some of the behaviour – it’s happened too often this week, I’ve had too many such communications this week, and I don’t like that reaction from the public.’
I think it is fantastic people are contacting him and making comment about the level of debate and of MPs behaviour in their Parliament.
I think MPs do themselves no favours with their behaviour in the House.
I support robust debate but often debates get bogged down into petty point scoring, name-calling and rude behaviour. Question Time becomes dominated by pointless points of order which seem more to boost some members’ egos than improving parliamentary process. I believe is one of the reasons why voters are turning away in droves from engaging is the lack of respect for other members and for intelligent debate in the House. The sad thing is that it has gone on for so long it has become normal and acceptable.
Parliament can improve its behaviour and still maintain robust debate but it’s not up to just the Speaker; it’s up to all MPs.
If you’d like to see better conduct in the House keep emailing the Speaker: Lockwood.Smith@parliament.govt.nz