The Sydney Morning Herald‘s Mike Seccombe has virtually written this piece for me.

“David Hawker is the most inept and partisan speaker since Labor’s egregious Leo McLeay gave up the chair 13 years ago,” he says today.

“Sure, the statistics give an impression of speakerly authority. Over the past two weeks Hawker has set a record for ejecting Labor MPs. But you only have to sit in the chamber to know the stats don’t tell the truth.” You bet.

“It has been impossible to hear much of what was being said over the past two sitting weeks,” Secco continues. “Most of the noise has come from the Labor side, but it has been sorely provoked. And Hawker mostly sits there, impotently.

“But yesterday, midway through another out-of-control question time, he did try. He interrupted the rant by the Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, and the Opposition heckling to remind MPs ‘that the voters of Australia deserve better’.

“Hawker also cut short the answers of three ministers.

“But it made little difference. Peter Costello blew kisses at Opposition MPs, Alexander Downer baited them with suggestions they were pro-terrorist, and Tony Abbott was his usual outrageous self. At least one of them should have been kicked out…”

Let’s just have a look at the Hansard of that “deserve better” bit. Page 65. Kevin Andrews was answering a dixer:

That is all we hear from the Leader of the Opposition. I looked up the dictionary to see if there were some synonyms for ‘carping’, and there are—complaining, moaning, nitpicking, fault finding and rousing. That is all we hear from the Leader of the Opposition— complaining, nitpicking, fault finding and carping all the time.

Opposition members interjecting—

The SPEAKER—Order! I remind members that the voters of Australia deserve better.

Opposition members interjecting—

The SPEAKER—I will restate that: the voters of Australia deserve better from their elected representatives— and that includes their behaviour in this House…

That second “Opposition members interjecting” was virtually the entire ALP pointing at the Government – over its IR legislation – and kacking themselves. They were all very polite, though, after Hawker had “restated.”

Unfortunately, you can’t see Mr Speaker’s face from the Press Gallery seats. It would have been interesting. Then again, there mightn’t be anything to see, he’s lost so much face over the last sitting fortnight.