Modia Minotaur

Trawling the airwaves to spare you the agony!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Hansard and the Minister for Truth

I've spoken before about the infelicities of Hansard, but it's only today - when seeking out a little gem reported on by Dennis Shanahan of The Australian - that I realised how deeply deficient it really is. I've not compared the Hansard side by side with the TV broadcasts of parliament until now, but the difference is quite startling.

Apart from anything, I wasn't able to find any trace of the incident to which Shanahan referred - though it definitely occurred, because Julia Gillard referred to it herself later on:.

I would like to start with an observation about the member for Wentworth, because we know that the Minister for Health and Ageing made a very big gaffe today. He referred to the member for Wentworth as the Treasurer. Do you know what a gaffe is for a politician like the Minister for Health? I will tell you: it is when he accidentally tells the truth. So there was one truth told by the Howard government in the parliament this week.

Let me just pause for a second and say: HAAAAhhhhahhaHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAhaaaa!!!!!!!!!

Now that that's finished, let me secondly say how much I would have loved to see Peter Costello's face, and thirdly complain that I had to fix a spelling mistake in the above Hansard excerpt. I thought the ABC's transcripts were getting bad ...

To give you some idea of exactly how much Hansard differs from real life, I've taken the liberty of directly transcribing the famous Tony Abbott kiss incident I wrote about earlier this week (to save space, I've popped it in the Comments) - head to Page 84 of Hansard to compare this with the `official' version. While the version currently on the website is just the first issue proof, it's quite astounding how many ommissions there are - and ommissions that make a) The government appear less argumentative and b) The Speaker more authoritative; something he clearly isn't.

Read on ...


At 3:11 pm, Blogger Minotaur said...

Lengthy booing from the Opposition. One MP yells out something about sedition.

Mr TURNBULL (2.50 pm)—Mr Speaker, my question is addressed to the Minister for Health and Ageing.

Groans from the Opposition benches

The SPEAKER – Order! The Member for Wentworth has the call!

Mr TURNBULL: Would … would the minister update the House on how the government is strengthening our health care system to provide affordable, high-quality care? Is the minister aware of any alternative policies?

Opposition MP interjecting …: Yeah, I’ll give you an alternative policy …

Mr ABBOTT—I thank the member for Wentworth for his question and I appreciate his interest in the health policies of the Howard government.

KIM BEAZLEY holds up a piece of paper with an article on Coalition health policy on it

Mr ABBOTT - I can assure the member that the Howard government does not just talk about Medicare; we make the investments needed to make a good system even better.

The SPEAKER—The Leader of the Opposition can put it down!

Mr ABBOTT—I can assure the member for Wentworth that since 1996 federal health spending has increased from 15 per cent to over 20 per cent of the federal budget and federal health spending has increased from 3.7 per cent to 4.3 per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product. This year the Howard government will spend $44 billion on health portfolio programs.

The SPEAKER—The Leader of the Opposition will keep that lower!

Mr ABBOTT—That is 44 billion reasons why the Howard government is the best friend that Medicare has ever had. But we do not just spend public money on better health programs; we have attracted—

Mr Beazley—Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. How could it be relevant for the minister to be boasting on expenditures when an article on his own policy—

The SPEAKER—The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat!

Mr ABBOTT—The point I;m making is that the Howard government hasn’t just spent public money on health programs; the Howard government has attracted more private money into the health system through signature policies like the private health insurance rebate, which helped

The SPEAKER – Order! Order! The Member for Lilley!

Mr ABBOTT (pointing to Mr Turnbull) – See the Treasurer …

Mr ABBOTT blows a kiss to the Opposition benches.
The Opposition nearly wets itself

Julia Gillard - And you used to be a hard man!

The SPEAKER—Order! The Speaker is on his feet!

Mr Fitzgibbon interjecting—

The SPEAKER - The member for Hunter is warned!

Mr Fitzgibbon interjecting—

The SPEAKER—The member for Hunter will remove himself under standing order 94(a).

The member for Hunter then left the chamber.

Government MP - Say hello to Mark for us!

Opposition MP (pointing to Abbott) – What about him, eh ?

The SPEAKER - The Minister has the call

Mr Gavan O’Connor—Give us a kiss! (this, amazingly, made it into the Hansard)

Mr ABBOTT—I extend my benevolence to all members opposite, because I have to say that, on a day like today, they sure need it.

Julia Gillard - Oh all right – he used to be a bovver boy …

The SPEAKER—Order! The Leader of the Opposition has made his point, and if that piece of paper is held up again I will take action.

Opposition benches - OOOOHHHH!

Opposition MP - Does that go for them, too?

The SPEAKER - The Honourable Member for Corio!

Mr O’CONNOR - Better pucker up, Mr Speaker!

At 9:54 pm, Anonymous Robert said...

MPs are sent a draft version of Hansard and given an opportunity to correct any mistakes --- even if it means Hansard records something other than what they actually said.

At 7:54 am, Blogger Minotaur said...

I wonder how many changes are actually made, or whether they just let it slide?

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