Wednesday, March 27, 2013

David Carter must go

Parliament has descended into a farce for the second day in a row, with two MPs thrown out for demanding that the Speaker enforce Standing Orders and stop John Key from summarily abusing questioners. Its been apparent since his first day in office that David Carter is simply not up to the job of Speaker, and this week simply confirms it. He needs to go. The question is "how"?

Parliament's Standing Orders contain no formal provisions for removing an incompetent Speaker. Which means that informal methods must be used to make Carter's position socially untenable. One option would be for the opposition to formally move a motion of no confidence, on the basis that the Speaker requires their confidence to be able to do their job effectively. Another would be for someone to devote a General Debate slot to the Speaker's failure to manage the House. Alternatively, opposition members could simply repeatedly seek leave for a vacancy to be declared in the Speakership and an election be held. Finally, there is the option of a walk-out, a simple refusal to attend until the Speaker resigns.

All of these are "nuclear options", in that they will irreversibly destroy the relationship between the Speaker and the opposition. But given how bad things are, that actually looks like the best course of action.

Alternatively, we could all just cross our fingers and hope that Carter grows a brain, buys a copy of "Speaker for Dummies", and becomes less of a partisan hack. But how likely is that?