In the federal Parliament yesterday, the leader of the opposition, Mr Abbott, defied 112 years of convention, by seeking to have the Speaker of the House, Mr Slipper, dismissed after the publication of some text messages which revealed Mr Slipper to be a sexist misogynist.
Of course, Mr Abbott must have been aware that his friend of many years, Mr Slipper, was misogynistic. Mr Abbott himself is a misogynist, a point clearly made during the Prime Minister’s defence of the principle of the Independence of the Speaker. Mr Abbott’s hipocrisy was also on show for all to see.
The Prime Minister made it quite clear that the Speaker’s words were offensive. She was not defending the man – she was defending a fundamental principle of Speaker independence.
Mr Abbott has signalled that in any future Parliament where the coalition has the numbers to govern, the Speaker will only hold the post for as long as she/he does not displease the government. This is a trashing of the Westminster tradition and a sad day for democracy.
Mr Slipper had the grace to resign from the Speakership and apologise for the offense he caused. Mr Abbott should also resign as Leader of the Opposition and apologise for his misogyny and his trashing our parliamentary system.