O’Dowd walks out during Closing the Gap speech

FLYNN Member Ken O'Dowd walked out of parliament in disgust for the first time yesterday - but his actions didn't impress Gladstone residents watching on television from home.

Mr O'Dowd was one of seven Coalition members who left the room during the annual Closing the Gap speech, a 30-minute bipartisan sitting where both major parties work together on indigenous policies.

Mr O'Dowd said the first half of Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's speech was "fine" but the second half had disgusted him.

"He used it as a platform to throw mud at our policies and economics," he said.

"Closing the Gap is important to us all and shouldn't be used for political point-scoring."

But this newspaper fielded calls from Gladstone residents watching television from home who wanted to voice their disapproval with Mr O'Dowd's actions.

Should Ken O'Dowd have walked out during the speech?

This poll ended on 12 March 2015.

Current Results

Yes. The opposition shouldn't have focused on budget cuts

11%

No. It was a bipartisan speech that should've been supported

31%

No. The occasion shouldn't have been used for political point-scoring

31%

Yes. The occasion shouldn't have been used for political point-scoring

26%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

"When I saw that I thought it was really rude," one woman said, who didn't want to be identified, said.

"I'm a Labor voter but if our state member did the same thing I'd have the same attitude."

Mr Shorten's speech called on the government to reverse $500 million in budget cuts.

Brisbane Times reports that Labor's indigenous senator, Nova Peris, who was observing from the floor of the Parliament, described the walkout as a disgrace.

"If we are fair dinkum about this we've got to stop playing political football with Aboriginal people's lives," she said.

Other MPs to walk out included Andrew Nikolic, Angus Taylor, John Cobb, Melissa Price and Russell Broadbent.



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