Oakeshott (II)

See the transcript below.

Oakeshott is not qualified for the Speakership:

  1. He is actively and publicly seeking the position, in contravention to precedent and the history of the Office. Candidates for the Speaker are supposed to be reluctant and dragged to the chair.
  2. He doesn’t understand the functions of the Speaker – in particular that the Speaker is to be non-partisan and to relinquish his or her rights to debate and vote (the latter enshrined in the Constitution and both long standing conventions in the lower house of Westminster Parliaments.
  3. His wants the Speaker to be paired – even though the Speaker has no vote to be paired against
  4. He is a perpetual office seeker – first, with Iemma, then with a ministerial position with Gillard and now with the Speakership.

The transcript below underlines these points.


House or Representatives Practice, 3rd edition, p.179, quoting May’s Parliamentary Practice (21st edition, 1996), p.181 [May’s, first published in 1844, is the standard reference for practice in the House of Commons in the UK]

Confidence in the impartiality of the Speaker is an indispensable condition of the successful working of procedure, and many convention exist which have as their object not only to ensure the impartiality of the Speaker, but also to ensure that his impartiality is generally recognised. He takes no part in debate either in the House or in committee. He votes only when the voices are equal, and then only in accordance with rules which preclude an expression of opinion upon the merits of a question.


Rob Oakeshott with Waleed Aly, ABC 774 Melbourne (Thursday 16/09/10)

Mornings with Waleed Aly, ABC 774 Melbourne with Rob Oakeshott (Independent Member for Lyne)

Thursday, 16th September 2010

I read this morning that you and Tony Windsor have rejected Tony Abbott’s overtures to switch your allegiance to the Coalition – a fairly swift move on his part I would have thought. Does that mean, though, that you’re not listening to any arguments that the Coalition are making about the broadband network and the idea that it should be scrapped?

Not at all… Confidence and supply are important issues for this Parliament to maintain for the full three years. but I thought it was a fantastic sign, yesterday, that Tony Abbott was talking constructive policy, not destructive policy, appointing Malcolm Turnbull…

To destroy the broadband network?

…The motivations are clear, but if this is going to turn into a contest between who can have the best broadband policy then that is great for public policy in Australia. So, I will happily assist Malcolm Turnbull. I think he’s got a good brain. I’m someone, you know, who thinks he’s a good contributor to the Australian parliament and to public policy, so I will happily engage on how the Coalition can have a better broadband policy into the future.

Why do you want to be Speaker?

I’ve said I’ll put my hand up if nominated. The way the parliamentary reforms have been written over the last twenty days, which included both political parties is that there is a pairing arrangement for all members of parliament, and that applies also to Speakers when they’re in the chair. So, for a non-aligned member of parliament, such as myself, what that means for the first time is not only there would be an independent Speaker separate from government, but you don’t lose the equivalence of your voting rights on the floor of the parliament. So, as the arrangement is now when someone is away or there is pairing arrangement between the parties what now would potentially happen, if it was to happen, would be that I would have to inform one of the Whips that I was going to vote the other way so they’ll have to take someone out. So, issue by issue, if well managed, it would work and work fine.

So you would have to say ahead of time which way you’re going to vote and then someone who is going to vote in the opposite direction would not vote?

Would get punted. Yeah, that’s right. And that happens now. I mean in regards to pairing arrangements in the parliament, and it’s got a nuance in the non-aligned members are now able to have pairing arrangements. That’s what’s got the two major parties having kittens at the moment. So, they’re just trying to work all that out.

You’re still forfeiting your vote, aren’t you?

No, well, you’ve got a non-voting right. So, you’ve got the equivalence of a vote; and as well in that position with the casting vote, if it does end up being an equal vote, and that’s going to happen in this parliament, the Speaker’s position has a casting vote. So, as a local member with those two, as well as the ability now through the reform process to participate in private members business, so, all the local members business both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker can participate in, there isn’t, in my view, that loss of the role that a local member can play, and that independence that goes with it.

That means you can’t introduce legislation for instance.

Well, you could… This is the exciting thing in this parliament, because in the past there hasn’t been the ability to vote on private members legislation. Now, in this parliament, there will be that ability. So, that would not be lost in the new parliament, and nor would that voting right, with this pairing arrangement. So, the reason for wanting to do it, in light of all of that, is without losing those local member abilities and values, this is going to be a parliament that going to take some work to keep running for the full three years. And I’m just saying I put my hand up to do my bit if my 149 colleagues were willing to support it.

How does this help your constituents, though?

Well, I think from, you know, on the cost benefit without losing all those local, you know, skills on the floor of the House, the ability to work the floor of the House, to have a day to day working relationship with both Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard in what is going to be a tight parliament, I think, has some advantages all of the time.

Do you have the experience for this given you’ve only been in parliament for two and half years?

This isn’t the job description, but I’ve been in public life for thirteen years. So, look anyone can have a go. I’m just saying I put my hand up and I’ll take the collective view of 149 colleagues if they go elsewhere. I think part of Australian society is the fair-go, and I’m just saying if, you know, because there is a real danger in this parliament that the two parties are unwilling to give up a vote in it being so tight, so my hand’s up. If there’s other hands that go up it becomes a secret ballot, and I think we’re all entitled to that, and win, lose, or draw I’ll accept the outcome.

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33 Responses to Oakeshott (II)

  1. C.L.

    Oakeshott on the rights of another member:

    “Would get punted. Yeah, that’s right.”


    “No, well, you’ve got a non-voting right. So, you’ve got the equivalence of a vote; and as well in that position with the casting vote…”

    Clearly unconstitutional – understood je jure or ‘against the spirit’ – but clearly unconstitutional.

  2. MarkL of Canberra

    “So, look anyone can have a go.”

    Sweet – I hereby announce my availability for the position of Speaker. Under Oakshottian concepts, each decision I make will be decided under Dutch Auction rules (nice and quick, decision guaranteed within 40 seconds or you get a free set of steak knives… OK, everyone but Her Stabbiness gets steaknives…), adn all profits will go to that noble charity, MarkL’s Home for Terminally Bewildered Blonde Blue Eyed Bougainvilleans.

    On a serious note, it’s infantile drivel like this that make me glad Oakshott is supporting the ALP. How can it end other than in tears?


  3. Peter Patton

    It’s very interesting how much of Australia has taken a dislike to Oakeshott. I was out with a mate last night, who still identifies as a Commie, and he was scathing, saying ‘he’s toast’.

  4. Peter Patton

    Mark L

    And I put my hand up to “pair” your vote! 🙂

  5. asf

    What a wanker. Ego and downright stupidity are not a good combination.

  6. This guy is very slick for an independent isn’t he? Aly tries to trip him up and he just skips right over it. I wonder how the people of Lynne feel about him?

    Apart from exacerbating the pairing arrangements making the whole business even slower he’s also talking about introducing bills as Speaker! Guys like this are why I prefer Westminister systems to the US style.

  7. He doesn’t sound stupid to me, he sounds very much the slick technocrat.

  8. I agree with Adrien. Country don’t mean dumb and Diamond Joe Oakeshott is living proof of that.

    Waleed “stood for the ALP” Aly… The what, nine thousandth ALP agent at TheirABC? Not even trying to disguise the bias any more.

  9. Peter Patton

    It’s been very revealing watching how luvvie Melbourne has anointed Waleed Aly as its next ‘public intellectual’.

  10. Matt

    “Well, I think from, you know, on the cost benefit without losing all those local, you know, skills on the floor of the House”

    Um, does anyone have any clue as to what that means? Even taking into account the ability of verbatim quotes to make someone sound inarticulate, that is just word salad …

    If either major party agree to appoint him as Speaker – with a bogus “pair”, the ability to take part in debates and the ability to introduce legislation – it will end in tears.

    To tinker with long standing parliamentary conventions for short term petty political advantage will weaken the parliament, not strengthen it.

  11. MarkL of Canberra

    Perhaps Oakshott is living proof of the old adage that it is better to remain silent and be suspected a fool than to open ones mouth and remove all doubt.

    His behaviour is not rational in the political sense. Alienating at least a large portion of ones electorate is silly (Katter’s option was much smarter – his electorate will not punish him for trying, then for partially siding with people they more generically ‘fit’), but Oaky has ticked off the Coalition too.

    Now he has got the ALP shaking their heads and wondering WTF he is on about. Lots of snark about him coming from the south side of the lake right now.

    The rest of Australia is rapidly coming to the conclusion that he’s a dill.

    Hope the bloke has a big and close family, because with this record to date he’s going to need them. Soon.


  12. DavidJ

    Shitshott is going to have a private mental breakdown in the next 3-9 months, then publicly declare that he wants to spend more time with his young family. Further, the press conference announcing his paternally driven decision will go for no less than 45 minutes. During which he will announce- that if Masterchef nominate him to appear on their show, he will.

  13. JC

    I’m with DavidJ. Oakenshitt is gonna have a mental breakdown sooner rather than later.

    I think he’s starting to realize that he’s perhaps the most disliked individual in the country and as that starts to become more apparent to him and less in denial he’ll end up in a mental health ward because he won;t be able to take it.

  14. Pedro the Ignorant

    Can you believe this carpetbagging spiv?
    Makes the Shamwow spruiker sound like David Attenborough in comparison.

  15. Peter Patton

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he was a muslim actually.

  16. Michael Sutcliffe

    And the obvious:

    5. He talks too much and most of it is shit.

  17. Dandy Warhol

    I think it’s now clear to most people that Oakeshott is in it for himself.

    Yep, he’s toast.

  18. Peter Patton

    It’s Official!

    In further testimony to the role played by blogs in the dumbing down of the Australian university left, Australia’s most clueless raincoat-wearing political hick is rooting for the provincial prodigal son.


  19. C.L.


    I notice the MSM is finally reporting on the Constitutional dimensions to this hare-brained debacle.

    Samuel was all over this before anyone cottoned on.

  20. C.L.

    Ken Parish echoes points made on the other thread about section 36 (absence of the Speaker) and section 40 (casting vote only).

    Also, read Parish’s comments. He also reports that eminent constitutional law academic George Williams has told him that his post’s conclusions are correct.


    … the principle cannot simply be ignored and trashed as Gillard appears to be contemplating to indulge the whims of a spoiled Independent whose support she needs. The problem with that is that she may by so doing force the High Court to make a ruling on the meaning of these sections where a more prudent PM would respect the flexible but real boundaries of unwritten principles on which the Westminster system depends. I completely agree with these comments by the Coalition’s Christopher Pyne.

  21. pedro

    If Oakeshott gets his way and holds the speakership and essentially functions as a full MP then the long term result will either be the final destruction of the semblence of independence or a collective revulsion leading to real reform. I predict the first option is the more likely.

  22. Timothy Can

    “Candidates for the Speaker are supposed to be reluctant and dragged to the chair.”

    Once again the OP is displaying naivete. The dragging to the chair is parliamentary theatre. They *pretend* to be reluctant. I’m pretty sure people have actively sought the office before. It comes with quite a lot of money and some prestige.

    CL: The quoted text from Parish is not his post and is therefore not the material that George Williams (allegedly) endorsed.

  23. Peter Patton

    Hold on. Just as a matter of logic, don’t ALL MPs potentially hold the casting vote? If the numbers are equal, bar one vacillating MP, doesn’t said vacillator’s vote constitute said casting vote?

  24. Gab

    What amuses me is that there was no issue with Harry Jenkins as Speaker before this brat Dopeshitt decided he wanted to be the center of attention – I mean the Speaker. So why now is he pushing to replace a Speaker respected by both sides of the political divide? Why is he so keen to get the job?

    And whilst the attention is all about him, it means that less attention is being paid to other matters in relation to running the country. This guy a prima donna looking for a stage to prance on.

  25. Arnost

    “doesn’t said vacillator’s vote constitute said casting vote?”

    Nope… the Speaker’s “casting vote” is only used when the “deliberative” votes are KNOWN to have extinguished each other. And a “vacilliator” has no idea which way his/her “deliberative” vote would influence the result.

  26. .

    I reckon Oakeshott wants to be President in a few years time when Betsy pops her clogs and our legislators and drafters get their act together.

    What if he’s good at his job? Do we vote for the republic and vote him in as President?

  27. DavidJ

    What if he’s good at his job?

    Unless Shitshott gets a substantial personality, brain and insight transplant- no chance whatsoever.

    My diagnosis is one part hypermania, one part bipolar.

  28. C.L.

    Stop being a prideful sourpuss, Tim. You were wrong.

    “George Williams has advised me that he agrees with the above analysis, although that doesn’t seem to completely square with his remarks as reported by the ABC.”

    – Ken Parish.

    Parish’s analysis is negative and contemptuous as regards the constitutionality of Speaker pairing.

  29. Garpal Gumnut

    The ole Oak is an extremely ambitious man. I agree that he is totally unfit to be speaker. The power would go to his head.


  30. C.L.

    ‘Pairing’ Speaker a recipe for chaos, legal experts warn.

    ROB Oakeshott’s parliamentary reform deal with Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott could open the way to High Court challenges to laws passed under the agreement.

    Legal experts warned yesterday that granting a parliamentary “pair” to the new Speaker of the House of Representatives – ensuring the Speaker’s vote was cancelled out by a member with the opposite position – breached the spirit of the Constitution and would invite a legal challenge.

    The warning, from leading constitutional lawyer Geoff Lindell, raises doubts about the validity of key parts of an agreement struck by Labor and the Coalition with independent MPs over the powers of the Speaker.

    Professor Lindell’s view is in line with that of legal academic Greg Craven, the vice-chancellor of the Australian Catholic University, who argued that the parliamentary reform agreement ran contrary to the intention of the Constitution.

    “What the agreement does is allow the Speaker almost to vote negatively by taking one vote off one side of parliament,” Professor Craven said. “It gives the Speaker a negative vote.” This meant the “parliamentary reform” agreement was “pushing against the intention of the Constitution”.

    Not justiciable, hey Tim?

  31. Timothy Can

    CL You seem to be constitionally incapable of honest dialog so I wont bother responding to you further.

  32. 1. Saying you’ll accept a nomination if nominated is not seeking the speakership. It is accepting a nomination.

    2. An Independent is the only sort of person in the house that can be non-partisan

    3. I’ll concede since I know so little about pairing

    4. contentious at best. 1 may have been sought, the other was offered and for the final one seen point 1.

  33. Confusious

    Dear Co-sufferers
    May I suggest for a bit of light entertainment to visit Oakshott’s official website. It’s hillarious and provides deep insight into his background and shows that he was previously involved with both labor and greens on state level. It also shows that in all his life so far he did not bother to do much of real work, instead joining politics as soon as he crept out of university. Only hard work he mentions is procreation with fourth mini-me on the horizon. That’s really frightening. Worse than Alien…..

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