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Bronwyn Bishop orders new rules on Twitter posts for MPs

Point of order: Federal Speaker Bronwyn Bishop and Labor MP Anthony Albanese share a moment after a division in the lower house of Federal Parliament in Canberra on Thursday.

Point of order: Federal Speaker Bronwyn Bishop and Labor MP Anthony Albanese share a moment after a division in the lower house of Federal Parliament in Canberra on Thursday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Sometimes the shortest route to self-discipline is the removal of temptation. Former senator and foreign minister Bob Carr knows this, which is why, according to reports from freedom of information documents, he instructed staff to empty his hotel mini-bar of all snacks and beverages when he travelled.

The former senator realises that no matter the strength of one's commitment to Pilates, organic vegetables and colonic health, beer and salted peanuts sing a very sweet siren song after a hard day's work jamming about the global arms trade treaty.

Snack tactics: Bob Carr.

Snack tactics: Bob Carr. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

On the ''Carr snacks'' logic, political types should probably be banned from using Twitter. If you take, on the one hand, a group of people whose bounteous egos are matched only by their hunger for new ''platforms'' on which to project their voices, and marry that to a micro-blogging website preternaturally suited to the speed-publishing of poorly conceived and badly spelled demi-thoughts, well, the result is a terrible mess.

Liberal pollster Mark Textor is renowned as a genius when it comes to feeling the political mood of ordinary Australians, but suffice to say his Twitter access should be curtailed, if not repealed, if the Bali Christmas holiday plans of thousands of Indonesia-loving Australians are to proceed as scheduled.

Textor should not be singled out as the sole offender. Plenty of politicians have been done for indiscreet tweeting, and on Thursday the Speaker Bronwyn Bishop made a ruling on tweets.

During the debate over the carbon tax repeal legislation, it was brought to Madam Speaker's attention by the ever-helpful manager of government business, Christopher Pyne, that Labor MP Rob Mitchell had tweeted that the Speaker had used the personal pronoun ''we'', when referring to the government. He concluded the ''independence of chair [is] gone''.

Pyne complained Mitchell had, via Twitter, reflected on the chair, which is not allowed under the standing orders.

Ms Bishop decreed that social media could be used in the chamber, but that it must still comply with the standing orders, a ruling that is both fair and unenforceable.

Unless, of course, you adopt the exacting attitude Carr has towards snacks, and enforce discipline through the removal of temptation. And smartphones.

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13 comments

  • "Liberal pollster Mark Textor is renowned as a genius when it comes to feeling the political mood of ordinary Australians ....., "

    Really, says who?

    After watching him on TV last night he came across as a pompous, know it all smartalec prat.

    Commenter
    Tc
    Date and time
    November 22, 2013, 7:46AM
    • He probably is "a pompous, know it all smartalec prat" but what do you think of his abilities to design & shape opinion polls & interpret the results?

      Commenter
      Lewis
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      November 22, 2013, 9:23AM
    • ...should read:

      ...is a genius when it comes to feeling the political mood of News Ltd.

      Commenter
      yup
      Date and time
      November 22, 2013, 9:43AM
    • He is being credited for coming up with Abbott's "stop the" slogans. Just shows the true class behind this government, feeling duped anybody???

      Commenter
      Pieron
      Date and time
      November 22, 2013, 10:00AM
    • Textor is a genius for reading the mood of racism that lurks inside all of Tones bogans, the latent racism one hears bogans go on about in pubs and supermarket aisles, and he tapped into it, him and jones, bolt, Hadley, the shock jocks and of course, Murdoch and News Ltd. Tones just gives him a slap on the wrist with a tissue, after this jerk has upset the largest Muslim nation on earth, with his bogan tweet. Pathetic, and this regime gets worse by the day, in this regard, but, the gullible and bogans got their man in, eh ?

      Commenter
      Piesnchess
      Location
      Mt Evelyn
      Date and time
      November 22, 2013, 1:19PM
    • Should read chief bogan slogan writer for one term tony!

      Commenter
      Pieron
      Date and time
      November 22, 2013, 2:11PM
  • After growing up on a farm, I spent 12 years of my life as a sheep classer; occasionally I see 'Tweets' cited in a newspaper and find them generally inane, no matter whether the source is an 'celeb' or an entity such as Rupert Murdoch or Shane Warne. Just why our parliamentarians are permitted to mess with their phones while on the job of representing their constituencies in The House is, quite frankly, beyond me. Readers may guess my rural background and my age, but my view that the Twitterverse reminds me of a flock of merinos (which follow the leader) remains a realistic behavioural comparison. Smart-phones are over-used when presidents & prime ministers see the need to 'Tweet' to 'stay connected' - so many trendy communication options opens the way for misinterpretation of the intent of a message, in addition to the 'Tweet' being just plain tripe.

    Commenter
    Enricoohiggins
    Date and time
    November 22, 2013, 7:54AM
    • Every member of the Labor caucus could tweet to their followers each time, and how, the speaker wrongly ruled for the Coalition! It would probably keep them very busy!

      Commenter
      EM
      Date and time
      November 22, 2013, 9:54AM
      • It's not hard to imagine Chris Pyne at school. Dobbing on everyone for every minor indiscretion. Calling names, dobbing, running away from people they don't like and doing a great impression of the boy who cried wolf. Grown up? Not even close.

        Commenter
        Dr Bombay
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        November 22, 2013, 10:01AM
        • Little Christopher Pine needs to grow up and stop acting like a grade 3 boy in the playground…"Miss, miss, he's doing tweeting and not listening, Miss".

          "the ever-helpful manager of government business, Christopher Pyne, that Labor MP Rob Mitchell had tweeted that the Speaker had used the personal pronoun ''we'', when referring to the government".

          GROW UP PINE!

          Commenter
          Hope
          Date and time
          November 22, 2013, 10:32AM

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