21 Feb. 2008

Liberal MP Steven Ciobo Forcibly Removed From Parliament

Tsk tsk:
A Liberal MP has been forcibly removed from the House of Representatives after he defied an order from the Speaker to leave the chamber.

Steven Ciobo, the Member for Moncrieff, was escorted from the lower house on Friday by the Sergeant-at-Arms on the orders of Speaker Harry Jenkins.

Opposition frontbencher Tony Abbott was also asked to leave the chamber for one hour after he began arguing with the speaker.
Steven Ciobo is my local member for Moncrieff on the Gold Coast. He's a Coalition money man, with a background in economics and ties to Price Waterhouse Coopers.

What's interesting is that the Liberals are throwing everything at the coming elections for the Gold Coast Council. Lots of glossy adverts all over the place, lots of billboards. It looks like the Libs have decided to make the Gold Coast (still safe Lib territory, largely because it was all but uncontested by Labor at the last election) into their power base for a comeback. And Ciobo will certainly be playing a key part.

Ciobo has close ties to people like George Brandis and Brett Mason. These guys also have ties to rightwing crazies like Janet Albrechtsen, Arthur Chrenkoff (who used to write his Good News From Iraq memos from Mason's office) and Tim Blair.

One to watch, that Mr Ciobo...

UPDATE: Seems today's uproar was sparked by Ciobo's motion that Rudd be forced to attend a Question Time on Fridays:
It led to the Coalition moving dissent against the speaker Harry Jenkins.

But that motion and several others will be voted on when Parliament comes back in March.
UPDATE 2: Back in his office, Ciobo denies his eviction was a media stunt:
Mr Ciobo has defended his actions.

"It's not a stunt - there are some fundamental rights and some fundamental values as a Member of Parliament that we have to stand up for," Mr Ciobo said.
I suppose bringing a big cardboard cutout of Kevin Rudd into the chamber was not a media stunt either? Time to put your house in order, Mr Nelson... (if you can).

UPDATE 3: OK, now it has just become a total farce with another MP forcibly removed:
A vote has just been taken at 12:50pm to throw out Mr Hartsukyer and he will be forcibly removed by the sergeant-at-arms.
Ciobo is the first MP forcibly removed from Parliament for nearly 20 years. This is disgraceful behavior and Nelson and Hockey and Abbott are loudly cheering it on.

Ciobo is new to Canberra and obviously needs to learn a bit about parliamentary rules:
Mr Ciobo told The Australian Online there was no authority to throw him out because the house did not vote on the issue.

"The parliament today said goodbye to democracy as a result of Labor’s part-time parliament rules," he said.
I could be wrong, but I don't think the Australian people will show much tolerance for this sort of nonsense. Bring on the next poll and let's see if Mr 9% can sink even lower.

UPDATE 4: Interesting how this is being reported. The Murdoch media is giving Ciobo's remarks a good, long run. And let's not forget that Ciobo has some previous form on getting a bit physical in Parliament House: he helped John Howard and others physically block Greens Senator Kerry Nettle from confronting George W. Bush.