Random Analytics: 44th Australian Parliament Suspensions (to cob 2014)
by Shane Granger
We are now into the final week of Parliament for 2014 and the previous week saw a number of records broken. Via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (published 27 November 2014). Bronwyn Bishop suspends 18 MPs from Question Time, breaks Federation-era record. Excerpt:
Federal Parliament has embraced the schoolyard tradition of an “end-of-year muck-up day” setting new standards in misbehaviour. In a raucous Question Time to end Parliament’s penultimate sitting week, the Speaker, Bronwyn Bishop, suspended 18 MPs – all Labor. With a massively depleted front and back bench behind him, a frustrated manager of Opposition business Tony Burke rose to inform the House “18 people in one Question Time is an all-time record since Federation”.
Bishop says claims she picked on Labor MPs ‘pathetic’ She broke the previous one-day record for suspensions which had stood at 12. The Speaker almost racked up 50 suspensions in one week, but fell short at 47. Ms Bishop’s personal total of suspensions for the 44th Parliament stands at 285.
During that week there were some discrepancies in 94(a) suspension counts. On 25 November Hansard detailed nine suspensions while the Sydney Morning Herald reported ten and The Australian reported 12. I put a request for clarification into the Australian Parliament and received a wonderfully detailed response from Assistant Director, Chamber Research Office, Department of the House of Representatives who confirmed 12 suspensions on the day. (Hat tip to the Australian Parliament).
Here is a look at the Standing Order 94(a) and Standing Order 94(b) suspensions for the 44th Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia House of Representatives to the 27th November 2014. It is also my intent to update these charts at the end of the last sitting week for 2014.
The 44th Parliament of Australia Suspensions per Sitting Day details the total amount of suspensions with breakdowns by political party.
As noted in the ABC story the final day of the second last week was the most suspensions in a single day since Federation (1901). Those named under Standing Order 94(b) have also been noted in red (they are Mark Dreyfus, Wayne Swan and Ed Husic) and the Coalition members ejected have been included under different colours depending on which Party they belong to.
The 44th Parliament Suspensions by Member details the top 12 ALP and the four Coalition Members of Parliament to have been suspended thus far.
The Member for Wakefield, Nick Champion continues to lead the count at 36 and is currently 11 suspensions ahead of his colleague the Member for Moreton, Graham Perrett. Ewen Jones, Michael McCormack, Luke Simpkings and Andrew Nikolic from the Coalition have also been suspended.
There have been a further 27 ALP Members suspended seven times or less. They are:
7-Suspensions: Anthony Albanese, Chris Bowen, Warren Snowden & Tim Watts.
6-Suspendions: Catherine King.
5-Suspensions: Jenny Macklin.
4-Suspensions: Tony Burke, Julie Collins, Michael Danby, Joanne Ryan and Matt Thistlethwaite.
3-Suspensions: Lisa Chesters, Tanya Plibersek and Wayne Swan.
2-Suspensions: David Feeney, Joel Fitzgibbon, Michelle Rowland & Kelvin Thomson.
Mark Butler, Jason Clare, Sharon Claydon, Andrew Giles, Jill Hall, Clare O’Neil and Melissa Parke all have one suspension each.
The final chart is Day of the Week for Suspensions.
The obvious data point and the one which is consistently pointed out by the media is that the final day of the sitting week (usually a Thursday) is the most often day where members are ejected. Interestingly, the difference between Wednesday and Thursday was much closer than the anecdotal evidence suggested. In total Mondays had 43 suspensions, Tuesdays 68, Wednesdays 80 and Thursdays 94. If the week commencing 24 November did not occur then it would have been 68/76 for Wednesday/Thursday.
For a bit of fun I split the data between Nick Champion (with 12.6% of all suspensions for the 44th Parliament) and the rest of the House.
 Parliament of Australia. Hansard. Accessed 2 December 2014.
Updated Charts to Monday, 1st December 2014
* There were no Standing Order 94(a) or 94(b) suspensions on the 1st December 2014