There are no two ways about it – Bronwyn Bishop is a disgrace. In less than two years, she has been nothing more than an absolute imposter and an embarrassment to our country.
I drove to Newcastle and back a few weeks ago, and it cost me $50 in fuel for the entire trip. Bronwyn Bishop took a helicopter flight from Melbourne to Geelong and charged the taxpayers five grand. And that’s nothing compared to her trip to Europe. In the space of a fortnight, she racked up a bill of $90,000, including a limosine ride that cost us more per day than half the country’s citizens see in their bank accounts every week.
She has refused to apologise for this mockery, other than “the best form of apology is to repay the money”, and that she is only sorry “it took the heat off Mr Shorten and his triple-whammy carbon tax bill”.
This woman has got to go, and not just because of these rorts. If you think the state of the lower house was bad with the Gillard vs Abbott vs Rudd circus (with that cameo appearance by Peter Slipper), you should check out Question Time featuring Bishop. In less than two years, she has ejected over 400 MPs from the House of Representatives – nearly all of them Labor. This outnumbers all the ejections, of all the MPS, in all the parliaments that have sat since Federation, and it took her 101 ejections of Labor MPs before ejecting a single Liberal MP.
The role of speaker is to be an impartial umpire. You keep order in the house by allowing both government and opposition an equal say, calling out fouls when needed, and making sure every MP acts within the standing orders. This has allowed parliament to operate in a relatively peaceful (or at least non-violent) manner for over a century. In less than two years, Bishop has made a mockery of any balanced debate, and destroyed a institution even older than she is.
This arrogance of power has now spilled over into absurd, taxpayer-funded luxuries. The reason for the helicopter ride says it all – it was a Liberal Party fundraiser. Just like Bronwyn Bishop, it had everything to do with the best interests of the Liberals and nothing to do with the nation. Under every standing order of democracy public interest, and common decency, Tony Abbott must remove this woman from the chamber immediately.
She is dead weight. The longer this woman is allowed to stick around, disgrace our Parliament, and feed off our taxpayers, the harder the Abbott government will have to work to get back to the business of rubbishing unions and welfare recipients. This won’t be easy. Bronwyn Bishop is more than just a part of the Liberal Party’s institution – she is an institution. Her career has spanned a generation, her network is strong, and her feet are planted firmly. It would be like trying to sack your own mother from Christmas.
This is a test for Shorten as much as Abbott. Labor has spent so long tearing itself apart that it has forgotten how to be an effective opponent against the Liberals – if Shorten can’t get a scalp out of this debacle, he needs to go.
As for Bishop, it would have been better if her trip over in Europe bore fruit. She spent her time and her limo