26/06/2018
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Labour's Doo-Wop Girls Can't Distract from Train Wreck Foreign Ownership Bill

"All God’s creatures got a place in the choir." Or so Foster and Allen told us. Everyone has a role. You don’t have to be the star. So the Labour party have found a role for Anahila Kanongata’a-Suisuiki and Marja Lubeck. On the online 'Our Team' page they are simply List MPs. This should be updated. The Labour party have found a special role for them. They are the Doo-Wop Girls of the government benches.

Tonight in parliament MPs debated the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill. Whilst David Parker, Damien O’Connor, and Dr Duncan Webb did their best to disguise the endless and obvious flaws in the Bill, Anahila and Marja kept on moving about the back benches so as to position themselves behind the speaker each time. Then, like a couple of star struck fifteen year-olds they dutifully nodded and hmm-mmed in response to every other sentence their senior male colleagues uttered and led a round of clapping at the end of each speech. At one point they organised a collective thumbs up behind Duncan Webb, pulling Paul Eagle into the ensemble to assist, thus giving another under-employed bench-warmer a reason for being present.

On the parliamentary TV which plays in the House, you only get a close up of the speaker, so this circus has the effect of making the government benches seem more occupied and vibrant on the screen than would otherwise be the case. Presumably this is their brief. Watching live, however, they come across as a couple of giggling schoolgirls who've stumbled into a 7th form economics class and have no idea what the lecturer is talking about so have decided to amuse themselves to pass the time. It must have been a tough evening for them, what with the previous bill about taxation (Neutralising Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) also proving somewhat challenging for some of the members as it weaves its way through the system.

It seems at the moment the government can afford the luxury of make-weight MPs being given nothing roles in the chamber. Their legislative schedule continues to roll out regardless of the quality of the bills or the related debates.

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