Greens in trouble with the establishment again

You might think that Parliament could do with the occasional hug to make up for all the bullshit and bullying that goes on, but not in Oz where you can get threatened with, wait for it, “gross disorder under standing order 203” for hugging a visiting Green MP.

No hugs thank you, we’re senators

Monday Dec 4 12:55 AEDT

Ridicule, belittlement and backstabbing may be an everyday part of exchanges in parliament, but senators have been banned from hugging visiting MPs.

Greens leader Bob Brown has received a stern letter from the Senate’s president Paul Calvert, after he hugged New Zealand Greens MP Metiria Turei on the floor of the chamber during question time on Tuesday.

Ms Turei had been among a delegation of visiting New Zealand MPs who had been granted special permission to sit on the floor of the Senate. Spotting his old friend, Senator Brown approached Ms Turei and gave her a hug.

Senator Brown on Thursday received a letter from Senator Calvert, warning him that his actions were “disorderly”.

“On November 28, 2006, you approached guests who were seated on the floor of the Senate chamber as a special courtesy as a visiting parliamentary delegation,” Senator Calvert’s letter said.

“I reminded you at the time that it is disorderly to approach distinguished visitors in the chamber.

“If you persist in defying the authority of the chair, I will have to review the policy of allowing guests from other parliaments the courtesy of sitting on the floor of the Senate.

“I will also be likely to report you to the Senate for gross disorder under standing order 203.”

Senator Brown said Senator Calvert had “gone orbital” about the hug. “He should concentrate more on real misbehaviour in the chamber as Christmas approaches and tempers fray,” he said.

“A few hugs will not go astray – I think they should be encouraged.” Senator Brown said there was no rule preventing members of the House of Representatives greeting chamber guests.

A spokesman for Senator Calvert said it was disorderly to approach guests seated on the floor of the Senate because it disrupted question time.

“This has been ruled by the president on two previous occasions, and those rulings have been published and are well known to all senators,” he said.

“It is nothing to do with preventing anyone being ‘welcomed’. Senators are free … to talk to such guests in the lobbies adjacent to the chamber.

“But going up and talking to people disrupts the process of asking and answering questions, which is the purpose of question time.

14 Comments Posted

  1. I have seen both women and men behaving in ways that I thought inappropriate. It’s a shame.

    Places get a culture that can get entrenched, and that drives out some really good people who don’t fit into that culture. It would be nice to see a healthier culture in Parliament and elsewhere. By this I mean a culture that I think is healthier – where people don’t always agree, but treat each other with honesty and respect.

  2. just a spirited defence of ‘blokes’ here eredwen.. obviously haven’t seen judith collins in full ‘nasty’ mode..

    that act person/former mp..(newman?).cor..!..she was a right purler..wasn’t she..?

    .jenny shipley..?…’strewth’ richardson..?

    to my mind the gutting of the social welfare system by those two was light years more offensive than any male ‘pissing contests’….

    and it is also a woman who has compunded those offenses…by not ‘putting them right’ when it has been within her power to do so..

    and of course it was her who trumpeted ‘working for families’…

    that most recent kick in the guts to benificiaries..

    and you’ve obviously not met some of the ‘women’/sisters who work at work and income…

    some of them’d be as nasty as you can get….

    nastiness compounds quite tidily with abuse of limited powers..

    and is not necessarily gender-specific…eredwen..(tsk old sexist you..!..)



    and you’ll notice i haven’t i haven’t even gone near the green ‘ladies’ of our mutual

    no nasty backstabbing stuff going on

    esp. during the leadership!…

    (there’s a right potboiler of a story just

  3. eredwen Says:

    December 8th, 2006 at 12:07 am

    Well said!
    Almost invariably the badly behaviour is from male MPs.

    For these puerile performers, “pissing contests�, “put downs� and other publicity seeking behaviour doesn’t stop at primary school.

    Very tedious! …and to mimick our rightwing contributors here …
    “I OBJECT to my hard earned tax money going to pay their unearned salaries.�


    I would have thought that you might have moved on from the school yard, these “girls are better than boys” arguments are tedious and immature, sadly it seems that the sisterhood is alive and well in the Greens.

    I suppose you take no notice of the “put downs” and other “publicity seeking behaviour” so common in the wimin of the left.

    I am constantly amazed that you have such little time for those who disagree with you, I am seeing a new side of Green politics here, it is a side that I do not like very much.

  4. Prim:

    Well said!
    Almost invariably the badly behaviour is from male MPs.

    For these puerile performers, “pissing contests”, “put downs” and other publicity seeking behaviour doesn’t stop at primary school.

    Very tedious! …and to mimick our rightwing contributors here …
    “I OBJECT to my hard earned tax money going to pay their unearned salaries.”

  5. Re frog’s comment above about behaviour in Parliament, I dislike the behaviour of various MPs in the House that I have seen on television. I have got the impression that they are like a bunch of immature, horrible children, with a few mature adults sprinkled around.

    I would like to say that the kind of behaviour to which frog refers would not be tolerated in any professional office environment, but it goes on there as well. “Politics”. It drives decent people out.

    There has to be a better way.

  6. kiore1 –

    Because the bumper sticker said so!

    Seriously, BJ, I too believe in questioning authority – or making constructive suggestions – when I think that it is reasonable to do so. You may have found that approach quite useful in your work. In my experience, “authorities” often change their views and approaches anyway.

  7. Why ask why?

    This little phrase from a beer commercial spawned my epiphany about why religion exists AND gives comfort to people despite its absence of substance.


  8. In spite of my railing against bumper sticker philosophies I remember one from the Vietnam era.

    “Question Authority”


    [Who still does it – we get older but we never grow up]

  9. The rule does seem a bit strange. Not sure if the application of the rule had anything to do with the interaction being a hug though.

    There is a psychological theory of “moral development” – quite an old one, and I am not sure of its current standing – which said that people go through stages, seven or so in all. Fourth or fifth stage is blind adherence to rules. The author of the textbook that I read said that much of the population of the USA is at that “blind adherence” stage. (I think it may have been a US textbook. Quite an old one.)

    Rules are there for reasons, and sometimes it can be better for everyone if people just get on with business without incessantly challenging every rule around. However, sometimes the reasoning behind rules is pretty shaky.

  10. A fabulous comment on the acceptance-without-question of entrenched (social) behaviours/mores.

    Human populations sems to be divided into “how?’ people and “why?” people … two different ways of operating within any situation.

    The Greens that I know have been “why?” people without exception.

    In this case “Why was that rule there?” “Probably to stop physical fighting and “lewd” or sexist behaviour.”
    “A mutual Green greeting hug for a friend and colleague does not go against the aim of this rule” … “Kia ora Met!”

    … and the “How?” people say “OOOH! That is not how the RULE says things are to be done here.” “He broke the rule.” “He must be punished.” “(… “and look at the points we can score in the process!)”

    Nothing is new in the Human Zoo!

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