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five years

16 November, 2011
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Well, here we are: Houses & Motions is five years old today. It was amazing/concerning enough we kept this going for two years, when we posted our first proper retrospective, so to have found five years’ worth of material just seems ridiculous. Granted, there have been long periods without posts as personal and professional committments have been priorities, but we keep coming back to trawl the Hansard archives and highlight the funny, the strange, and the rather inappropriate, presented for your entertainment without commentary or context.

We’re not going to pretend to have a huge profile (or any profile at all, really), but we keep the site running because we’re genuinely interested in reading through the debates featured. A few weeks ago, though, we were contacted by an active member of the Parliament Western Australia. Thank you to Hon Phil Edman for taking the time to update us on the birth of his son, and congratulations to him and his family!

When we started the blog in 2006, it was largely in response to finding the transcripts of the Daylight Savings debate dominating political discussions in Western Australia at the time, and in part too a personal need for distraction from writing an honours thesis. This blog has now survived both the honours thesis and a PhD too – despite it seeming that we only started the site a few weeks ago, a great deal of time and distance have been travelled to get to this point. At the moment, it also appears that we’re returning to a situation like that of 2006. Then, it was the Daylight Savings bill that featured in many posts. Today, we’ve just finished the majority (hopefully all) of the CHOGM material, but there is likely to be a considerable number of posts on the Cat Bill to come.

In the last year or so, we’ve focussed exclusively on Hansard from Western Australia, mostly because it’s easier due to being based in Perth, but eventually we would like to return to the rest of Australia too. While we’re not going to make grand promises about the future of the site, though, one change that may come has been facilitated by the live streaming of proceedings from both the WA Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council. Not only does this allow for live debate and comments during Question Time on Twitter, but it also means that, when appropriate, there is some opportunity to illustrate posts. For example, last week in the WA Legislative Assembly, the following exchange took place:

MR A.P. O’GORMAN (Joondalup) [3.40 pm]: Once again, the Premier, instead of focusing on the issue in front of him, goes on about the carbon tax. Yet today not one cent has been charged for the carbon tax—not one cent has come out of Western Australians’ pockets. Every cent that has gone out of Western Australians’ pockets has gone out because of the Barnett government’s charge on electricity prices. More are doing it tough in WA —

Mr C.J. Barnett: Do you support the carbon tax? Come on, leprechaun! The leprechaun from Joondalup, do you support it?

Normally, this kind of exchange wouldn’t feature unless a) it was followed by additional comments or a punchline, or b) we hadn’t found anything better to post. Two days later, though, while watching Questions Without Notice online, something peculiar in the background grabbed our attention:

Leprechaun in the Legislative Assembly

There it remained until:

The SPEAKER: […] While I am on my feet, I am going to instruct the member responsible for the object that sits to the right of the member for Forrestfield and to the left of the member for Joondalup to remove same.

Of course, ideally the the images will be more directly linked to the quotes featured, without the long preamble! While we won’t feature them in every post, it’s a further option as we continue to find and post the ‘highlights’ from parliamentary debate.

Thank you for reading Houses & Motions, and here’s to more years of bad jokes, song parodies, stories about pets, and tabled fax machines!

Quote 1 reference:

Subject: Electricity Bills – Increases [Legislative Assembly – Matter of Public Interest]

Date: 8 November 2011

Hansard reference: pp. 9070-9071 [online (pdf)]

Quote 2 reference:

Subject: Lanco Infratech and Perdaman Chemicals – Conciliation [Legislative Assembly – Questions Without Notice]

Date: 10 November 2011

Hansard reference: p. 9379 [online (pdf)]

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