You may not have watched the opening of the 44th Parliament yesterday because it's just old people walking and talking on ABC News 24. What you missed, however, was a spectacularly sly insult about new House Speaker Bronwyn Bishop. The video is excellent.
Bronwyn Bishop was elected to the role of Speaker yesterday to preside over the House of Representatives for the 44th Parliament. Leaders of all parties gave congratulatory addresses to the House and to the new Speaker. Everyone except Labor's manager of Opposition Business, Tony Burke, played nice.
"Congratulations on the role that you have achieved today," he said. Good start. But wait...
"This day, probably more than any other, functions like a first day back at school, and people have remarked today about this being reminiscent of the Harry Potter novel...where they all return to Hogwarts, Dumbledore is gone and Dolores Umbridge is now in charge of the school," he added, to a wash of laughter from people who realised what he had said.
In Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is caught between the Ministry of Magic and the underground resistance. The former denies the return of Voldemort (or He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named), while the resistance attempts to rally support for a war they know is coming.
In the tumult, the Ministry injects a new High Inquisitor — Dolores Umbridge — into the school who is just an awful human. She tortures students with harsh punishments, passes laws to turn the school into a police state and expels teachers. She's a dictator.
That's why it was pretty brash for Tony Burke, to throw that sort of shade at Speaker Bronwyn Bishop in his first address to the House.
Look at the female MP over Tony Burke's left shoulder. She's clearly read the books, and knows the joke that Burke is making. Shame that Speaker Bishop doesn't.
Here's hoping that the Hogwarts allegory continues in the 44th Parliament. We need something to get the kids interested in politics after all.