Federal

Jul 11, 2014

Coalition’s week of triumph ends in debacle and dismay

This week's Senate debacle demonstrates the need for the Abbott government to dramatically lift its games -- but can it?

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Many things can go wrong when you’re trying to get legislation through a chamber you don’t control. Crossbenchers need to be placated and their concerns met. If you’re in the Coalition, sometimes you even need to placate your own backbenchers, especially Nationals. You need to get the timing of the vote right, because the Senate’s laborious way of doing business can condemn bills to purgatory unless it’s aggressively managed. Amendments need to be carefully prepared to make sure they fit the bill they’re amending and the legislation that bill is changing, if necessary, and the legislative paraphernalia that may be needed for them, like amended explanatory memoranda and regulatory impact statements, prepared. Documents need to be printed and circulated before votes, in accordance with Senate procedures. Departmental officials and lawyers, and ministerial staff, have to work closely together to make sure everything runs  smoothly — and that’s before they all cram into the advisers’ box down the front end of the chamber, usually with several kilos of folders between them, to help guide ministers through the process.

25 comments

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25 thoughts on “Coalition’s week of triumph ends in debacle and dismay

  1. klewso

    As Kermit said to Miss Piggy(?) “You reap what you sow.”

  2. zut alors

    That ‘week of triumph’ mentioned in the headline occurred way back in September 2013.

    Since then it’s been all downhill – some weeks with more breakneck speed than others.

  3. klewso

    “Abetz, Abetz. Twenty cents for Abetz!”?
    Toady’s Limited News Party left the prosecution of Utegate to the same Tasmaniac?

  4. klewso

    Bernard?
    You don’t reckon Toady trowelled on his praise for achievements of the Japanese WWII war machine too thickly?

    [Again, it’s sort of a pity that Toady hasn’t made some attempt to attract a few adults into his kitchen cupboard to show him how to play government?]

  5. UTS LIBRARY

    “foreign policy doesn’t matter to punters”..maybe it doesn’t Bernard, until you start praising the skills and honour of the Japanese military.

  6. Ross

    Tut, Tut, Bernard. Bismarck never uttered the laws and sausages quote, though I grant that several other sources have made the same mis-attribution over time. The quote has had many fathers, but perhaps it has morphed from this original saying: “One would risk being disgusted if one saw politics, justice, and one’s dinner in the making.” That is attributed to French writer Nicolas de Chamfort (1741-1794) – one of several aliases. Nonetheless, the Iron Chancellor is the author of several other eminently quotable remarks, such as “Politics is the art of the possible” and “Preventive war is like committing suicide for fear of death”.

  7. Bill Hilliger

    I can see rAbbott, Abetz, Hunt, Conman et al heading off to Sri Lanka in a leaky boat to seek political asylum.

  8. Graeski

    Every day that this tawdry, dishonourable, dishonest, incompetent lot is immobilised is another day less they have to damage our democracy and a day closer to when we’ll able to get rid of them.

  9. Ross

    Will someone someday call Abbott for what he really is – a crawling little bastard with a penchant for cringing, arse-licking comments which even Ming Menzies (he of the ‘I did but see her passing by….’ vomitous utterance) would have found unctuous. There seems to be no limit to the depths he would crawl in servile supplication. First there was Santamaria, then Pell, then Howard and then the two indies in the last parliament to whom he offered his own arse. There have been furtive dalliances with the Murdoch and Packer clans and in his Prime Ministerial pomp there have been his flings with Harper and now Abe. Nothing is beyond this fulsome fool. Has ‘brown-tongue Tony’ ever met an arse he wouldn’t lick? His actions demean us all. Sorry, I’ll take a Bex and have a good lie down.

  10. Emoticom

    It is sort of enjoyable to see the party that was so relentless in jeering at and undermine Julia Gillard behaving in this shambolic manner. The much vaunted ‘discipline’ and ‘adult’ aspects of this government are difficult to discern and LNP backbenchers must be dismayed at the quality of leadership on display. We have yet to see the jockeying and ploys and compromises to get some tattered remnants of the budget into legislation. All this schadenfreude is satisfying in a way, but it does leave the country wallowing perilously with our terms of trade sinking, unemployment rising, and our international standing as a decent nation under review.

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