MP's 'state of undress' sparks outrage in Parliament

·News Reporter
·2-min read

Parliament House came to a standstill on Wednesday afternoon over a bizarre outfit mishap.

New Greens MP Max Chandler-Mather was on his feet to ask his first question during question time when he was loudly interrupted.

Nationals MP Pat Conaghan was behind the point of order.

“I draw your attention to the state of undress of the member,” Mr Conaghan cried to the Speaker, referring to his opponent’s lack of tie.

Max Chandler-Mather in parliament
New Greens MP Max Chandler-Mather was called out for going tie-less in Parliament on Wednesday. Source: ABC

While it’s customary for a man to wear trousers, a jacket, collar and tie in the House of Representatives, “the standard of dress is a matter for the individual judgment of each Member”, according to the Chamber’s website.

However, the ultimate discretion rests with the Speaker who went on to rule that Mr Chandler-Mather’s decision to forgo a tie was not a violation of the standing order.

Twitter was divided over the turn of debate, with one journalist hailing the move as a “big win for those among us who hate ties”.

While another user sarcastically slammed Parliament for its “wondrous chamber of debate and big ideas”.

Others took offence after saying Mr Chandler-Mather did not wear a mask.

“A lack of tie is not going to maim someone, but wearing a mask might,” one person wrote online.

Parliament’s disconnection with everyday people

The incident was a nail on the head for Mr Chandler-Mather.

During his first speech to parliament on Monday, the Greens MP slammed the political system for being “so completely disconnected from the lives of everyday people.”

“In fact, spending only a week in this place has been a stark lesson in how so much of the pomp, ceremony and rules of this place work to deepen and reinforce that disconnection,” he said.

“Technically, I should be kicked out of parliament if I don’t dress like a businessman, but you’re more than welcome to vote for laws that materially benefit corporations that also happen to donate millions of dollars to your political party.”

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