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The House: Inebriated With Rhetoric

The ability of crime as an issue to produce more heat than light from politicians was highlighted in the House this evening as the House completed the committee stages of the home invasion legislation.

Government MPs and other supporters of the Bill continued to goad Opposition MPs that they were soft on criminals and wrapped themselves in the mantle as protectors of the home as a sanctuary.

Opposition MPs attacked the Bill as a political fabrication that created anomalies in the law.

The majority of the debate saw rhetoric rule and occasionally tempers flared.

One MP took great exception to the Justice Minister, Tony Ryall, saying a previous speaker had become "inebriated with rhetoric". The MP took an angry point of order saying that the Minister was implying someone was drunk.

The mild-mannered chair of the House in committee, Geoff Braybrooke, said the member was overreacting and that the Minister's use of the word 'inebriation' was being taken out of context, as that word had a number of meanings.

This enraged the offended member even more and a somewhat bemused Mr Braybrooke had to turn to the dictionary to calm the MP who kept shouting "outrageous".

When the House finally calmed down, it went into further disorder when Gilbert Myles commented in his opening sentence that maybe some MPs should be taking Prozac. That was the end of his contribution as Mr Braybrooke took offence at that and ended his speech.

The debate was also notable for Frank Grover making his first contribution as a Christian Heritage MP and said he and his new party would support the legislation as though it was less than perfect, it was better than nothing.

The rest of the debate continued with the Opposition accusing the Government of electioneering and creating arbitrary laws to that ends. Government MPs and supporters continued the refrain that criminals who attacked people in their homes should be severely punished and, of course, Labour and the Alliance are soft on crime.

As this is written MPs are completing the final parts of the committee stages with the Government winning the votes.

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