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Kedgley calls for climate change in the House

Kedgley calls for climate change in the House

Green MP Sue Kedgley is calling for an end to the intolerant and abusive behaviour that is increasingly bringing Parliament into disrepute.

Ms Kedgley will call on MPs to adopt and abide by a code of conduct that sets out acceptable standards of behaviour for the House, along the lines of Ross Robertson's proposal, during today's Adjournment Debate.

"I had high hopes that with women comprising almost a third of the membership of Parliament that we would be able to create a more cooperative, less hostile environment in the House," said Ms Kedgley. "The truth is that we have abjectly failed bring a climate change to Parliament and the House's own rule-makers, the Standing Orders Committee, has side-stepped its responsibility to discourage bad behaviour."

Ms Kedgley is annoyed that a submission made over a year ago by a group of Wellington High School students who monitored behaviour in the House has been politely ignored by the Standing Orders committee.

"Our leaders legislate against violence in the community, yet behave in an aggressive and even violent way themselves," reported the students. "We are asking our leaders to lead by example."

Ms Kedgley said MP's had come to accept as normal behaviour a level of unpleasantness, aggression and verbal abuse that would not be tolerated in a classroom, playground, workplace or home, and it was time to create a more constructive environment in the House.

"During a three-minute speech I gave recently. I was interrupted by eight points of order. I felt as if I was in the yard of a boys' school being intimidated by a gang of playground bullies.

"Robust debate and free speech is one thing, intimidation is something else.

"Like many MPs, I have tried to ignore this sort of behaviour. But the truth is that by tolerating hostile and bullying behaviour, we are condoning it," said Ms Kedgley. "The Standing Orders Committee has signally failed to confront this climate of abuse and so I'm calling on all MPs who care about the reputation of Parliament to lead by example.

"By adopting a code of conduct and challenging the bullies when they indulge in their destructive behaviour, we can begin to rehabilitate the standing of this House and try and aspire to the sort of national leadership role we wrongly think is ours be right of election."

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