FLINDERS MP Zoe McKenzie is one of seven Coalition MPs to apologise for attempting to exit parliament after the Speaker had ordered the doors closed before a vote.
The Speaker, Milton Dick said a rush for the door on Wednesday 28 March by the MPs was “a very serious and grave incident” that saw an attendant injured while attempting to close the door.
“As all members are aware … after the Speaker orders the doors to be locked no member may enter or leave the chamber until after the division,” Dick said.
“It does not matter whether the doors have been able to be fully closed, the point at which the order is given from the chair is the point at which no member is allowed to enter or leave the chamber.
“I am particularly disgusted by this behaviour, and I will not tolerate it. For a staff member of this place to be treated in this way when they are simply doing their job is disrespectful and a very serious matter.”
The following day each of the seven MPs apologised for their rush for the door.
“I apologise to the House, Mr Speaker, for seeking to leave after the Speaker had ordered that the doors be closed. I deeply regret and apologise for any impact caused to the staff member involved,” McKenzie said.
The unseemly rush (or should that be crush) by the MPs to leave the room before having to raise their arms to indicate aye or nay for an amendment that was roundly defeated, 95 votes for and six against, with the Opposition voting with the government.
McKenzie told The News that it was commonplace for MPs to leave the chamber when they are not required … “as we have many other parliamentary duties to attend to”.
However, also lurking behind the headlines and news reports outlining the circumstances behind the Speaker’s displeasure, was the unlikely involvement of Archie Bear.
No stranger to being involved in politics, Archie Bear, right, is McKenzie’s pet dog. He often accompanied her on the campaign trail last year, wearing a coat bearing her name.
But not disclosed previously was the slowing effect of McKenzie’s moon boot, which she was wearing as a result of “seriously damaging my ankle… [while] playing soccer with Archie Bear”.
McKenzie said Archie Bear was fine “but remorseful”.