Slipper Sticks in the Boot; Wide Bay Member's Perfect Record Blotted as Former Opponent Peter Slipper Sinks the Boot in Parliament

Article excerpt

Christine

Harch

Reporter

IT LOOKS like payback, but parliamentary standing orders prevent long-time Federal Member for Wide Bay Warren Truss from commenting on twice being suspended from parliament in as many sitting days, a first in his 21 years of political life.

Mr Truss was first elected to parliament in 1990, having won National Party pre-selection in 1989 over current Speaker Peter Slipper and has held the seat ever since.

Parliament sits about 20 weeks a year a 17 times this year. Mr Truss has never been suspended in those 21 years.

For some federal members of parliament, being suspended is almost a regular event during sitting times.

The first time Mr Truss' good record was broken was on Thursday, February 16, when Prime Minister Julia Gillard was giving an answer to a question on the economy and job losses. Mr Truss interjected with two words a agrowing painsa a a reference to a previous statement be Ms Gillard likening job losses to growing pains.

HIS second parliamentary suspension came on Monday, February 27, when he spoke one word aoutrageousa, to describe his reaction to Mr Slipper ending deputy leader of the opposition Julia Bishop before her allotted time to speak was up, while she was engaged in a debate.

Mr Truss yesterday said that in the history of parliament only Menzies, Howard, Anthony and Sinclair had been ejected and he was in aquite select company.a

aIn the old days you could go to jail (for criticising the Speaker). It's not that dramatic now.a

Party members and front-benchers are allowed to speak for an allotted time.

Members can be suspended for interjecting under section 94A of the Standing Orders. …