Dunno what the graceless Greens think they are trying to prove, by tampering with arrangments for Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s speech to Parliament.
From Alf’s point of view, let’s be clear, Ms Gillard has a few strikes against her.
She is an Aussie, she is a Labour politician, and she is a woman trying to do a man’s job.
She has a Strine accent which, if it could be bottled, would serve as a fast-selling and highly effective paint stripper.
She has red hair, a sure sign of character defects.
Even so Alf was keen to hear what she had to tell us, when – on Wednesday – she was scheduled to become the first foreign leader to speak in Parliament’s debating chamber.
But Alf awoke this morning to news that Prime Minister John Key was saying there has been some opposition to her proposed speech.
It did not take a genius (although Alf happens to be one) to work out what had happened.
And sure enough, it was soon confirmed that –
Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said no international head of state had ever addressed Parliament and allowing Ms Gillard to speak would set a precedent.
“The government of the day could invite all sorts of unpleasant people, like (former United States president) George Bush for example they had in Australia, that I think a lot of Members of Parliament would be uncomfortable with and so we thought the best thing was to keep a simple precedent.”
Instead Ms Gillard will speak in the debating chamber but not during a formal sitting of Parliament.
“We think that’s, in some ways, quite a good compromise because it means that we can hear from an important head of Government, obviously Australia is an important neighbour,” Dr Norman said.
Frankly, Alf regards this is an impertinence and a gross insult to our Aussie neighbours.
He is mollified only by the thought that the gazzumping has been done by an Aussie (Norman happens to hail from across the ditch and it is a shame he did not stay there).
Most of all Alf is bewildered by the muesili-munching Greens banging on about setting a precedent.
There would be no progress without precedents.
Somebody must be the first to do whatever it is that has advanced our civilization and improved our general well-being over the centuries.
If The Greens in general and Russel Norman in particular had been running the show – we may suppose – the bugger who invented the wheel would have been ordered not to put it on a wagon, because that would set a precedent in the way we haul things from point A to point B. Moreover, it would take us down the slippery path that leads to the invention of the combustion engine and – in turn – the motor car.
Likewise the Greens would have ensured no precedent was set as a consequence of Humphry Davy inventing the first electric light. They would have prohibited the development of a practical and longer-lasting electic lightbulbs, because – of course – all sorts of terrible things might follow, such as a demand for electric power.
Oh, and Alf is sure the Greens would have seen the need to tamper two centuries or more ago on learning that milk might have fermented spontaneously, perhaps by wild bacteria residing inside goatskin bags used for transportation, resulting in the production of yoghurt.
Let’s not set a precedent by eating this stuff, they would have said. Let”s have its consumption banned.
Ha. Scoffing muesli without the yoghurt would be hard tack, indeded. But so are the bloody Greens.
Garroting them would do us a favour.
As it happens, Alf would concede that yes, some parliamentary precedents should naver have been set.
The most notable of these was letting Green Party MPs take their seats for the first time.