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tea time

26 May, 2009
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Hon BRUCE DONALDSON: […] Hon John Cowdell, me and a group of other people asked to look at the standing orders because we thought they were pretty ordinary. The situation then arose about the afternoon tea. In our draft 15 or 16, we decided that we would chuck out the afternoon tea between 3.45 and 4.00 pm. We were starting at 3.00 or 3.15, and it just was not worth it. I took the proposal to our party room. Hon Peter Foss spotted the change and went off his face, asking what I was trying to do. I was told to go away and rewrite the proposal, which I did. The trouble was that when Margaret Lynn, who worked for me, drew up the plan and timetable, she inadvertently forgot the afternoon tea section. Who would pick it up first but Hon Peter Foss? I think Hon Norman Moore might remember his remarks. That is why, in our lovely little afternoon tea lounge, we see a sign that Andrew changes every day. I remember Hon Nick Griffiths saying to me that this was a good lesson for me. There were 34 members in the house, and 33 were against me. He asked me how I felt. We made sure that I never again had anything to do with trying to get rid of the afternoon tea.

[..]

I won “The Whip’s Award” — it was presented to me by Hon Muriel Patterson! I would like to read it out
because she is quite a poet. It reads —

He came to us — a loyal and trusted one —
A country chap — undoubtedly, Koorda’s favourite son!
“I’m here for the good of all — and not defined by borders”
That was fine — before he spied our standing orders.

Never one to miss a chance, to gain the upper hand
Something he quickly learned while tilling Koorda land.
“These rules are old and out of date, let’s get with the time,
I will not let it go” became his constant chime.

“Committees are the way to go — you’ve got to give them range,
Before we can do that — we have to make the change”.
So up came copy number one — and soon draft twenty four
George said “Get him out of here, before he dreams up any more”.

God made heaven and earth and all therein, about a week
Without a copy or a draft — just common sense, so to speak,
No one wants to change the plan — we’re more than satisfied
You could have knocked me down, when came his motion to be tried.

I can well remember that! It continues —

It really begs the question — why a motion such as this
With all the changes to be made — was this really his?
One does not doubt his sincerity — was there just a tiny fudge?
Far from me to say — but you may be the judge.

Amendments came in thick and fast, and tore the thing apart,
And to a lessor man, he would have lost all heart.
This man is made of sterner stuff and took it on the chin,
I’ve heard he’s offering 10 to 1 these standing orders will stay in!

We know but little of what may come next —
Nor can we follow all his detailed text —
But now, we do know how to vote and when to pee
And thank goodness, he left us our afternoon tea.

I thought it was quite clever. I was quite thrilled that she recognised the frustrations I must have gone through with my colleagues when trying to get some semblance of order in this house to comply with standing orders.

Subject: Legislative Council – Retiring Members [Legislative Council – Valedictory Remarks – Motion]

Date: 20 May 2009

Hansard reference: pp. 4256-4257 [online (pdf)]

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