Speaker Anna Burke. Photo: Andrew Meares
You have to feel for Anna Burke. Is there a more tedious job in Australia than being parliamentary Speaker?
It's an ironic title when you think about it. A good part of the job requires listening to other people speaking. The rest of it requires other people ignoring you when you speak. What's so ''speaker'' about that?
To her credit, Burke has accepted the role with something approaching weary good humour.
While her kids have commented that sometimes she has her ''angry voice on'', Burke has never reached the ear-popping shouts of ''order'' of Harry Jenkins. Or the stern robe-wearing of Peter Slipper.
But sometimes too much is actually too much.
The house, having laid low in recent times, was in a rambunctious mood on Tuesday.
Perhaps they were inspired at the thought that the world's richest man had just lunched in their midst. Perhaps they had just confused Tuesday with that other ''T'' day in the week.
Early in proceedings, as Prime Minister Julia Gillard defended the government's security record (the Chinese may have our blueprints, but we're fine!), Burke felt compelled to weigh in. ''Question time is actually a time to listen to answers,'' she said.
Of course nobody seemed to hear - or heed - the warning and Burke was forced to step things up a notch.
Alan Tudge was the first to understand at a personal level that the Speaker was serious about the listening thing. Tudge made the mistake of not realising Burke was on her feet while he was heckling the government about being desperate.
The member for Aston was kicked out for an hour but he was not alone. Tudge was soon joined by fellow Liberals Andrew Laming, Luke Simpkins and Dennis Jensen.
Undaunted, Jensen took to Twitter to explain himself: ''Got thrown out for laughing at pathetic attempts at answering a question by the Prime Minister. They really are a rabble!!''
Burke has stated her aim as Speaker is to be seen as ''fair'' and so her wrath was not limited to the Opposition. Even the fancy ''Attorney-General'' title was not enough to save Mark Dreyfus, who was booted under 94A.
But the winner of the naughty corner championship was surely Coalition immigration honcho Scott Morrison.
After heated debate about asylum seekers (and the various security risks they might pose to Australia), Gillard asked Morrison to withdraw a ''grossly unparliamentary remark'' that no one had been able to hear.
Morrison obliged but, in doing so, specified that he was withdrawing ''hypocrite'', thus ensuring the offending term was blasted around the chamber. Burke rolled her eyes and sent him packing for ''gross misconduct at the despatch box''.
That made it six MPs down, 144 still to go.