September 15, 2010 | Graham

Oakeshott for king?

Pity the poor voters who thought when they elected an independent “we the people” were getting someone who would act in our interest rather than theirs, unlike representatives of the major political parties.

Instead, what they got was micro-parties. Small cap representatives whose schtick is that they will do what you want, but whose practice is that they will  do just what suits them.

Which makes the bid by Rob Oakeshott to become speaker even more bizarre.

If I was hearing him correctly a week or so ago he was spruiking the advantage of an independent speaker. He seems to have fallen for the linguistic trap of thinking that how you arrange words doesn’t matter.

An “independent as speaker” is not the same thing as an “independent speaker”.

The two major parties should have just slapped him down. That they haven’t indicates they don’t understand the dynamics of minority government.

As speaker Oakeshott would be more conflicted,  less impartial, and less independent than anyone else in the parliament.

He has the ability to bring down the government, and his significance stems from this. So he has a strong incentive to give rulings in parliament that enhance his power.

As Tony Windsor has revealed, independents feel more comfortable supporting the weaker party. Which means that Oakeshott will have an incentive to favour Labor in his rulings. Except if they try to bargain too hard with him, when he will have an incentive to go to the Liberals.

If he can’t get his way he has the potential ability to send us back to the polls.

Oakeshott as speaker would have his power enhanced, and not in the interests of either of the alternative governments.

You can’t be judge, jury, and potentially executioner, all at the same time.

Well, not in the modern world. Kings used to be all three a few hundred years ago.

Neither Labor nor Liberal should need a lawyer’s opinion to guide them. This is a basic political judgement.

Posted by Graham at 1:41 pm | Comments Off on Oakeshott for king? |
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