Of course David Hawker is a lousy Speaker. Deputy Speaker Peter Lindsay is probably even worse. And, yes, Tony Abbott behaves like a boor boy in the House. It’s one of the reasons why his career has reached its apex.

But it’s time for a reality check on yesterday’s grubby business in the House of Representatives that saw Julia Gillard tossed out for 24 hours for using just the same endearing term as the Mad Monk deployed last week against one of her colleagues .

Politics is a grubby business. And most Speakers aren’t that good, either. They’re usually time-servers who aren’t good enough to be ministers, but get the job as it’s felt they deserve some recognition for their loyal service to their party. They’re not independent. They remember what happened to the last Speaker who tried to do his job properly, Jim Cope.

And while Gillard may have been suspended from the House for 24 hours, it can’t have done her career any harm.

Lots and lots of coverage – and the admiration of her colleagues for setting herself up to be the victim of the Howard Government’s “double standards writ large”.

Peter Fray

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