Flat White

Forget the reshuffle and the fancy new titles, Prime Minister, and try this one simple suggestion

29 March 2021

4:00 PM

29 March 2021

4:00 PM

If Liberal MP Andrew Laming is to be sent for “empathy training” to correct poor behaviour, what about other politicians?

Perhaps all Federal MPs and their staffers should be required to undergo special training to learn not to be dickheads.

Laming, who has been accused of trolling women online and of taking an inappropriate photo of a female constituent, is just the latest example of the political class behaving badly.

The problem, according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, is a lack of education.

“I am arranging for Mr Laming to now get appropriate assistance, a private course, to build his understanding and awareness about his actions,” Morrison said on Saturday.

“The way you fix this is you’ve got to educate and inform and increase awareness to change behaviour.” 

You’re kidding aren’t you Prime Minister?

We are to accept that Laming, a former medical practitioner who attended London University and John F Kennedy School of Government — as well as local tertiary institutions — and has been in Parliament for 17 years, is a victim of ignorance?

The son of former Queensland state Liberal member Bruce Laming is a 54-year-old Federal MP who simply lacks “awareness” of basic social mores like, you know, not being a dickhead.

Well after a month of tawdry revelations from Canberra, the public could be forgiven for demanding that all MPs and their staffers complete a Certificate IV in Don’t Be a Dickhead.

Such a course could be adequately taught by most 10-year-olds. 

But bearing in mind the very peculiar gaps in “awareness” that seem to afflict members of this current Parliament and their staff, an older trainer will be required.

Modules could include:

  • Why masturbating on your boss’s desk is inadvisable; and why you should have known that.
  • 101 reasons gay sex is not appropriate in parliament’s Meditation Room
  • How not to bully female constituents on Facebook
  • “Lying Cow” and other names you should not call an alleged rape victim
  • Why apologising to women for your poor behaviour and then laughing about the apology might make you appear insincere.
  • Reasons to think twice before sneaking a male prostitute into Parliament House.
  • How making false allegations against the media in order to divert attention away from your own performance can cause you to come across as a bit of a Prime Ministerial goose.

The course would essentially involve paying people a lot of money to teach other people who earn a lot of money to act like decent human beings.

Lacking much else in terms of a policy agenda right now, the Prime Minister could do a lot worse than borrow a line from former Sydney Swans coach Paul Roos and institute a “No Dickheads” policy.

That’s where we have got to.

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