Thursday, 9 August 2007

Waste of Question Time

Yesterday, as I quite often do, I sat down with my sandwich and watched the beginning of Question Time. A couple of things of interest... I will not say interesting things....happened.
First, the broadcast began about thirty seconds after the first question had been asked. (This didn't actually matter as it turned out that the same question was to be asked over and over again).
This caused the PM about three or four minutes in to actually deliberately recap on his opening let's not talk about what our government has done but about what the Hawke-Keating did.
This interested me because the recap was obviously done because somehow the PM must have found out his introductory remarks had not been broadcast, and he actually said something like ...For the benefit of those who may have missed it and for the broader audience...and then repeated his opening statement.
I didn't see anyone giving him any note to tell him that his opening marks had been missed. And I wondered whether he was wired so that someone was speaking into an earpiece (this would be the most satisfactory explanation of his seamless segue (pron: sɛgweɪ), but if it was so then it is a little sinister. To be fair I couldn't detect any such device. But it does make you wonder who this 'broader audience' is and why this was necessary.
Any way the second thing of interest, or disinterest really, was that Rudd just kept asking the same question about Howard's promises about not allowing interest rates to rise. Howard just refused to admit that he had made such a promise and deflected everything to talk about the Hawke-Keating government.
Rudd kept asking the same question. Howard gave the same answer.
It does make you ask: what is the point?
I know there is an argument that asking government questions is a democratic freedom we should treasure, but it has become so stylistic and predictable that a pretty good argument can also be made for the fact that it is simply a waste of time. Even if you add the paid time of Rudd and Howard together it seems something of a waste. Pity really!


Anonymous said...

I recently was present at question time in Canberra.
The amazing thing is the level of noise in the chamber, not heckling noise, but mp's just talking loudly to each other metres away.
Hardly anyone listens to the person speaking. And having asked a question, the power players don't listen to the answer either, but prepare for the next onslaught.
It was truly amazing.

stephen clark said...

Yes, it rather makes the point (dear Sister) that what ever else it might be about it is not about answering questions!