Zingers Galore During Joke-Filled Question Time

15/03/2016 4:55 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
Fairfax Media

It's all going off in the houses of parliament on Tuesday; there have been fireworks and chaos in the Senate, but over in the House of Representatives, it was movie references, singing and sledges galore during Question Time.

Treasurer Scott Morrison levelled the first zinger of the 2pm questions without notice period. In response to a Clive Palmer question about workers accessing superannuation before they reached retirement age, Turnbull answered "I thank the Member for his question and I'm sure he's equally concerned about those at the Queensland Nickel plant where he's had some involvement in recent times and I'm sure he must be very concerned about their entitlements and their future."

Palmer, of course, has had more than "some involvement" in the controversy-plagued Queensland Nickel; Palmer owned the refinery in Townsville.

"I know that our member is," Morrison continued, referencing Liberal MP Ewen Jones, whose electorate takes in Townsville.

Later, a near-crisis was averted, as Industry and Innovation Minister Christopher Pyne threatened to sing a Whitney Houston song, but ultimately spared the chamber. He sent a sledge the way of Labor leader Bill Shorten, who earlier gave a long speech at the National Press Club on his party's election commitments, including plans to support the youth of Australia. Pyne thought the time was ripe for a 2003 movie reference.

"In fact he reminded me very much, Mr Speaker, of Dewey Finn in the [film] 'School of Rock' played so happily by Jack Black, when he was asked about his education philosophy. He quoted that wonderful song by Whitney Houston; 'I believe children are our future, teach them well and let them the way'," Pyne said, referencing a classic Houston tune.

"I could sing it, Mr Speaker, I could sing it, but it would detract from the serious business of the House," Pyne threatened.

Just in time, Speaker of the House Tony Smith interjected: "please don't!"

Later, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton had a zinger of his own. Asked about the number of children currently in immigration detention, Dutton claimed the number had dropped to just 34 children, and snuck in a dig at former Labor immigration minister Chris Bowen.

"That is a significant achievement and I've repeated to the house on a number of occasions, Mr Speaker, that we want to get that number down to zero and I'm determined that we will get it down to zero," Dutton said.

"[Bowen] is the Chevy Chase of this Parliament. Everything he touches turns to dirt. He's the Clarke Griswold. He presides over every policy disaster, whether it's in Government or Opposition."

It was an even older movie reference than Pyne and 'School of Rock,' Dutton harking back to the National Lampoon comedy series.

If this is what we can expect from the upcoming election campaign, zinger after zinger on beloved comedy classics, then we say -- bring it on.

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