This week's Question Time in Federal Parliament had only one difference from many others. The Opposition asked for a series of public. televised, debates on Health Policy. Prime Minister Rudd accepted.
It all came about because the Government used Question Time to bait, and deride, Tony Abbott's record as Federal Health Minister in John Howard's Government.
Question Time usually contains a few "Dorothy Dixer"s - questions from Government backbenchers that allow a Minister/Prime Minister to bag members of the Opposition. They usually shout back insults and the whole process degenerates into a slanging match of insults. So much for MP's concept of Parliamentary accountability and responsibility. It's all about cheap point-scoring and has nothing to do with acountability, responsibility, or establishing good policy. And so it has been for more than 20 years under Governments led by Keating, Hawke, Howard, and now Rudd. "You FRAUD", "You FAKE", "You LIAR", "You LOWLIFE" are what has passed for Parliamentary "robust debate" for far too long.
However, you can be sure that Messrs Rudd and Abbott will be on their best behaviour for the televised debates. They do not want the public seeing the the way they "debate" in Question Time. Yes, I know that's televised live, too; but the ratings? What ratings?
It is time that Parliamentary debates, and Question Time, are properly attended, and properly debated, without resort that by community standards is is both unparliamentary, and unacceptable.
You can write to the Prime Minister, and Leader of the Opposition at the following:
Prime Minster Rudd: http://www.pm.gov.au/PM_Connect/Email_your_PM
Tony Abbott: Tony.Abbott.MP@aph.gov.au