Scallywags Performing Antics

Politicians behave similarly to high school children when in Parliament. Indeed, the example I am linking to is at the upper end of the scale – no-one was punching anyone else in it, for starters.

I didn’t actually know that these supposed adults acted like this until I was a teenager and actually saw footage of them openly mocking and heckling each other as they tried to speak in session.

Can someone with more political experience than I explain why this is acceptable? If I had employees who constantly acted like this during meetings, I would sack them with no regrets.


  1. Oh good grief. That’s not even funny. It’s hardly the wit legacy of David Lange, is it?

    I have to say that when I WAS in high school and I was on the Labour Youth council, I never saw any kind of behaviour even bordering on this. We were all terribly earnest and passionate and we had meetings and talked about the things we were meeting about. It seems to be something about the House itself.

    Parties also for-real have designated arseholes, the guy whose job it is to be insulting and disruptive so the leader can chuckle and every now and then go ‘oh, come now’. Labour’s is Trevor Mallard. So there appears to be an idea that you score real points over the other side by carping in the chamber. I’d say we picked it up from the English, and they do all seem to think they’re Churchill/Astor/Disraeli, not ‘small yappy dog’. But then, Asian parliaments seem to be worse.

    • Oh I can imagine the sincerity of a High School Labour Youth Council.

      “I move that the LYC issues a statement of condemnation against the UK Conservative Party for the introduction of legislation restricting the power of Trade Unions, and therefore, The People.”

      “Yes! Take THAT, Thatcher!”

  2. It’s not acceptable, but the reason it happens is because it’s based on the british one with a long tradition of heckling etc.

  3. Well, who is going to sack them?

    It seems the electorate doesn’t mind.

  4. It’s accepted because nothing anybody says in Parliament makes the slightest difference anyway. It’s all to fill in time between votes, and the outcome of voting is pre-determined in most cases by the number of seats each party holds.

    Behaviour is, I understand, considerably better in select committees, where MPs do all their actual work (and contrary to knee-jerk received wisdom, they actually do work hard).

    I’d be interested to know whether behaviour in the chamber improves noticeably for conscience votes. If I’m right, it should lift slightly, because there’s a slightly higher chance that what happens in the chamber might actually sway the opinions of other members.

  5. I remember having to read Hansard for a 7th form history project and being utterly stunned by the name calling and general inappropriateness. I was looking into the nuclear free debate and pulling out of ANZUS and there was pages and pages of assorted members accusing eachother of dockside homosexual prostitution.

    • Probably valid accusations

      I remember having a giggle at a Star newspaper article about the police complaining about the married men, high profile businessmen and politicians meeting for homosexual activity at the Hagley Parks toilets rather than gay saunas and cruise clubs because they’re still in the closet and can’t afford to be seen to be gay.Presumably politicians have no sense of smell. Ether that or they really like the big white mints.