It's a bold new world for O'Dowd
IT’S a fresh new world for Ken O’Dowd, who was elected the Member of Flynn at the last election.
The former publican flew to the colder climate of Canberra last week for his first parliamentary sitting – the 43rd parliament of Australia.
“We really only had two days because the first day was tied up with protocol,” he said.
Mr O’Dowd said the address from the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, was lengthy, as was the rest of the protocol.
“We actually made history on the first day,” he said.
“It was the first time since 1941 that the government had been defeated on the floor of the house by a very close vote, 73 to 72.”
Mr O’Dowd said there wasn’t much else that happened during the next two days as speeches were made.
“There were 32 new members and each member is allowed a public address of 20 minutes each,” he said.
“Mine’s slotted in the next sitting (October 28).
“Until everyone does their initial speech, we can’t do any official business on the floor.”
Mr O’Dowd predicts things will change a bit in the future.
“I think this parliament is going to be different from previous parliaments,” he said.
Mr O’Dowd said while he hasn’t been a politician before, he gathered how the system worked while in Canberra.
He said Federal MPs were paired off in the house and if one had to take a leave of absence, the other MP of the pair would as well, to ensure there was a balance of power on the floor.
Mr O’Dowd said due to the close numbers between the major parties, he anticipated there would be very few absences when there’s a vote.
“I anticipate there will be very few overseas trips for any parliamentarian when parliament is sitting,” he said.
Mr O’Dowd said another difference was that this parliament was going to sit longer, sitting 22 weeks a year versus the past few years of 18 weeks a year.
“This is because legislation will not be simply rubber stamped by the government of the day,” he said.
Mr O’Dowd said the independents and the Greens will hold up the process as their votes will be the deciding factors, rather than the old ‘party line’ voting that has occurred in the past.
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