National Party MPs stage a protest walkout over their leader Warren Truss being ejected by the Speaker Peter Slipper (below) during House of Representatives question time yesterday.
National Party MPs stage a protest walkout over their leader Warren Truss being ejected by the Speaker Peter Slipper (below) during House of Representatives question time yesterday. ALAN PORRITT

Speaker puts the slipper into Truss

PETER Slipper obviously was seeking to exercise his authority in a "striking and dramatic manner", National Party leader Warren Truss said after being ejected from federal parliament for the first time in his 22-year political career yesterday.

All National Party members walked out of the chamber in protest after Mr Truss's ejection in a move he said was not premeditated.

While his colleagues' actions showed their anger, Mr Truss was careful not to criticise the Speaker directly.

"I didn't know what was happening," he said of the walkout. "I left by the door nearest me. Only outside did I realise. It was a humbling experience. I wonder if the same happened to the Prime Minister would her colleagues do that."

Mr Truss said he didn't think the parliament had become unworkable "yet".

He said Mr Slipper was clearly wanting to display his discipline and was targeting senior people to get that message across.

"It's not appropriate for a Member of Parliament to criticise the Speaker," Mr Truss said.

"People can make their own observations as to whether they think he is dealing in a reasonable way. The words I used (prior to being ejected) simply quoted back the Prime Minister's words that job losses should be seen as growing pains. She was again dismissive today of job losses as of little substance.

"I simply said 'growing pains' and was ejected."

Mr Truss denied parliament was a rabble, saying most debate, while vigorous, was conducted in an orderly manner.

"Question Time can be combative," he said.

"But that is the only time the TV stations pick up the feed and broadcast it. Question Time is a time of theatre and can sometimes be quite noisy.

"The current Speaker is clearly trying to change that."

After ejecting Mr Truss from the Chamber, Mr Slipper was questioned by Liberal Christopher Pyne about the long-standing practice that leaders were given greater latitude.

Mr Slipper is reported to reply that he also had an obligation to ensure standing orders were obeyed.

Mr Slipper has been quick to eject members without warning for breaches of standing orders, last week turfing out Wyatt Roy for an hour.


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