From a federal government as transparent as a dirty window comes a new low: now they want to silence the tweets …

As Labor MP Ed Husic revealed on Twitter, the Standing Committee on Procedure — made up of four Liberals and three Labor MPs — is conducting an inquiry into the “use of electronic devices in the [House of Representatives] chamber”. The committee’s chairman, government backbencher Don Randall, wants to examine how MPs use mobiles and tablets and engage with social media. As he told The Australian:

“There’s been a quantum leap in the use of technology and how it applies to the chamber and members.”

A leap too far for Prime Minister Tony Abbott, clearly, who has already banned his own MPs from engaging in political commentary on Facebook and Twitter. Because you wouldn’t want to debate public policy on platforms where voters actually are …

A cross-chamber gag would only serve to entrench what voters already think: that the business of Parliament is isolated from the people it’s supposed to represent.

Peter Fray

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