Alf took serious offence at a Labour politician, Clare Curran. desporting herself in National colours yesterday.
Accordingly he approved of the Speaker giving her a red card and kicking her off the Parliamentary pitch.
As it turned out, she was thrown out of the House for wearing a Highlanders’ rugby shirt.
Today she is reported to have bleated about an “over reaction” from Speaker Lockwood Smith.
The Dunedin South MP had appeared at Parliamentary questions wearing the southern team’s old blue, gold and maroon kit in protest at the new lime green colour.
Speaker Lockwood Smith declared the shirt violated Parliament’s strict dress codes and ordered Curran to leave.
Parliament’s dress code dictates male members must wear a tie or jacket buttoned up to the neck. Women must wear ”normal business attire” however there is no specific detail on what is allowed.
Frankly, Alf thought Mr Speaker handled things in a very gentlemanly way. He asked Curran to leave and return dressed appropriately, ”should she wish.”
”It’s all I’m asking, it’s not a big call. This House has certain dress standards.”
He said he didn’t interfere with her right to ask a question – and allowed her to finish before giving her the old heave-ho.
But she told Stuff her ejection from Parliament highlighted the lack of rules around what women should wear in the House.
“I certainly never expected to be thrown out of the House for being a woman wearing a football shirt. I think it was an over reaction.”
Hah. But how would she have reacted if Alf had turned up in netball garb?
You would think the Green Party would be thoroughly approving of the Highlanders new livery, and hence would disapprove of Curran trying to have the former colours restored.
But nah. Co-leaer Metirira Turea left the House with Curran in a show of solidarity.
Ms Curran looked mutinous and for a tense few beats seemed about to refuse to leave. After further stern prompting from Dr Smith she did – accompanied by a visibly furious Greens co-leader Metiria Turei, who shot a clearly audible “This is crap!” at Dr Smith on her way out.
Alf never did approve of ladies using that sort of language.
Nor does he see the point of Clifton observing that Assistant Speaker Ross Robertson regularly wears loud scarves promoting various sports teams.
Wearing a scarf is not in the same legue as wearing a rugby jersey.
Clifton came up with a better comparison when she mentioned National’s Jackie Blue last year wearing an All Whites jersey without incident.
Yep. Fair cop.
But as Trevor Mallard pointed out, if there is any discrimination in the House, it works against blokes.
Mr Mallard brought audible shudders with his recollection of the days when former finance minister Ruth Richardson was allowed to come to the chamber in her track suit, a privilege not extended to sporty male MPs (who in those days included Michael Laws, who went in for Lycra bike tights).
Dr Smith – splendid fellow – has agreed to consider refinements to his ruling to address the finer points.
But let’s turn to the Roarprawn for a neat summation:
The maroon and blue of the jersey of the amalgamated Otago Southland team was fine by us but the kermit green of the new jumper is sick making and the players are hard to see on the telly.
So we get why Curran wanted to let her feelings be known about the crass verdant hue of the new southern shirt – but why in Parliament? Its not a political issue. Its a rugby franchise issue.
She is an attention seeker at the best of times but Currans latest effort was seriously off the mark.
Suddenly, she turned an inappropriate show of patriotism to a rugby franchise in parliament into a feminist issue over parliamentary dress standards.
Now we think the dress standards in parliament are crap. Its time to move away from the class chokers for men and “business attire” bullshit for women.
But Currans posturing was all about her – not about the team or indeed dress standards.
Alf can’t improve on that.