Burqa debate disguises a parliament incapable of making decisions

It was a stunt that was entirely insensitive and unnecessary – but it also showed our federal parliament to be exactly what it is – dysfunctional.

Pauline Hanson’s ill-advised decision to wear a burqa into the Senate ruffled feathers – as it should – but the swift and severe reaction from her parliamentary colleagues was surely out of kilter with the “crime”.

Senator Hanson and other minor parties rely on the shock value that such a performance attracts.

Whether it’s the Greens or the Xenophon team, or independents such as Jacqui Lambie, they rely on outrageous statements or over-the-top stunts to attract the necessary media attention to keep them in front of the voting public.

Senator Hanson was wrong to do what she did – but it did draw attention to one other thing and that’s the fact that the dominant parties will take every opportunity to mock and criticise those who are not in their number.

Senator George Brandis was scathing in his retort to his colleague – so much so that his address was applauded and cheered by members on both sides of the parliament.

So it begs the question – if our elected representatives can so easily unite on a matter such as this, why is it they go missing when it comes to dealing with more significant issues?

So out of touch with reality are those who we have elected to our federal parliament – the real challenges facing average Australians barely rate a mention in Canberra.

Skyrocketing energy prices – very much the creation of these same politicians – seem irrelevant to most apart from a photo opportunity with the Prime Minister “talking tough” to industry leaders.

Significant underemployment is also hurting middle Australia, but all our politicians hang their hat on is the “trends” and “growth” – more often than not generated by population increases.

And on that very note, when will there be a debate about population policy as highlighted by entrepreneur Dick Smith?

It seems the only thing that unites our politicians is the threat from political forces that may rock their smooth sailing boat.

Senator Hanson’s actions were deserving of strong criticism, but the storm it has created merely glosses over the real problem with our federal parliament – it’s inability to find solutions to the problems facing ordinary Australians every day of the week.