Day two in Canberra is complete! Well, the section of me leaving my room is.
I had yet another tremendous day in the stunning city of Canberra. It really is truly beautiful here. I do have one major complaint though. THE WEATHER SUCKS!!! When I left parliament house at 4:30pm today the apparent temperature was -4.3! Not cool Canberra!
Anyway… enough with the whinging because I really am having an incredible time.
Neither house was sitting today until 12:30pm so I took it easy this morning then headed over to parliament house for a 10am tour. I’ve never done the official tour before and it was really fascinating. I highly recommend it! Although that may have had something to do with our awesome tour guide. He was an older guy form The UK and he had a great sense of humour whilst still remaining very dignified. So much fun! He told us all about the intricacies of the place that I didn’t know half of. If you go you should definitely do an official tour.
We got to see the great hall, the house of representatives, the senate, lots of art work and just generally hear about the architecture and history of the place. When parliament aren’t sitting you’re allowed to take photos, so here are some iPhone photos (coz stupid me forgot my camera) of parliament house.
This is the great hall. The official formal functions happen here.
This is a close up of the tapestry along the front wall. It’s the second biggest in the world. Absolutely stunning.
This is the house of representatives where I’ve been spending the majority of my time.
And the senate, where I am when I’m not in the house of reps.
There are more photos, but I might leave it at that for today.
Today was interesting. I sat in the senate for an hour and a half watching them debate about the carbon tax, then headed over to the house of reps for question time. The senate is interesting. Not much different to the house of reps in their behaviour, but very different in their function and balance.
The more time I spend watching our politicians, the more disheartened I get. Most of the time is spent slandering the other side. I have seen very little constructive debate. I heard a couple of good 20 minutes speeches in the senate, but hardly anything good in the house of reps today. I am saddened by the amount of personal attack that goes on. I knew there was a lot of it, but that’s almost ALL it is. And the irony is that both sides constantly attack each other for having no substance and resorting to insults. Um, hello?! That’s what you’re doing too! It’s so bizarre.
Today I was very impressed with Tony Burke, he spoke so well and with real knowledge. But I always like him, so that was no surprise. I also like Clark Kent (aka Greg Combet). He spoke quite well today too. He’s quite funny actually! Joe Hockey should be ashamed of himself. How is he not embarrassed to behave like that in public? Christopher Pyne and Sophie Mirabella were both thrown out of question time right at the start so thankfully I didn’t have to put up with their shenanigans. I forget who the other person was who was thrown out of qt. But it was another liberal, this time a backbencher.
Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan haven’t said anything of value in the 2 days I’ve been here (and Anthony Albanese isn’t far behind). What utter nonsense. They both prattle on and on and never say anything of substance, whilst constantly slipping in the fact that the opposition are all opposition and no substance. Hey guys, maybe take your own advice. Both Gillard and Swan seem to constantly belittle the opposition, particularly Abbott, and use awful hyperbole to describe almost everything.
This is one of the other major crticisms I have of both sides of the house. There is so much hyperbole being thrown around that is incredibly unconstructive. So much of what is said is massive generalisation, relying on hyperbole to make a point. But the problem is that their use of hyperbole and generalisations often make their points largely null and void.
And some of the rhetoric is blatantly insane. I have listened to the labor party time and again bang on about how the liberal party don’t care about Australians and their policies don’t take into account what’s good for the country. About how they don’t care about the needs of ‘ordinary Australians’ and just care about themselves. What utter rubbish! Ok, so you clearly disagree with them, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t care, just that they have different ideas about what to do about it. Talk about that! Talk about why your ideas will work and theirs aren’t as helpful for the country. Don’t belittle us and them by saying that they don’t care. Obviously that’s insane and just false. And the opposition do a similar thing by banging on about the government’s incompetence. It’s so repetitive.
Their behaviour is appalling. I wouldn’t allow my students to behave like this, so why do the people who run our country behave that way?
We deserve a better parliament.