It’s a signal indication of the strange place that the Parliamentary Labor Party currently resides in when they can devote their weekly caucus meeting to a discussion on whether or not to stand up or sit down in the presence of the United States Head of State and where clapping might fit into that problematic scenario.
My advice to them is simple: stand up when he enters and leaves and applaud politely, as appropriate. If you wish to scream, “George I love you” and hurl yourself sobbing at his feet you should exercise restraint – his Secret Service detail will “wrestle you to the ground” as they say, if you fail to do so.
Similarly, any thoughts of bringing a small boat into the debating chamber festooned with “WMD Inspection Team” banners should be put to one side. You’re running for the Presidency of the ALP not for Non-Objectified Pinupperson of the week in Green/Left Weekly.
As Mark Latham can tell you (and no doubt has) calling President Bush the “worst President ever” is OK when he’s not within earshot. When he’s in the immediate vicinity it’s as well to swiftly recall that Warren G Harding was arguably worse – and that Jimmy Carter is a lovely man but that he once came off second-best in a dispute with an aquatic rabbit.
You can wear – like Tasha Spot Destroyer – a white ribbon and an expression of profound, holier-than-thou sanctimony if you wish but remember that white ribbons can run the risk of looking like a bit like the proverbial “cake left out in the rain” if they’re done to excess. Harry Quick is wearing a white armband but you’re not Harry Quick.
Bob Brown may well be planning to appear nude except for glasses and shoes and socks but even an explosion of white ribbons would be an advance on that.
Or you could all just get over it – and worry about what to wear to Hu Jin-Tao……..