Thursday, October 18, 2007

Parliament disolved.

Parliament is no more.

At 12 noon yesterday Malcolm Hazell, the secretary to Governor-General, stood in front of the white marble columns and read a short proclamation dissolving the House to enable an election to be held on November 24.

A small crowd politely applauded.

While nowhere near as dramatic at the 1975 proclamation, read out to a largely furious crowd on the steps of the old Parliament House by the then Governor General’s official secretary David Smith, the 2007 procalmation was not without drama...

MPs who are not restanding stopped getting paid from midday.

Phoned for comment later in the afternoon one of them said she had been “at the club since one past midday”.

And Ministers can no longer give directions.

The Treasurer, the Minister for Trade and the Minister for Agriculture were engaged in a last-minute race agianst time.

At 12.02pm they issued a press release and a direction to the Productivity Commission asking for an “accelerated report” on the state of Australia’s pigmeat industry.

Under massive pressure from imports that are being let in at a fraction of the price it costs to produce pork in Australia and hit by soaring grain prices, many of Australia’s pig farmers fear they won’t survive.

They blame the Coalition for letting in pork and bacon from countries such as Denmark where it is highly subsidised. They also know those countries are plauged with post weaning multisystemic wasting syndrome, a deadly sickness that hasn’t yet reached Australian pigs, but could if they accidentially eat imported meat.

Many pig farmers who traditionally vote for the National Party have found they’re loyalty stretched to its limit.

Yesterday’s eleventh-hour pre-disolution announcement might just bring them back.