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In Defence of Bronwyn Bishop

Now, Bronwyn Bishop has been getting a lot of bad press lately over her decision to save time by travelling by helicopter, when a chauffeur driven limonsine would have only taken her a mere fifteen minutes longer. Some people have even been comparing her to Peter Sllipper who was charged with fraud over his trips to some wineries. While this was overturned on appeal, there is a big difference between Mr Slipper’s actions and Ms Bishop’s.

Now, let me point out the big difference. Peter Slipper was accused of knowingly falsifying the records so that his personal trips appeared to be part of his official duties. Madam Speaker, on the other hand, was simply confused. She thought attending a Liberal Party fundraiser was part of her official duties as Speaker, and that’s such an easy mistake to make. The line between official duties and party activities is often unclear. For example, as Speaker, her role involves ensuring the smooth runnng of Parliament, and the less time that’s wasted with Labor “Points of Order” or “Questions” or “Speaking Against those Running the Country”, the more efficiently Parliament can run. Of course, there have only been a handful of Coaliton MPs thrown out; they’re not the ones trying to disrupt the Government’s mandate to make the country safe, with secure borders and sound economic management. The sort of economic management that understands that time is money and while fifteen minutes may not seem like a lot to you or me, for someone as important as the Speaker, this enables her to use those fifteen minutes doing something else. Like lobbying for a new job.

Of course, the other obvious point which people seem to be deliberately ignoring, is that the helicopter ride was not simply about saving money. Had she arrived by car – even a large disco party Hummer with all the lights on and music blaring – it is possible that not everyone would have noticed. As Speaker, Ms Bishop is used to making the sort of entrance that where everybody has to pay attention, and a helicopter ensured this.

Some have suggested that Ms Bishop is not adopting sufficient distance from the Liberal Party, when the Speaker is meant to be impartial. While precedent dictates that the Speaker doesn’t attend party meeting in the interests of demonstrating this impartiality, Ms Bishop feels that this inhibits her understanding of the tactics that will be employed by the various parties, and she is happy to attend the party room meetings of any of the political parties to find out what they’re thinking. However, neither the Labor Party nor The Greens will let her in, so that only leaves the Liberals, because the Nationals don’t count – or develop tactics. And the cupboard where the Palmer United Party now meet, only has room for two.

When it’s all said and done, the events of yesterday should be the end of the matter because Ms Bishop has now paid back the money from the helicopter trip, plus a fine, even though the travel was all “within the guidelines”. Which is extremely generous of her. It seems very magnanamous of her to pay that fine when she’s done nothing wrong.

Of course, this won’t make those clamouring for her blood happy. They’ll probably just ask her to pay back the cost of her overseas trip by arguing that it was also a lot of money, and now she’s started paying back things “within the guidelines” just because someone complained about the cost, hasn’t she set a precedent for herself?

No, some people won’t be satisfied till they’ve hounded the poor woman out of the Speaker’s chair. I suspect that they’ll stop at nothing with an election coming up in September (whoops, I meant, October. and I meant next year.) I mean, the Murdoch papers won’t want her there being a distraction from all the things that Tony’s done. We’ve got the terrorist threat for that!

Some little known facts about Bronwyn Bishop:

  1. Her maiden name was “Setright”.
  2. Originally, a Senator, she moved to the House of Representatives in the hope of launching a leadership challenge, which was thwarted when she realised that she’s actually have to get some of the Liberal Party MPs to vote for her.
  3. The daughter of an Opera singer, she is an accomplished singer herself. As a lover of opera and musicals, she wanted all questions in Question Time to be put to the tunes from Gilbert and Sullivan, and was only dissuaded when she was reminded that various members of the Opposition had much better singing voices, and, as Speaker, she herself would not be allowed to sing.
  4. She was not a member of Australia’s first Parliament, and only joined after it moved to Canberra.
  5. If she hears any MPs refer to her as “Dolores” (Dolores Umbrage – a “Harry Potter” character), she makes them write out lines before they’re allowed back into Parliament.
  6. She did not copy her hairstyle from Gary Oldman’s character in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, just her wardrobe and political style.

drac 2p


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  1. flohri1754

    Very good indeed ….. IF shame had any effect on some people, she would resign tomorrow …. not just for the helicopter incident, but due to her damaging record as speaker ……

  2. In defence of White Pointers - Bar One

    Ha Ha Gold, and would be eminently more laughable if her culpability and complete bias was not so self evident and completely inappropriate.

  3. Hotspringer

    I am sure there are hideous hags who are good humans; this one isn’t.

  4. keerti

    LOL!!!! You’d have to wonder what she’d look like without an inche thick layer of line-hider covering her face. Possibly not fit for display.

  5. Florence nee Fedup

    Well she is 73. At same age, have given up on makeup. Not that I ever bothered much.

  6. amarkoneMark Clifford

    What this pathetic creature doesn’t understand is that when you apply for a job at an organisation that has the word ‘democracy’ within it’s title, people are going to check your credentials and Bronnie Bloody Bishop (BBB) has a record worse than most for not complying with the basic principles of democracy. Bottom line is ….. she is a bloody disgrace and will go down in history accordingly.

  7. Lee

    It seems to me that the women who look most like crones are the ones who get carried away with the spakfilla. What comes first, the fugliness or the heavy makeup?

  8. donwreford

    What we do not know or at least I have no knowledge of is whether the liberal fundraising attracted funds greater than Ms Bishops extravagant trip of $5000,00? the moral principal being that we should all be concerned with cost cutting as conscientious Australians in such austerities as using low wattage light bulbs? what we do not need is a increasing elite who have little regard for the general public expected to be citizens showing they have regard for being money in short circulation having to bare increasing austerity and economic deprivation and at the same time the elite having no regard for extravagant expectations of having a right to excess of entitlement demonstrating to a thinking person no less than the weakness that plagues the human psyche of being hypocrisy in particular those in authority.

  9. David

    Way to write an attention grabbing header Ross…..when I saw it immediately thought, someone surely can’t be serious, or its one of the talents taking the mick. Presuming it was the latter as not even the the thickest of thick LNP trolls would venture into that territory. Sure enough was your good self and a damn good read…again 🙂

  10. Peter F

    I’m looking forward to the struggle they will have in removing her from the chair – setting a new tradition in Parliament.

  11. mark delmege

    I’m sure she has nice shoes. Lots.

  12. Möbius Ecko

    The most pathetic laugh I had was watching the AFR bloke on The Drum attempting to snow job Bishop’s blatant misuse of entitlements by first of all saying the trip by car or public transport was boring and then the usual “look over there at Labor/Unions boo!”.

    I know the “boring” jibe was a pathetic attempt at misdirection by harlequinade from an obvious buffoon, but it was repeated too many times, each time delivered more seriously than the previous, for it to have been just an attempt at a joke.

  13. Matters Not

    Andrew Elder is on the money:

    Bronwyn Bishop is close to Abbott, and not just because of their ecclesiastical surnames or adjacent electorates. Anyone who takes a shot at Bishop can expect a serve from Abbott, and vice versa. The leak against Bishop is designed to stoke public outrage; political insiders know how potent rort accusations are to non-insiders, like kerosene to a flame. It is designed to hurt Abbott at a time when he can’t use the full force of his authority to hunt down anyone who’d embarrass her in this way.

    Abbott, not Bishop, is the real target here. Since he was challenged for the leadership he has not fulfilled his promise to lift the government’s fortunes. Whether it’s national security, building submarines in Adelaide, the coalmine proposal on Liverpool Plains, the sudden discovery that solar panels are part of mainstream Australia – this government has been like a helicopter pilot revving the rotors at full speed, but still descending.

  14. Sir ScotchMistery

    Dear Ross,

    I take strong exception to the following:

    The line between official duties and party activities is often unclear. For example, as Speaker, her role involves ensuring the smooth runnng of Parliament, and the less time that’s wasted with Labor “Points of Order” or “Questions” or “Speaking Against those Running the Country”..

    It’s patently obvious your spelling is being caught up to, by your age. Ruling does not have 2 “n’s” in it.

    Please correct immediately.

  15. Fran

    “Generous” and “magnanimous” in paying it back? Really? She is a disgusting excuse for womanhood!! Was this authorship paid for by her? There is nothing generous or magnanimous about it – it’s an arse saving device to halt media speculation!!

  16. Jaq

    Thank you Ross! I needed a laugh….its stops me from retching every time one of these bastards does something which MSM then chooses so blatantly to ignore.

  17. Wun Farlung

    I was suprised to see Shorten making the accusation.
    The ALP must have been careful not to allow rorting the entitlements in their ranks to be able to get the shot away and not have it backfire on them

  18. Twodoor Monarch

    Didnt actually pass her law exams, got through on a “captain’s pick”. Doesn’t know how many millions in a billion. Another LNP hack who has had her snout in the public trough for way too long, just like her boss really.

  19. roaminruin

    Abbott’s bitch. Ditch the witch.

  20. Bilal

    Notice the absence of LNP trolls in the comments. Even they know she is beyond the Pale.

  21. Florence nee Fedup

    Maybe that has been plan all along. Come out when time is right not waste time and effort giving Abbott something to lash out at.

  22. heatherex

    This article was terrific therapy. Loved it! Thanks

  23. Graeme Henchel

    Bishopgate is but another example of one of Abbott’s captains calls coming back to bite him on the bum. There were two reasons why Abbott gave her the speakers job. Firstly he knew she would be totally partisan and thus help him avoid scrutiny. Secondly and perhaps more importantly he wouldn’t have to find her a ministry and put up with her in the cabinet. She is well past her use by date and so the speakership was a short term win-win for Abbott. But like everything Abbott has done it is proving to be totally wrong. The problem with all these mini disasters that crop up on a daily basis is that they focus the short term attention span of the media and the public on ephemeral incompetency. When the big picture is that The Abbott government has been a disaster from start to finish and they have absolutely no idea about what to do in policy terms. Their only skill is in “politics” and manipulating the media cycle. There is a huge bubble occurring it is the Abbott Bullshit Bubble and it is getting bigger by the day. The media will once again focus on this incident not the pattern of incidents, they will focus on Bishop not Abbott and the whole stinking Abbott disaster.

  24. kizhmet

    I am not sure if I should laugh or cry. Being the eternal optimist, I will laugh anyway. Thanks for the chuckle. You realise there are those in the population who wouldn’t understand the satire/parody??

    @Sir ScotchMistery – Bravo! Made me laugh a second time :-))))

  25. lefturnahead

    Bishop goes through more bog than a panel beating shop.”””

  26. dwejevans

    How sad that the office of Speaker Of The House Of Representatives in the Parliament Of Australia has, deservedly, been reduced to a laughing stock. This should, and has nearly always been, a well respected high office obtained by few and coveted by many. This kerosene soaked old hag has to resign, and if possible charged, and or hounded in the same way as was done to Peter Slipper. If she was in a sporting team she would be before a tribunal charged with bringing the game into disrepute, at the very least.

  27. lawrencewinder

    Apart from their incompetence, the ruling rabble will show by their gutless inaction over Bishop’s corruption that they have no morals or ethics at all. Their arrogant contempt for the electorate at large and for ministerial standards of conduct probably signals the lowest ebb ever seen in Australian political history. Who will be the next speaker, Arfur “Da Spiv” Sinodinas?
    And if the AFP investigation now sought by Labor’s Conroy takes more than a few days and comes up with nothing then we will know just how corrupt the whole system is.

  28. Zathras

    After all that bleating about “not wasting the taxpayers money” and wanton extravagance doesn’t amount to much once you get to the front of the swill trough.

    All this on top of the travel/rent rorts.

    Meanwhile all the rabble have to look forward to is continuing austerity.

    Hypocrisy is too soft a word in these circumstances.

  29. Florence nee Fedup

    Abbott didn’t put her in the job. Abbott can’t take it away from her. No more than Gillard could have removed Slipper.

    I believe she could be made to face privilege committee. Would required majority vote on floor of the house.

    Abbott could called for the house to remove her. He could support the same call from Opposition, cross benches or any other MP.

    Abbott needs to move carefully on this one. Not dig his heels in as is his form.

    What happened when Madam Speaker holding Party fund raising event in her chambers, before last years budget, repeated this year. Senate was investigating. Mainly about whether parliament utensils was used. Not even the flags, which seem to be evidence this years, must not be used under regulations.

    Question is, whether Madam Speaker. who under Westminster is suppose to be impartial and independent, is carrying out her role as speaker in such a manner. Her actions suggest he is not.

  30. David

    Abbott will wait until the Feds have decided what they want to do or, if he believes she is a dead duck already he will advise her to go and hope like hell she does it quietly. He, she and the Govt have all to lose, the Opposition hold the Ace card but the Feds hold the joker. How they play it, Abbott will via Brandis be first to know.
    All supposition of course but the alternatives are few. This will be the moment Abbott has been dreading, when Labor decide to play the game.

  31. Tony Rabbit

    It seems that free speech isn’t alive and well.

    The Guardian is surreptitiously removing comments on their stories. Anyone reading the comments wouldn’t get the sense of the outrage towards this issue. The other mainstream media outlets are either not publishing the stories or not permitting comment.

    Thank goodness for The AIM where there is more robust, and open debate.

  32. Win jeavons

    donwreford; Please, what have you got against commas?

  33. Annie B

    Rossleigh – you’ve done it again … given us all a good chuckle with your acerbic wit.

    ” Some have suggested that Ms Bishop is not adopting sufficient distance from the Liberal Party, when the Speaker is meant to be impartial.” …. ( ya think ? 😉 … )

    Impartial ? wot a joke !! … she does not know the meaning of the word ( or for that matter much in the English language !! – refer her recent attempt at it on Q & A ). … She does know however, how to mouth the words “point of order” against the opposition 55 times more, than she does to her little faves – the LNP. … She is of course, blatently partisan 100% .. and she so often ‘won’t have it’ ? …. ( I could be crude here, but decline ).

    Fantastic responses here, to which I will add nothing …. all right on the button.

    Florence … you are right …

    The position is decided by secret ballot ? …. there is some interesting information about how it is all arrived at, on this link ( admittedly wikipedia – but it often has some positive things going for it ).

    Meantime, I hope somehow the witch is brought down – her very effective, loud mouthed, shutting down of the opposition on the smallest of technicalities ( has any one ever investigated whether her officiating in such a manner is in fact, legal ? – I for one would like to know ) … is an abomination and so very partisan – it is pathetic and very transparent.

  34. Shogan

    Only Bronwyn Bishop could get into & out of a helicopter without getting a hair out of place!!
    Definitely Hair Force One…Does that make her “Top Bun”??

  35. David

    @shogan…arghhhhhhh 🙂

  36. Tony B

    OMG.. Her surname is Setright?

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