I wrote last year about the insanity of the annual Budget speech(es), in which the Chancellor stands up and reads off a list of numbers. In business, you’d never contemplate doing that without some kind of visual aid. But come on, visual aids in Parliament?
Let me take you to Canberra, where there’s been an outbreak of visual aiding on the floor of the House of Representatives. In recent days, the ABC reports, Kevin Rudd and his government have been ‘taunting the Opposition by waving photos of projects funded with stimulus money’. The opposition have responded by wielding ‘a mock credit card to make its point about debt and a hard hat to mock Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s appearances at infrastructure sites’.
But by common consent, things went a bit far on Thursday when, with the assistance of his front bench colleagues, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey unfolded a three metre-long chart, over six panels, illustrating the growth in government debt. The speaker ruled this was too much; Hockey responded by producing a pair of scissors, and cutting the chart into its constituent panels for individual presentation.
‘Pity they couldn’t have cut through the noise and silliness of a question time that added nothing to the sum of human knowledge,’ says Sky News Australia’s commentary on the ‘farce’.