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Thursday, 22 June, 2000, 18:35 GMT 19:35 UK
Uproar in Australian parliament
John Howard
John Howard was forced to cut short Question Time
Rowdy scenes in the Australian parliament have led to the ejection of six MPs including Employment Services Minister Tony Abbott.

He is the first member of government to be ordered out of the Australian House of Representatives for almost 40 years.


The Australian parliament is approaching the style of the gang fights of the old Taiwanese legislature

The Australian newspaper
The trouble broke out during government Question Time on Wednesday, when politicians from the ruling Conservative party and the Labor opposition traded insults

The minister called the opposition leader a sanctimonious windbag.

The slanging match came just two days after members of parliament had called for higher standards and an end to personal attacks, while mourning a colleague who had committed suicide last week.

Hypocrites

At the funeral of MP Greg Wilton, a colleague said that political infighting had been the "last straw" for him.

The Australian newspaper called the scenes a national disgrace.



You are a grub


Get back under your rock


You are a disgrace to your father

Ejected MPs
Under the headline "Hypocrites in the House", it said the Australian parliament was "approaching the style of the gang fights of the old Taiwanese legislature".

Correspondents say the tension was linked to the introduction of a new tax system on 1 July.

The opposition spokeswoman on employment, Cheryl Kernot, was the first to be asked to leave after insulting Mr Abbott.

Question time halted

The five others were ordered out after making comments such as "you are a grub" and "get back under your rock".

Prime Minister John Howard took the unusual step of cutting Question Time short to end the uproar.

The Speaker of the House, Neil Andrew, who ordered the expulsions, later played down the disruption, saying that good government depended upon effective opposition.

"While political point-scoring is inevitable in a parliament, I don't come into the chair in fear and trepidation fearing that any day is going to be worse than a former day," he was quoted as saying.

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See also:

09 Apr 98 | Asia-Pacific
Australian election looms
30 Aug 98 | Asia-Pacific
Australian poll date set
25 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Australia rejects UN racism report
04 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Off with her head
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