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Dunkley’s plea to put politics aside

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Seeking co-operation: Premier Michael Dunkley said more could be achieved by working together than by political quarrelling

The new year should usher in a fresh commitment by Members of Parliament to raise the level of debate in the House of Assembly.

The call from Premier Michael Dunkley comes after a series of unsavoury confrontations and raucous verbal altercations inside and outside of the Lower Chamber.

In the early part of last month, House Speaker Randy Horton issued MPs a stark warning that they could face “immediate suspension” from Parliament if they continued to flout orders of Parliamentary conduct.

Mr Dunkley said that the “wake-up call” needed to be heeded.

He told The Royal Gazette that more could be achieved by cooperation across the floor than by political quarrelling along party lines.

“At critical times, you need to put politics aside,” the Premier said.

“When we are building the economy, we all need to work together and make it work.

“At this very early stage, if we continue to haggle and quarrel over little things, we should not be surprised if we don’t see the progress we hope for. There will be plenty of time for nitpicking in the run-up to the next election.

“If we really want to help the people that were picking up their Christmas dinners from Albuoy’s Point, we sometimes need to put politics aside and look at how we can work together.”

MPs sitting in the House were repeatedly reined in by the Speaker during a heated debate at the beginning of last month and an Opposition Police complaint came in the wake of a fracas in the House foyer.

“MPs do need to take stock and remember the responsibility that comes with the honour of serving the people,” Mr Dunkley said.

“We need to raise those standards. The wake-up call has been received by everyone.

“Within the Government, we have had numerous discussions in caucus and Cabinet about the standards expected of us as MPs.

“Going forward, our Parliamentary team has committed to a higher level of debate and discourse in the House.

“This is one of the greatest honours you can get; we should never lose sight of that.

“Wake-up calls can be good.”