Millions of voters will be scratching their heads asking what on Earth has been going on in the Federal Parliament. The first week of the last sitting of the lower house before the next election has been bogged down in a stoush over religious discrimination legislation which, while not without merit, would not be regarded as a top-priority issue by the majority of Australians.
Petrol prices are soaring, the cost of living is on the way up, wages have been stagnant for a decade, the Omicron wave - while receding - still claims dozens of lives a day, and the Coalition has given up entirely on its longstanding pledge to introduce a federal anti-corruption watchdog.
It is remarkable, given nobody would suggest religious discrimination is a national emergency, that the house sat until 5am on Thursday morning to discuss the issue.
That has not proved necessary with any of the far more important, and wide-ranging, decisions taken to deal with the pandemic to date.
And, even more remarkably, the LNP suffered one of its worst defeats in the chamber since the early 1980s when five Liberals courageously crossed the floor to support moves to extend the same protections to transgender students that are in place for gay students.
One would have thought the whips would have done much better herding their cats before the bill was even allowed to be put.
And then, after all the speeches, shouting and tumult had died, and MPs and staffers went home to snatch a few hours' sleep ahead of what was expected to be another long day - particularly in the Senate - it turned out to have been, as Shakespeare said, a tale "told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing".
After having built this up as the cause celebre of early 2022 and then suffering a very public - and humiliating - mauling at the hands of its own, the LNP appears to have shelved the legislation indefinitely; at least until after the election.
Labor, which has been very careful not to openly oppose the bill on the pragmatic grounds it believes a previous lack of support cost it key seats in 2019, hit the ground early on Thursday morning in order to capitalise on the PM's latest self-inflicted wound and to control the narrative.
A surprisingly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Anthony Albanese hit the airwaves after less than two hours' sleep to say the rights of transgender students must be protected. Trent Zimmerman, one of the five Liberal MPs who had crossed the floor, was also out and about early to explain his own decision.
None of this can hide the fact politics, not genuine concern about either religious discrimination or protecting transgender adolescents, is driving this debate. The Coalition saw an opportunity to wedge Labor on an issue that plays well with voters in Western suburbs electorates. Labor wants to have a bet each way by supporting people of faith and those concerned about vulnerable children.
And, while the moderate Liberal MPs who crossed the floor were undoubtedly sincere, the reality is the stand they have taken will play well with voters in their largely inner-city electorates.
This is far from the first time a worthy issue deserving strong bipartisan discussion and support has been weaponised for purely political reasons. It won't be the last.
Voters are entitled to feel let down by yet another example of a lack of leadership and relevance within the Federal Parliament. Australians deserve better than this.
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