The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Andrew Wallace, faces thousands of dollars in treatment costs including expensive in-ear devices after visiting a Hearing Australia outlet in Canberra late yesterday.
Parliamentary colleagues urged the Member for Fisher in Queensland to visit the Hearing Australia outlet in Belconnen after becoming more and more concerned over ongoing problem since he became Speaker late last year – namely a total inability to hear what’s being said on the government side of the chamber.
The Bug can now confirm the Speaker has been diagnosed with a very, very, bad case Chronic Selective Hearing.
A MP colleague of the Speaker told The Bug on the condition of anonymity: “A classic example was Question Time yesterday when Prime Minister Scott Morrison shouted across the chamber as Opposition Deputy Leader Richard Marles approached the dispatch box: “Here comes another Manchurian candidate.”
“As furious Opposition members tried to take points of order, poor Andrew said he hadn’t heard what the PM had said because the Opposition benches had been making too much noise.
“Yet Andrew then declared that the PM had withdrawn the Manchurian candidate comment.
“He must have been the only person in the chamber who thought he heard that.”
A Labor MP told The Bug: “We’ve replayed and replayed the coverage of that incident in the House and at no time do we hear Morrison saying “I withdraw” or words to that effect.
“As Tony Burke said in the House at the time, maybe the PM’s microphone was switched off. I think Tony was just being nice, knowing the extent of the Speaker’s dreadful affliction long before the rest of us.
“I think the strongest indication that Morrison had not withdrawn the comment earlier was when he said he already had but would do so again. It’s generally a safe bet that when Morrison says he’s said or done something, he hasn’t.
“We have a Speaker who can’t hear what’s clearly been said but then can clearly hear what very likely hasn’t been said at all – so all of us on this side of the House do wish him well with his treatment.”
The Bug‘s resident medical expert advises that Parliamentary Speakers with advanced CSH can even make Bronwyn Bishop look almost competent in the role.