question time tony abbott
(Image: AAP/Alan Porritt)

The fun police are at it again, this time trying to squeeze the last drops of joy, humour and life out of the dispiriting beigeness of federal parliament, with a new inquiry threatening an overhaul of question time. A review, chaired by Queensland Liberal MP Ross Vasta, is set to consider setting time limits, clamping down on heckling and scrapping "Dorothy Dixer" questions

Of course, there’s a fair argument to be made that question time is a bit of a farce, a source of endless negativity and an opportunity for politicians to let off a bit of steam; hitting their opponents with a string of schoolyard jibes under the protection of parliamentary privilege. There's also an argument that it promotes the idea of politics as merely a game; a grand bit of theatre to rev up the hacks rather than something that has a profound influence on people’s real lives.